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MDAS Diocese Confronts ACNA over Women's Ordination * More TEC Dioceses have no Fulltime Bishop * Child Sex Abuse Could Destroy CofE says Welby * Sewanee (finally) Revokes Rose's Degree * Two Bishops Resign * More Sex Abuse Revelations in South Africa

"Our society is stewing in a cauldron of moral, racial, financial, political and theological nonsense. The heat is on and it's getting turned up. With lightening speed and intensity growing multitudes of people are mistaking relativism for truth, tolerance for love, fatalism for faith, and mere Bible knowledge for the application of Biblical truth. This cocktail is toxic..." - excerpted from "A Call for Courage" by Michael Anthony

[In the UK] dozens of evangelistic programs have been held up and down the country among students over the past few weeks. Hundreds, perhaps thousands have heard the Gospel explained clearly, often for the first time, by listening to talks, reading testimonies on social media, or reading a Gospel with a friend using the 'Uncover' material. And people have put their faith in Jesus, started to live the Christian life, and begun to attend church. Young Christians have begun to develop spiritual gifts and leadership skills as they move from a shy, perhaps second-hand faith learned from parents and home church, to confident witnesses, having broken the 'pain barrier' of asking a friend to a meeting, now bold in intercession and participating in the organization of evangelistic events. --- Andrew Symes for Anglican Mainstream

If you don't believe that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, you're the worst kind of hateful. If you think a child deserves a mother and a father, you are a bigot. If you think a gender-dysphoric boy should not be treated as a girl, you're evil. If you think a man should use the men's restroom, regardless of what sex he thinks he is, you are discriminatory. If you think parents' desire to get their children counseling help for their same-sex attraction is okay, you're very dangerous. If your church teaches that homosexual sexual activity is wrong, your church is bigoted. --- Glenn T. Stanton for mercatornet.net

What is and what will be. Already the kingdom of God has been inaugurated and is advancing; not yet has it been consummated. Already the new age (the age to come) has come, so that we have 'tasted ... the powers of the coming age'; not yet has the old age completely passed away. Already we are God's sons and daughters, and no longer slaves; not yet have we entered 'the glorious freedom of the children of God'. An overemphasis on the 'already' leads to triumphalism, the claim to perfection -- either moral (sinlessness) or physical (complete health) -- which belongs only to the consummated kingdom, the 'not yet'. An overemphasis on the 'not yet' leads to defeatism, an acquiescence in continuing evil which is incompatible with the 'already' of Christ's victory. --- John R.W. Stott

Essentially, we are confronted by the fact that some things are "wrong in themselves". Their wrongness does not change even if their formulation is transferred into articles of public law and widely practiced and enforced. The violation of what is "wrong in itself" will always have personal and societal consequences. Yet the "wrongness" does not arise from the consequences. Rather, the consequences flow from the violation of the principle, from the objective disorder in the act. --- James V. Schall, SJ

The C of E takes about £580m ($$818m) a year in donations, although most are from standing orders and fees rather than cash given in church. -- The Guardian

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
March 23, 2018

The slowly stewing issue of women's ordination in the Anglican Church in North America came to a head this week, when VOL received a report from the annual synod of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS), a diocese in the ACNA. The Rt. Rev. William H. Ilgenfritz, told delegates that he had been "rebuffed" when the subject of the ordination of women was raised, and told to accept "dual-integrity" or "shuffle off to Rome."

While this has not precipitated a crisis, it does reveal a broadening chasm between those dioceses that do and those who do not ordain women. Could it lead to a split in the movement?

You can read my full report on this here: http://www.virtueonline.org/dual-integrity-over-womens-ordination-heightens-tension-acna

*****

As the Episcopal Church sinks slowly into the sunset there is new evidence that a growing number of dioceses can no longer afford a full-time bishop.

The latest is the Diocese of Western Kansas. In a document sent to VOL, exiting Bishop Michael P. Milliken wrote a "Dear Friends..." letter saying that the diocesan leadership has decided that the (next) Bishop will revert back to a "less-than-full-time-position" (i.e., part time). "This will reflect who we really are as a diocese, composed of many small congregations led by a part-time and/or non-stipendiary clergy. We feel this will also free up shrinking dollars that can be directed toward ministry initiatives in the diocese." TRANSLATION: We are dying but doing it gracefully.

