The divine person. Confidence in the divine-human person of Jesus is the one weapon against which neither the error, nor the evil, nor the force of the world can prevail. --- John R.W. Stott
To touch reality. The One we preach is not Christ-in-a-vacuum, nor a mystical Christ unrelated to the real world, nor even only the Jesus of ancient history, but rather the contemporary Christ who once lived and died, and now lives to meet human need in all its variety today. To encounter Christ is to touch reality and experience transcendence. He gives us a sense of self-worth or personal significance, because he assures us of God's love for us. He sets us free from guilt because he died for us, from the prison of our own self-centredness by the power of his resurrection, and from paralyzing fear because he reigns, all the principalities and powers of evil having been put under his feet. He gives meaning to marriage and home, work and leisure, personhood and citizenship. He introduces us into his new community, the new humanity he is creating. He challenges us to go out into some segment of the world which does not acknowledge him, there to give ourselves in witness and service for him. He promises us that history is neither meaningless nor endless, for one day he will return to terminate it, to destroy death and to usher in the new universe of righteousness and peace. --- John R.W. Stott
What we cannot do is try to re-write nature and pass laws which ignore nature. Homosexuality is damaged heterosexuality. Until this reality is faced in the culture and the parishes... things will continue to spin out of control. --- Michael Voris, the VORTEX
But don't worry. As America's Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, assured the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Mubarak's fall, the Muslim Brotherhood is a "largely secular" organization. The name's just for show, same as the Episcopal Church. --- Mark Steyn syndicated columnist
The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. --- Brennan Manning, author
"The death of a culture begins when its normative institutions fail to communicate ideals in ways that remain inwardly compelling. By that standard, Christianity in America, if not American spirituality, is in mortal danger. The future is not foreordained." --- Philip Rieff historian
Dear Brothers and Sisters
April 19, 2013
Do you know what is the most post Christian city in America? Hold your breath. No, it is not New York or LA or San Francisco, it is Albany, NY, according to the pollster Barna Group. And why should this matter? Simple. It is the only diocese in The Episcopal Church that is actually growing. Admittedly the number is barely 100, but think again, it is THE MOST post Christian city in the US.
What does that say about this diocese and its bishop? Well, volumes really. Bishop William Love is the godly evangelical catholic bishop of the diocese and he spends most of his waking hours pushing evangelism, discipleship, prayer and renewal and he is seeing results for his troubles. And this in a location that is surrounded by the Adirondacks and some of the country's oldest towns and cities that are long past their prime with failed industries and more,and yet he is seeing small growth. Ya think it might have something to do with the message?
Love is not pushing pluriform truths or the hollow call of diversity or inclusivity or sodomy or gay rights or rites, he is pushing Jesus, something entirely new for a lot of Episcopalians who have never heard the pure message of God's redeeming love, but are held in thrall with Jefferts Schori's call for more social action "just do it" with little or no foundation in the gospel. Love is not getting all wigged out about pushing Millennium Development Goals which don't fill churches or worrying about tortured souls in Iran which he can nothing about, except to pray of course, (and neither can Mrs. Jefferts Schori). Love is focusing on what he can achieve which is to bring his people in the most post-Christian city of America into a closer walk with God and pushing his people to get out there and talk about Jesus and what He has done for them in the cross and resurrection. Perhaps the other 99 TEC dioceses could take a leaf out of his book and "just preach it brother."
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori recently gave the keynote address at a Worldwide Anglican Peace Conference. She said, "It is only together as the Body of Christ that we can hope to find healing, reconciliation, and genuine and lasting peace." She was addressing the question of US military bases in Okinawa and the role of the Anglican-Episcopal Church.
"I want to challenge us all to consider similar situations around the world, and the roles that our respective churches, and the Anglican Communion, might play in reconciliation and peace-making in the face of violence, military force, and war," she began. "It is only together as the Body of Christ that we can hope to find healing, reconciliation, and genuine and lasting peace."
Well, Presiding Bishop, how about the battle in the low country now taking place for properties in The Diocese of South Carolina where a "lasting peace" would be most welcome? The schism in eastern South Carolina will face off in court over a half billion dollars in church property, the diocesan seal and use of the diocesan name. But first attorneys are arguing over which court should hear the matter.
Last year's acrimonious split from the Episcopal Church resulted in the leadership and about two-thirds of the members of the Diocese of South Carolina, based in Charleston, breaking away from the national Episcopal Church last November over its blessing of same-sex unions, ordination of gay clergy and its liberal approach to other social and theological issues. The breakaway faction then filed a state lawsuit to assert ownership of 35 parishes, including many of the church's wealthiest in the state. The group says it shouldn't have to turn property over to a church that it believes has drifted from Biblical principles.
