Does the Word dominate us or do we seek to dominate the Word? --- Rev. Roger Salter
"Do you realize that the Anglican Communion in 2050, if present trends continue, will be 84 percent African and almost entirely evangelical?" Arguments about homosexuality, women's ministry, and other current hot issues in Anglicanism will hardly be relevant in 2050?" --- Patrick Johnstone in LEADERSHIP magazine
Scripture and tradition. The Pharisees came to Jesus and said: 'Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?' [In reply] he had something to say about their views on purification, and ... then went on to say something about their view of tradition... In opposition to the opinions of the Pharisees he enunciated three important principles. First, that Scripture is divine, while tradition is human. Secondly, that Scripture is obligatory, while tradition is optional. Thirdly, that Scripture is supreme, while tradition is subordinate. --- John R.W. Stott
What will the Church of the future look like if revitalization is to take place? I am convinced that the answer to our crisis of shrinking numbers in the pews and shrinking influence in the culture is not to be found in the glossy, high powered, corporatized mega church approach that has engulfed American Evangelicalism in the last thirty years; neither is it to be found in the doe eyed, gooey anti-gospel of moral ambiguity and pop psychology that has been the wheelhouse of American Liberal Christianity for the last fifty years. I have no crystal ball, nor any pretension of being a guru, but I strongly believe that a revitalized Church of the future will have three important characteristics. It will be Christ focused, doctrinally centered, and pastorally driven. --- Fr. Jonathan
'...I tell you that story because it's indicative of attitudes we've seen here (in South Carolina) and in many other places. Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge. It's not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens' militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It's not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage" --- Katharine Jefferts Schori in reference to South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence
Lying often is accomplished with euphemisms. Government spending is "investment." Raising taxes is "revenue reform." Torture is sanitized as "enhanced interrogation techniques." Global warming is morphing into "climate change" to accommodate obvious departures from the warming scenario. Gambling is "gaming." Defense of religious freedom is a "war on women." There' a slew of terms invented to validate sexual immorality. The sin of sodomy became homosexuality and then merely gay. Adultery became "finding oneself," "open marriage" or "swinging." Prostitutes are "commercial sex workers." Two men - with no bride - are considered "married." Pornography became "erotica." And abortion - the killing of unborn children - is "choice." --- Robert Knight is a Senior Fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.
The new policy to be adopted by the Boy Scouts of America represents a revolution in what that esteemed organization understands "morally straight" to mean. We should not let that pass without taking notice of what that revolution will eventually bring about - nothing less than a reversal of what morality is understood to demand. --- Rev. Dr. Albert Mohler
Dear Brothers and Sisters
February 1, 2013
It has been the most vicious, nasty ecclesiastical battle to date in the ongoing war between the ultra-liberal Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and orthodox dioceses in the Episcopal Church. Of all the dioceses that have left the Episcopal Church, now five, the Diocese of South Carolina and its bishop have had more anger and vitriol thrown at them with little sign of it abating any time soon.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori flew to Charleston, SC, opened a new rump diocese, appointed (by acclamation) a new bishop, tried to use the original name for the diocese but got shot down by the courts and has used language so defamatory that it has bordered on the annihilation of the bishop.
She accused Bishop Mark Lawrence of overstepping whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law. She followed all this up by calling him a "local tyrant". She then said "It's not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens' militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It's not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage."
Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council has called on Jefferts Schori to apologize and withdraw her remarks, but that will not be forthcoming.
As things now stand, we have two episcopal dioceses in Charleston, (not to mention at least six other Anglican jurisdictions in the Carolinas). The whole matter will now move to the courts where millions more dollars will be spent in property grabs.
VOL correspondent Mary Ann Mueller has been bird dogging this story, uncovering all the behind the scenes shenanigans over who has the right to the name. It has been a devious game of hide and seek played out behind cyber walls, but she has brought it all to light for VOL's readers.
