March 2016 - - Newsletter
The Missionary Diocese of CANA East
Be Perfect Therefore
Bishop Julian writes on holy living in the life of the Christian disciple as the season of Lent draws to a close.
In Matthew 5:48 our Lord Jesus Christ says, "
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." These are staggering words! Be perfect - is this possible? Jesus speaks of being perfect, having a single-minded holy passion, being complete. It is a tall order!
Committing to a life of holiness sets us on the path of living a disciplined life which
will bring glory to God
However, there is a sense in which many Christians in our modern world have dropped the
in an attempt to present the
face of Christianity. We have in some ways allowed ourselves to be content with a life of moral mediocrity, with which neither we nor God are in any way pleased. The one lesson about holiness that emerges from the approximately 600 references to it in the Bible, is that holiness is not optional. Holiness is an integral part of the salvation package. Almighty God wants to save us from sin in every aspect. He calls every single Christian to a holy life. Bishop J.C. Ryle wrote, "There can be no conversion without consecration." We are all called to pursue holiness, no exceptions!
The Apostle Paul's experience is important as we consider holiness. He sets it out and records it in his letter to the Philippians, he helps us to get to grips with some important aspects of this vitally important subject of Christian growth, or what is called in theological terms,
In Philippians chapter three, the unmistakable imagery is that of the athletics track, and what stands out is that the life of holiness is a life of untiring effort and discipline.
In verse 12, Paul writes, "I press on." In Greek, I pursue, I persecute. Verse 13, straining toward what is ahead. Verse 14, I press on. Self imposed discipline. A person does not become a winning athlete by listening to lectures or by watching race videos, or by reading manuals (they may do those things) however, they become successful through discipline, training and exertion.
When we consider holiness, there are two equally unsatisfactory wrong Biblical positions.
The first mistake is,
I must do it all. The second mistake is,
God does it all. Paul had struck the true balance earlier in Philippians 2 verses 12 and 13, where he demonstrates that the life of holiness is sometimes called a joint venture.
In Philippians 2:12, 13 he writes, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. We re involved, together with God, in the pursuit of holiness."
Christian author John White puts it well in his book on the Christian life, which he aptly entitles, "The Fight." He writes, "Let there be no misunderstanding. Without God's Spirit within, our efforts are futile. No good thing could spring from our corrupt and sinful hearts, but we've been redeemed and we've been sanctified. We've been set apart for God's use. Let us then agree with God in the matter. Let us assume the whole armor of God and by miraculous strength, declare war on all that is evil within and without."
As the season of Lent draws to a close this year, I encourage each of you to take up your cross daily and follow Christ, pursuing holiness and embracing the call of Christ to be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Bishop Julian Mark Dobbs is the Bishop of CANA East and has oversight of the clergy and congregations in the diocese. In addition, he is the Missionary Bishop of CANA and provides leadership to CANA's ministry throughout North America. He and his wife Brenda have made their home in Northern Virginia since 2006.
To Palm Or Not To Palm - that is the question!
Bishop Dave Bena
Have you ever wondered why we do this Palm Sunday thing? You have to admit that
it's a little weird - people marching around waving palm branches and singing... When I was an Air Force chaplain, I noticed that some of my Christian colleagues neither observed Palm Sunday nor even trusted it as a Christian practice. So why do we as Anglicans observe such a liturgy? I thought you'd never ask.
Could it be as Tevye stated in "Fiddler on the Roof" - TRADITION? Yes, there is some of that. But there's also the fact that we want to glorify God with all our senses and Palm Sunday gives us a chance to do that.