"The essential issue here is freedom of religion," said the Rev. James B. Lewis, canon to the Ordinary to Bishop Mark Lawrence. "We have the freedom to remove ourselves."
This past week Charles vonRosenberg, the provisional bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, sent out letters to an estimated 140 clergy seeking clarification as to whether or not they will be departing the denomination.
"I invite you to make known your allegiance to TEC and, if you wish, to request a time to speak with me about this matter," read one of the letters, according to a TECSC press release posted Thursday.
The conservative Diocese of South Carolina sued in state court in Dorchester County earlier this year seeking to protect the property of the now 37 plaintiffs, which include parishes throughout the eastern and lower part of the state.
A state judge in January issued a temporary restraining order barring anyone but the diocese from using the diocesan name and seal.
Later, the national church and about two dozen parishes and worship groups remaining with it had the case moved from state to federal court, saying it raised federal and constitutional issues. Attorneys argued the case involved trademark issues covered by the federal Lanham Act.
But on Wednesday, the diocese in turn asked a federal judge to send the case back to state court, its attorneys saying the property and other issues involve only state claims.
There is a second lawsuit already in federal court.
In that suit, the new bishop of a diocese comprised of parishes staying with the national church asked for a preliminary injunction blocking the diocese that left from using the name and seal of the Diocese of South Carolina. That suit, filed by Bishop vonRosenberg, alleges that continued use by the group is federal trademark infringement.
The diocese comprising churches remaining with the national church is calling itself The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Attorneys for the Diocese of South Carolina have asked that the second suit be dismissed. The battle has only just begun. It will drag on for months possibly years with millions of dollars spent on attorneys. God help them.
The long-anticipated trial in the case of Diocese of Quincy, et al. vs. The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, etc. began last week in Quincy, in the Circuit Court for Adams County, Illinois. The court set aside three days for the testimony of the plaintiffs' expert historian witness, Dr. Jeremy Bonner, a former resident of Pittsburgh (but now resident once more in his native England). Judge Thomas Ortbal, who earlier had denied ECUSA's motion for summary judgment in the case on the primary claim that it was a "hierarchical" church, presided.
The main body of the trial will resume on April 22 in the same courtroom before the same judge. Plaintiffs will call the remainder of their witnesses. Then the defendants and counterclaimants will call theirs -- chiefly Bishops Buchanan and Franklin of ECUSA, and Dr. Robert Bruce Mullin, who is ECUSA's primary (and well-compensated) expert historian witness. (The latest information indicates that his total compensation for all the cases in which he has offered testimony on ECUSA's behalf is now in excess of $1 million.) Canon lawyer Allan Haley is following this; we will report his findings as they become available to VOL's readers.
In a move that will undoubtedly excite interest to North American Anglicans, Archbishop Justin Welby will see ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan at the end of May in London at Lambeth Palace. What transpires is anybody's guess, but with TEC still firmly in control of the North American arm of Anglicanism, it will be interesting to see if Welby receives him as an equal or demand that he goes through the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) for recognition, which of course won't happen.
What is very clear is that the realignment of Anglicanism is firmly underway and nothing can stop it. Welby must know this and he won't be able to flim flam Duncan who is firmly locked into the Global South through GAFCON who are the biggest players in the Anglican playpen. They ARE firmly committed to orthodoxy in faith and morals and they will not cut any slack to Welby who seems to be wobbling on the issue of gays in the ministry and same sex blessings. What about the word SIN doesn't he understand? The issue is NOT about homophobia that is a complete smokescreen; it is about homogenital behavior proscribed by Scripture. We watch and wait.
A gathering of orthodox Anglican bishops from six Continuing jurisdictions meeting under the banner of FACA - the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas -- met in Summerville, SC this past week. They concluded that they were entering a new phase of cooperation. They met at the Cummins Memorial Theological Seminary in Summerville, SC drawing two special guests -- the beleaguered Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina, and Archbishop Peter Robinson of the United Episcopal Church. Bishop Lawrence told his story of "leaving Egypt," and wanting to work with FACA. The bishop invited FACA leaders to the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul for an evening visit with four bishops from East Africa and a reception. (You can read more stories about this meeting in today's digest.) Archbishop Robinson expressed his desire to see closer relationships throughout the continuum, and told members about the UEC's partnerships with the Province of Christ the King and the Anglican Catholic Church.
The Virginia Supreme Court ruled for the Episcopal Church on Thursday in a bitter, multimillion-dollar property dispute with a conservative congregation that had left the denomination over the Bible's view of homosexuality and other issues.
The panel affirmed a lower court's decision that the 3,000-member congregation, which voted in 2006 to leave the Episcopal Church, did not have the right to keep the sprawling property known as the Falls Church.