Five dioceses currently have sitting provisional bishops, including:

DIOCESE OF EASTERN MICHIGAN
(2017-Present) +Catherine Waynick (X Indianapolis - retired)

DIOCESE OF LEXINGTON
(2016-Present) +Bruce Caldwell (VIII Wyoming - retired)

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH in SOUTH CAROLINA (TECinSC) second provisional
(2016 - Present) +Gladstone Adams (Central New York - retired)
(2013 -2016) +Charles vonRosenberg (III East Tennessee)

TEC FORT WORTH fourth provisional
(2015-Present) +Scott Mayer (V Northwest Texas - sitting bishop)
(2012-2015) +Rayford High (Texas - Suffragan)
(2009-2012) +Wallis Ohl (IV Northwest Texas)
(2009) +Ted Gulich (VII Kentucky)

TEC DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM
(2014 - Present) +Sean Rowe (VIII Northwestern Pennsylvania -- sitting bishop)

*DIOCESE OF CENTRAL ECUADOR Acting Bishop
(2011 - Present) +Victor Scantlebury (Panama - Suffragan retired)

FORMER PROVISIONAL BISHOPS (1998-2017)

DIOCESE OF EASTON Provisional (2014-2016)
+Henry Parsley (X Alabama - retired)
2016 +Santoch Marray elected XI Bishop of Easton

DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA Provisional (2013-2016)
+Clifton Daniel III (East Carolina - retired)
2016 +Daniel Gutierrez elected XVI Bishop of Pennsylvania

TEC DIOCESE OF SAN JOAQUIN (Provisional 2008-2017)
(2008-2011) +Jerry Lamb (VI Northern California - retired)
(2011-2014) +Chester Talton (Los Angeles - Suffragan/retired)
(2014-2017) +David Rice (XV Anglican Bishop of Waiapa, New Zealand)
(2017- present) +David Rice elected V Bishop of San Joaquin

DIOCESE OF EASTERN OREGON (Provisional 2009-2016)
+Nedi Riveria (Oregon - Sitting Suffragan)
2016 Diocese elected +Patrick Bell as VII Bishop of Eastern Oregon

DIOCESE OF PUERTO RICO (Provisional 2014-2017)
+Wilfrido Ramos-Orench (Central Ecuador Provisional)
2017 +Rafael Morales elected VII Bishop of Puerto Rico

* DIOCESE OF CENTRAL ECUADOR (Provisional 2007-2009)
+Wilfrido Ramos-Orench (Connecticut - Suffragan)
2009 +Luis Ruiz elected III Bishop of Central Ecuador

DIOCESE OF QUINCY (Provisional 2009-2013)
+John Buchanan (VI Western Missouri - Retired)
2013 Diocese of Quincy unites with Diocese of Chicago and become the Peoria Deanery.

DIOCESE OF CHICAGO (Provisional 1998-1999)
+Herbert Donovan (XI Arkansas)
1999 +William Persell elected XI Bishop of Chicago
DIO Eau Claire Provisional 2010-2013
+Edwin Liedel (I Eastern Michigan)
2012 +William Lambert elected VI Eau Claire.

Northern Michigan had a VACANT bishopric after +Jim Kelsey was killed in a car accident in 2007 until 2011 when +Rayford Ray was elected. In 2009, Kevin Thew Forrester was elected as bishop, but failed to get the needed affirmations of the Standing Committees and HOB. He claimed adherence to Buddhist teachings.

It should be further noted that the national church based in New York City is keeping a number of dioceses artificially afloat with money. Two dioceses, Ft. Worth and San Joaquin, have received significant funding. How long that can be sustained is anyone's guess. The situation only promises to get worse.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Province of Nigeria is growing by leaps and bounds with whole new dioceses coming into being year over year, with more archbishops and bishops coming online. Nigeria has fourteen archbishops; each hold metropolitical authority within their respective provinces. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh bears the title "Primate of All Nigeria".

*****

Sewanee (finally) revoked Charlie Rose's honorary degree after months of pressure to take action. VOL first broke the story and thus began a concerted effort by students to revoke the TV commentator's degree in response to the sexual harassment scandal that derailed the broadcast journalist's career last fall.

The final decision was made by the Sewanee Board of Regents in a March 20 meeting, the university said in a statement released March 21. The statement noted this was the first time Sewanee had revoked a honorary degree, and the action required the creation of a new procedure for reconsidering such degrees.

The Board of Regents initially had resisted requests to revoke the degree in February, but a month later it has reversed itself, joining the honorary degree committee and the University Senate in voting with at least two-thirds majorities to take action against Rose.

Pressure has mounted at Sewanee since November to revoke the degree. Two student trustees wrote to the Board of Regents in February recommending that action, but the regents rebuffed such calls, saying, "we do not believe it is our place to condemn the individual."

Four Episcopal bishops and three Episcopal priests sit on the 20-member Board of Regents, including Florida Bishop Samuel Howard, who serves as an ex officio board member because of his position as Sewanee chancellor.

