Bishop Eric Menees
O Almighty God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This week I am deeply honored to be with my brother bishops of the Anglican Church in North America at the Monastery of St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The College of Bishops met for two and half days of prayer and conversation seeking to discern God's will for us as a church and to determine whom He would have as our next Archbishop. We are a diverse group of 51 members, with both active and retired bishops present. We come from the four corners of the Anglican Communion and the four corners of North America. We speak different languages and have different skin colors. How precious it is, then, that we are so united in our faith and our goals. This is not to say that we do not have differences of thought and opinion that are very important. However, we are united as a body because we share the same foundation as a church - the teaching of Jesus Christ, his apostles, and the prophets.
Because we share a common understanding of, and submission to, who Jesus Christ is - namely, the Only Begotten Son of God who, "...was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again, He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead….," - we are united as a Church and Province.
This year with the rolling out of the new catechism, To Be A Christian, we have demonstrated our belief and understanding that it is not enough to be united under a common liturgy or worship practice on Sunday Morning. We are not united on a common experience alone, but a common understanding of what that experience means in our lives.
I pray that this collect will resonate with each member of the Diocese of San Joaquin. I pray that we will seek God's grace and strength to open ourselves up to studying the doctrines of Holy Scriptures and the doctrines of the Church. I pray that each member of the diocese will seriously undertake a study of the catechism alone and with friends and then, most importantly, teach it to others.
It is when we are actively making disciples that we are most authentically the church and are fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ: "Go into all the world making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…."
Note: This is a note to the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin from Bishop Menees and is posted here with his permission for a broader readership. Dale+