The Falls Church property is one of the country's largest Episcopal churches and is a central landmark in downtown Falls Church.
The breakaway congregation, now called the Falls Church Anglican, has been worshiping in the Bishop O'Connell High School auditorium in Arlington County while it sought to overturn the Fairfax County Circuit Court decision from last year.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court affirmed that the property was rightly given to the mainline denomination but said some of the nearly $3 million in church coffers belongs to the Falls Church Anglican congregation.
You can read the full opinion here: http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1120919.pdf
Wycliffe Hall, Oxford appointed a new principal this week. He is the Rev. Dr. Michael Lloyd who is the Chaplain of Queen's College, Oxford. He brings nine years' experience of teaching in theological colleges, as a Tutor in Theology at St Paul's Theological Centre (a constituent part of St Mellitus College, London) and formerly a Tutor in Doctrine at St Stephen's House, Oxford. His prior ministry was as Chaplain of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and earlier as Chaplain and Director of Studies in Theology at Christ's College, Cambridge. He is the author of a popular-level systematic theology, entitled Café Theology, and is one of the regular voices on the Godpod (a theological podcast).
Dr. Lloyd holds degrees in English from Cambridge University, Theology from St John's College, Durham and a DPhil in Theology from Oxford University, where his doctoral thesis was on the problem of evil. He loves walking, theatre, cricket, music and Handel operas.
The Archbishop of Southern Africa Thabo Makgoba issued a warning of a scam. The diocese issued the following statement, "It has come to our attention that some individual, or individuals, are impersonating Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in emails designed to extort money, for example through issuing invitations to speak at conferences and then seeking banking details into which to pay travel costs.
"We wish to underline that these are NOT from the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Please beware of any emails coming from firstname.lastname@example.org, or from Ed Smart at Events-committee@Christ-The-King.co.za, or email@example.com".
Zimbabwe Anglicans celebrated their return to their churches this past week. Anglicans in the eastern Diocese of Manicaland were finally able to return to their churches and cathedral after being barred from places of worship for the last five years.
They were forced from their buildings when two renegade bishops in Manicaland and Harare attempted to take control of diocesan properties.
Even as they worshipped outside, they faced violence and harassment. All the while, priests were not funded and church assets were stolen.
The hardship only came to an end when Zimbabwe's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Anglican Church and legally restored their ownership of the buildings.
Addressing claims that foreign aid is a waste of British taxpayers' money, Archbishop Justin Welby writes that "not all aid is good, but not all aid is dead." Writing on his blog the Archbishop acknowledged recent criticisms in the press that a proportion of foreign aid gets wasted or sucked up in corruption. But he maintained that "the way [aid] is delivered may indeed be an issue, but the principle should not be."
Last week the Archbishop co-signed a letter with religious leaders calling on G8 nations to meet their spending targets on foreign aid. On his blog, the Archbishop Justin highlighted the way that faith-based networks use relatively small sums of aid money to transform their societies. "When money is put in the hands of faith-based and civil society networks, it can be utterly transformative," he wrote. "These organizations are highly accountable so very little money is lost to corruption. Local clergy know exactly what their communities need and how to spend the money wisely."
Insurance money from quake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral in New Zealand cannot be used to fund the transitional cathedral in nearby Latimer Square, a judge has ruled. However, the Church Property Trustees (CPT) acted in "extraordinary circumstances" in the wake of the earthquakes, said Judge Graham Panckhurst in his ruling released on April 8.
CPT has earmarked up to NZ$4 million (US$3.39 million) of the insurance payout to fund the NZ$5.3 million (US$4.49 million) "cardboard" cathedral, which is scheduled to open late next month.
Judge Panckhurst now wants further information and possibly another hearing before deciding whether or not CPT should be held personally liable for money already spent.
The judge notes that on May 15 last year Peter Graham, a trustee of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, told CPT it was "legally bound" to apply insurance proceeds to the maintenance and repair of the Cathedral in the Square.
"The life of the cathedral in this city had to go on providing a place of worship as well as a place for the city to gather," said the bishop. "The Transitional Cathedral... is a sign of hope for the city and we need to gather away from the Square in order to come back to a Cathedral in the Square."
George Beverly Shea, the longtime soloist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and one of the nation's most beloved Gospel singers, has died. Shea, of Montreat, NC, passed away following a brief illness. He was 104.
His booming baritone voice delivered the Gospel of Jesus Christ to millions of Christians at Billy Graham's crusades. Shea was known for his trademark renditions of "How Great Thou Art" and "The Wonder of It All."
New Zealand became the 13th country to legalize same-sex marriage this week. Other countries include the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Argentina and Uruguay.
However, even though the Marriage Equality Bill has been passed into law, same-sex couples will probably not be having church weddings in Gisborne just yet.