*****

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry does evangelism There are two ways to be incoherent: say something that means nothing; say something that can mean anything. The latter technique is preferred by Anglican clergy because it gives the illusion of Deep Thinking while providing an escape route when someone tries to pin them down, writes Samizdat, an orthodox Canadian blogger.

"Thus, when the Diocese of Niagara embarked upon the Decade of Evangelism many years ago, it spent nine and a half of those years attempting to define "evangelism" and six months producing reports that concluded "evangelism" was just another word for "inclusion" because, obviously, God would not exclude anyone or their behavior, sexual proclivities or path to salvation no matter how perverse or arcane. Shortly after that most Christians left the diocese.

Now it's Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's turn.

Curry, eager to be on the trailing edge of secular trends, has been influenced by the twittering success of Donald Trump. He is tweeting his enthusiasm for evangelism; and making it mean anything -- or nothing -- at all:

Here is what Curry's circular reasoning looks and sounds like. "Evangelism matters because the way of Jesus is the way of life. It's the only way of life. I didn't say being a Christian or being a member of the Church, though I believe in both. Loving, liberating, life-giving. It is liberating and life-giving because it is loving." And what the blazes does that mean. No context, no theology, just circular reasoning with no starting and no ending. And this passes for evangelism?

A group of mainline church leaders including TEC's presiding bishop and a number of left of center evangelicals are calling for a campaign to reclaim Jesus in US culture. Not a bad idea I suppose. But wouldn’t it be nice if they reclaimed Jesus in their own churches first! A genuinely prophetic statement would start with repentance for selling out the gospel to a whole host of social justice and activist issues while ignoring the gospel of God’s free grace. You can read their statement here:
https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2018/03/22/presiding-bishop-others-begin-campaign-to-reclaim-jesus-in-us-culture/

*****

A Commission on Impairment and Leadership in the Episcopal Church issued a report which it will offer to General Convention this summer. It concluded that, in almost every case that it examined, the ecclesial structure and polity of the church proved to contribute negatively to the situation.

The commission was precipitated by the death of a bicyclist by the besotted Maryland Bishop Heather Cook. In a double irony, the Maryland Parole Commission denied her parole request because she "took no responsibility" and showed a total "lack of remorse" for her actions. She will do the full seven years.

Soon after, the House of Bishops passed a resolution asking the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies to appoint a commission to "explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the Church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse."

The commission recognized a significant cultural shift in the Episcopal Church. "These recommendations address the problem of impaired leaders, but they also diagnose and suggest treatment for an impaired system that maintains denial and helplessness toward addiction, mental illness, and physical disease."

An often underdeveloped theology of forgiveness also contributed to the abusers being given multiple opportunities to repeat their behaviors without consequences, the report said.

This is called playing the victim, denial and 'we don't know what the hell to do game.' In the end, nothing will change and TEC will continue its slide into oblivion.

You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/ybl7ysg3

*****

Sexual abuse charges have now broken out in England and South Africa. The Anglican Church in Cape Town is urgently taking steps to address sex abuse cases in the church.

In a statement, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Reverend Thabo Makgoba, said he has started urgent consultations to address the issue and to "strengthen" procedures which are in place for those who deal with sex abuse cases when they are reported.

His statement comes after "four individuals have either spoken out publicly or contacted my office privately" to report sex abuse in two dioceses, apparently during the 1970s and 1980s.

You can read and listen to what he has to say at these two links.

https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/anglican-archbishop-tackles-sex-abuse-in-the-church-20180322
https://news.google.com/news/video/FVxjWAuFZkk/d2390RN3dfMgOLM?hl=en&gl=ZA&ned=en_za
http://www.virtueonline.org/church-england-made-conscious-effort-treat-survivors-badly-inquiry-hears

In England, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned that child sex abuse by priests would "destroy the Church" if it continued. Justin Welby said the Church of England's current safeguarding powers to protect children "probably do need re-looking at" as he gave evidence to the independent inquiry into child sex abuse.

Speaking in trenchant terms on the fifth anniversary of his enthronement as archbishop, Welby warned those who failed to protect children would 'answer on the day of judgement for that'.

'That probably doesn't mean much to some people here,' he told the inquiry. 'But for me I think about that every day.'

"Those who do them [children] harm would do better to have a millstone put around their neck and thrown in to the sea rather than face the judgement that God will give them."

Welby went on to say that he had seen afresh the insanity of clericalism and of a deferential culture and how we had to struggle against that.