The latest round in numbers from the stayers and leavers in South Carolina, or the reasserters or reappraisers as others put it, are as follows: Bishop vonRosenberg's diocese has 9 parishes with 36 delegates, 8 continuing parishes with 27 delegates, 10 missions with 15 delegates, and 1 continuing mission with 2 delegates, and 4 something or other. Also there are 20 priests with seat, voice and vote and 15 priests with seat and voice.
The Diocese of South Carolina under Bishop Mark Lawrence has 34 parishes and 11 missions staying with the diocese. There are 2 parishes and 8 missions that are undecided.
The Episcopal Presiding Bishop is offering religious reasons to protect the environment. "We normally think of debate and discussion over topics such as water quality and climate change in either scientific or economic terms. For example, what are the implications for business and employment in the face of increased environmental regulation?" Katharine Jefferts Schori says, "Part of what it means to be a person of faith is to live in we would call it holy relationship with the rest of what is, and in this context it means not using more resources than your fair share."
Perhaps she should consider what is a "holy relationship" with Bishop Mark Lawrence in South Carolina.
Acknowledging that there may be clergy in his diocese who will disagree with him,Rhode Island Episcopal Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely has come out in support of same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.
"The Episcopal Church has been blessed for many years by the life and ministry of gay and lesbian couples, both lay and ordained," he said in a letter to clergy.
"I have seen how they contribute to the common good of a congregation and a community by creating stable, loving homes. As a new citizen of Rhode Island" -- Knisely was installed Nov. 17 -- "I am eager to see our state legislature join many others across the country in passing legislation to ensure civil marriage equality."
In West Virginia, the head of the Episcopal Church wants the state's human rights law amended to include a provision banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Bishop Michie Klusmeyer of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia wrote a letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the state's Legislature asking for their support of changing the state's human rights law to make it consistent with the Federal Hate Crimes Law, which President Obama signed into law in 2009.
Klusmeyer, whose diocese is comprised of 70 congregations and nearly 10,000 members, said the church has written similar letters to Tomblin and former Gov. Joe Manchin over the past four or five years.
Neither responded, but legislators have, he said.
"We have gotten little action but [some] responses," Klusmeyer said. "I have gotten some letters of support and some nasty responses from other [legislators]."
The president of the U.S. declared it. A pastor prayed it. And woe betide those who differ with this new reality announced at this past week's presidential inauguration: Gay is now an official social category as defined and tangible as black or white. Put another way, romantic attraction and sexual desire are now viewed as being as innate and immutable as skin color.
Make no mistake about it. Another significant step was taken at the inauguration, and what was once associated with the extremist views of radical gay activists is now as American as apple pie. As expressed in the closing prayer of Episcopal pastor Luis León, "We pray for your blessing, because without it we will see only what the eye can see. But with your blessing, we'll see that we are made in your image, whether brown, black or white; male or female; first generation immigrant or Daughter of the American Revolution; gay or straight; rich or poor."
Earlier in the festivities, and framing his speech in historic, Constitutional terms, President Obama said, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths -- that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall . . . ." Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall? By Seneca Falls, Obama is referring to a watershed moment in the women's rights movement that took place in the mid-1800's in Seneca Falls, New York. By Selma, he is referring to the pivotal Civil Rights marches and protests that took place in Selma, Alabama in the mid-1960's. And by Stonewall, he is referring to the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City in 1969 when drag queens and their gay friends fought back against the police who raided their bar. So, the president spoke of Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall in the same breath, and in front of the whole nation at his inauguration, thereby equating women's rights, black civil rights, and gay rights - which include bisexual, transgender, and other categories as well - also putting the women of Seneca Falls, the blacks of Selma, and the drag queens of Stonewall in the same category.
Do we realize just how significant this is? Do we grasp the implications? We believe readers of VOL do understand the momentum of this statement. We believe it is a recipe for disaster for America. The Culture Wars will come back to haunt us. America is changed forever and not for the good.
Worse, we who are true believers will, in time, be shunned, marginalized, declared fundamentalist, Neanderthals and, in time condemned to jail for being politically incorrect if we do not conform.
The Installation of the Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche as 16th Bishop of New York will take place on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. He replaces the outgoing Mark Sisk. Sisk was an improvement over Bishop Grein an adulterer and before him Bishop Paul Moore, limousine liberal and practicing pansexualist (two wives and a homosexual lover).
Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz has been making the rounds to the former dissenting parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster. With a sprinkling of faerie dust here and faerie dust there, he is rallying the remaining troops in those once thriving Evangelical parishes with the message: "Hold on and be brave." And he has a little helper making the rounds with him in the person of Vancouver Cathedral gay Dean Peter Elliott (episcopal heir apparent to Michael Ingham?). St. John's Shaughnessy was the big hold out and embarrassment to Ingham, so to balance the books, Ingham sent the struggling parish an ex-tobacco king and the very actively gay ex-Roman Catholic clergyman Michael Forshaw (he has AIDS, refused to give up his homosexual lifestyle as an RC priest, became too hot to handle for the Roman Catholic Church, but was given a safe haven and ordination as an Anglican priest by Bishop Ingham). So, the once anti-same-sex blessing Evangelical parish now has a high-church rector (of sorts) and a pro-gay assistant.
The Episcopal Electoral College for Meath and Kildare, meeting in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland, has elected The Venerable Leslie Stevenson, Archdeacon of Meath and Kildare, as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare. Archdeacon Stevenson succeeds the Most Rev. Dr. Richard Clarke, who was translated to Armagh as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in December past.
The Venerable Leslie Stevenson, 53, is the Rector of Portarlington (Kildare) and has been Archdeacon of Meath and Kildare since 2009. He was educated at the University of Ulster, the Church of Ireland Theological College (now Institute) and at the Irish School of Ecumenics (MPhil. 1988), and was ordained deacon in 1983 and priest in 1984. Archdeacon Stevenson served two curacies in the Diocese of Down before becoming Rector of Donaghadee (Down) in 1992, where he served until he moved to Portarlington in 1999. The Bishop-elect has served and continues to serve on a number of Diocesan and Church committees and bodies, including the Representative Church Body (since 2006) and the Commission on Ministry (from 2012). He married Ruth in 1998; they have one daughter. Among his wider interests is involvement with Rotary International.
The Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and Archbishop of Canterbury-elect, bade farewell to the Durham diocese with a message of hope for the people he is leaving behind. Welby attended a service of farewell, thanks and celebration at Durham Cathedral in what was his last public appearance in the diocese before he receives his legal title as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Welby will cease to be bishop of Durham and have the legal title of Archbishop of Canterbury bestowed on him at 12 noon on Feb. 4 at a formal service in St. Paul's Cathedral in London. His public ministry will be inaugurated at an enthronement service at Canterbury Cathedral on March 21. VOL will be there.
Speaking about his new job in an interview before the service, he commented, "It is extremely scary and a huge privilege. It's an extraordinary feeling to look back and see my predecessors, some of whom are extraordinarily distinguished, like my immediate predecessor Rowan Williams, who is breathtaking in his grip and imagination and his intellect and in many other ways. It's exciting. There is a sense of what is God going to do?"
Two new monthly publications, specifically designed for Church of England parishes, have been posted online on the Church's website. In Review and In Focus will concentrate on the work of the national Church. The front pages of both first editions feature news of the Confirmation of Election of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the parliamentary launch of the national Lent campaign, "Love Life Live Lent" by the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu.
The Rev. Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Archbishop's Council, noted, "The National Church Institutions are working on behalf of the parishes. That work is underpinned by contributions from congregations. In Review and In Focus offer all 12,500 parishes an opportunity to read about the projects carried out on their behalf by the national Church."
In Review and In Focus are offered as free PDF downloads on the Church of England website. They will be available in the final full week of each month to support parish magazines with publication dates on the first of the month. Alternatively, church websites can link to the files for parishioners to browse at home.
An Anglican priest from Colombia was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on January 30 on suspicion of smuggling drugs. The suspect, identified as Fabio Ricardo Rodriguez, a priest in the Holy Catholic Church-Western Rite in Bogota, was taken to a hospital where 13 condoms stuffed with cocaine were extracted from his stomach and intestines. Five more containers of cocaine were found in his luggage. Officials said they were alerted to the smuggling attempt by the priest's sickly appearance and nervous behavior.
