On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America seated two bishops and consented to the election of two bishops-elect. The College officially received the Rt. Rev. Felix Orji and the Rt. Rev. Scott Seely into the College of Bishops after they were recently released to the ACNA by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). At the same meeting, the College consented to the elections of the Rev. Chris Warner and the Rev. Canon William A. Jenkins, Sr. as bishops for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (REC), respectively.
The Rt. Rev. Felix Orji served as rector of St. Francis on the Hill in El Paso from 2008 to August 2015. In September 2011, he was consecrated bishop by the Anglican Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Orji and his wife, Lilian, have four children.
Orji expressed his joy over his reception into the College saying, “It’s been a pleasure to come back to the ACNA. I’m grateful to Archbishop Foley Beach and the College of Bishops for warmly welcoming me back. This is where the Lord has brought us and wants us to be, to be part of building and contributing to the well-being of this Province.”
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Scott Seely is bishop suffragan under Orji and rector of Three Streams Anglican Church in San Antonio, Texas. He and his wife have three children.
Seely expressed that he is “relieved, joyful, thankful, and hopeful.” He added, “I’m ready to get refocused on mission and ministry.”
During the College of Bishops meeting, Archbishop Beach commented: “It is with thankfulness to the Lord that I can share that these men are back in the Anglican Church in North America, and I am looking forward to watching the Lord use them in a mighty way for His purposes in North America.”
The Rev. Chris Warner was elected on October 15, 2022 during an electing synod of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (DOMA) to be the successor to Bishop John Guernsey who is set to retire in February 2023. Bishop-elect Warner is scheduled to be consecrated on Saturday, February 18, 2023, at The Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church, Virginia.
Warner is formerly the rector of the Church of the Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island/Daniel Island, South Carolina. Prior to serving as Rector at Church of the Holy Cross, he served as associate rector there. He also served as rector at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center in South Carolina and as curate at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, Georgia. He married Catherine in 1993, and they have three adult children ages 27, 24, and 23.
After he received the news of the consent from the College of Bishops, Warner reflected: “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. It is an honor to be joining the College of Bishops; I look forward to serving the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, and I’m excited about the future.” When asked about how he will fill the big shoes of retiring Bishop John Guernsey, Warner responded, “I’m going to try and wear my own shoes because it will be too difficult to fill his. I’m glad he will be around for a while to ease in the transition. I’m coming from outside the diocese, so I need to get to know the staff and clergy throughout in a familial way.”
The Rev. Canon William A. Jenkins, Sr. was elected on November 3rd, 2022 to be Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (REC).
Jenkins has served as the Canon to the Ordinary of the diocese for the last 8 years and as rector of Faith R.E. Church in Baltimore, Maryland for the last 31 years. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1983 and the presbyterate in 1985, moving from the Evangelical Methodist Church to the Reformed Episcopal Church in 1990 as his appreciation of Anglicanism strengthened.
Jenkins and his wife, Kimberley, have been married for 40 years and have six grown children, 14 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, in addition to 5 foster children.
Jenkins was amazed after the consent saying, “Thanks be to God! I would not have envisioned ten years ago that I would be in this position. I am looking to the grace of God to sustain and lead me because of the new weight now being in charge of not only a parish, but two dozen plus!” Much credit throughout this process was given by Jenkins to his close friend and the recently consecrated bishop, Willie Hill: “As my chaplain, the way I feel about him is the way Frodo felt about Sam in Lord of the Rings, there’s no one I would rather have beside me throughout this journey.” He was clear that for himself and the church, we should not stay comfortable where we are right now: “Our currency is souls — to draw the wandering and lost to Christ, to strengthen those who are fainting, and to preach the good news—this is the work we must get on with and what we are called to do.”
The consecration for Bishop-elect Jenkins is being planned for the end of May in Baltimore, Maryland.
The College of Bishops met in the consecrated space of Prince of Peace Anglican Church in Melbourne, Florida. Archbishop Foley Beach said, “The Anglican Church in North America is about reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, and I believe these men will help lead their dioceses and the ACNA in this mission. It is my pleasure, and that of the College of Bishops, to welcome them into the College.”