"Sexual abusers can never be trusted again even if they genuinely repent. We know abusive behavior tends to repeat. If someone has been an abuser, they can never be trusted again. You will never take a chance on them again". Welby went on to defend his decision to make public an allegation of abuse against Bishop George Bell. You can read the full stories here: https://tinyurl.com/ybkgbvka

SOME GOOD NEWS on the Church of England front. The Church of England did not unlawfully discriminate against a priest by refusing to grant a license after he entered a same-sex marriage, London's Court of Appeal said. The Rev. Jeremy Pemberton married his same-sex partner, Laurence Cunnington, in 2014, shortly after same-sex civil marriages were legalized in England and Wales. But the move was contrary to the C of E's doctrine of marriage and as a result, the acting bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Richard Inwood, revoked his Permission to Officiate and denied a license for him to take up a role as an Anglican hospital chaplain. Pemberton challenged the decision in the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and finally the Court of Appeal. All three ruled that the bishop had acted lawfully.

The decision to withhold a license under the Extra-Parochial Places Ministry Measure 1967, was taken by Bishop Richard on the grounds that by marrying his same-sex partner, Pemberton could not be considered to be in good standing because he had acted contrary to the House of Bishops' pastoral guidance which had banned same-sex marriages among the clergy.

*****

The theme for the Lambeth Conference in 2020 we are told is, "God's Church for God's World: walking, listening and witnessing together." Certainly, a long enough title. A better title might be; "Who will Come; Does it really matter and will anything change?"

The 10-yearly Lambeth Conference will take place from July 24 to August 3, 2020 at the University of Kent in Canterbury. It will be my third (and last) Lambeth Conference.

Originally scheduled for this summer, the conference was postponed by two years amid reports that Welby would not call the meeting until he was confident most, if not all, the key figures would consent to come. They still haven't.

More than 900 bishops from around the world will be invited to attend, along with their spouses, says an official press release. Based on previous conferences, fully a third will be TEC and ACoC bishops, another third will be CofE, Scottish, Irish and Welsh bishops and the remaining third will be from the Global South including NZ, Australia, South America and Southeast Asia. It will be a liberal gabfest minus evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics. You can read my full commentary on this here: https://tinyurl.com/ybnchdnk

*****

Two bishops, one in England and the other in New Zealand are stepping down to pursue new callings.

The Bishop of Christchurch in New Zealand, Victoria Matthews, and the Bishop of Shrewsbury in the Church of England's Diocese of Lichfield, Mark Rylands, have announced they are stepping down. The unrelated announcements are from bishops on the other side of the earth to each other. Bishop Matthews, formerly Bishop of Edmonton will step down on May 1. In a message to her diocese, she explained she was doing so because she was prompted by God to do so. She said it was not about her age, health or another calling. A source told VOL that she never really understood the culture of New Zealand, especially after the earthquake which saw the destruction of the cathedral. "It will help Christchurch. They need a local bishop as she could not understand the local culture when the earthquake damaged the cathedral. She wanted to demolish it while the local leaders wanted to restore it as an iconic part of their history."

Meanwhile, Bishop Mark Rylands will step down from his position in July, in order to return to parish ministry in the Diocese of Exeter.

*****

The Diocese of the Rio Grande is looking for a new bishop following the announced retirement of Bishop Michael Vono. Here is what the diocese looks like:

In 2000, the diocese had 15,242 baptized members; by 2016, it had dropped nearly 30% to just over 10,000. Average Sunday Attendance in 2000 was 6,384; by 2016, it dropped to 3,601, a whopping loss of 45%! Confirmations totaled 120, burials totaled 174. The average age of its 66 pastors is 63, with 56 pastors being over the age of 65. When they are gone in five years, there will be no replacements. Only 41% of all parishes have a full-time priest of one congregation. They had one new church plant in Gila, NM, Good Shepherd in 2016. It has 8 members.

*****

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has joined forces with Richard Dawkins and other prominent atheists, secularists and Muslims, attacking plans to allow Catholic schools to expand.

On March 6, Williams co-signed a letter sent to The Daily Telegraph deploring plans to allow new Catholic schools to open. The letter describes the U.K. government's intention to allow the expansion of Catholic education as "[a] divisive policy... deleterious to social cohesion."

Defenders of Catholic schools are fighting back with a vigorous defense of the contributions of Catholic schools to the U.K. as a whole and of the rights of Catholic parents to be able to provide their children with a Catholic education.

"Existing Catholic schools, which can allocate all places on the grounds of faith, are the most socially and ethnically diverse schools in the country," a spokesman for England's Catholic Education Service (CES) commented: "They also educate more than 300,000 non-Catholics, including 27,000 Muslims."