We all know that "Palm Sunday" began in Jerusalem in the Fourth Century, a century of much liturgical innovation. The Christians gathered on the Mount of Olives and replayed that first Triumphal Entry of Jesus the week of his crucifixion and resurrection. They had accounts of it in all four Gospels, and they tried to follow the accounts as closely as possible - throwing palms on the road leading down into Jerusalem (the GREEN Carpet treatment of honoring the arrival of a great leader), someone riding on a donkey (symbol of a great leader coming in peace), and singing the triumphal chant (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord - Hosanna!). This ritual caught on and became a yearly event. Eventually both the Eastern and Western Churches picked up the practice, enacting it in their many churches. It was a universal custom until the Protestant Reformation, when some churches stopped doing it because the bible did not explicitly give them permission to do so. Even the Church of England refrained from Palm Sunday for a while...the 1549 Book of Common Prayer has no "Palm Sunday," preferring to call the day "Sunday Next before Easter."
But the Palm Sunday liturgy eventually prevailed in much of Christendom. Today, it is
common for Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, and many Protestants to celebrate Palm Sunday with a common liturgy - gathering outside the church or in the narthex, blessing the palms and reading the passage of the triumphal entry, the congregation waving palm branches as they process into their pews, the reading of the LONG Passion Gospel lesson, and the Eucharist.
I mentioned at the beginning that we wish to glorify God with all our senses. Palm Sunday is a chance to do that. BUT there is a temptation to make it just another dry and sterile liturgy. That's where prayer comes in. This Sunday, why not actually live into the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and His Passion by praying through it? See it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it all in prayer. See yourself as one of the disciples welcoming the King into His Kingdom and then betraying Him four days later. Catch the excitement of this revolutionary act by Jesus, an act that changed the world as God reached down and accomplished eternal salvation for you and me - the crucifixion and resurrection of His Incarnate Son Jesus Christ!
May God bless you as you pray through Palm Sunday.
The Rt. Rev'd David J. Bena, joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in March 2007 and was received as a bishop of the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion]. Bishop Bena, who retired as Suffrgan Bishop of Albany, has served as CANA's Suffragan Bishop, assisting the Missionary Bishop with leading the growing number of CANA congregations and clergy. Forever a servant, Bishop Bena served as interim rector of St. Margaret's Anglican Chucrh in Woodbridge, Virginia and since 2013 has served as assisting bishop for the Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs in CANA East.
CANA East Synod 2016 - Plan To Attend - Register Now
On April 28, 2016 our diocese, CANA East, will gather for its fourth Synod in Wayne,
Pennsylvania. The word 'Synod' comes from the Greek words which mean 'walking together'.
All the clergy of the diocese, together with the 35 congregations of CANA East will 'come together' for Synod 2016.
Our bishop is encouraging and inviting all members of CANA East to attend Synod together with the clergy and lay representatives from their congregation.
At Synod this year we are honored to have The Most Rev. Dr. Peter Jensen as our keynote speaker. Archbishop Jensen is well known as a global leader among evangelical Anglicans and thinkers. He is an international church leader, theologian, activist, and author. Archbishop Jensen serves as the General Secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Prior to retirement he was the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales.
Archbishop Jensen will also be speaking at the John Jay Institute in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening April 27. His topic is "The Truth Will Set You Free: A Biblical Account of Freedom."
Bishop Julian writes, "I strongly encourage you to come to Synod this year. Having Archbishop Jensen with us is a significant opportunity to listen and learn from one of the foremost leaders in the Anglican Church."
Click here now to register for Synod 2016.
Anglican Forum Podcast NOW LIVE
Just prior to our 2015 Synod, Bishop Julian asked our Canon Theologian Henry Jansma if it would be possible to set further resources like his paper on the Deacon's Mass in a planned dedicated page on the CANA East website. Canon Jansma later gathered a small theology-working group with the strategy to set a series of papers for clergy, church officers, and informed congregational members that will support their ministries and will bring edification to their churches. The first set on the sufficiency of Scripture is nearly complete and will be sent to Bishop Julian for his consideration. The next series of papers will examine the imputation of Christ's righteousness. More papers will follow in due course. A further resource built on this work will be a podcast called
. Now that the first series of papers is completed, beta testing of the podcast is now available at the above link.
A Lenten Letter From Archbishop Beach
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins! His mercy endures forever. Amen.
