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). 

 

 
 

Clergy Code of Conduct

CLERGY CODE OF CONDUCT – DIOCESE OF CANA WEST
Bishop Felix Orji, OSB.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

Clergy misconduct (including, without limitation, sexual exploitation, disrespect of the Bishop or disregard for his directives, abuse of authority or power, financial malfeasance, disregard for diocesan canons, etc.) causes many serious problems. The moral failures of church leaders, and especially members of the clergy (who are expected to be trustworthy), also seriously compromises the church’s primary mission to “make disciples.”

In large part, it was the failure of The Episcopal Church to call sin “sin,” and to discipline church leaders who call “evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20), that led to its downfall. This is true for all churches (in all generations) that discount the church’s role to transform secular culture through lives lived according to Godly standards.

The very fact that Holy Scripture singles out bishops, presbyters, and deacons for special treatment with regard to conduct demonstrates that their personal behavior is important to God and to the health of His Church. 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:24-25, 4:2,5; Titus 1:7-9, 2:1,7-8.

For these reasons it is imperative that members of the clergy of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) adhere to the highest of moral standards as they model Godly behavior for the church and witness to an unbelieving world concerning the concept of Biblical holiness.

Therefore, all members of CANA’s clergy are exhorted to pursue integrity in matters of personal character. They should be humble, truthful, and hardworking. They should avoid – and when necessary, report – conflicts of interest, and seek counsel before acting in a manner others might regard as questionable. They should speak the truth in love.

CANA West clergy are to communicate truthfully and sensitively in all matters, demonstrating a commitment to the well-being of the entirety of their congregations, and exercising their influence humbly (and appropriately) as servants of the Lord.

CANA West clergy are to seek purity in their personal lives, avoid sinful sexual behavior, and whenever possible, remove themselves from situations in which they are tempted to sin. They should resist temptation, scrupulously avoid every hint of impropriety, and, similarly, make every provision to protect the children and youth of their parishes. Our clergy should study the Bible regularly, carefully, and prayerfully, and permit it to shape their thinking and world-view. The misconduct of other clergy should be reported promptly to proper authorities.

CANA West clergy are to embrace accountability in matters of finance. They should ensure that church funds are used for their intended ministry purposes only, insist on and adhere to accepted accounting practices, use systems of checks-and-balances, and regularly audit all parish financial accounts.

CANA West clergy are to be fair, consistently encouraging and affirming their staff through team-building, training, evaluations, and the use of mutual feedback. They should build God’s Kingdom through cooperation – not competition – with other local ministries, and should not recruit parishioners from other churches (the harvest is plentiful!).

CANA West clergy are to obey our Lord Jesus Christ in all things (He is Head of the Church!), giving heed to the written Word of God and respecting the authority of the Diocesan Bishop as vowed during their processes of ordination and licensure.

All clergy in the Diocese hold their licenses at the pleasure of the Bishop for the sake of the gospel. Behaviors and attitudes that hinder the work of the gospel or undermine the leadership of the Bishop Ordinary may serve as cause for disciplinary action, and could result in the removal of clergy licenses. +

In Christ,

The Rt. Reverend Dr. Felix C. Orji
Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of CANA West
Church of Nigeria/Anglican Church in North America