*****

Renowned scientist and atheist Stephen Hawking's will have his ashes interred at Westminster Abbey. His ashes will lie near the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

The renowned theoretical physicist, who had motor neurone disease, died on March 14, aged 76. A private funeral service will be held at Great St Mary's, the University of Cambridge Church on March 31, Prof Hawking's family said.

This will be followed by a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey later this year.

The Dean of Westminster said the location for his internment was 'entirely fitting' and said it was 'vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe'. You can read what Dr. Jules Gomes had to say about Hawking here: https://tinyurl.com/y6veoyoj

*****

Almost three quarters of the UK's young adults have no religious affiliation, while only 21 per cent identify as Christians and seven per cent as Anglicans, according to a major new survey showing an alarmingly high proportion of 'nones' across Europe.

The report, Europe's Young Adults and Religion by the respected professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion at St Mary's University and director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society, Stephen Bullivant, shows that the proportion of young adults (16-29) with no religious affiliation is as high as 91 per cent in the Czech Republic, 80 per cent in Estonia and 75 per cent in Sweden.

*****

'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe. Europe's march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion, according to a report in The Guardian.

The survey of 16- to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also categorize themselves as non-religious.

The most religious country is Poland, where 17% of young adults define themselves as non-religious, followed by Lithuania with 25%.

In the UK, only 7% of young adults identify as Anglican, fewer than the 10% who categorize themselves as Catholic. Young Muslims, at 6%, are on the brink of overtaking those who consider themselves part of the country's established church.

The figures are published in a report, Europe's Young Adults and Religion, by Stephen Bullivant, a professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary's University in London. They are based on data from the European social survey 2014-16.

Religion was "moribund", he said. "With some notable exceptions, young adults increasingly are not identifying with or practising religion."

The trajectory was likely to become more marked. "Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good -- or at least for the next 100 years," Bullivant said.

*****

The outgoing Primate of Rwanda, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, recently inaugurated a new 300 million Rwandan Franc (approximately $351,000) cathedral in Gasabo, which will be the seat of his successor, Archbishop-Elect Laurent Mbanda. Dr Mbanda, currently bishop of Shyira, who will be enthroned as the new Primate of Rwanda and Bishop of Gasabo on June 10.

It is named Holy Trinity Cathedral, Archbishop Onesphore said during the inauguration service for the 1,000-seater building.

"We thank every Christian who contributed to the construction of the cathedral," Kibagabaga parish leader Samuel Kayitare told the New Times newspaper. "We initially had planned for a 250 million Rwandan Franc budget for the construction but it will exceed 300 million Francs as we add more features."

Now reflect on the fact that while Africa is growing churches and building cathedrals, The Episcopal Church has closed two cathedrals in recent years -- St. John's, Wilmington, Delaware; and St. John, Providence, Rhode Island. Some 13 dioceses have no cathedral at all!

*****

Meghan Markle, soon to marry into the British royal family, was baptized and confirmed last week by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The dual ceremony took place at St. James' Palace in London on March 6. According to reports, Prince Charles attended with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

According to The Living Church, the marriage of Prince Harry to the previously divorced actress is an indication of change in British church and society. The actress was married to film producer Trevor Engelson, but the union ended in 2013. It is understood the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the couple his blessing and he will perform the wedding ceremony in Windsor on May 19.

The former Suits actress is under no compulsion to become an Anglican to marry Prince Harry. It is understood her decision was taken as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Markle to now has identified "Protestant" even though she attended a Catholic school. Her father, Thomas Markle, is an Episcopalian.

*****

According to Anglican Wannabe blogger, ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach signed the World Relief Immigration Letter. His Canon "The Venerable Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog" also signed it, with "Anglican Church in North America" attached.

World Relief signed a letter written collectively by members of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of evangelical leaders and organizations seeking biblical solutions for immigration. The letter expressed frustration with the words reportedly used by President Trump to describe particular African nations, along with Haiti and El Salvador, from which many Americans have emigrated.

The letter highlighted the fact that immigrants from "every country in the world have contributed to the greatness of this country."

"The Scriptures teach us that each human person -- regardless of their country of origin -- is made in the image of God, with inherent and infinite dignity," the letter stated. "These biblical values inform our national values as well. The United States was founded upon the conviction that all people are created equal -- though, as Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded our country, we have not always lived up to that truth."

The archbishop apparently did not consult with his HOB on the matter, but "at his discretion, the Archbishop may choose to speak into issues facing the culture."

*****

Please go to VOL's webpage www.virtueonline.org and FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/virtueonline/ for more stories and your comments.

If you would like to support VOL with a tax-deductible donation we would appreciate that.
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Thank you for your support.

In Christ,

David

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