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England faces possibility of GAFCON Bishop * Welby's stance on Homosexuality ripped by Nigerian Primate * Truro Anglican Church Cuts Deal with TEC Bishop * Bruno Disciplinary Trial Bishops asked to find Compromise * Wales gets new Woman Bishop * More...

We are at another historic moment when the Church must articulate its faith in the light of modern and postmodern developments both outside itself and within. But, I would also argue because the rot of modernity has eaten its way into the infrastructure of Anglicanism, especially in the West, we cannot reconstruct authentic Anglican doctrine unless we go back to the sources, namely to the Thirty-Nine Articles and Book of Common Prayer. --- Stephen Noll

In two separate paragraphs of the Acts, Luke tells us that the early Christians in Jerusalem sold many of their possessions, held the rest in common, and distributed goods and money 'as any had need' (2:44, 45; 4:32-37). Are we to deduce from this that they set a pattern which all Christians are meant to copy, and that private property is forbidden to Christians? Some groups have thought so. Certainly the generosity and mutual care of those early Christians are to be followed, for the New Testament commands us many times to love and serve one another, and to be generous (even sacrificial) in our giving. But to argue from the practice of the early Jerusalem church that all private ownership is abolished among Christians not only cannot be maintained from Scripture but is plainly contradicted by the apostle Peter in the same context (Acts 5:4) and by the apostle Paul elsewhere (e.g. 1 Tim. 6:17). This example should put us on alert. We must derive our standards of belief and behaviour from the teaching of the New Testament, wherever it is given, rather than from the practices and experiences which it portrays. --- John R. W. Stott

Only 20 percent of Americans have read the Bible in its entirety. A new survey also found that most Americans have positive feelings toward it and would describe it as a "good source of morals." LifeWay Research revealed that 10 percent of respondents read none of the Bible, 13 percent said they read only a few sentences, 30 percent said they knew of several passages or stories, 15 percent read at least half the Bible, and 12 percent read almost all of it. Overall, only 20 percent of the respondent said they read the entire Bible. -- Stoyan Zaimov in the Christian Post

After Soumaya Khalifah's sermon, Atlanta Bishop Robert C. Wright invited Khalifah to join clergy and others at the altar for the Eucharistic prayers consecrating the bread and wine. As the worshippers stepped forward to receive Holy Communion, the bishop said Khalifah took part. "She held out her hand to receive the Host and it is not my practice to refuse people," said Wright. He noted that "open Communion" is common across his diocese, especially with visitors. Khalifah returned to her seat without receiving the consecrated wine, the bishop said. -- Terry Mattingly

EMBRACE YOUR FAITH. Attending religious services once a week has been shown to add between four and 14 years to life expectancy, according to researchers who study blue zones. Don't belong to a church? Ask to join a friend at her services, or just drop in at a nearby house of worship, most have an open-door policy. --- AARP Bulletin

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
April 28, 2017

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, just doesn't get it.

He thinks he can keep playing the game of reconciliation with "good disagreement", "radical inclusion" and other notions of appeasement with orthodox Anglicans in the Global South, while he attempts to soften the acceptance of same sex marriage into the Church of England.

It is sheer delusion on his part to think he can; and he is going down the same rocky road that his predecessor Rowan Williams trod which got him into all kinds of trouble, finally forcing him prematurely out of office into academe.

The fact that Welby claims to be an evangelical is not remotely impressing the likes of Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and his GAFCON followers, who now believe that the CofE is lost and they are going to plant a GAFCON flag (in the person of a bishop) on British soil. This is more than a poke in the eye, it is a major smack down and an in your face act that will have lasting consequences for English Anglicanism.

No more tea, crumpets and polite conversation with Her Majesty the Queen.

Welby will have to tell the Queen: "Your majesty, our former colonials have arrived on British soil to drop one of their bishops on us, what should we do?"

Queen: "Well, whose fault is that? Didn't our people take the gospel to them. You compromised over same-sex marriage and now they want to reconvert England. One can hardly blame them, can we now. I don't suggest that you fight them on the ramparts of Lambeth Palace and hurl prayer books at them. You may have to live with the consequences of your actions...or find another job. Your predecessor did."

In more polite terms, the Archbishop of Nigeria, and GAFCON chairman, said the "distressing" move (by the CofE) had "downgraded the historic and biblical mind of the Church". He was being polite...for now.

As the Church of England continues to soften its stance on homosexuality, conservative Anglican leaders are preparing to unleash their "nuclear option" by moving to elect their own bishop to depose Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby over his embracing of same-sex "marriage."

Because the Episcopal Church continues its pro-LGBT stance to support same-sex marriage within the church, disciplinary measures are now being taken by leaders within the CofE. Will Welby learn before it is too late?

The long and short of it is the progressive stance on sexuality being taken by Anglican churches in the West, orthodox Anglican leaders in the South and East are not willing to cave in to the progressives. And now these so-called rebel archbishops led by Okoh, are ready to give the green light at a meeting of GAFCON primates this week in Nigeria. We wait with bated breath for the outcome.

*****

The Scottish Episcopal Church is on the pathway to reject biblical truth on same-sex marriage, and they are expected to finalize this rejection of Anglican teaching and apostolic order in their upcoming June meeting of their Synod.

A Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland has produced a report, An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage, in advance of next month's General Assembly. The report examines three overlapping kinds of argument in some detail:

* arguments based on understandings of human rights;
* analogical arguments which try to build outwards from traditional understandings of marriage; and
* fully theological arguments for the admissibility of same-sex marriage.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know where all this is going. Alternative structures and oversight will need to be in place should that unfortunate reality come to pass.

The Most Rev. David Chillingworth has announced that he will retire as Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and as Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church at the end of July this year.

A source told VOL that Chillingworth was not quite as bad as his predecessor, Richard Holloway -- but still not orthodox.

*****

In a move that delighted the heart of Justin Welby, but brought heartburn to Bishop John Guernsey, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and ACNA Archbishop, Foley Beach, an Anglican parish - Truro Anglican Church -- announced a property reconciliation with the TEC Diocese of Virginia and its bishop, Shannon Johnston.

The Truro Church agreed to a long-term lease from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia based on a Peace and Reconciliation initiative that will allow the congregation to stay on its property for 20, even 50 years, with the full support of the Archbishop of Canterbury and representatives of Coventry Cathedral.

This did not sit well with Archbishop Beach, who fired back blasting the idea, saying that the TEC diocese was not an "appropriate partner" for such a project because their leadership continues to promote teaching and practices contrary to Scripture --teaching that, if followed, would keep people from an eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

Beach said the teaching by TEC has torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion, and such teaching remains a scandal in the Anglican Communion to this day. "Until there is repentance by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, there can be no true Gospel partnership with them."

Guernsey echoed similar sentiments and, in a letter to the clergy and wardens of his diocese, said, The Episcopal Church promotes "false teaching" and therefore, the parish should "not enter into a joint ministry with the Episcopal Diocese."

Now it has, and the Rev. Tory Baucum thinks he can straddle the fence and have it both ways. He cannot. That strategy always leads to TEC winning and those who oppose it, losing. If Guernsey does nothing, then it will lead to Welby using it has a wedge into ACNA, supported by TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. It will also weaken ACNA's position in GAFCON at a critical time when GAFCON is about to plant a bishop on English soil.

Guernsey has no option but to excommunicate Baucum or the gig is up for ACNA. If he does nothing, it sends a signal to the Rev. John Yates over at Falls Church, VA, that he should have compromised and kept his $40 million property. Tough talk and action is needed for sure, but what are Guernsey's alternatives? Not to act is a clear victory for Bishop Shannon Johnston and Archbishop Justin Welby and ultimately weakens Archbishop Beach's standing in GAFCON. I cannot see how Archbishop Nicholas Okoh will tolerate this kind of compromise, especially as he has blasted the four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion and the Church of England for softening its stance on gay marriage.

