Friday, April 28, 2017

Bishop’s Note: April 27, 2017 – Peace Be With You

Bishop Eric Menees
Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Last Sunday’s gospel lesson from the twentieth chapter of John reported that amazing meeting in the upper room between Jesus and his disciples. “21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’” (John 20:21)

We are reminded in Jesus’ words that Christianity is not a passive faith, but an active faith! Now, where in scripture does Jesus say, “Sit back, relax, take a load off and I will take care of everything?” Jesus does say, “I’m sending you out into a violent world with the message of peace and forgiveness!”

All throughout the first five centuries after the Resurrection, Christians were put to death for refusing to deny their faith. Caesar required everyone to offer a pinch of incense to an idol, give a token amount of money, and say the words, “Caesar is Lord.” For their faithfulness, Christians were executed by the thousands, and yet they didn’t organize a violent revolt. They went willingly to their executions, giving the sign of the cross as a witness to the crowds prior to their execution. This, in large part, is the root for our making the sign of the cross. It was a way of saying to the crowds gathered, “I’m dying for my faith in Christ and not because I’m a thief or a prisoner of war.”

In the present day, Christians are being martyred in even greater numbers than in the first centuries, and still we do not organize violent responses. On Monday in Holy Week we saw that in spades, as Fr. Boules George, of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Egypt, preached a sermon the day after the Palm Sunday terrorists killed 45 people in that church and another. Fr. George entitled his sermon, “Thank You” It is an amazing sermon, and I invite you to read it – it will be posted on the diocesan website before too long. In the meantime, here is the link:

Fr. George captured the essence of Resurrection faith and the Easter Message in this sermon.

This is what Jesus sends us out to do, with a message of love, peace, and mercy.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments

Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.

Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bishop’s Note: April 20, 2017 – Easter Message

Bishop Eric Menees

A very blessed Thursday in Easter Week to you all!

I was blessed to hear Fr. Carlos Raines preach an outstanding homily at the Great Vigil of Easter. In it he quoted the Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom, a Church Father from the end of the fourth century. In this sermon he rightly states that, with Christ’s resurrection, death has lost its sting for all who put their faith in the risen Lord. Here is what St. John Chrysostom had to say…

“Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.”

I pray you all a blessed week! Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion
XXV. Of Sacraments

Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God's good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bishop’s Note: April 13, 2017 – Maundy Thursday

Bishop Eric Menees

A blessed Maundy Thursday to you all!

That term, “Maundy,” is an interesting one. Many assume that the word comes from the word “maudlin” meaning “sentimental.” Actually, the word comes from the Latin “Mandatum Novum” meaning “New Commandment.” This is, of course, a reference to Jesus’ new commandment given in the gospel of John: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)

So, while there is a bit of a maudlin feeling to this evening’s liturgy, rather than a maudlin feeling we should be sharing a sense of awe and reverence as we sit with Jesus and the disciples for the Last Supper.

This is also a time to recommit ourselves to living into the New Commandment that Jesus has given us. My prayer for each member of the Diocese of San Joaquin is that we will demonstrate the very best of Christian love and hospitality in a world that knows so much darkness and pain. Let that love be our siren call that points directly to Jesus!

A very blessed Holy Week and Easter celebration to you all!

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Anglican Diocese Of San Joaquin Mass Of Chrism 2017

Fr. Dale Matson

Our annual Mass Of Chrism for the Diocese was celebrated by The Right Reverend Dr. Eric Vawter Menees, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese Of San Joaquin. It was celebrated at Saint Mary’s Anglican Church in Fresno CA. The mass is a gathering of all the clergy in the diocese and interested lay persons. We give thanks to Fr. Michael Sclafani the rector at St. Mary’s and his parishioners who hosted the event.

Bishop Menees preached, celebrated and blessed the oils to be used by the priests for the coming year. Following the dismissal, we had a fellowship meal and Bishop Menees made announcements, offered prayer and entertained questions.

Thanks be to God.

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

 The Gospel Is Read By The Deacon Of The Mass
 The Preaching By Bishop Menees

 The Great Thanksgiving

 The Distribution

 The Blessing Of The Oils
 The Blessing Of The Assembly

 Bishop Menees With The Deacons And Priests
Fellowship Meal

Photos by Father Dale Matson

Bishop’s Note: April 6, 2017 – Did Lazarus Die Again?

Bishop Eric Menees

Last Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Lent, I had the pleasure of worshiping with my family since I was traveling later that morning and so did not schedule a pastoral visit. You’ll remember that the gospel lesson was taken from John chapter 11 and is the telling of the raising of Lazarus.

This is a powerful passage in which Jesus is honored and God is glorified, bringing Lazarus back to life after having died four days before. Fr. Sclafani preached a fine sermon on God being glorified in this miracle, but my son was left with one question: “Dad I get that God was glorified – but what about Lazarus, did he have to die again?”

The answer to that question is yes – Lazarus did die again. Sebastian remarked that poor Lazarus had to die twice, but I said that I look at it as though he had a foretaste of heaven that few prior to him had ever experienced. Because he knew Jesus and had experienced his mercy, power, and grace, he knew what was waiting for him after death. This lead to a wonderful discussion on the way home and through lunch about life and death, and what awaits us after we take our final breath on earth.

Of course, we in the church are blessed that, like Lazarus, we too are allowed a foretaste of heaven and the blessing of experiencing Jesus’ mercy, power, and grace! We celebrate this every Sunday when we gather around the Lord’s Table to hear the word of God faithfully preached and to receive the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, faithfully administered.

What a joy, what an honor, what a privilege we have to hear the biblical recounting of Jesus’ sacrifice for us: his mercy in forgiving us; his power in his triumph over death; his grace infused through the Holy Spirit into our lives. As God’s adopted sons and daughters, we are granted a foretaste of the heavenly banquet and the promise of eternal life with Jesus. I praise God for extending the invitation to us, through his son, to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

All of this has been brought home to me this evening as I prepare to fly east toward Dallas. Reading the Evening Office, I was struck once again by the Sunday Collect for Hope…

Lord God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ triumphed over the powers of death and prepared for us our place in the new Jerusalem: Grant that we, who have this day given thanks for his resurrection, may praise you in that City of which he is the light, and where he lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

I pray you all a truly blessed Lent as we prepare not only for our eventual resurrection with Jesus Christ, but our daily life in and with him!

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion
XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation.

It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.