Dear Friends in Christ,
The Worldwide Anglican Communion has asked every Province, Diocese and parish to set aside a Season to focus on Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-making. The Church in the Province of the West Indies has asked our eight Dioceses to set aside Ash Wednesday, 2018, to Advent Sunday, 2019 as our Season. Thus, our Diocesan theme for 2018 and 2019 is "Intentional Discipleship."
This is a call back to the basics, because remember that Christianity began with Jesus calling some men to be His disciples, to travel with Him and to learn from Him. Then He sent them out to make disciples and to nurture those disciples to be the persons that the heavenly Father wanted them to be. Remember also His last command in Matthew 28:18-19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you."
Intentional Discipleship is a call back to the bedrock of the New Testament Church.
As a Diocese let us heed the call of the Anglican Communion and the Province and focus on our first identity, which is being a disciple. I ask you: Where are you in your personal relationship with Jesus? Jesus calls us: What kind of disciple are you?
Our Theme Verse is Galatians 2:20 "and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." To what extent can we say that we are following this direction in our lives?
There are two Theme Prayers to be used for the next two years at every Eucharist, one prayer in alternate months.
The Dioces e has put together a plan of action which involves the upcoming Lenten Mission (Turks and Caico s, Grand Bahama and New Providence Missions) and material for regular bible study. Posters and prayer cards will be distributed. Each Archdeaconry is being asked to plan two events a year based on the Theme. Another feature of the plan will be the monthly Discipleship Eucharist, where the Liturgy of the Word at the mass will be modified into a bible discussion format.
This Theme presents us with an opportunity to grow as an individual, to grow in Christ, and to grow into maturity in Christ. There is a saying that we have in our church culture which is true across the board: "Only what is done for Christ will last!" Let us commit to doing something for Christ in our lives during this Season. I ask you to pray for this journey in Intentional Discipleship and to participate in wholeheartedly.
May all of us experience a Holy Lent and see you at the Turks and Caicos, Grand Bahama, and New Providence Lenten Missions.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev' d. Laish Z. Boyd
BISHOP DIOCESE OF THE BAHAMAS AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS