The evening of the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, Thursday 2nd February 2012, marked an important occasion in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Clogher, with a special service of introduction of the Revd Sampson Ajuka taking place in the Parish Church of St Molaise, Monea. Mr Ajuka was introduced by the Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher, as Diocesan Curate serving in the Grouped Parishes of Devenish and Boho.
Mr Ajuka said “I was very pleased to have been introduced to the parishes by the Bishop, what a wonderful and inspiring service it was. I and my family send greetings to all who came to support us and we pray for God’s blessings on all.”
Born in Nigeria, Mr Ajuka had recently been resident in Italy for a number of years before moving into the newly built Rectory at Monea with his wife Ugonna and their two children Chiemela and Rejoice. He studied at the Queens Foundation for Theological Studies in Birmingham, was ordained in the Church of England, and served the Church in Venice, Padova and Trieste in the Diocese in Europe. Commenting on his move to the Church of Ireland, he said “moving into a new place with different culture is not an easy thing, it is like a school boy starting his primary education.”
Assisting the bishop at the service were the Revd Canon John Stewart, Diocesan Registrar, and the Revd Chancellor Stanley Bourke, Rural Dean of Enniskillen. The Bishop’s Chaplain was the Revd Stephanie Woods, an Intern Deacon who is currently serving in Rossorry Parish. The Organist was Ms Avril Crawford and the singing was led by Devenish Parish Choir.
The processional hymn was Come, let us join our cheerful songs, the first reading from Haggai chapter 2 verses 1-9 was read by Mrs Enid Redmond, Honorary Treasurer of Boho Parish. The hymn version of Psalm 42 As the deer pants for the water preceded the second reading which was from Romans chapter 12 verses 1-5 and was read by Ross McClure of the Youth Fellowship for Devenish and Boho Parishes. The hymn Love divine, all loves excelling preceded the Gospel reading which was from St Luke chapter 2 verses 22-40 and was read by Mrs Joan Cathcart, Parish Reader for Devenish Parish, after which the sermon was preached by the Bishop.
After the sermon was the hymn King of glory, King of peace and this was followed by the introduction, during which the Archdeacon, the Venerable Cecil Pringle, presented Mr Ajuka to the Bishop. The certificate of appointment was read by the Diocesan Registrar.
The collection was taken up by the Churchwardens of Devenish Parish, Mr Paul Barton and Mr Richard McClure, along with Mr David Little and Mr Innes Redmond, the Churchwardens of Boho Parish, during the hymn Immortal, invisible, God only wise and the closing hymn was Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
Everyone was invited for refreshments after the service in the Reade Hall, during which a number of speeches were made. Master of ceremonies was the Revd Chancellor Stanley Bourke, Rural Dean, and speakers included Mr Richard McClure, on behalf of Devenish Parish, and Mr Innes Redmond, on behalf Boho Parish. Two visiting Nigerian clergy from London, the Revd Canon Ben Enwuchola and Archdeacon Danny Kajumba, also spoke, both commenting on the warmth of welcome and hospitality they had received while visiting the parishes. Lady Jane Dawnay, daughter of the 5th Duke of Westminster, who has close associations with the parish, spoke on behalf of the Westminster family, recollecting warmly her childhood and association with parishioners. Long standing parishioner Mr William Dickson also spoke, and greetings were brought from the Methodist Church by Mr Stanley Gordon of Churchill, and from the Roman Catholic Church by the Very Revd Lorcan Lynch of Derrygonnelly.
After Mr Ajuka addressed those gathered, the evening concluded with the Bishop leading all in the third collect of Evening Prayer for Aid against all Perils, Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord: and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Mr Ajuka celebrated Holy Communion in both Boho and Devenish Parish Churches on the Third Sunday before Lent, Sunday 5th February 2012.
Commenting on the appointment, Bishop McDowell said "it is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Sampson and his family into the Diocese. I think I am correct in saying that Sampson is the first African clergy person to have charge of a parish in the Diocese of Clogher, and his presence will also serve to remind us that the Anglican Communion, to which we belong, is a worldwide fellowship. For many years all of the movement of clergy was from the UK and Ireland to Africa, but now the Churches of Africa are in a position to share their spiritual riches with us. We rejoice in that day."
Having moved from Italy at the end of December 2011 to Northern Ireland, everything here is entirely different from what it was back in Italy, especially moving from an urban area to a rural place. “This is a new experience for us but the good thing to be happy about is that we are settling in gradually with the help of good people the Lord is sending” said Mr Ajuka.
Again, moving from the Church of England to the Church of Ireland is also a great challenge. Mr Ajuka noted that “both have different ways of doing things, so I need to work hard to fit into the system gradually. I am very happy with the plan the Diocese put in place to help me get to know the dos and don’ts! During the month of January I worked alongside the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Revd Kenneth Hall, and the Diocesan Curate, the Revd Alistair Warke, and with others in the Cathedral. They did their best to help me with things I needed to know, as did the Revd Anita Kerr who had been looking after Devenish and Boho during the vacancy, and the Rural Dean of Enniskillen, the Revd Chancellor Stanley Bourke.”
Commenting on his new role in ministry, Mr Ajuka says “as the deer pants for streams of water, my soul pants for God who will supply in abundance the grace, vision and power to carry out the ministry in the grouped parishes of Devenish and Boho. We are thankful to God for all those who attended the service.”