Church of Immaculate Conception, Upper Hill
Parish Priest: Revd Fr John Vershima, CSSp
About Church of Immaculate Conception, Upper Hill
The initial efforts to begin a Catholic community at UpperHill, was started by Rev. Fr Dr Nicholas N. Tarbo, when he first mobilized Sir Jude Tyoh, KSJI, Benjamin Akpera, Engr. Julius Agabi, Dennis Akpi and Dennis Ukah to work with him and explore the possibility of securing land to establish a Catholic Church around the International Market area in 2012. A place was shown but upon visit by Fr N.N. Tarbo in company of the then Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Most Rev. William Avenya and Rev. Fr Dr Henry Akaabiam, the place was declared unfit, as the top soil was completely excavated.
When Rev. Fr Oliver Ortese took over as the Parish Priest of St. Joseph's Parish, Akpehe, he continued the process and approached Zaki Nicholas Num Dwem and sought his permission to use his residence to start a Catholic Church. Zaki Num Dwem accepted and on the 22nd September, 2012, the first Mass was celebrated under a tree with thirty four (34) worshippers. The first Church leaders were Benjamin Akpera and Joshua Tarfa Kunde. Engr. Julius Agabi was the Church chairman, Sir Jude Tyoh secretary and Caroline Agabi CWO President. Meanwhile, with the support of the Bishop, Most Rev. Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe, CMF, Rev. Fr Oliver Ortese acquired four plots of land at the cost of Five Million and five hundred thousand Naira (N5,500.000.00) only, as permanent site for the new Church. Members moved to the permanent site on 4th January 2014 and the Church was officially inaugurated on the 23rd December, 2014.
Due to increase in membership, Rev. Fr Oliver Ortese introduced second mass (English) on the 13th November, 2016 and Barr. Emmanuel Kpojime was elected chairman, while Julius Agabi remained Chairman of Tiv Mass laity council with Hon. Damian Cheme as Vice Chairman, coordinating the activities of the two masses.
On March 18, 2017 during the visit of His Lordship Most Rev. Wilfred Anagbe, CMF to St. Joseph's Akpehe for Cathedraticum, he pronounced Rev. Fr Hilary Dachelem, CMF as the first Priest in-Charge of CIC, Upper Hill. When Father Dachelem was later appointed Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bauchi on the 31st May, 2017, Rev. Fr Moses Dzever, CSsp took over as the second Priest in-Charge, but he left after two months and Rev. Fr Emmanuel Adagba, the parish priest of St. Joseph's Parish Akpehe took over the pastoral care of the church until 11th October, 2018, when Rev. Fr John Vershima CSsp took over from him. The parish now has many worshippers including organizations and societies.
Revd Fr John Vershima, C.S.Sp is currently the Priest-in-Charge.