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ACNA College of Bishops Nix WO and Women Bishops * TEC Graphs show more Deaths than Baptisms or Confirmations * South Carolina Mediation? * Global South Primates Meet in Cairo * Four Continuing Churches to Sign Agreement * Caribbean Apb Seeks Funds

The Episcopal Church reflects a natural attrition where more Episcopalians are being buried than baptized and confirmed --- Mary Ann Mueller

Service and suffering. The place of suffering in service and of passion in mission is hardly ever taught today. But the greatest single secret of evangelistic or missionary effectiveness is the willingness to suffer and die. It may be a death to popularity (by faithfully preaching the unpopular biblical gospel), or to pride (by the use of modest methods in reliance on the Holy Spirit), or to racial and national prejudice (by identification with another culture), or to material comfort (by adopting a simpler lifestyle). But the servant must suffer if he is to bring light to the nations, and the seed must die if it is to multiply. --- John R.W. Stott

"The Church is supposed to be a hospital for Sinners, not a hotel for saints." Even though we all probably agree with that concept, the reality is that for those of us who grew up in "Christendom", the church being a hotel for Saints actually worked just fine. Now, in these "Missional" times, we have to shift to actually being a hospital for Sinners. We don't know how to set up surgical wings and long-term rehabilitation centers to help people become mature followers of Christ. We just didn't have to before. --- Mark Eldredge

"We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." --- George Orwell

"You can't just tell kids, 'Behave! Because I told you so!' ... Without a big spiritual narrative, some larger worldview, you have nothing to hang moral behavior on." --- Terry Mattingly quoting Phil Vischer

Because children ARE the next generation, it is imperative that this generation looks after them very carefully indeed. And nothing has ever matched heterosexual marriage in securing that vitally important end. --- Bill Muehlenberg

"Gay theology" is not just a threat to the integrity of the Church, it is a diabolical trap designed to ensnare same-sex attracted believers in a soul-binding heresy. --- Pastor Scot Lively

Evangelism and social action. If pressed ... *if one has to choose*, eternal salvation is more important than temporal welfare. This seems to be indisputable. But I want immediately to add that one should not normally have to choose. As William Temple put it, 'if we have to choose between making men Christian and making the social order more Christian, we must make the former. But there is no such antithesis'. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
Sept. 15, 2017

HURRICANES. Despite the precariousness of America as it grapples with the Culture Wars and the possibility of Civil War breaking out, Americans come together when tragedy strikes.

This was most visibly seen in Houston and Florida this week when thousands of first responders, FEMA, local police, Red Cross, the Salvation Army, churches of all stripes, even something calling itself the Cajun Navy brought boats to help flood-ravaged Houston. The media performed remarkably well, risking life and limb to stand on roads and in harm's way to bring us the latest on Hurricane Harvey and Irma. It was no small feat.

This is America at its finest. I have seen this on the few occasions I have witnessed road side accidents with overturned cars and people lying, bleeding on the side of the road. People stop, they get out of their cars and they help and comfort total strangers. Police and ambulances are called, the helpers step aside as the professionals move in and life goes on.

Of course, it won't stay that way, but for one brief shining moment Americans showed who they are and what they could do in a time of crisis.

Every huge disaster is followed by a huge fund-raising drive, especially in the United States. But who gives all this money? It turns out that the median donation is between US$50 and $100. Celebrities give, companies give, foundations give. But millions of little guys give, too. Almost half of Americans gave money for disaster relief after Katrina and almost three-quarters donated after 9/11. We tend to complain about self-centeredness and egotism in our culture. There's truth in that negative vision, but it clearly is not the whole truth.

As New York Times columnist David Brooks put it, "Floods are invitations to recreate the world. That only happens successfully when strong individuals are willing to yoke themselves to collective institutions."

What better institution than the Christian Church.

*****

CARIBBEAN AND ARUBA

The Bishop of the Diocese of the Northeastern Caribbean and Aruba, Leroy Errol Brooks, has written a letter appealing for funds to help his devastated island.