To the Bishops, Clergy, and People of the Anglican Church in North America:
As we travel our Lenten pilgrimage, repenting of our sins, reconciling with our brothers and sisters, reproducing followers of Jesus, and expressing relentless compassion to those in our communities, I would like to ask you to consider an important project for your community.
I would like to invite you to gather with members of our congregations on the steps of your county court house or city hall, and there pray together for your community, your neighborhoods, your country, and your leaders; asking God to pour out His Spirit to lead them to know and honor Jesus Christ. At a time of your own choosing between now and June 30, and I am asking that you take seriously the admonitions of our Lord and the Apostles in Scripture to pray together that "Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven." Don't make a big splash about it; just go and claim your neighborhoods and communities for the purposes of God in the Name of Jesus.
People all around us are suffering and in crisis. They are hurting and spiritually desolate, suffering from sickness, heartache, and broken relationships; some without employment and hope, living in fear and confusion. We have the ability to help them in Jesus Christ. This begins with our intentional prayers.
In the United States we are in the midst of the election process not just for the new President, but for many judges, governors, senators, mayors, city council members, and representatives. This should be a constant concern of our prayers.
Again, between now and June 30, gather with members of your congregation at the County Courthouse or City Hall, and pray together. Please let me know how it goes.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:16f)
Your brother in Christ,
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America
The Musings Of A New Rector - - The Rev. Caleb Evans
I began as rector at Church of the Holy Trinity, in Syracuse, NY, in early November 2015. Prior to that, during the interview process, I visited Church of the Holy Trinity. My first impression of the congregation was extremely favorable. I discovered quickly that the people of Holy Trinity are extremely warm and welcoming, and that they are deeply committed
to the gospel. I sensed that the Holy Spirit is at work at Church of the Holy Trinity and I felt led to be part of it. That being the case, I accepted the call to be rector when it came.
One of my first priorities as rector was getting to know the members of the congregation. The people of Holy Trinity warmly welcomed our family into the life of the parish, and I set out to arrange visits with every household in the congregation. As I went about these visits, what had already been apparent was confirmed: the people of Holy Trinity have an incredible love for the Lord, a passion for the gospel, and they are abundantly gifted for ministry.
For some time, Holy Trinity had been praying for growth, and especially for more children, in the congregation; the Lord has answered these prayers. In my first few months at Holy Trinity, the Lord gave us unexpected growth, as newcomers visited and became a part of the life of our church. Visitors were warmly welcomed, encountered a community grounded in the gospel, and, having decided to stay, were invited to use their various gifts.
I am now in my fifth month as rector at Church of the Holy Trinity, and I continue to be amazed and delighted by what the Lord is doing in our midst. It is an exciting time of new opportunities at Holy Trinity. As we are growing, ministries are being developed and expanded. We are, for example, in the process of developing structures and a curriculum for children's and youth ministry, as the number of children in our congregation has increased and we have a greater need than ever for intentional children's ministry. Women's ministry is also being expanded in exciting ways, as we are developing new opportunities for study and fellowship for the ladies in the congregation.
In early 2015, Holy Trinity purchased a building, and we have been settling into our new, and permanent, home. While significant renovations have been underway, we have been meeting in the basement of the building, and are nearly ready to move into our new worship space. Having a permanent home has given us a greater ability to reach out to our community. One exciting opportunity we are currently pursuing is a partnership with a ministry dedicated to outreach to the Chinese students at Syracuse University.
|The Rev. Caleb Evans with members of the vestry in the new building
As part of a foundation for outreach, we have been doing a Lenten teaching series that I decided to call "Anglican Faith for the Christian Life." We are exploring what we believe as Anglican Christians, why we believe it, and how we live it out, based on Anglican sources like the Articles of Religion and
To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism. We will build on this foundation as we study apologetics in the coming year, with the intention of preparing ourselves for new outreach and evangelism opportunities.
God is doing amazing things at Holy Trinity, and I am incredibly blessed to be a part of it. As I think on where we have been as a congregation, where we are, and where we are going, I could not be more pleased to serve this extraordinary parish as rector.
