DALLAS, TEXAS, JULY 14, 2021 — Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA) is pleased to announce the election of the Right Reverend Dr. Eric Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin as the next President of our organization. Bishop Menees brings to the role an impressive resume of leadership experiences and a love for the Catholic tradition in the Anglican Church.
The 2021 FIFNA Assembly was held at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Communion in conjunction with the Anglican Way Institute Conference with representation from throughout the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) including Bishop Keith Ackerman (bishop vicar of the Diocese of Quincy and Assisting Bishop of Fort Worth), Bishop Jack Iker (retired Bishop of Fort Worth), Bishop Eric Menees (Diocese of San Joaquin), Bishop Ray Sutton (Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church) and Bishop Walter Banek (Suffragan Bishop of Mid-America), along with clergy and lay members of various ACNA dioceses such as the Missionary Diocese of All Saints and the Diocese of Western Anglicans.
Bp. Sutton offered the keynote address outlining the recovery of the evangelical and catholic comprehensiveness of the Anglican heritage and identity within the Reformed Episcopal Church. Bp. Sutton developed how the 19th century founding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, George David Cummins, wanted to align his evangelical and low churchmanship with a prominent High Churchman, William Augustus Muhlenberg, as an expression of the larger vision. Bishop Cummins even asked Muhlenberg to be the first Bishop of the REC. However, Muhlenberg’s not being led to join Bishop Cummins, and the untimely, early death of the Presiding Bishop, meant the original vision would take a century to be realized.
During the last quarter of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries, the recovery of the historic 1662/1928 prayerbooks and the Thirty-Nine Articles, ecumenical relationships with one of the leading Continuing Anglican and the Anglican Church of Nigeria jurisdictions, reception of a Catholic Anglican diocese into the REC from the Continuing Anglican Church movement, and participation as a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, all opened the way for the recovery of Bishop Cummins’ original evangelical and catholic together vision.
Bishop Sutton explained that the REC today has not wavered from its historic commitment to the authority of Scripture, the Gospel, the historic Cranmer Prayer Book, the Articles of Religion, and the received tradition of a male-only Holy Orders. This realized perspective of the historic Anglican Way of evangelical and catholic united around the common prayer tradition, combined with a new missional vision to plant 100 new REC missions and churches, has transformed the REC into the fastest-growing traditional prayer book Anglican jurisdiction.
Outgoing FIFNA President Rev. Canon Lawrence Bausch expressed his gratefulness for Bishop Menees willingness to lead the organization. “We have been so very pleased to see faithfulness to the prayerbook tradition as an important goal of the College of Bishops in the ACNA,” said Father Bausch. “It fills our entire council with hope to see clergy and lay leaders embracing the catholic vision of Anglicanism as the faith believed ‘everywhere, always, by all.’”
In his first remarks as FIFNA President, Bishop Menees outlined his goals for introducing FIFNA to more Diocese inside of the ACNA by hosting future events throughout the province. “I’m honored and excited to advance the work of Forward in Faith, which represents decades of standing firm on our common Apostolic witness as Orthodox Anglicans. I believe our catholic and sacramental identity is an essential part of what it means for us to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus.”
Bishop Menees currently serves as the provincial representative for the Anglican Church in North America in its ecumenical conversations with Roman Catholics through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is married to Florence Guadalupe and has two grown children, Milagro a registered nurse, and Sebastian a firefighter.