"Hurricane Irma has dealt a hard blow to the people of our diocese and beyond. We are grateful to Almighty God for sparing our lives and we mourn for those whose lives were ended. Let me urge you to remember the Apostle Peter when he got out of the boat to join Jesus walking on the water. He was fine until he let the winds and waves distract him from the Lord. When he began to sink, he cried out; "Jesus, save me." And He did.

"As we go through these difficult days of cleaning up after Irma and struggling with the loss of life and property, let me urge you to be like Peter. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Remember also the words from the Urbs..."Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for our Rock of Ages is the LORD."

"Please pray for one another and do not let Satan cause you to stumble. Many of our places of worship have been damaged but few of the flock taken from us. By God's grace, we will rebuild and prosper in our Lord Jesus."

The office has sent this request:
"I am enclosing a list of items which will be immediately needed to help those persons who were affected in our Diocese (Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Statia) by Hurricane Irma.
Water
Dried Goods and juices
Toiletries (sanitary pads, deodorants, Pampers for adults and children, toilet paper, soaps, underwear for adults and children, disinfection, paper towels, hand sanitizers)
Bedding (Sheets, Pillow cases, pillows)
Towels and wash cloths
First Aid Kits"
Please pray for all church leaders in the affected areas as they bring comfort and play a role in the distribution of emergency relief in the area. Pray for world governments as they respond to the need for the massive task of reconstruction.

How to give practical help now:

Anglican Mainstream has the details of the Diocesan bank account to which funds to purchase these necessities can be channeled and will pass on all monies received through cheque (including charity and gift aided cheques) to Caribbean Relief, Anglican Mainstream, 21 High Street, Eynsham, OX29 4HE, UK.
Or here: http://anglicanmainstream.org/donations-and-appeals/

*****

NORTH AMERICA

In a decision that will not please everybody, but one that goes against the grain of progressive Anglican provinces like The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Australia and AOTEAROA; the Anglican Church in North America vetoed women bishops and women priests, but left open the door to those dioceses that still wish to ordain women.

"We agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women's ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province. However, we continue to acknowledge that individual dioceses have constitutional authority to ordain women to the priesthood," said the statement. You can read the full story here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/yao76c3h
Newly-released Episcopal Church bar graphs reveal continued membership loss in 2016. Preliminary data shows downward creep continuing. Mary Ann Mueller, VOL Special Correspondent has compiled the data in which she revealed that there were more deaths than baptisms and confirmations.

"The Episcopal Church is showing a continuing slow and steady downward trend. Declining numbers no longer reflect the massive flood of Episcopalians who left the denomination over women's ordination, the acceptance of homosexual marriage or the full embrace of transgenderism.

Now, The Episcopal Church reflects a natural attrition where more Episcopalians are being buried than baptized and confirmed or moving away and not affiliating with the local Episcopal church in their new neighborhoods, leaving fewer people in the pews. You can read her report here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/yaopuj3w

*****

CAIRO. A group of Global South Primates, (not to be confused with GAFCON primates, though there is considerable overlap) met in Cairo this past week and issued a statement that one hopes the Archbishop of Canterbury read and took note of.

After expressing displeasure at the innovations of the Scottish Episcopal Church in changing its doctrine of marriage, the continued innovations of The Anglican Church of Canada to allow same-sex marriage, the group said they were working on a new structure for the Global South to ensure fellowship in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the advancement of the kingdom of God, with emphasis on Ministry Formation, Economic Empowerment, Mission Partnerships, Discipleship and Youth Ministry.

On the upcoming summit of Primates with the ABC in Canterbury next month, they said they are continuing to discern what the Lord is asking of them in this hour. "The conscience of some does not allow them to attend. Some intend to go in defense of the Gospel and some are continuing to discern what the Lord is asking of them in this hour. We have all agreed to pray that the outcome of the upcoming meeting will be decisive and lead to coherent and responsible action regarding the issues which continue to tear apart the fabric of the Communion, issues that have eternal consequences."

