Bishop Bena Dec. 2018

CLEANING OUT MY DESK  by Bishop David Bena

Some of you remember leaving your office for the last time either to retire or to move to a new job. They called it "cleaning out your desk." As you went through the desk, you found things placed there in Ought Seven. As you went through your files, you found the Annual Report you forgot to submit in 2012. As you took the "I love me" plaques and pictures off the wall, you remembered occasions and awards long forgotten. Then you threw everything in boxes (or had people do that for you), stored them in your garage or basement, and wiped your hands of the whole thing.

It's often not the same these days. As I step down from functioning as your Assisting Bishop for CANA East, I don't have a desk to clean out. My office is in my home and I plan to continue using it. My files are on a computer and are easily transferred. Since I don't have an"I love me" wall, I don't need to fuss with any of that. I've always enjoyed traveling light, so I don't have a lot of memorabilia to deal with.

Basically, I will wake up "retired" on my 75th birthday, say my prayers, read the Scriptures and start the day. Some things will change. I won't be visiting parishes anymore. I won't be on a million conference calls each week. I won't be stewing about how St. Smithin's Parish can be more effective or how to help people get along better. I won't be attending the meetings of the Bishops of ACNA. I will have stepped down from various advisory boards and committees. 

But some things will not change. I will continue to pray for you all everyday. I will pray for the growth and Christ likeness of CANA East. I will maintain an interest in how things are going for all of you. I will answer your communication should you need a brother's hand from time to time. And I will still be in weekly or daily phone, text, and email contact with Bishop Julian. 

I want you to know how wonderful it has been serving as one of your bishops. You are a most gracious diocese, and have always given me respect beyond what I deserve. I have enjoyed serving one of the best bishops in the history of the world, Bishop Julian Dobbs. Please be assured of my prayers for all of you.

For the next few months, I will be concentrating on my health. The mitral valve went well. A pacemaker was inserted. After major surgery, there are many things to do and not do. The cardiologist says that in a couple months I'll be good as new. So that's my prayer. Please pray for me. My heart still has to agree in all its chambers to settle on a good rhythm - They call it a-flutter. And I am briskly walking three or four miles a day except for Sundays, slowly building up enough strength to beat Bishop Julian in a Marathon.

As your former Assisting Bishop, I may not see you as often as before or maybe I won't see you again till we are joined in the Heavenly Banquet Feast. But there is no "Good bye, farewell, Auf weiderseign."

Bishop of myra

Bishop Nicholas of Myra visits Holy Trinity Syracuse, NY

On Saturday, December 8th, Church of the Holy Trinity, Syracuse hosted its first Feast of St. Nicholas, an event for children attending or connected to the parish. During the three hour event, children colored, played a game called “Do you want to build a snowman?”, sang carols, and constructed Christmas decorations for their home trees. We read the book “Santa, Are You for Real?” by Harold Myra which explored the historic account of Bishop Nicholas of Myra and his love for Jesus. St. Nicholas himself made an appearance in person (fully vested) and distributed gift bundles that included a candy cane, an orange, a cross necklace, and a figurine of the infant Christ in the manger. Somehow, while he made his appearance, the children’s shoes that had been left in the entryway, were filled with gold, chocolate coins.

What was initially conceived as a fellowship event for the 9 children that regularly attend our Sunday School classes quickly transformed to an outreach event. 28 children and 19 adults filled our undercroft and participated in the festivities. Please pray that the new friendships made will turn into lasting relationships built upon the foundation of Christ.

The parish did not expend a lot of organized effort in promoting the event. We ran a limited promotion on the church Facebook page that garnered a fair amount of attention. It is my belief though, that it was our membership speaking with those interested in the event that led to one of our highest attended outreach efforts. We also emphasized the free nature of the event. Our vestry voted to fully fund the event and our junior warden, Barbara Martin, worked tirelessly organizing the kitchen and staff to make sure that we could offer a lunch to the children at no cost to them.

There was at least one child there to whom, as I understand, this event was likely the closest thing he would have to a Christmas this year. Trinity’s commitment to put on this event meant this child saw and experienced Christian love in the middle of a difficult life. I pray that we can continue to see this child and disciple him, and that many of the new faces we saw become weekly participants in worship and members of our parish. 

A flyer was developed with all of the church events for the upcoming month and the correct times with a brief explanation of all of our Christian education programs. This was sent home with parents so that they would have something to reference when deciding to accept our invitation to return.

We are so thankful to God for blessing us with this well attended event, and He is the one who deserves all the credit for its success. Praise Him!

In Christ,

Rev. Deacon Marc Steele