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). 

 

 
 

Resolution Concerning Lay Disruption of Parish Worship Services

Diocesan Standing Committee Resolution Concerning Lay Disruption of Parish Worship Services or Other Parish Activities - (March 4, 2018)


WHEREAS, as Christians, we must love all our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors, and especially those members of our church families who, on occasion, may displease, irritate, offend, or otherwise disagree with us;

WHEREAS, as we have stated previously, parish worship services and other activities are places where Jesus is enthroned as King of kings and Lord of lords, where all God’s people are edified through God’s Word and the dominical Sacraments, and where we are challenged to serve one another in humility and fraternal love irrespective of our differences;

WHEREAS, it is an act of idolatry to knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly disrupt the worship of God, the ministry of the gospel, or the exercise of godly Christian fellowship; and

WHEREAS, some members of our diocesan congregations have nevertheless been unable to resist the sinful temptation to engage in disruptive behavior at parish worship services and other parish activities for petty, personal reasons;

BE IT, THEREFORE, RESOLVED by unanimous vote of a quorum of the Standing Committee of the Missionary Diocese of CANA West meeting on March 4, 2018, that …

In the event a lay individual:

Knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly disrupts a parish worship service or other parish activity of any member parish of the Missionary Diocese of CANA West through inappropriate speech, noise, physical behavior, display of signs or banners of any kind, and/or transmission of electronic messaging of any kind;

Knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly participates in any such disruption; or

Otherwise knowingly aids, abets, solicits, or encourages another to engage in such conduct;

… the Standing Committee of the Missionary Diocese of CANA West hereby recommends to the Rector of the diocesan parish where the worship service or other parish activity was disrupted, to the Rector of the parish where the layperson in question is a member (if different from the parish where the worship service or other parish activity was disrupted), and to the Diocesan Bishop:

That the individual(s) in question be excommunicated for period of at least six (6) months;

That the individual(s) in question be prohibited from physical entry into any diocesan church building for a period of at least three (3) months; and

That before re-entry into diocesan church buildings and return to participation in the Holy Eucharist is permitted, the individuals in question, in the sole discretion of the Rector of the diocesan parish where the disruption occurred (and the Rector of the diocesan parish to which the individual(s) in questions belonged, if applicable) must demonstrate significant repentance and amendment of life.


* * * * *