Greetings in the name of our risen Lord! This past June 9th,we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost – On this holy day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. How amazing it is to contemplate the birth and life of the Church which remains a constant in the life of the world and will remain so until our Lord comes again. As a bishop in Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church it is the greatest of honors to serve alongside of you, my brothers and sisters in the Diocese of San Joaquin, and alongside my brother bishops in the Anglican Church in North America. In fact, this week I will have the honor of gathering with my fellow bishops in Dallas as we prepare for the Provincial Council & Provincial Assembly meetings soon afterwards.
We in the College of Bishops will be gathering and imploring the Holy Spirit for discernment and wisdom as we select an archbishop for the next five years. As of now it appears Archbishop Foley Beach will be asked to continue his service as archbishop for another five years. In this first five years he has been a truly godly man who has led us faithfully and well. Please pray for me and all the bishops gathering that we may have wisdom and discernment to follow God’s will for the ACNA. Please also continue to pray for Archbishop Beach’s ministry not only in North America but in the wider church.
After the meeting of the College of Bishops the larger church will gather in discernment in the ACNA’s Provincial Assembly to decide on a number of matters concerning the province. Perhaps the most anticipated is the adoption of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer which we’ve been studying in the Bishop’s Note these last few months. This proposed BCP is the fruit of 10 years of work by many clergy and laity around the ACNA including our own Fr. Jonathan Kanary. If you haven’t looked at it yet I encourage you to visithttp://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/where you can see the proposed texts and where copies of the BCP will be available for sale after the Assembly. The proposed BCP does an excellent job of conveying the living faith of those who have gone before us in a way that can be used to share the gospel and spread the kingdom around us.
An important aspect of our common ministry, foundational aspect of our being Anglican, is found in our form of governance. Even before the ACNA was formed a Governance Task Force was formed to look at issues of structure and governance in our church and this year the Governance Task Force is submitting a number of canonical amendments to the Assembly which include:
Title I, Canon 6, Section 9 – Concerning Transfer The canons of the ACNA originally stated that congregations reserved the right to transfer between dioceses as long as they had the permission of the bishops involved. This section is being replaced so that it still says congregations reserve that right with the permission of their bishops, but it also lays out steps by which a congregation can do this.
Title I, Canon 10, Section 2-Concerning Duties of the laity A few slight changes are made to the duties of the laity, emphasizing God’s help in their Christian duty as well as the Christian duty to serve our neighbors and proclaim the Gospel.
Title II, Canon 7- Of Christian Marriage An amendment has been proposed to change the word of Holy Matrimony in this canon from “sacrament” to “commonly called sacrament.”
Canon I.12 - Of Missionary Districts Several amendments have been proposed after recommendation from GAFCON so that missionary districts aren’t established in areas where other GAFCON churches already exist.
Canons III. 3 and III.4 - Ordination Oaths for Deacons and Presbyters, conforming to Ordination Oath of Bishops This canon is amended so that the canons will be consistent with the proposed 2019 Book of Common Prayer’s ordination oaths. It adds sections in the oaths of priests saying they will pay true and canonical obedience to their bishop, and in the oaths of bishops saying they will pay true and canonical obedience to the archbishop.
Canon IV.2 -Of Charges against Bishops, Presbyters, or Deacons An amendment is added to clarify the definition, scope, and use of Godly Admonitions from bishops.
Canon IV.3 - Of Presentments of Presbyters and Deacons Changes have been made so that the Archbishop’s Office will keep a list of all clergy who have been disciplined so that dioceses can refer to it.
The theme of the Provincial Assembly is “Renewing our Call to the Great Commission.” All of the amendments and the new BCP should help us in following the Great Commission, and there will also be a number of speakers at the Assembly speaking to how we as Christians can help in spreading the kingdom. More information about the Assembly can be found athttp://disciple2019.com/.
Placing emphasis on the Great Commission is something we as Christians in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, need to ponder, embrace and take forward into the world. The Great Commission isn’t something for other people or something that we can just trust the institutions of the church to work out, all of us as Christians should be actively involved in serving our neighbors and sharing the Gospel.