*****

For those of us who have been engaged in battle on the frontline of Anglicanism and watched with both horror and hope the spiritual warfare that has raged across the globe, you may now find some comfort, consolation indeed inspiration from a new volume on the history of Anglicanism.

Reformation Anglicanism: A Vision for Today's Global Communion; A Manifesto for Reformation Anglicanism, written by Cranmer scholar Ashley Null and Anglican priest John W. Yates III, is a timely volume on Anglicanism as it has been practiced in recent years. The Anglican Communion has been fraught with 'heresies distressed' and the doctrinal and moral wars fought have left the battlefield littered with corpses. The wounded still walk amongst us.

The Anglican ship of state continues to roil, but it also continues to move steadily forward, at times listing, but then righting itself and growing as new Anglican beacons are lit to show us the way and reveal to us that all is not lost.

This slim volume by five scholars, two of whom are practicing pastors, is a lighthouse with its beam piercing the darkness, offering hope in what many had come to believe to be a hopelessly divided situation. You can read more about this book in today's digest.

Other contributors include bishops Michael Nazir-Ali, Michael Jensen and Ben Kwashi. You can read my review and buy a copy of the book at this link. We urge you to do so:

https://www.crossway.org/books/reformation-anglicanism-hcj/

*****

A disciplinary panel investigating charges that LA Bishop Jon Bruno violated church law in attempting to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church is trying to find "creative ways" to deal with the bully Bishop of LA. Attorneys are urging a disciplinary panel to move in opposite directions, writes an ENS staffer.

Attorneys representing the Episcopal Church and Bruno are asking an ecclesiastical disciplinary panel to come to opposite conclusions about whether the bishop violated church law in attempting to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church.

Attorneys for Bruno argued for dismissal of the charges, while the Episcopal Church's attorney asked the members to find the bishop guilty, but craft a sentence aimed at reconciliation. Their arguments came in briefs released close to a month after a rare bishop disciplinary hearing.

The misconduct allegations, initially brought by the members of St. James, stem from Bruno's unsuccessful 2015 attempt to sell the church in Newport Beach to a condominium developer for $15 million in cash. You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****

Recently, Forward in Faith North America elected the Rev. Canon Lawrence D. Bausch of Ocean Beach, California, as its new president. Canon Bausch succeeds the Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, who had served as FiFNA's president since 2005.

Canon Bausch resigned from the ministry of the Episcopal Church in September 2006, and was received as a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Argentina, in the Anglican Province of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.

VOL interviewed Canon Bausch as part of the ongoing realignment both in North America and the wider Anglican Communion and we asked him how he saw the future of FIFNA, its goals and aspirations within the Anglican Communion.

VOL: Canon Bausch, how do you understand your mission in these post-TEC, new ACNA days?

BAUSCH: Our primary mission is to teach, practice and proclaim the fullness of our Catholic inheritance for Anglicans, regardless of jurisdictional identity. Historically speaking, we see ourselves as a part of a new "Oxford Movement". After my election, I said that our mission was now responding to a different parable than when we began. Originally, we were like those who had found the "pearl of great value', and who were to protect and preserve it with all of our resources. Now, we are within the parable of the talents, whose mission is to utilize and witness to the value of this gift we have been entrusted with.

You can read the full interview in today's digest.

*****

A former TEC, then AMiA priest and then later an ACNA priest, was elected bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia in the Anglican Church of Canada!

The Rev. Jake Worley, rector of the Bulkley Valley Regional Parish, which includes three (small) congregations in northern British Columbia, was elected on the eighth ballot of an episcopal election held in Prince Rupert, Saturday, April 22. He will be a conservative in a dying liberal Anglican province.

Mr. Worley has had a checkered career ecclesiastically speaking. Born in Alabama, Worley moved to New Mexico when he was five. He studied zoology and botany at Western New Mexico University. He then did environmental consulting work, which included studying the impact of U.S. Department of Defense missile testing on wildlife. Worley eventually felt a call to the priesthood, and graduated with an M.Div from Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He was ordained a priest in The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2005.

