St. Matthias Church in Oakdale is welcoming a change in leadership from both a new Deacon-in-Charge and a new Diocesan Bishop. The Right Reverend Dr. Eric Menees, Diocesan Bishop of the more than 40 parishes in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, was installed on Oct. 22. His first parish visit as Diocesan Bishop was to St. Matthias in Oakdale.
Rev. John Roberts, Deacon-in-Charge at St. Matthias, explained that diocesan bishops normally visit a different church in their diocese every Sunday. Menees was installed in Fresno on Saturday, but he chose Oakdale for his first Sunday visit out of more than 40 parishes in the diocese.
Menees visited St. Matthias for both the 8:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. services. He took time after each service to do a question and answer session with congregants to get to know them a little better.
“All around it was a wonderful day of worship and community,” Roberts said.
Menees is the first new Diocesan Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin in 22 years. He is replacing John-David Schofield, who is retiring. Menees currently serves as the Rector of the Anglican Church of the Resurrection in San Marcos. He received a Doctoral degree in ministry from Seabury Western. He is married and has two children.
Menees is not the only new figure at St. Matthias. The church welcomed Rev. John Roberts on July 1 as a Deacon-in-Charge. Roberts and his wife Amanda moved to Oakdale from Toronto, Canada, where Roberts finished seminary at Wycliffe College.
John and Amanda Roberts are originally from Huntsville Alabama, where they met as high school sweethearts. They have lived previously in Pasadena but are relatively new to Northern California. Between moving, taking over services at St. Matthias, and getting settled in they have found time to visit a few local attractions. John and Amanda are still exploring their new community and meeting new people every day.
“Oakdale is great. We’ve found it to be a very warm and welcoming community. It wasn’t at all what we were expecting when we heard ‘Northern California,’ but we are enjoying it. And the community shares a lot of similarities with Huntsville,” John Roberts said.
As a new minister, Roberts was installed at St. Matthias as a Deacon-in-Charge. He performs all of the sermons and worship services except for a few ceremonies. He will be ordained to the priesthood at a ceremony in December. Roberts said that he is enjoying the experience of being the new minister of an established and historic church. St. Matthias has a long history in the community of Oakdale and is one of the town’s oldest churches.
Roberts invited anyone and everyone to any Sunday service at St. Matthias. The church is located at the corner of F and First in downtown Oakdale. Roberts said that he enjoys meeting members of the community.
“Come check us out,” Roberts said.