The sad truth is that the Church of England train is too far along the homosexual track to change course and while they have not done anything officially about practicing homosexuals. It is going on under the official radar with the tacit approval of Welby and many of his bishops, who have no reason to rock the boat, as he has already declared his hand by calling for a "radical new inclusion" on sexuality issues.

One notable attendee at this gathering was the archbishop of the new province of Sudan, The Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo. This will undoubtedly anger Justin Welby, who thought, perhaps, he had him in his back pocket after visiting there recently. One other notable attendee was Bishop Julian Henderson, Diocese of Blackburn and President of CEEC-UK.

At the end of the day, it will be the Africans (the largest bloc of Anglicans) who will maintain the faith and keep Anglicanism alive. Within a couple of decades, most of the Western branches of Anglicanism will either be irrelevant or dead.

Will all these primates attend Welby's summit in Canterbury next month? Some will not, others will attend as a gospel witness, but no one is going to compromise the faith on sexuality and Welby had better know that now.

ACC CEO, Canon Phil Ashey who was present in Cairo, courageously asked the question; Oh, and by the way, who is "failing to walk together" when, as the Global South Primates note, the conditions for "walking together" were nullified by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, in his failure to see that the restrictions on The Episcopal Church were observed and respected? Point taken. You can read his take here: http://tinyurl.com/y96p4hms

*****

US. In a public reflection from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry this week, he made this observation: "It may be that we cannot solve everything, and we cannot do everything. But we can do something, no matter what."

I have a suggestion. Stop litigating against folk who don't agree with you over the faith and whose properties you want (but can't fill) because you don't share the same faith. You could save tens of millions of dollars that could be spent repairing churches in Texas and Florida. TEC would save millions of dollars and you might have some left over to plant new churches, presuming, of course, that you have a saving faith to communicate.

IN OTHER NEWS, Nashotah House Theological Seminary will present the Archbishop Ramsey Award to Curry. "The award will be presented during a special service on campus in recognition of Bishop Curry's profound ministry and leadership in the Episcopal Church," said a press release.

"I am honored to be receiving the Archbishop Michael Ramsey award and I look forward to visiting and preaching at Nashotah House. Growing up I was influenced by Archbishop Ramsey and his work, and by priests from Nashotah House, so this visit and award are truly special to me," stated the Presiding Bishop.

The last time this happened, Ft. Worth Anglo-Catholic Bishop Jack Iker resigned from the board after Katherine Jefferts Schori got an invitation to speak there. Since Springfield Bishop Dan Martins has been chairman, he has led in restructuring the Board of Trustees into a much smaller Board of Directors and a larger "Corporation" (which contains all the former Trustees who are not on the Board of Directors).

The Board of Directors hold the real power, and they are keeping the House loyal to TEC. (Bishop Keith. Ackerman is the only ACNA member on the Board of Directors.) The ACNA is having a difficult time making any real gains in the governance of the House; and this is the main reason why many in the ACNA don't trust Nashotah House. Giving the Archbishop Michael Ramsey Award to PB Curry won't help. Ramsey and Curry are not remotely on the same theological page.

In other Episcopal news, Katharine Jefferts-Schori has been selected by TIME Magazine as One of the Women Changing the World. Hillary Clinton is also in the list.

I can't find much fault with Time's choice, since Jefferts Schori has the distinction of suing more congregations than any other bishop in history and Clinton, of losing of an unlosable election, wrote David of Samizdat.

No mention is made of whether the world is better or worse as a result of the laboring of these ladies and, in the interests of even handedness, TIME has chosen one of each: Katharine, worse through suing and Hillary, better through losing.

The TIME project, which debuted Sept. 7, uses the metaphor of the glass ceiling. "What a jagged image we use for women who achieve greatly, defining accomplishment in terms of the barrier rather than the triumph. There she is up where the air is thin, where men still outnumber women, but where the altitude is awesome," the introduction says. "Our goal with Firsts is for every woman and girl to find someone whose presence in the highest reaches of success says to her that it is safe to climb, come on up, the view is spectacular."