In 2007, Worley founded a new church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a missionary for the Anglican province of Rwanda- AMiA. The church would later join the Anglican Church in North America, after a number of conservative congregations left TEC in 2009. In the meantime, Worley had left. After an interim term as rector at St. Martin's Anglican Church in Fort St. John, B.C., in 2013, then a year priesting for the Church of Ireland, he returned with his family to B.C., where he assumed his role as rector of Bulkley Valley.

The electoral synod was held to find a successor for Bishop William Anderson, who announced his plans to retire in December, 2015. Anderson had served as bishop of the diocese for a decade and a half, having been elected in October 2001 and consecrated as bishop in February 2002.

*****

The Diocese of Minnesota sold its diocesan office in a private sale to a Native America tribe for an undisclosed sum of money this week.

At his blog, Bishop Brian N. Prior believes the sale will advance God's mission in the diocese, though how that will happen is unclear.

"By now some of you are aware that the ECMN board of Trustees has sold the 1730 Clifton Place property to the White Earth Nation. Serving the Episcopal Church in Minnesota for over 20 years, this building, like most of us, has had its good days and its bad. Many faithful people through the years have had inspiring dreams of what the property could be. And yet, through the years, there've been many challenging experiences for those who have dared to dream of how the property could be a greater asset for God's mission.

"I am truly sorry for all those inspiring dreams that we were not able to accomplish together. In the midst of that, I am also truly grateful for all those who have worked hard to be good stewards of 1730 Clifton Place. And at the end of the day, as we are once again reminded in this Easter season, we are resurrection people. Because of this, I believe new life always finds a way to come forth."

This is the second diocese to sell its headquarter in as many weeks. The Diocese of Rochester recently announced it had sold its headquarters also to advance God's mission. Of course, it might have something to do with the declining fortunes of these dioceses, whose parishes are sinking beneath the waves of post-modernism and the promotion of sodomy.

Minnesota, like most dioceses, is sinking slowly into the sunset. In 2005, there were 25,179 baptized Episcopalians. By 2015 that figure had dropped 21% to well under 19,871. Its ASA in 2005 was 8,742, by the end of 2015 it had dropped 31.8% to near 6,000. It's plate and pledge held steady at $13 million its 105 priests had an average age of 59, with 70% aged between 55 to over 65. The number of full time women priests was a mere 25% and full time male priests only 37%.

*****

The Diocese of Huron is on its last legs, but Bishop Linda Nicolls is attempting to resuscitate it, mainly by doing what she is telling parishes they should not do, writes David of Samizdat.

Some churches might look to draw on the principle of reserves and trusts to pay for everyday expenses, even though such a strategy can't last, said Nicolls.

At the same time, she is closing and selling churches on a scale that makes Century 21 look like amateurs; all to stave off the financial collapse of the diocese a little longer. Or, at least, until she retires.

At Synod in May, she will call on each parish church to develop a five-year plan -- with measurable benchmarks -- for financial stability and building upkeep.

"At the same time," she says, "We have to be working at discipleship, working on why we are the church, working within churches and on the spiritual needs of the community around us."

"It's very daunting" to have to address both tracks simultaneously, she admits, but adds, "We don't have time to wait; we don't have time for people to wake up to this."

These two sides -- finances and discipleship -- are not disconnected in Bishop Linda's view.

"When people are passionate about what the church is called to be, they will support it... It's not just about the money; it's about being realistic and hopeful. And that's where the discipleship piece comes in. What is God calling you to do and be in this community?"

Financially, Bishop Linda says, there are four "non-negotiables" for parish churches: having a balanced budget, not using reserves for operating expenses, paying full apportionment, and paying the stipend and housing of clergy.

One thing that no-one in the diocese seems to want to try is a return to Biblical orthodoxy. Instead, we have a familiar attempt to appease the zeitgeist by parading on a gay pride rainbow crosswalk waving crosses and an umbrella. A photograph featured her and 10 other persons, including Archbishop Fred Hiltz, crossing the road. Clearly not generating much interest.

