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Diocese of South Carolina will appeal case to SCOTUS * Former Canadian Bishop Leaves ACoC, joins ANIC over Worley Firing * Episcopal Priest nabbed in Child Porn Sting * Safeguarding Safeguards Who? * As TEC Parishes Close, Apartments are Substituted

Moral clarity is its own justification. As an evangelical Christian, I believe we will all give an account at the judgment seat of God. But you don't have to agree with me on that to see something of what's at stake when the next generation comes to think that the society around them believes in nothing. When conscience means nothing, all that is left is power. The result is a nihilism that, history has shown us, ends up nowhere good. --- Russell Moore

"Every day, the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change." --- George Barna, Pollster

The cultural captivity of Christianity in the West is nearly complete, and with the religion tamed, it is open season on the West's Christian heritage. --- Lamin Sanneh in Christianity Today

I suspect that large numbers of these people who identify as "evangelicals" are really just whites who watch Fox News and who consider themselves religious. --- Thomas S. Kidd (Vox News)

Jesus the unparalleled. The world's religious situation has not greatly changed. True, the old gods of Greece and Rome have long since been discredited and discarded. But new gods have arisen in their place, and other ancient faiths have experienced a resurgence. As a result of modern communication media and ease of travel, many countries are increasingly pluralistic. What people want is an easy-going syncretism, a truce in inter-religious competition, a mishmash of the best from all religions. But we Christians cannot surrender either the finality or the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. There is simply nobody else like him; his incarnation, atonement and resurrection have no parallels. In consequence, he is the one and only mediator between God and the human race. This exclusive affirmation is strongly, even bitterly, resented. It is regarded by many as intolerably intolerant. Yet the claims of truth compel us to maintain it, however much offence it may cause. --- John R. W. Stott

The Bible instructs us in righteousness ... its meaning is to keep us living right --- Oswald Chambers.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
Nov. 24, 2017

The big news of the week occurred in South Carolina and Western Canada.

From South Carolina came news that the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina led by Bishop Mark Lawrence will appeal its case to the Supreme Court of the United States. This is not a total surprise as their options are pretty limited: capitulate or fight.

The Standing Committee, after prayerful deliberation, voted unanimously to petition for a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court. The request is for review of the recent final ruling by the state supreme court.

"The lead opinion in this case is nothing less than judicial sanction of the confiscation of church property masquerading as an attempt to promulgate a new deference rule for determining title in this matter."

Several congregations voted affirmatively to join in the petition. "We encourage the other parish parties to the case to consult with their legal counsel to address their vestry's desire to join," said a diocesan press release.

In Western Canada, the retired Bishop of Caledonia, the Rt. Rev. William Anderson, has left the ACoC and joined the ANiC, blasting the firing of the Rev. Jake Worley by Archbishop John Privett, Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon because of his former ties to the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA).

In a letter to Privett, Anderson said the process was "shameful beyond words" and "dishonest and deceitful." He said the real reason for Worley's being blocked as bishop and then being fired lay with his views.

"I think the issue was much more, quite frankly, the fact that he represented a conservative stream of theological thought that was offensive to the extremely liberal drift of the bishops of the provincial house," Anderson said. "The whole thing smacked of a kangaroo court."

Anderson was immediately welcomed into the bosom of the ANiC by Bishop Charlie Masters.

You can read the full story here: http://www.virtueonline.org/retired-bishop-caledonia-leaves-acoc-and-joins-anic

*****

Across the country, as TEC parishes close, they are being replaced by affordable housing units. Of course, TEC dioceses are positioning it as a "justice issue", instead of what it really is -- 'a closing down we can't keep the church open' issue.

The most recent is in Alexandria, VA, where an Episcopal church will be replaced by affordable housing. More than 100 residential units are planned.

The Alexandria Times reports that there are plans to demolish the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria's West End by 2021 in order to replace it with 113 multi-family affordable units. A new, 5,000-square-foot church is also planned. Located at 2280 N. Beauregard Street, the units will be for households who make 40 to 60 percent of the area median income.

There are also plans for 28 parking spaces for the 140-seat chapel and 84 spaces for the residential building.

Already, more than 10 churches in Washington, D.C., have converted to housing or some other uses, as seen in Morton Street Mews and The LINE DC.