But the Reverend Stephen Donald says that may not have as big an impact as people might think. Only around 35 percent of marriages in New Zealand are conducted by clergy. The majority are done by independent celebrants or at registry offices.
In any case, the Anglican priest and bishop's chaplain for the Eastland region says the Anglican Church had already been talking about the blessing of those in same-sex unions. It has a commission looking at the theology of marriage, with some decisions likely to be made at a General Synod in May next year.
The Marriage Amendment Bill had its third reading in Parliament last night and was passed with a vote of 77 for and 44 against.
French and British lawmakers have also voted in favor of legislation allowing gay marriage, although the bills have not yet been passed into law.
No other country in the Asia-Pacific region allows gay marriage.
Australian members of parliament overwhelmingly voted against a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriages in September. However, some states allow civil unions for same-sex couples.
China does not allow gay marriage. However, transsexuals who have undergone surgery are able to marry someone of the opposite sex, provided their new gender is verified by the local public security authorities.
Ireland is to hold a referendum on legalizing gay marriage after a special convention set up to reform the Irish constitution recommended that same-sex couples in the republic be recognized in law.
The convention voted 79% in favor of full equality for same-sex marriage in Dublin on Sunday.
Under the Irish constitution any major constitutional change has to be ratified by the electorate.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Gay and Lesbian Network welcomed the endorsement of gay marriage equality.
A White House advisory council of religious leaders called for a global fund to address human trafficking and urged a new labeling system to help identify consumer goods that were not created with slave labor. With a 36-page report released April 10, the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships hopes to build awareness of the estimated 21 million people worldwide who are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor. "Abraham Lincoln said if slavery is not wrong then nothing is wrong, and we know that sadly 150 years later slavery still exists," said Susan K. Stern, chair of the council and an adviser to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. "Today with this report we say, 'Enough.'" The 15-member council made 10 recommendations to the White House, saying what they've learned about the scope of trafficking has driven them to galvanize national action. One recommendation calls for a "Global Fund to Eradicate Modern-day Slavery," modeled on a fund that combated AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she and other council members think such a fund "would encourage coordination and participation of philanthropists, governments and both religious and secular nonprofits to work toward abolishing modern slavery."
The Anglican Church in Jersey is in "troubled waters" as it faces one of the greatest challenges in its history, a meeting of church leaders heard Tuesday night.
Although the clergy denied claims of a "crisis brewing" following the effective suspension of the Dean by the Bishop of Winchester last month, the emergency meeting of the Jersey Deanery Synod shared many concerns about his treatment, the legality of the Bishop's actions and the implications for the Island's relationship with the Bishop and his diocese.
It was the first time the highest body of the Church of England in the Island had gathered since the Dean, the Very Bob Key, had his commission withdrawn by the Bishop of Winchester in response to a report into his handling of a complaint of inappropriate behavior against a church warden by a vulnerable young adult made five years ago.
The suicide death of Matthew Warren son of renowned evangelical churchman Rick Warren brought out of the closet some truly sick and disgusting responses by people who blame Rick and his wife Kay for their son's death. Author Frank Viola has taken these people to task. You can read his riposte here. When Christians write and say these kinds of things, you know why the world turns its back on us. http://frankviola.org/2013/04/08/rickwarrentragedy/
JOB OPENING: Anglican Church Planter and Technology Consultant
EXPERIENCED DATA BASE ADMINISTRATOR or SOFTWARE ENGINEER / ARCHITECT AND HALF TIME ANGLICAN CHURCH PLANTER
Christ Church Anglican on the mainline seeks a church planter with serious IT skills. We seek someone with unique software skills who will double as a church planter on Philadelphia's historic mainline. We are based in Wayne, PA. We seek someone who will work 25 to 30 hours per week with an early stage financial technology software development firm based in the Delaware Valley location either Western NJ or Eastern PA location and residence. Work location in the region is flexible. Medical coverage and competitive salary offered. Such a person must be prepared to work weekends and part time during weekdays and lead a CANA (Anglican) Church plant already operating in suburban Philadelphia. Weekdays serve as a technology professional in fast growing fintech software developer. Position reports to the CEO and founder of the business. Four or more years workplace experience in Java and/or C++ solutions or IOS programs required. Oracle D/B experience a plus. Become part of a team supporting a breakthrough product for the institutional capital markets partnered with a global financial information giant. Computer science, mathematics, and/or engineering degreed and back grounded person sought. Individual also should have relevant divinity degrees, some experience, and theological education with divine 'call' to work with an evangelical, Scripture focused CANA Church Plant in the region as senior or associate rector depending upon experience. Apply to Christ Church Anglican on the Mainline, Wayne PA with an e-mail to Rev. Alan Crippen: firstname.lastname@example.org
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