In a monumental occasion for ecumenical relations, the U.S. Roman Catholic church and a group of Protestant denominations plan to sign a document on Tuesday evening to formally agree to recognize each other's baptisms.
Catholic leaders will join representatives from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ at the ceremony in Austin, Texas, to sign the agreement, which is called the "Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism." The event coincides with the national meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A.
Currently, the Protestant churches recognize Roman Catholic baptisms, but the Catholic Church does not always recognize theirs. The mutual agreement on baptisms, a key sacrament in the churches, has been discussed between denominational leadership for seven years and hinges in part on invoking trinity of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" during the baptism.
In a report in the Austin American-Statesman, Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese Austin told the newspaper that the effort "is part of our response to Jesus' prayer that 'we all be one.'"
The Roman Catholic Church as a whole has generally recognized the baptisms of most mainstream Christian denominations since the Second Vatican Council, a series of historic church meetings from 1962 to 1965, but the formal baptism agreement is the first of its kind for the U.S. church.
According to a prior statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was released in 2010 when bishops were deliberating the agreement, the understanding between the churches "affirms that both Catholic and Reformed Christians hold that baptism is the sacramental bond of unity for the Body of Christ, which is to be performed only once, by an authorized minister, with flowing water, using the Scriptural Trinitarian formula of 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit.' The agreement encourages all local Christian communities to keep baptismal records."
Noticeably absent from this event is The Episcopal Church.
The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are holding joint synods this year, presumably as a prelude to their ultimate merging into one denomination: a combining of ineffectiveness, a merging of incompetence, a pooling of nauseating inclusion and diversity, and a joint celebration of the joys of sexual anarchy in a swamp of doctrineless koinonia.
The theme this year is: "Together for the Love of the World". According to Canadian Anglican Archbishop Fred Hiltz, "This Joint Assembly is about the mission of God and how we can be effective partners in God's work in the world, specifically poverty and climate change."
The mission of the ACoC's god is, as usual, "poverty" and "climate change", subjects with which Hiltz is intimately acquainted by virtue of the impoverished state of his beloved church and his frequent and copious expulsions of hot air - an emission which, apparently, is liable to be mistaken for a feminine effluvium which will circle high above us and then hover very near, for those moments when we know her as wind rushing through our house.
Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, told WND in an interview, "'Big Gay' has become the biggest, baddest, boldest bully on the block."
He was reacting to revelations that the Boy Scouts of America are considering giving in to the homosexual lobby and opening their doors to homosexual scouts and leaders.
Fischer said it goes beyond the single organization giving in.
"This is a critically important issue," he opined. "Our hope is that the Boy Scouts will hear from so many Americans of good will that they will strengthen their resolve to stand up to the lobby that is using an aggressive agenda to get their way."
In a call to action on the American Family website, which reaches millions of supporters, pro-family supporters are urged to contact the Boy Scouts before a final decision is made.
"Next week, the Boy Scouts of America will decide on whether it will keep a longstanding policy of not allowing homosexuals to serve as volunteer leaders, or to change that policy and allow open homosexuals to participate in the scouting program," the statement reads.
"If the BSA departs from its policies on allowing homosexual scoutmasters and boys in the program, it will destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution."
Albert Mohler has written extensively about this. His analysis on this can be read in today's digest.
A minister from the United States will help train clergy in Wales following a senior appointment at a theological college. The Rev. Dr. Mark Clavier is the new Dean of Residential Training at St Michael's College, Cardiff, and will teach both at the college and at Cardiff University. He will start after Easter.
Mark, 42, spent 12 years serving parishes in Maryland and North Carolina before moving to England nearly five years ago. He joins the college having spent three years as a "house for duty priest" in former mining villages in County Durham and a year as Priest-in-Charge of three churches at Steeple Aston, North Aston and Tackley in the diocese of Oxford.
Mark, who enjoys dual citizenship, has family living in South Wales. As a history undergraduate in the States, wrote a thesis on Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. His first book, on church life in a consumer culture, will be published by SPCK this year. He is married to Diane, who is an accountant, and they have a son Paul.
