A MESSAGE FROM BISHOP FELIX ORJI - August 24th, 2017

Trinity Season
August 24, 2017


Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Last week we had the privilege of welcoming our Primate, the Most Rev'd Dr.  Nicholas Okoh, the Registrar,  and ten other Bishops and Archbishops from the Church of Nigeria to our Diocese. On behalf you all, I want to thank the Rector, clergy, and congregation of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Rowlett, Texas for their warm reception, their gracious hospitality, and the successful arrangements they made to ensure our safety and transportation for four days in Dallas. It was a Herculean task that was expertly executed to the glory of God and our peace of mind.

During his visit, Archbishop Okoh was very pleased to see the racial and ethnic diversity in our Diocese and rejoiced in the fact that the Church of Nigeria has played and continues to play a significant role in maintaining the undiluted truth of the gospel in the USA and Canada. He  reminded us of the need to uphold godly discipline amongst clergy and the congregations in CANA and to stay focused on our mission of making disciples of Christ and planting Churches. He underlined the necessity of upholding biblical orthodoxy in our faith and practice as we participate in GAFCON. Furthermore, Archbishop Okoh reiterated the need for us to avoid getting distracted by petty ecclesial matters in our conservative circles or getting sidetracked by Liberal elements in the Anglican Communion whose goal is stop us or hamper us from the worship of God and the work of the gospel. We must keep our sights on the target. The Chancellor, Christopher Milner and the Rector, Canon Barry Montgomery, on behalf Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church thanked the Primate and the Church of Nigeria for their "rescue operation" from TEC and their continuing presence to enable our faithfulness in Christ.

FINANCIAL GIVING TO THE DIOCESE
The Synod of the Diocese resolved at our Diocesan Synod in 2014 that each congregation in the Diocese must contribute 10% of its monthly income to the Diocese. We are pleased that some parishes are responding positively in obedience to God. Those of you who are not, this is a reminder. God bless you as you give joyfully from your hearts.

DIOCESAN MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
I have asked our Archdeacon for Church Planting, Venerable Scott Seely to direct our Diocesan Newsletter ministry. Please send him information that you would like to share with the Diocese in time for it to be published on the first day of every month. You can reach Venerable Seely at (830) 491-2501 or at scottaseely@gmail.com


MISSIONARY DIOCESE OF CANA WEST POLICY CONCERNING CLERGY COURTSHIP AND CASUAL DATING RELATIONSHIPS
 
(August 6, 2017)
 
Purpose
 
Members of the clergy and all other church professionals in the Missionary Diocese of CANA West work within a covenant framework of sacred trust characterized by great authorityand even greater responsibility. There is high expectation that all clergy relationships withstaff members and parishioners will be characterized by godliness, trust, and mutual respect.
 
In times past, the church was a preferred localefor single members of the clergy to find – and to court – a suitable spouse. In today’s rapidly-evolving society, however, clergy courtship (or casual dating) activity within the confines of a local church creates an unacceptable risk ofethical conflict arising from clergy acting in the dual roles of pastor and suitor.
 
To protect all of its diocesan clergy, staffmembers, and parishioners in the aforementioned types of situations, the Missionary Diocese of CANA West hereby adopts the following Policy Concerning Clergy Courtship and Casual Dating Relationships.
 
Policy
 
A. COURTSHIP
 
When a member of the diocesan clergy wishes to engage in a courtship relationship (that is, a relationship pursued in good faith hope that a marriage will ensue) with a member of the staff or parish where he is employed (or serves in a volunteer capacity)…
 
1. The clergyperson in question must immediately disclose his intention to the rector of said parish and to the diocesan bishop (or, if the clergyperson in question is the rector, his disclosure need only be made to the diocesan bishop);
 
2. The female member of the staff or parish, as the case may be, who the clergyperson in question intends to court will be asked to write a letter to the diocesan bishop acknowledging her understanding of and assent to the relationship;
 
3. One of the two individuals in question must leave said parish prior to and during the entire pendency of the courtship relationship; and
 
4. The courtship relationship must be characterized by sexual purity and godliness.
 
If the courtship results in a marriage, the individual who left the parish (pursuant to part A.3. of this policy) may return to that parish.
 