In downtown Milwaukee, at the historic St. James Episcopal Church, a seven-story apartment building is proposed that would include new commercial space to house weddings and other events. The new building would replace the church's rear parish house, which would be demolished, according to new plans submitted to the city Historic Preservation Commission.

The church, built in 1867 at 833 W. Wisconsin Ave., would remain with its historic character preserved, according to plans filed by developer Josh Jeffers. However, it will no longer be part of the Episcopal Church's Milwaukee Diocese.

St. James had its final worship service on Nov. 1, according to the church's website. The church, which closed on Nov. 9, has been listed for sale by the diocese.

VOL will be writing a comprehensive report on closures around the country in the coming weeks as churches, cathedrals and diocesan centers are closed and replaced with apartments and more.

In yet another Episcopal scandal (will they never end), a priest in Birmingham in the Diocese of Alabama, one Michael Glenn Rich, 56, was nabbed in a massive state child porn operation and charged with three counts of possession of child pornography. He is a former Auburn University professor.

He was one of two men arrested in a massive state operation aimed at child predators by ALEA's Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

Rich was ordained May 31, 2006, as clergy in charge at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville. In 2014, he accepted a call to serve as priest-in-charge in discernment at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Birmingham. He had served as rector of St. Luke's for more than seven years when he left for Birmingham. You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/yb6wv8ql

*****

The decidedly pro-gay Diocese of Atlanta, wherein you can see photographic evidence of its black bishop Rob Wright, mincing his way through crowds on gay pride parade days blessing all and sundry, announced this week that he was establishing a Companion Diocese relationship with the Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Now the diocese of Ghana is one of several dioceses in The Church of the Province of West Africa and was one of the first Anglican provinces to break communion with the Episcopal Church over the question of allowing the blessing of same-sex unions and non-celibate homosexual clergy. The Episcopal Diocese of Liberia continues, nevertheless, in full communion.

The Church of the Province of West Africa has been active in the Anglican realignment as a member of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Global South. Archbishop Solomon Tilewa Johnson attended Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON II), that took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013. One wonders if he is aware of the actions of one of his dioceses. We shall know more ere long.

*****

Relentlessly, day by day, the surveillance society is becoming more total -- the word I am looking for is totalitarian, writes the Rev. Dr. Peter Mullens from England.

How many big brothers are watching you, he asks, in a piece on Safeguarding in the Church of England.

"Last Saturday I was invited by the Church of England authorities to attend what is called a Safeguarding Course. If I had declined this "invitation," I would have no longer possessed my work permit: the Bishop's permission for me to officiate as a priest. So, along with thirty other priests and laypeople, I endured a couple of hours brainwashing session in which I was told to look out for incidences of "physical, mental, sexual or emotional abuse of children or adults." Suggestions were offered as to how I might go about this. I should, for example, listen to children's conversation from which I might glean some insight into their home life.

"The Safeguarding industry is a nationalized industry and it has its branches everywhere. Clergy, teachers, doctors, nurses, members of the police and those in many other professions have to receive this education.

Everyone is under scrutiny

Safeguarding must be one of the most flourishing industries in the country and I wouldn't know where to start to try to calculate just how many hundreds of thousands are involved in it. In the Diocese of Chichester alone, there is a full time Safeguarding supremo with his own office and machinery for the production and dissemination of propaganda on a huge scale. The supremo has many part time assistants who all report to him. And every parish church must appoint its own Safeguarding officer. If I suspect that someone I come across in the course of my work is being abused in any of the four ways mentioned above, I must on no account use my own judgement and, perhaps, intervene to find out what's going on. No, though I am a priest with a lifetime's experience, I must regard myself as incapable of any qualities of discernment and of any moral authority and, in the words of our safeguarding tutor, "Simply report your suspicions to your Safeguarding officer. And that's your job done."

"Now, what does the "job done" look like? It might involve a child being removed from the family home by social workers. Or, in a recent case, a teacher sent an email to an underage pupil which was suspected of ambiguity. Did it contain a sexual reference? Not according to the girl who received it. But others saw it and thought it did contain a sexual element and reported it to their Safeguarding officer who in turn reported it to the police. The police interviewed the teacher but no charges were made. But, because an allegation had been made -- albeit by people to whom the original message had not been addressed -- the teacher was put on the sex offenders' register. No trial. No charges. So the teacher was innocent -- but he was being treated as if he were guilty."

