March 18, 2020

 

An Urgent Directive to the Clergy and Congregations of the Anglican Diocese of the West:

Mandatory Suspension of Church Gatherings

-- From: The Rt Rev’d Dr Felix Orji, OSB ECCK

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7

 

Dear Friends,

 

Effective immediately, I am directing all parishes within our Diocese to suspend all church-related public gatherings for the next two weeks.  This includes all church services and social gatherings related to your church and congregations. If for some reason you feel you must continue to gather for worship, the Rector must inform me in writing and include the consent of the Vestry of the parish. Be aware that your decisions and actions may have legal implications for the church if mishandled. 

 

Please note this directive is for the next two weeks or more, depending on your local authorities, city ordinance, or state. This is a critical period in curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus as stated recently by the Centers for Disease Control. I will alert you of future changes to this directive.

 

This action will demand a significant sacrifice for all of us. However, we must act now in the best interest of the common good so that our ministry and mission are not hindered in the future.  

 

I recommend the following actions to keep our congregations connected and engaged with the Church:  use your Internet and Social Media directors to set up a Live Stream every Sunday to allow parishioners to virtually attend services.  This can be done via your Church’s Facebook page or Instagram account.  You might also consider using another phone or digital camcorder to video your services and uploading those videos to your Church’s YouTube page for viewing at any time.

God will guide us in how to take advantage of digital applications to ensure that our congregations receive His word, pastoral care, and fellowship. 

 

The financial viability of parishes and our diocese is a legitimate concern for many clergy and vestries, so I strongly urge you to continue to give to your churches during this time.  

 

As we look unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our Faith, I ask each of you to do whatever it takes within the bounds of faith and reason to support and encourage one another, especially the elderly and the vulnerable within and outside the church. He remains sovereign over us and our present circumstances. He is with us and will see us through. 

 

Let us continue steadfastly in prayer, trusting the Lord for his gracious and powerful intervention in protecting us, healing the sick, and glorifying his name in this time of crises. 

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9 

 

Yours in Christ,

 

The Right Reverend Dr Felix Orji, OSB. 

Diocesan Bishop | Anglican Diocese of the West

Missionary Bishop | USA & Canada

Church of Nigeria(Anglican Communion). 

 

 
 

ANGLICANISM: REFORMED & CATHOLIC

I am sure you have heard several times that Anglicanism is both Reformed and Catholic and you have wondered what that might mean and entail. Here is what it means. 

First, we are Reformed  – that is, we stand in the tradition of the Reformers, unashamed to follow the paths of Biblical Reformed doctrine.

• As Christian believers in the Anglican tradition borne out of the Reformation, we stand in the tradition of the Anglican Reformers of the 16th Century affirming, with them, the great truths which were rediscovered at the time of the Reformation, such as the sovereignty of God in salvation, justification by faith alone, and salvation in Christ alone.

• We rejoice in the doctrines of grace. All Christians from any denomination are warmly welcome. We unite in Christ and not under any one denominational banner. We are unashamed to be committed to the paths of Biblical Christian Reformed/evangelical doctrine. Within Reformational Anglicanism, we affirm the Biblical revelation of God; our fallen human condition; our need for God to save us from this position; that Jesus Christ is Lord; that He, alone, is the Way, the Truth and the Life; that no-one comes to the Father except though Him.

• We are always reforming in light of Scripture, which is the Word of God and which contains all things necessary for salvation and godly living.  We subscribe to The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and affirm the Biblical teachings set forth in The Westminster Confession and The Heidelberg Catechism as containing the true doctrine of the Church in agreement with God’s Word which, in summary form, guard the Gospel message about God, man, sin, grace, salvation, repentance and faith, the Church, and the Sacraments.

• We uphold the orthodox Christian creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian) and The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662 with the attached Ordinal and accompanying Homilies.

• We are Reformed/evangelical, which means that we are committed to God’s Word. What we believe and teach is governed by our understanding of the Bible. What God says in Scripture shapes our church life, sets our agenda, and drives our priorities. We aim, therefore to help everyone understand what the Bible says.

Second, we are Catholic (not Roman Catholic) – that is, we are connected with and are part of the Body of Christ everywhere and at all times past, present and future; and that Christ is universally present in His church with an eternal mandate to evangelize the whole world. Our Catholicity implies that our theology, liturgy, and practice of ministry date back to the first century, developed in the Patristic era, clarified in the Reformation era, and continues to be clarified through and in the consensus fideli by the Holy Spirit and always under the authority of the Word of God. Our Catholicity explains the fact that some of our traditions date back to practices before the Reformation era and are maintained so long as they are not repugnant and/or contrary to Holy Scripture. Finally, our Catholicity requires that all possible care be taken to hold on to that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all. This is in conformity with the oft-quoted “Vincentian Canon”: “Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est,” which translates as “That Faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. 

www.stfrancisanglicanchurch. org
Warm regards, 
 
The Rt. Rev'd Dr. Felix Orji, OSB  
Bishop | Anglican Diocese of CANA West
Anglican Cathedral Church of St. Francis

"The Church is reformed and always in need of being reformed according to the Word of God."  Jodocus van Lodenstein