B. CASUAL DATING
 
Given the inherent danger that impropriety, real or perceived, will be attributed to any dual-role relationship, diocesan clergy may not, under any circumstances, engage in casual dating relationships (that is, relationships of attraction or intimacy without the guiding good faith hope of marriage) with members of the staff or parish where they are employed (or serve in a volunteer capacity).
 
Commentary
 
Violation of any part of this policy constitutes a basis for the imposition of discipline, and could result in the suspension of ministerial licensure.
 

 
INVESTITURE OF KNIGHTS OF ST. CHRISTOPHER
This weekend, God enabling, I will be visiting Igbo Anglican Church in Irvington, New Jersey, to do confirmations, admit women to the Women's Guild and Mothers Union, and to make a few good and godly men and their wives Knights/Ladies of St. Christopher. For those of you who may not know, the role of Knights of St. Christopher is to support the Bishop and the Diocese by being godly examples, by praying for and encouraging the Bishop, by using their skills/abilities for the progress of the diocese, and by giving financially to the ministry and mission of the Diocese. Knights are accountable to the Bishop of the Diocese under God.
Like their fellow Knights they will be taking the following vows/oaths:

CHURCH OF NIGERIA (Anglican Communion)
MISSIONARY DIOCESE OF CANA WEST (USA/Canada)

INVESTITURE OATHS:        
 
I, now to be made a Knight of St. Christopher/Dame do so affirm and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the Catholic Creeds. I promise to bear witness to the faith of Jesus Christ, be diligent in prayer, bible reading, living a life of holiness, defending the gospel, and supporting the ministry of our Bishop and Diocese.


THE DECLARATION OF SUBMISSION TO SYNOD
I do also declare that I consent to be bound by the regulations of the Diocesan and Provincial Canons and Constitution which have been made, or which may hereafter be made by the Diocesan and Provincial Synod or may otherwise have lawful effect in the Diocese or Province (Church of Nigeria).


THE OATHS OF OBEDIENCE TO THE BISHOP AND HIS SUBSIDIARIES
(The Knight/Dame holding the Bible in uplifted right hand will say)

I do swear by Almighty God that I promise to obey the Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of CANA West and to his subsidiaries in all things lawful and honest. And I hereby undertake to accept and immediately submit to any sentence depriving me of any or all the rights and emoluments appertaining to the order of Knighthood which may at any time be passed upon me after due examination by the Bishop acting under the Policies, Canons & Constitution of the Diocese of CANA West

I agree to exercise the said office of a Knight/Dame so long as may be required of me by the Bishop of the Diocese and his successors. So help me God. Amen. (The Knights touch their forehead with the Bible)
      
THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE TO GOD

I confess before God and His Church that I am not currently a member of a secret cult. I also vow that I will never join any secret cult; that I owe allegiance to no other but to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that my loyalty to Him will always be absolute, total and undivided. If I go back on this oath and vow, I put myself under the wrath of God, in the Name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.
                              

Please pray for them to take their vows seriously. The Lord has blessed our diocese with some very good knights. We thank God for them. Sadly, there a few Knights who made vows before God who are not keeping those vows perhaps because all they wanted was a title hence probably never really had any intentions of keeping them. I shall be taking those titles away from them soon because we must uphold discipline in the Church of God. I am grateful to the Knights who have maintained their vows, their integrity and their faithfulness. I am hopeful that these new knights will join the ranks of the faithful ones.

Finally, I commend you all, my brothers and sisters, for your commitment to gospel ministry in our Diocese especially those of you for whom this entails much suffering and hardship. Be of good courage as you look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our Faith. He will never disappoint or abandon you.

May the Lord richly bless us as we follow him with sincerity and godliness. Amen.


Warm regards,

The Rt. Rev'd Dr. Felix Orji, OSB ✠
Bishop | Anglican Diocese of CANA West
Anglican Cathedral Church of St. Francis
470 Eagle Drive
El Paso, Texas, 79912
915-204-7509
www.dioceseofthewest.org
www.stfrancisanglicanchurch.org