An ACoC watcher reported to VOL that he had been in three churches that have closed, and each time the parishioners were all thrown to the wind and have ended up here, there and everywhere. "We don't necessarily know where our former parishioners and friends have gone. It is especially bad in the rural areas where there is lack of public transit and lack of other social sites to congregate. "Our schools and churches are closing, and our hospitals are being downsized, especially in the rural areas here in Ontario, Canada. Meanwhile the evangelical churches are moving into small towns, almost every town has a non-denominational church called a Community Church. Both Roman Catholics and evangelical churches are expanding."

*****

The Church in Wales consecrated its first woman bishop. June Osborne, who has served as Dean of Salisbury for the past 13 years, was chosen as the 72nd Bishop of Llandaff, a diocese which serves most of Cardiff, the South Wales Valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan. She was enthroned at St. David's Cathedral on February 11.

Dr. Barry Morgan, who carried out the consecration, said the women clergy in Wales had faced a "long struggle" to get to this point. "The great thing about our women clergy is that they did not give up or become cynical or bitter. What matters is not gender but suitability, character, gifts and that was why Joanna was elected as bishop." The homosexual Dean, Jeffrey John, wanted the job but got nixed. It was his seventh attempt to get a bishopric.

Osborne was the author of a report for the House of Bishops, many years ago, advocating a liberal stance on homosexuality, but it was not published at the time, although its stance was widely leaked. www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/005323.html has a copy for download.

She was rewarded with a plum Deanery (women could not be bishops at that time) although she had very little parish experience, and no obvious academic track record, said a source.

*****

English cathedrals are not too big to fail, said the Archbishop of Canterbury. More than half of them face acute financial challenges. Cathedral deans are meeting in London at the end of this month to talk of cash crises and out-of-control costs. A cathedral "could get into a situation so desperate that there is no obvious solution," said the Rt. Rev. Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney and former Dean of Rochester, in The Guardian.

Another reality is greatly reduced government funding for cathedral maintenance through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In recent months, stories have emerged of individual cathedrals in trouble. Guilford Cathedral's plans for coping with its financial difficulty include charging entry fees to non-worshipping visitors. The cathedrals that charge entry fees to non-worshipping visitors do better than those that request contributions, however only nine of the 44 charge entrance fees.

*****

An Iraqi refugee became an Anglican priest in Canada. New Westminster Anglican Bishop Melissa Skelton introduced the Rev. Fr. Ayoob Shawkat Adwar as a priest into the Anglican Church of Canada.

Adwar, a priest in the Chaldean Catholic Church, was received as an Anglican priest at a ceremony in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, last month.

"The event was a "small but significant piece of history," said Archdeacon Stephen Rowe, rector of the Anglican Parish of the Church of the Epiphany in Surrey, since Adwar is thought to be the first Chaldean priest in history to have become a member of the Anglican clergy.

Originally from Mosul, Iraq--heartland of the Chaldean church--Adwar was ordained as a Chaldean priest in 2008. His family began to arrive in Canada about five years ago, and Adwar himself followed in 2014, when he was granted refugee status.

At around the same time, a group of Chaldeans began worshipping at the Church of the Epiphany. In Advent of 2014, Melissa Skelton, bishop of New Westminster, gave her permission for a Chaldean Rite Mass to take place at the church. Over time, Anglicans and Chaldeans at the church started attending each other's services and learning more about each other's traditions.

Meanwhile, Adwar had declared an interest in becoming an Anglican priest, and began a discernment process. He was confirmed as an Anglican in December, 2016; that ceremony, like his reception as an Anglican priest, was presided over by Bishop Skelton.

Adwar, who is fluent in both Arabic and modern Aramaic--a Middle Eastern language derived from the language of Jesus--will serve as a curate in the diocese of New Westminster, working with an experienced Anglican priest.

*****

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