The Rev. Caleb S. Evans is rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Syracuse, New York. A congregation of CANA East diocese.
Come to Nigeria, brother!
The Venerable Carl Eyberg
We told Bishop Julian that if 'this happened' and then 'that happened' we would travel to Nigeria to attend the Standing Committee meeting for the Anglican Church of Nigeria. As is His wont, our good Lord spoke and all of those things did happen so Janet and I began arranging The Trip.
Two sayings come to mind: 'you can't get there from here' and 'getting there is half
the fun'. You can get there from here (Springfield, MO to Chicago, IL to Frankfurt, Germany to Abuja, Nigeria) and getting there is not half the fun. It is an arduous trip, but the experience was truly priceless.
We arrived in Abuja on a Saturday and were met by Bishop Marcus Dogo who quickly facilitated our exit from the airport. Thanks to Bishop Marcus, getting through the layers of bureaucracy that is now part of all airports was smooth as silk- smoother than the roads to Kafanchan where Bishop Marcus and his lovely wife, Nana minister. We were welcomed, fed well, and allowed to rest before attending services the next day then touring parts of Kafanchan and meeting many, many people.
The people; amazing, exuberant, faithful people! Nigeria has numerous issues, but its faithful Christians are not part of those issues. We visited the Women's Center construction site which is almost finished (thanks in part to financial assistance from CANA specifically Church of the Holy Spirit-Tulsa). The Women's Center is a 'work of heart' for Nana; the women of Kafanchan (primarily widows) will learn to use sewing machines and make the uniforms for the school children.
We visited several schools and met bright, polite, delightful children of all ages. In
many ways, the students are being challenged academically more than our American students. Yes, there are young people who are not is school and contribute to some of Nigeria's problems much like the United States, but the ones we met will help save the Nigeria of the future.
Registration for the Standing Committee Meeting began Monday afternoon near Abuja so we traveled 'those roads' again. Abuja is the capitol of Nigeria and a 'planned' city with modern highways. (The drivers, however, tend to make their own traffic laws!)
One would hope that we Americans would welcome others as we were as we arrived at the Cathedral for registration; not just as we arrived, but our entire stay. More importantly the Nigerian Anglicans are not ashamed of the Gospel! They are not embarrassed to display their faith for all to see. They have much to teach us. As members of CANA and the Anglican Church of Nigeria we should be openly and boldly proud of this relationship that the Lord has given us.
Would we go back? Not anytime soon, but yes, we would. We would stay longer in order to meet more people and celebrate our common faith. Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Archdeacon Carl and Janet Eyberg serve at St. Thomas' Anglican Church, Springfield, Missouri. Carl is also archdeacon of the mid-west archdeaconry.
Recent Reflections around CANA East
Click on the images below to view reflections of life and ministry around the diocese.
Bishops Visitation and Ministry Schedules
Bishop Julian Dobbs
March 20 Church of the Transformation | Mays Landing, NJ
March 26-27 Easter Sunday | Bishop Seabury | Gales Ferry, CT
April 1-3 Christ Church NYC | New York, NY
April 7-9 Meeting of the Anglican Unity Task Force
April 19 Church of the Pentecost | Harrisburg, PA
April 15-17 St. Thomas | Springfield, MO
April 27-30 CANA East Synod | Wayne, PA
Bishop David Bena
April 9-10 St. George's | Helmetta, NJ
April 25-27 Anglican Chaplains Convocation | Charleston, SC
April 28-30 CANA East Synod | Wayne, PA
May 1 St. Augustine of Canterbury | Leesburg, VA
June 22-24 ACNA College of Bishops | Charleston, SC
July 16-17 St. Brendan's | Tremont, ME
July 23-24 Reformation Anglican | Gray, ME
PRAYER - - can we pray for you?
CANA East believes that Almighty God still answers prayer. If you would like to
send us a prayer request
please click on this link.
Living God, teach us to pray expectantly, and when our prayers seem to fail, bring us to pray again and again; for you are our God, who acts, and will act again. Hear this prayer for Jesus' sake. Amen.