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Lambeth Palace Under Siege * Boundary Crossing Critiqued by Welby * Nigerian Primate Challenges Welby over History of Consecration * U.K. Churches Pass No confidence in Welby * Bishop Sauls & TEC told to seek Mediation

A new perspective on sin and alienation: Genesis 3. Divisions are the result of sin! When sin entered the world, it brought 4 levels of alienation:
alienation from God: spiritual problems
alienation from self: psychological problems
alienation from the other: social problems
alienation from nature: ecological problems

A complete, full gospel will be a gospel that will continually analyze the situation of each community in terms of these 4 levels of alienation and bring a relevant message until change happens. -- Rediscovering the Gospel Of Reconciliation by Antoine Rutayisire

Consider Methodists and Episcopalians, two Christian denominations whose congregants have relatively similar political compositions, with 43 percent and 55 percent identifying as Democrats, respectively, according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey. But their pastors' politics are quite different. While Methodist pastors are just as split as their congregants, Episcopalian pastors are strongly Democratic, roughly equivalent to Hawaii or Washington, D.C., in terms of partisanship. --- Kevin Quealy, NYT

Two men can't enter the state of holy matrimony any more than two screwdrivers can. --- Daniel Oliver, The Washington Times

The very first priority. The very first thing which needs to be said about Christian ministers of all kinds is that they are 'under' people (as their servants) rather than 'over' them (as their leaders, let alone their lords). Jesus made this absolutely plain. The chief characteristic of Christian leaders, he insisted, is humility not authority, and gentleness not power. --- John R.W. Stott

Some may ask, can't homosexuals be Christians? Of course they can. And so can bank robbers. And adulterers. But they can't put on their calling cards "Christian bank robber" or "Christian adulterer." If those are their sins, they should try to deal with them, not try to normalize them. --- Daniel Oliver, The Washington Times

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." --- Corrie Ten Boom

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
June 16, 2017

It's been another bad week for the occupant at Lambeth Palace. Once again Archbishop Justin Welby found himself in the crosshairs over same-sex marriage, a group of disillusioned Global South (GAFCON) primates, boundary crossing, and more failed reconciliation attempts.

Perhaps he thought he could pick up where his predecessor Rowan Williams left off and perform the miracle of turning discord into reconciliation; water into wine would have been easier. All his reconciliation attempts are falling apart faster than an old IKEA dresser. The harder he tries, the worse it all becomes. He would probably do better selling oil futures on the London Stock Exchange; after all he has had some experience in that industry. The Covenant is deader than a dodo bird. It will not be resurrected with any power or force.

First of all, he refused to weigh in on the Scottish Episcopal Church's decision to change its canons to allow same-sex marriage, saying it was none of his business. The SEC was another province and he wasn't going to tell them what to do. Welby was simply unwilling to do anything. A Pilate-like approach. Wash your hands, but make sure the towel is clean.

Then, on the day the SEC went ahead and changed its canons to accommodate pansexualists, US Anglican Primate, Foley Beach, held a press conference under the aegis of GAFCON in Edinburgh and announced that Canon Andy Lines would be consecrated a new GAFCON bishop for Europe. http://tinyurl.com/y9wodlgc

On Friday, June 30, 2017, Lines will be consecrated in Wheaton, Illinois (USA), at the Third Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), by the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Presiding. The consecrating Bishops will be acting on behalf of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

Suddenly, Welby got incensed at this boundary crossing and said so. He gave his "I am not amused" speech, and sniffed, "I do not consider the appointment of a 'Missionary Bishop' to be necessary". You can read that story here: http://tinyurl.com/yc79go9z

GAFCON Chairman Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria, the largest province in the Anglican Communion, fought back and, in a statement, likened the border crossing to the battle fought by Arius and Athanasius in the fourth century.

The Archbishop said it was not a step taken lightly, and from the beginning GAFCON has been committed to standing with the marginalized. Okoh went on to say that requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions. In fact, it left the GAFCON leaders no alternative but to act, and act they did. You can read that here: http://tinyurl.com/yckr8mrb

The evangelical Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt. Rev. Rod Thomas, says he will no longer meet with bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church following that Church's change to its marriage canons.

In a written statement, Thomas said the decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to change its marriage canons to allow same-sex marriages in church is very serious. "By its actions it is denying the goodness and authority of God's Word to us in the Scriptures. As a result, it is breaking communion with the majority of Anglicans worldwide. This leaves me with no choice but to recognize that the SEC has walked away from our communion.

Further pushback came when a number of churches in the Church of England, including St. Elisabeth's, Becontree and St. George's, Dagenham passed votes of no confidence in their bishops and the archbishops.

Susie Leafe, Director of REFORM, wrote that this is a further articulation of the concerns that Reform members throughout England have already effectively expressed in a range of ways.

"Where bishops and archbishops of the Church of England are negligent in the discharge of their God-given responsibilities, to the extent that whole congregations have no confidence in them, it is inevitable that they will seek Episcopal oversight elsewhere.

