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). 

 

 
 

POLICY CONCERNING CLERGY COURTSHIP AND CASUAL DATING RELATIONSHIPS

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.