By any standards this is a frightening development in the Church of England. Big Brother is watching and waiting to pounce on anyone even suspect of sexual misbehavior.

A case in point is the hopeful rehabilitation of Bishop George Bell, once internationally respected former Bishop of Chichester.

A few months ago, the now deceased bishop of over half a century was accused by a woman of sexual abuse. No public trial, no open hearings. The matter was settled behind closed doors. The woman was paid money, the case was closed and Bell was publicly discredited.

An outcry was raised by several leading bishops and the case was reopened. Now, the Church of England
Is being accused of "delaying" over the George Bell report.

The Church of England hit back over the allegation that it is delaying publishing the Carlile report into its handling of the abuse claim against the late Bell.

The Church said in a statement that the delay in publishing the report from the review by Lord Carlile of Berriew into lessons learnt from the case, which was delivered more than six weeks ago on October 7, was down to the 'intensive process' of 'responding with feedback from those who contributed' which includes 'issues over factual accuracy and identification of "Carol"' the pseudonym for the complainant, in accordance to the terms of reference.

"This is the process with all independent reviews, there is a period of a few months between receiving the first draft and final publication,' the statement from a spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team said, with a Church source adding that 'we are not delaying anything".

The statement comes after fierce criticism of the Church's handling of the case led by Peter Hitchens, the Mail on Sunday columnist and outspoken supporter of the campaign to clear the name of the late former bishop, which is being coordinated by the George Bell group.

In 2015, the Bishop of Chichester issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding allegations of sexual abuse by the late Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until shortly before his death in 1958.

In November last year, the Church announced the Carlile review which it said was aimed at investigating 'the processes surrounding the allegations which were first brought in 1995 to the diocese of Chichester, with the same allegations brought again, this time to Lambeth Palace, in 2013.' The Church added at the time: 'It will also consider the processes, including the commissioning of independent expert reports and archival and other investigations, which were used to inform the decision to settle the case, in order to learn lessons which can applied to the handling of similar safeguarding cases in future.'

*****

The Anglican Church in Barbados is facing a problem: it is losing its men. This declaration came from historian Trevor Marshall, who said the Anglican Church is now a church of women, when compared to pre-independence.

While speaking during a panel discussion titled "The Ministry of the Anglican Church in Post-Independence Barbados", held at the St James Parish Church recently, Marshall said men abandoning the church, which was the first to be introduced to Barbados, is one of the problems facing the Diocese.

The historian said up to 1966, the Anglican Church was predominantly made up of men, who particularly held leadership positions. He pointed out that the notion of women ascending to the priesthood was a distant inevitability, and noted that people fought against it.

"If you go from one church or to another, you will see either a constancy of numbers or a decline in numbers which has to do with the role of men in the church.

"You go to an Anglican Church once upon a time and it was a man carrying a cross, but now it is a woman. Altar servers were men, now they are women.

"As a sociological observer, I am noting that these are the changes within this particular denomination," he said.

Men are being lost to dominoes, to drinking, playing cricket and football on Sundays," Marshall added.

*****

Since 1999, at least 800 people have died in church attacks across America. The rest of the civilized world does not understand America's obsession with guns especially semi-automatic rifles that have no value except to kill another human being. Australia outlawed them twenty years ago and have never had an outbreak since.

In one of those rare occasions the Episcopal HOB might have gotten it right. More than 70 bishops said they would work to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the US.

They released the following statement: "We share in the grief and horror of people across our country and, indeed, around the world in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. It has become cliched at moments such as these to offer thoughts and prayers. But as Christians, we must reflect upon the mass killings that unfold with such regularity in our country."

They talked about the country's cripplingly frequent outbursts of lethal gun violence and said, "We must look into our own hearts and examine the ways in which we are culpable or complicit in the gun violence that surrounds us every day. And then, having looked, we must act. As Christians, we are called to engage in the debates that shape how Americans live and die, especially when they die due to violence or neglect."

*****

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia spoke out in support of Christians in the Middle East this week. Archbishop Justin was in Moscow for a three-day visit, during which he formally presented and introduced the new Chaplain to St Andrew's Anglican Church in Moscow, the Rev. Malcolm Rogers, to the Patriarch as the Archbishop's Apokrisiarios, or representative. In a joint statement issued after their meeting, the Archbishop and Patriarch appealed to the international community to "render speedy help to support the Christian and other populations of the Middle East".

