The Significance Of All Saints Igbo Language Anglican Church In DC

by Churchill Okonkwo

It was a very important day in the history of Ndigbo in DC area with the formal inauguration of All Igbo Anglican Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington on Sunday September 16th, 2007. The ceremony was performed by His Lordship, The Right Reverend John Bryson Chone the bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Washington.

The institution of the first Igbo language Anglican congregation in Washington metropolitan area may be credited to two gentlemen; Rev. Canon Edmond C. O Ilogu and Dr. Ndubisi Ogbokiri who worried by the dispersing of Igbo Anglicans initiated the constitution of a church, home away from home. For Anglicans from Nigeria who wished to maintain the Anglican tradition, it was a golden opportunity to come together and worship God – the Nigerian traditional way.

To day, under the strong leadership of Reverend Canon Clinton Esonu – priest in charge, Dr. Emmanuel Nwokolo – senior warder and Mr., Benjamin Udoji – junior warder, the church is growing from strength to strength.

Spiritual Significance

There is an Igbo saying that if you fail to take away a strong man’s sword when he is on the ground, will you do it when he gets up? That is why the bible implores us to teach a child the way of God while they are young and that when they grow, they won’t depart. The spiritual growth and good moral upbringing is taught to the children in group in our own way and style unlike any other place here.

Other spiritual significance for our children include imbibing acceptable traditional values (omenali), restriction through satires and peer joking relationships, and reward for those who uphold the salient values. They will learn that Chukwu is seen as a powerful, munificent God, the one who holds the knife and the yam and provides people with wealth, rain, and children, and who is merciful toward rich and poor, male and female, child and aged.

Cultural Significance

Traditionally, the Igbo lived in villages or village-groups surrounded by their farms. The village-group was the primary unit of political authority; there were strong ties of the village community, the extended family system, age-group associations, and the various religious organizations that were important to community life. The Igbo have been exposed to Christian missionary activity since 1841; in 1857 an Anglican mission was opened at Onitsha along the Niger River. The Roman Catholics came in 1885. By the mid-twentieth century most Igbo had adopted Christianity.

The most significant aspect of the birth of this new church is that it provides a golden opportunity for Ndigbo in DC area to meet on weekly basis, with their kids. The church has a special section for the children to learn the words of God, their culture and interact with their peers this early in life.

Have you ever worried about the next generation being lost in the cultureless society of America and losing touch of their root? Have you ever been worried about losing you child to an Akata? What are we doing to provide an opportunity for our children to meet and interact early in life? A disease that has never been seen before cannot be cured with everyday (herbs) medicine. Are forums like the All saints Igbo Anglican Church in DC going to help? Your guess is as good as mine.

Moving Forward

The All Saints Igbo Anglican Church In DC currently worships at Lanham United Methodist Church, 5512 Whitfield Chapel Road, Lanham MD. 20706. It is believed that in the nearest future, the church will acquire and develop its on church building for the propagation of the gospel and communal integration.

Our people say that an udara fruit that falls on the side of the road is asking to be eaten. All Saints Igbo Anglican Church in DC is like that udara fruit not only asking to be eating but reminding us that if you want to eat a toad you look for a fat and juicy one.

A man of sense does not go hunting little bush rodents when his age mates are after big game. This is the big one and let us all do it together in the spirit of “onye aghana nwanne ya” (thou shall not leave your brother behind). A na-ekwu ekwu, a na-eme eme. (Talk the talk, walk the walk.)

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OYALI September 7, 2010 - 11:33 pm

Happy to hear about this. A question please. Since it is an Igbo church, does it mean religious texts used are the same ones used at home, the Igbo versions of the Bible, Ekpere na abu, etc?

Nzeako April 12, 2009 - 8:31 am

An update, the church has recently purchased and acquired a property at Hospital Drive by 202 and Route 295 behind Cheverly Medical Center by( PG Community Hospital) currently under renovetion, a centralized place for all Ndi-Igbo. Come and show your support and be part of this movement

Nnenna January 14, 2009 - 8:58 pm

It is a great accomplishment that a church like this exists. We young ones that can be considered the last generation of people that grew up in Igbo culture should work hard to preserve it and teach our kids about it. This church has done a wonderful thing.

Chi Chi August 14, 2008 - 12:24 am

My dad helped to form this church. RIP High Chief. His legacy of kindness will never be forgotten.

HAPPINESS OKORIE December 8, 2007 - 9:41 am



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