(Photo: Sue Careless)
A FORMER CANADIAN priest has been consecrated bishop by the Primate of Nigeria.
On Sept. 25th, the Rev. Canon Dr. Felix Orji was ordained Suffragan Bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh in Lagos, Nigeria.
Felix Orji was born in Abia State, Nigeria, but immigrated to Canada in 1990 to study at Regent College and later Vancouver School of Theology. Bishop Orji was ordained in 1996 in the Anglican Church of Canada. For six years, from 1998-2004, he served as Associate Rector at St. John’s Shaughnessy in Vancouver, then the largest Anglican congregation in Canada. His wife, Lilian, is from Vancouver and they have four children.
In 2004 he left to serve at St Francis on the Hill in El Paso in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. He also served as the President of the Anglican Fellowship of the Southwest from 2005 to 2010. Dr. Orji is a member of the Order of St. Benedict whose focus is prayer, study, work and service.
In 2008, the former St. Francis on the Hill vestry and congregation voted unanimously to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC). Since that time, the 400-member congregation has become affiliated with the worldwide Anglican Communion through CANA. Dr. Orji currently serves as Rector of the new body which is called St. Francis Anglican Church.
Last August they moved into a new facility in El Paso, leaving the original building to the Diocese of the Rio Grande and TEC. The move comes as part of a mutual agreement between the Diocese and the former St. Francis on the Hill congregation to end a three-year legal dispute over the property.
“Our church – wherever it is – is really the people within our Anglican Communion,” said Orji. “It is not the building. We will continue to grow in spirit and numbers as we follow Christ in obedience to his Word.”
Orji has earned four graduate degrees, the most recent from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Now he will assist Bishop Martyn Minns in exercising episcopal care of Anglican parishes in the western United States under the auspices of the Church of Nigeria and CANA. He is also a member of the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.
“I am humbled by God’s gracious calling on my life to serve him as a bishop in his Church, especially in CANA, the Anglican Church in North America, and in the Anglican Communion, in a time such as this,” said Bishop Orji. “It is a glorious privilege to be part of those called by God to lead and oversee the Church’s ministry of worship, teaching, societal engagement and of the proclamation and defense of the faith revealed in Holy Scripture. Pray for me, as well as for my fellow bishops, to be wise, faithful, caring and courageous in our episcopal ministry.” TAP