*****

In its efforts to total self-destruct, the Anglican Church of Canada continued on its Gadarene slide when it was revealed this week that eight same-sex couples have been married in three Anglican Church of Canada dioceses, ahead of General Synod 2019, when a resolution to allow same-sex marriages will be presented for second reading. There's nothing like jumping the gun, and any word of outrage would be met with cries of homophobia, so the revisionists get away with it.

Since General Synod 2016 approved -- on first reading -- a proposed change in the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriages, four weddings of same-sex couples have taken place in the diocese of Niagara, three in the diocese of Toronto and one in the diocese of Ottawa, according to the offices of the respective diocesan bishops. Several other same-sex couples in the dioceses of Toronto and Ottawa are also preparing to walk down the aisle.

In the diocese of Montreal, Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson said she is currently going through a discernment process with four same-sex couples considering marriage.

Bishop Logan McMenamie, of the diocese of British Columbia, announced at a diocesan synod in autumn 2016 that he will "move forward with the marriage of same-sex couples in the diocese" on a case-by-case basis. When the Anglican Journal contacted his office in March 2017, no same-sex couples had yet approached the diocese about the possibility of marriage.

Last week, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Niagara Falls and, according to Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz, much of the conversation was about marriage equality. The Archbishop said that there were concerns expressed about the limitations of the General Synod legislative process and the general desire to have a robust conversation.

A resolution to allow same-sex marriages in the church passed its first reading at General Synod in July 2016; a required second reading will go before General Synod in 2019. If it passes, Canada will join the Scottish Episcopal Church and the US-based Episcopal Church in welcoming marriage equality.

*****

A new survey has found that "nones" is now the largest social group in the U.S., overtaking Protestants and Catholics.

The American Family Survey, released on Nov. 16, has found that 34 percent of Americans now identify as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular." The findings make them the largest religious groups in the study, surpassing Protestants (33 percent) and Catholics (21 percent).

Other groups included in the research include Muslims, Jews (two percent), Mormons (one percent), Orthodox Christians (one percent) and Hindus (one percent), as well as those who said they were "something else" (four percent).

*****

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has accused the newly-opened Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., of indoctrinating its visitors and said that it has taken steps to ensure that the institution has not received any taxpayer funds.

In an article posted on Patheos.com, Andrew L. Seidel, Director of Strategic Response for the FFRF, said that the group has been monitoring the progress of the museum for years and it has filed Freedom of Information Act requests to make sure that no taxpayer funds have been received during its construction.

Seidel noted that in 2014, the FFRF had tried to prevent Steve Green, who had funded the museum, from implementing a Bible course in Oklahoma public schools.

He contended that the materials in that course had a "clear Christian bias" and said that he expects to see "more of the same in the Museum of the Bible."

The $500 million museum, which opened to the public on Saturday, features a large collection of Christian and Hebrew artifacts, as well as exhibits on the Bible's influence on society, including media, fashion and events in American and world history. The museum is the brainchild of the president of Hobby Lobby.

*****

Recently we announced our exciting new project to overhaul VirtueOnline: we plan to add many elements and features needed to bring the website to the next level, and address whatever was not working on the current site. That campaign is now live! We have called it VIRTUEONLINE 2.0
https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/help-build-virtueonline-2-0-thank-david-virtue

The Challenge

Over the last twenty years in the trenches, VirtueOnline has seen it all, and you've been there right alongside with us. With the Anglican Realignment becoming a magnificent reality, the Gospel once more has a chance of being safe; yet the forces marshaled against it are gathering and they are very mighty. It is clear that we need to do much more, do it better, and do it faster. The faithful are called to do their utmost like never before. There is much that we at VOL must be better at:
• We don't live on social media -- at all. With e-mail we reach thousands of people every week, yet we might as well not exist on much more relevant and vital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium.
• We write a lot, but how much of it has an impact? Some sections of VOL no longer serve a purpose, or could be done much better.
• The VOL platform is not helping us understand what you read, what you choose not to read, and how we can be more helpful to you.
• The website is outdated and a refresh is long overdue, and many of you have told me that!
In short, to make a lot more impact for global orthodox Anglicanism, VirtueOnline needs to do better, and do more.

Please help us get the word out. You can contribute here:

https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/help-build-virtueonline-2-0-thank-david-virtue

In Christ,

David

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