*As church gets new stake in Umuahia
From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has inaugurated a new stake called Umuahia Nigeria South Stake of Zion, bringing the number of the church’s stakes in Nigeria to 53 since the church came to Nigeria in 1980. A stake is an equivalent of diocese.
The new stake inaugurated last Sunday during the two-day 6th Annual Conference of the church with Emmanul Akpan as its pioneer Stake President, was carved out from the existing Umuahia Nigeria Stake of Zion . Its sphere of influence spans from the Golden Guinea area on Aba Road down to Umuahia South local government area.
Inaugurating the new Stake, Elder George Kennedy Chukwuemeka, charged the Stake President to work hard to ensure steady growth of the church in the area.
Also, a member of the church’s 70 Apostles, Elder Edward Dube, urged the new Stake President to continue to set good example by loving his family, Jesus Christ and teach the word of God according to the doctrine of the church and that of Jesus Christ, adding that the love and unity amongst members of the new Stake should rub off on their host communities in order to draw the people closer to the church.
President of Umuahia Nigeria Stake, Elder Samuel Ekpolo, had at a Press Briefing last Friday, attributed the split of Umuahia Nigeria Stake into two to growth of the church in the area.
“The membership of this stake of Zion has over time exceeded its strength. By divine design, in this part of the world, we have at least, 1, 900 members. Over the years, we have exceeded that number and we have reached over 4, 000 members. By this growth, the stake is indeed due to be divided.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is growing and no earthly plan can stop it because it is like a stone falling from the mountain that is rolling down and will continue to prepare men and women for the second coming of Jesus Christ.”
He added that the church belongs to no man, but Jesus Christ, hence the church was named after him.
Explaining why the church is not a member of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ekpolo said: “For obvious reasons, we need not be in the membership of CAN. We are not opposed to CAN, we are not against it, but we will not want to associate in a sort of political organization in a church form. We won’t do that; we won’t do elections.
“We want to disassociate with anything political. We appreciate church denominations which teach the word of God.”
The Umuahia Nigeria Stake President added “We teach the word of God as handed down by Jesus Christ which has been restored, the ordinances and principles are taught as pure as it is, not to please any man.”
He said that the church provides amenities and infrastructure in communities where they exist as part of its social responsibility.