"Accordingly, we deeply regret the Archbishop of Canterbury's failure to welcome the GAFCON bishops' decision to send a Missionary Bishop to Europe. With less than 2% of the population of England regularly attending an Anglican Church, we would have hoped that he would have welcomed most warmly any missionary assistance on offer."

By the end of the week, parishes across England were declaring "no confidence" in the Archbishop of Canterbury.

You can also read my commentary, Good Disagreement, Generous Orthodoxy, the Nomenclature of Anglican Fudge, that attempts to pull together the great anomalies of Anglicanism by very smart Anglican leaders, who try to confuse ordinary folk like myself with a lot of high-sounding talk and episcobabble designed to confuse the laity in the hope that they won't see the woods for the trees. http://tinyurl.com/ybqpfyyg

Some other links to consider and view:

Churches vote of no confidence: http://anglicanmainstream.org/essex-churches-pass-motions-of-no-confidence-in-unbiblical-leadership-of-archbishops-of-canterbury-and-york/

For attendance figures of Church of England see here https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2016/10/2015-attendance-statistics-published.aspx

For attendance figures of Scottish Episcopal Church--see p71 http://www.scotland.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/32nd-Annual-Report-for-the-year-ended-31-December-2014.pdf

*****

In an entirely different Anglican universe, a conference, Living Sacrifices: Repentance, Reconciliation, and Renewal, co-hosted by Nashotah House and The Living Church on the "The missio Dei of communion: Anglicanism, change, and synodality", Dr. Ephraim Radner raised the possibility of an Anglican synod, "as a way of life together."

"We need to find a way to articulate [the Communion's divinely given mission] so as to concretize not just an idea but the practical means of moving into the ecclesial center of God's life in Christ. This means not just conceiving of our ecclesial communion as a state of being, but of ongoing common activity that leads ever more fully into what are, for God, his finished works, but what are for us a pathway that follows, that is given to us from God in the actual forms of Christ's body and words and deeds. This is the movement of discipleship. Communion must be a way of moving closer and closer to the finish line, but more and more living like Christ through more and more Passion, more and more Gospel, more and more Israel. This is the missio Dei, not as a condition or set of principles; rather as a person moving in the world drawing others with him," he said.

I have heard this offered up once before in Singapore, but it came to nothing and one suspects it will come to nothing again. Councils of the church demand not only obedience, but firm principles to move forward together that ALL will abide by. But recent events this week in England indicate that the Anglican Communion is actually becoming more polarized and more fractured, which makes me wonder if these folks are living on another Anglican planet from the one I live on.

*****

The ACNA will hold its once-every-three years ACNA Provincial Assembly later this month. This time at Wheaton College, Illinois, June 27-30. http://missiononourdoorstep.com/registration/

So, who goes to Assembly and why? Small group leaders and members of the church vestry. Your congregation is part of something bigger than itself. Leaders will bring back tools to help their own churches participate in the larger mission of the Anglican Church in North America and Anglicans worldwide.

Youth groups. A fully programmed youth track for junior high and high schoolers is being planned through Anglican Youth, including an optional post-Assembly trip to Chicago to experience urban missions.

Healing & pastoral care teams. The 'Equipped to Heal' prayer training school sub-conference is available for those leading and interested in pastoral care in your parish.
Campus ministers. Reach college students in your city with special equipping sessions. Greenhouse Campus Fellowship wants to help you own the campuses near you and help today's students become tomorrow's leaders.

Missional church advocates. The assembly theme this year, "Mission on Our Doorstep" is emphasizing our responsibility to gospel mission in our neighborhoods through church planting, evangelism, Biblical social justice, and more. Come to be inspired and equipped for mission on your doorstep.
Songwriters and worship leaders. Special tracks are designed for musicians from around the province to network.

Chaplains. Anglican Chaplains is holding its Training Symposium and Convocation beforehand and concurrently with Assembly 2017.

Latino congregations and ministry leaders. A fully-integrated sub-conference in Spanish is sponsored by Caminemos Juntos (the Anglican Latino church planting movement), with simultaneous translation of the main plenary sessions.

Those invested in the future of the ACNA. Assembly 2017 is another step in the deep partnership between the ACNA and GAFCON provinces. Come and see how a historic partnership between Anglicans in the Global South and North America is poised to reach the whole world with the authentic gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some of the speakers include Bishop William Beasley, the perennial Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and missiologist Ed Stetzer.

*****

The Diocese of Truro in England recently advertised for a Mission leader, but "You do not need to be a practicing Christian", said the Ad.

"Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world," so declared the Church of England at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. This quotation leads the church's Mission and Evangelism page on its website, along with a brief exposition of its missiology:

As Christians, we follow Jesus who said "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20.21). We are called to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the good news.

"It's not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church".

For Anglican Christians, God's mission is about transformation -- transforming individual lives, transforming communities and transforming the world. As we follow Jesus Christ, we believe that God's mission is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in three ways:

Apparently not.

