By Isaiah Eka
The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN) has laid foundation stone to erect a Chapel and tourist centre to immortalise late Mary Slessor, the Scottish Presbyterian Missionary, who stopped the killing of twins over 100 years ago.
His Eminence, Dr Udo Ekpenyong, the Prelate Emeritus of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, laid the foundation for the Mary Slessor Chapel and tourist centre on Thursday at Use Ikot Oku in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom.
Ekpenyong said the 200-capacity sitting Chapel was the beginning of a tourism complex, which would house other facilities for all Christians, lovers of God and adherents of the late missionary, popularly known as ‘Mma Slessor’.
He said the building of the chapel which was sponsored by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, was intended to be one of the structures that would immortalise Mma Slessor and her works in the community.
Ekpenyong said the exercise was part of a legacy by the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria to propagate the name of the missionary.
“We are followers of Christ. Our amiable daughter, Dr Glory Edet, the Commissioner for Agriculture, has volunteered to build this Chapel.
“We cannot give her the time limit. She has set time for herself and the resources that would come from it.
“The Chapel would benefit not only the immediate community but the world at large. People would come from far and near to pray and God would hear their prayers as He heard the prayers of Mary Slessor.
“We rejoice as a Church and we thank one of our daughters for coming to our aid. Whosoever comes here to pray, God will answer his or her prayers in Jesus name,” he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Rita Ekanem, a Trustee of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, said the long overdue project was a starting point of good things.
Ekanem said that the Chapel was going to be prayer booth for all Christians.
“This project is very important to the church and community because for a long time, we couldn’t establish our presence here but God’s willing, today is a starting point.
“As we have started, with God being on our side, we know that we will not stop until we complete it.
“This is not the only project we will site here, other projects are coming. By the time we finish this one, other projects will emerge.
“What we intend for this place is to be a prayer booth, that people will come here,’’ she said.
According to her, the life of Mary Slessor was sacrificial, a life of prayer, so we want to sustain her legacies.
“That is why we want to use this place as a prayer booth so that all Christians, not only Presbyterians, will come in here, have a retreat and pray like she did.
“The project is of God. Whenever God starts a good thing, it would be completed to the glory of God,” Ekanem said.
Rev. Umoren Ekpenyong, the Pastor in Charge of Presbyterian Church, Use Ikot Oku Parish, said the project was historic and came at the right time, saying that the Church was foreseeing the place as a village in future.
“It is the vision of the Church that this place be turned to Mary Slessor Village.
“It means we are going to have other infrastructure like a library and accommodation for people who come here to pray or to know more about the place or late Mary Slessor,” he said. (NAN)