If you want to know why the World Council of Churches has become irrelevant, look no further than this announcement: "The World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly will be an opportunity for praying, listening and sharing together. The event will provide participants a chance to listen for the voice of God, leading them to justice and peace in the world."
Funny thing there is no mention of proclaiming the Good News or exercising the call of The Great Commission. This sounds more like a home group discussing their latest "spiritual" findings over coffee and cupcakes.
ISLAMISTS IN NORTH AFRICA POSE "LARGE AND EXISTENTIAL THREAT." The French-led intervention in Mali and deadly siege at a gas plant in Algeria have focused the world's attention on the growing strength of Islamist extremists in north Africa who have been described by UK Prime Minister David Cameron as a "large and existential threat" requiring a response that may last for decades. "What we face is an extremist, Islamist, al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group. Just as we had to deal with that in Pakistan and in Afghanistan so the world needs to come together to deal with this threat in North Africa
His comments came after the siege on a gas facility in Algeria where 37 foreigners, including a number of Britons, were killed. The militants behind the attack claimed that it was to avenge the French military campaign against Islamist groups in northern Mali.
Omar Ould Hamaha, a leader in one of those groups, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), said that France "has opened the gates of hell [and] has fallen into a trap much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia".
There are a number of Islamist groups operating in North Africa. Ansar Dine is the home-grown outfit that initially seized control of northern Mali, with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its offshoot, Mujao, gradually asserting more control over the uprising.
Bertrand Soret, chief political adviser to the European Union delegation in Mali, said that the Islamist groups in Mali are being led by AQIM, whose goal is to "internationalize the conflict as best as they can".
The militants pose an increasing threat to Western targets in the region and beyond; last week, Britons were told by the Foreign Office to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi in response to a "specific, imminent threat" linked to events in Mali.
The Islamists are couching their campaign in religious language. Following the French intervention in Mali, a spokesman for Mujao said, "France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France."
An Algerian employee, who managed to escape the Islamist siege at the gas plant, commented, "Us Algerians were rounded up separately and treated with kindness. We were told that because we were Muslim we would not be killed, and it was only the Christians they were after."
Because the militants associate Christianity with the West, Christian targets and individuals - as well as Western ones - are extremely vulnerable.
Christians were driven out of northern Mali when the Islamists seized control of the territory last March. Churches were destroyed and a harsh version of sharia law imposed on a defenseless population.
Robed in purple and accented with mittens and scarves to fend off chilly temperatures, 15 bishops from the Anglican Church in North America braved inclement weather in the nation's capital Jan. 25 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
"We'd all like to see the culture of death turn into a culture of life, wouldn't we?" ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan said in an interview before the U.S. Supreme Court Building during the annual March for Life. "I'd very much like to see the mass killing of babies brought to an end. We'll do what we have to do, and speak as we have to speak."
While estimates on the number of total participants at the pro-life rally varied widely, it was clear that, despite challenging weather, the march attracted a record crowd.
"It's unbelievable how many people are here," said Bishop Steve Breedlove as tens of thousands packed Constitution Avenue between 7th Street and the Supreme Court. "I want to catalyze our churches to be involved. I have a determination to rally our church around this."
The Episcopal Church does not endorse "right to life" preferring to err on the side of "pro choice".
The ongoing saga of Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids in the Diocese of Western Michigan continues. On Sunday, January 27, 2013, the Church held its Annual Meeting in the Sanctuary, an unusual place for an unusual meeting. A source told VOL that several members tried to ask questions, but the Rector said they would not answer their questions. About 75 people attended including numerous exiled Celebrate Grace members.
During 2012, about $333,000 was transferred from the Endowment Fund to cover Church operating expenses. This despite previous protests from former EF Chairman and Attorney Robert Brower plus many other members. Even with this transfer of funds, Grace Church still showed a deficit for 2012. The current Endowment Fund Chairperson said the transfer of funds was an "unsustainable rate." Fund balance is currently $1,775,347. The leadership team and EF Board are now composed of the same people.
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