The Diocese of Truro (strapline: "Discovering God's Kingdom / Growing the Church") is advertising for a Strategic Programme Manager who will be responsible for "the strategic leadership of the Transforming Mission programme". This post is not simply managerial, but one of leadership. They specify to potential applicants: "You do not need to be a practicing Christian"

Blogger Archbishop Cranmer rightly asked; Since when did Church of England leaders not need to be practicing Christians?

Another blogger asked, "How this faithless missioner will increase faith is not explained. But one can be sure that the mealy-mouthed managerial-speak in which the job is described will have alienated any red-blooded Christian at the mere reading of it.

"The unbelieving applicant would, nevertheless, need to be 'sympathetic to the aims and objectives of the Church of England'. Whatever they may be. The same tolerant and inclusive language will no doubt be useful in the forthcoming appointment of a new bishop."

*****

Polygamy and an African Archbishop. Two concerned Anglican leaders took exception to a charge that the late Archbishop David Gitari was polygamous and supported polygamy. Dr. Vinay Samuel and Dr. Chris Sugden wrote a Letter to the Church of England Newspaper protesting Anglican lesbian Jayne Ozanne for suggesting that he did. Here is what they wrote:

Sir,

Jayne Ozanne on mainstream TV and on Facebook has alleged that Archbishop David Gitari of Kenya was himself polygamous (later withdrawn) and supported polygamy. May we quote from his own autobiography, Troubled but not Destroyed (ISAAC Publishing, 2014 p 157-158):

"I appealed (to the 1988 Lambeth Conference) to revisit the decision of the 1888 Lambeth Conference, which had resolved that "persons living in polygamy be not admitted to baptism, but that they be kept under Christian instruction until such a time as they shall be in a position to accept the law of Christ." The conference agreed to review the resolution and resolved that people who were polygamists before becoming Christians should be baptized with their wives and children after further instruction. Putting away all wives except one should not be a condition for baptism. (See further David M. Gitari "The Church and Polygamy", Transformation Magazine, Vol 1. No. 1. January -- March 1984, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, www.ocms.ac.uk)"

Reducing theological Issues to ad hominem comments exposes an unwillingness to discuss the theological, moral, health, social science and scientific issues in the debate about human sexuality and marriage. African bishops are thousands of miles away from the TV studios, or, in Archbishop Gitari's case, dead, where these allegations are made and have more important things to do than respond to Facebook posts making unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations about them. This current form of debate is no way for those claiming to be leaders of communities of interest to behave.

Yours sincerely,

Vinay Samuel Canon, St Paul's Cathedral Embu, Kenya;
Chris Sugden, Canon, St Luke's Cathedral, Jos, Nigeria and St Anselm's Cathedral, Sunyani, Ghana.

*****

An Alabama judge has ordered the corporation of the Episcopal Church, called the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), and former Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls to engage in state-mandated mediation, according to an ENS report.

Mobile County 13th Judicial District Judge Ben Brooks' June 12 order came after he had heard oral arguments on the Church's request that he dismiss a lawsuit Sauls filed after he was let go from his post. Brooks told the parties to submit proposed orders on the dismissal motion by July 14.

The suit against the DFMS and an unspecified number of unnamed defendants associated with the Church claims that Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's decision to replace him as chief operating officer had damaged his reputation and has made it difficult, if not impossible, for him to be employed elsewhere in the Church. The Church had argued that the case did not belong in the Alabama courts but, instead, in New York where Sauls was based as COO.

Brooks also said in his order that the parties in the lawsuit must submit to the sort of mediation that Alabama requires in civil lawsuits. Brooks appointed Michael Upchurch, an Alabama lawyer and mediator, to lead that process. Upchurch must finish the mediation and report to Brooks by Aug. 18.

Upchurch attends St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope, Alabama, according to his profile on the website of the Mobile law firm Frazer, Greene, Upchurch, and Baker.

Sauls filed suit in early February, nearly a year after Curry relieved him of his job. In announcing the lawsuit, the presiding bishop said that, in consultation with legal counsel, he had "tried his best to negotiate a severance with Bishop Sauls." Curry said he made "a good faith and compassionate offer, but that offer was not accepted.

'The presiding bishop also said that "as a steward of church resources", he could not go beyond that offer and explain it in good conscience to the Church.

*****

On my rock star, I will build my church of good disagreement. This might just as swell be the mantra of Archbishop Justin Welby, who seems hell bent on endorsing anything pansexual.

Controversial Christian rock star, Vicky Beeching, who in 2014 came out as a lesbian and argued that God loves her "just the way I am," has received an award by the head of the Anglican Communion for her contributions to worship music.

Beeching, who claims to be a theologian and media commentator, hit back against online criticism from conservative Christians who argued that her pro-LGBT convictions disqualify her from such an award.

The rock star has been posting throughout the week about her experiences of being presented with the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, last week.

*****

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