Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bishop’s Note: May 31, 2018 — Global Anglican Future Conference

 Bishop Eric Menees

June 17-22 of this year, several members of the Diocese of San Joaquin and I will be participating in the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem.

We meet in Jerusalem for its spiritual and historic significance. Bethlehem - just outside of Jerusalem - is, of course, the birthplace of Jesus (Emmanuel; “God with us”) Jerusalem is the place of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection! Jerusalem also holds a special place in the hearts of the GAFCON movement, as it was the location of the very first conference back in 2008, which Bishop Schofield attended and in which he played a significant role. Jerusalem stands as a constant reminder of the birth of the Gospel and of the movement’s determination to remain true to the teachings of our Lord and his Word.

In 2008, over 1,100 delegates from among the laity, deacons, priests, and bishops from around the world attended the first gathering. At the second conference, in Nairobi in 2013, this number grew to over 1,500. And in 2018, the expectation is that the number will be closer to 2,000.

GAFCON launched as a means of uniting Anglicans from around the world in our common faith, as opposed to simply being united under a relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1867, when the bishops of the Anglican Communion first gathered for the Lambeth Conference, the concept that we might not be united by a common faith and practice was so utterly foreign to their way of thinking that it was simply assumed that, if you were Anglican, you were a biblically based Christian living under the authority of God, His Word, and His Church.

Now, 150 years later, that assumption can no longer be made. There are people who call themselves “Anglicans” and who are in relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury, but who deny the uniqueness of Christ for salvation. These people deny the authority of the Holy Scriptures and manipulate the teachings of the church so that - to a vast majority of our brothers and sisters around the world - their being Anglican is in name only, and not in word or deed.

The results born from the first Global Anglican Future Conference have been historic. Anglican Christians from around the world have begun recapturing the command of our Lord to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) A movement of the Spirit has been born, and the most tangible result of GAFCON 2008 was the Jerusalem Declaration.

Over the next several months in the Bishop’s Note and in the San Joaquin Anglican, I’d like to examine the Jerusalem Declaration in depth and explore what the Lord would have us do as Anglican Christians in the Diocese of San Joaquin.

I pray you all every blessing!

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Photograph That Led To A Friendship

Dale Matson

Click On Photograph To Enlarge

Sharon and I were sitting in a new yogurt shop near our home a couple of months ago. We were enjoying the guilty pleasures of frozen yogurt with various and sundry toppings.
Looking around I noticed one wall had several lovely landscape and wildlife photographs which made this shop unique among the many shops we have patronized over the years. The photographs were also interesting to me because those are the two areas that interest me the most as a photographer.
What really got my attention was a photograph of a seasonal stream. I knew that photograph well because I had taken a photo of the same stream in the same location. It is located on the Madera County side of Millerton Lake.
Who would find this location to be a photo opportunity besides me? I was curious. As we got up to leave, I asked the young clerk if she knew who took the photographs. She said, “Oh it’s my grandfather.” Well, he and I already had two things in common being a grandfather myself. I wanted to meet him and chat about photography.
Actually, I didn’t know it at the time but I had already run into him by the historic Millerton Courthouse before a morning boat tour to view eagles on the lake. Neither he nor I were there for the tour that day but the bald eagles tend to stop by the area in the morning to catch coots for breakfast. He had a small camera and lens but told me he used a much bigger lens for wildlife. I had my usual camera and long lens with me.
A couple of months went by and a friend of Sharon alerted her to an excellent Facebook photo of a golden eagle posted by Mike Allred. Sharon’s friend Nadine knew that we were very interested in golden eagles in particular. I have been photographing a nesting pair at Millerton Lake.
 Mike had mentioned on a previous Facebook posting that he had been to the grand opening of a relative’s yogurt shop. Really? Could this be the same person? The golden eagle photo motivated me to meet Mike even more.
Sharon contacted him through Facebook “messenger” and we were able to get his phone number. I called him and arranged a meeting at a local coffee shop.
Mike and I met and shared stories and photos for about an hour and a half. We also shared the super-secret locations of the golden eagles we were photographing as they raised their chicks.
Who would ever have guessed that a photograph on a wall would be a link connecting two individuals with similar interests and lives? Glad it all came to be. Thanks Mike.   

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bishop’s Note: May 24, 2018 – Pentecost

 Bishop Eric Menees

The Sending of the Holy Spirit

When the Lord gave to the disciples power to confer rebirth into the life of God, he said: Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  He promised through his prophets that he would pour out this same Spirit in the last times on his servants and handmaidens so that they would prophesy. And so the Spirit came down on the Son of God, who became the Son of man, and with him became accustomed to dwell in mankind and to abide in God's creation, within men, working the Father's will among them and making their old natures new with the newness of Christ.

Luke says that at Pentecost, after the ascension of the Lord, the Spirit cam down on the disciples with power to grant all nations entry into life, and to open the new testament.  And so in every language they sang a hymn to God in unison; for the Spirit brought the scattered races together into a unity, and offered to the Father the first-fruits of all nations.

Therefore God promised to send us the Holy Spirit to make us fit for God's purposes.  Just as dry flour cannot coalesce into a lump of dough, still less a loaf, without moisture, so too we, being many, could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water which comes from heaven.  And just as dry soil cannot bear fruit unless it receives moisture, so we, who to begin with are dry wood, can never bear the fruit of life unless the rain from heaven falls upon our wills.  For our bodies through the water of baptism have received the unity which leads to freedom from corruption, but our souls have received it through the Spirit.

The Spirit of God came down on the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and devotion, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. He gave the same Spirit again to the Church, sending the Counselor to every nation from heaven, from which the Lord said the devil was cast down like lightning.  Accordingly, we need God's dew, so as not to be burnt up and made unfruitful but rather to have a Counselor when we have an accuser.  For the Lord entrusts to the Holy Spirit the man who had fallen among thieves. Taking pity on him he has bound up his wounds and given two imperial coins, stamped with the image of the Spirit and the inscription of the Father and the Son.  We are to accept them and make the coin entrusted to us bear fruit and multiply for the Lord.

Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202)