Jefferts Schori was so "spectacular" she presided over the single largest annihilation of orthodoxy and orthodox priests and bishops in the history of The Episcopal Church, a feat with no equals. She said she would rather sell parishes to saloons than fellow Anglicans.

*****

SOUTH CAROLINA. Is that mediation or capitulation? Federal District Judge Richard Gergel recommended "mediation" as a way of settling the dispute and the parties involved have agreed in principle. At this point, it would be inappropriate to speculate on any kind of resolution. It should be noted, however, that TEC has never, in the 80+ cases litigated nationwide, agreed to a settlement -- even when it was requested. Our present priority is to focus on consideration of the crucial Constitutional issues presented in our filed motions for Rehearing and for Recusal.

BACKGROUND: On Sept. 1, the Diocese of South Carolina filed a motion with the South Carolina Supreme Court for a rehearing of the case the court decided on Aug. 2, favoring The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The diocese added a second motion for the recusal of Justice Kay Hearn because of her affiliation with The Episcopal Church.

The diocese also had asked for a second 15-day extension for filing its motion for rehearing, but the request was denied. In that request, the group led by Bishop Mark Lawrence that left The Episcopal Church in 2012, referred to a separate federal lawsuit concerning intellectual property. In that case, Judge Richard Gergel, of the U.S. District Court in Charleston, issued an order on Aug. 30 assigning the case to Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. for mediation.

The two sides consented to the mediation, which does not affect the federal lawsuit, nor change the state Supreme Court decision. "The aim is not to alter that decision, but to seek an agreement about how best to implement it," The Episcopal Church in South Carolina wrote in an email to its members.

In June 2015, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina proposed an arrangement that would have allowed the diocese to keep 35 valuable church properties in exchange for Camp St. Christopher and the identifying name, marks and seal that had been associated with The Episcopal Church for more than two centuries. That bargain was rejected at the time because diocese officials said it wasn't offered in good faith.

*****

NEW ZEALAND. Christchurch Cathedral will be reinstated, the Christchurch Diocesan Synod has decided.

"This was not an easy or quick decision for the more than 220 members of Synod," said Bishop Victoria Matthews. "Option A was chosen knowing we could not please everyone, but the overwhelming message Christchurch people told us was to 'just get on with it' and make a decision," Bishop Matthews said.

"Many Synod members and observers addressed the Synod with passion and conviction, discussing the history of Canterbury and the defining role of the Anglican Cathedral in the creation of New Zealand's first city. Other speeches spoke of a vision for the future and the need for change as the church seeks to grow. In the end, the Synod voted to reinstate with a 54.9 per cent majority."

*****

CANADA. The Bishop of Niagara, Michael Bird, has resigned. He won't say why, just that he feels "devastated."

He's out the door June 1, 2018. He says he will take up a new ministry in the Diocese of Ottawa. The deeper question is why? The Diocese of Ottawa is dying faster than an armadillo hit by a Mack truck.

"Together, we have embraced so many exciting opportunities, we have faced and met a number of daunting challenges, and above all we have remained steadfast in our calling as God's people." I wonder if that includes his suing a journalist who exposed the crazy stuff he was doing to the diocese over properties and the faith. Whatever, it will be no loss to the diocese.

*****

GAFCON, while guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world,needs your support.
Dr. Peter Jensen is asking GAFCON followers to help maintain their worldwide gospel centered movement outreach. "There are forces at work against the Gospel and the unchanging truth of the Bible. Many church leaders are learning it is costly to stand up for biblical orthodoxy -- and to stand against the changes that oppose the beliefs of the majority of Anglicans worldwide."

If you can make a donation you can do so here: http://tinyurl.com/ybby6639

FINALLY THIS: At a church in London, Ontario there have been so many funerals that it was suggested from the pulpit that parishioners file their funeral wishes and paperwork in the church office to be ready when the time came.

All Blessings,

David

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