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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/18 13:20:00 (326 reads)

“If gay marriage becomes relatively widespread among clergy it will become impossible to have discipline. This will amount to a change in teaching and it will then be difficult to resist demands for clergy to be able to solemnize gay marriage.” --- Andrew Symes (Church of England Newspaper)

"What is the chief desire of God?
To bring the mass of humankind into the ark of salvation.
What is the chief desire of the devil?
To forestall that possibility" --- an anonymous Christian mystic:

“No surer test, according to the Holy Scriptures, can be applied to anything claiming to be Christian teaching, than this: Where does it put Jesus Christ? Is He something in it, or is he all? Is He the Sun of the true solar system, so that every planet gets its place and its light from Him? Or is He at best a sort of Ptolemaic sun, rolling together with other luminaries around an earthly centre—whether that centre take the form of an observance, a constitution, or a philosophy?” --- Bishop Handley C.G. Moule, Colossian and Philemon Studies: Lessons in faith and holiness.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/18 12:00:00 (115 reads)

Bishop Gene Robinson Closes White House Breakfast in Prayer

by Jeffrey Walton
April 16, 2014

Retired Episcopal Church Bishop Gene Robinson joined MSNBC's Alex Wagner to talk about his closing prayer at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast (photo: MSNBC)

Retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson was back in the news this week, attending the fifth annual White House Easter prayer breakfast. The first partnered openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion enthusiastically tweeted about the event:

“POTUS ‘preaches’ at the Easter prayer breakfast. Then, out of the blue, asks ME to close with prayer. OMG! #privilege”

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/18 12:00:00 (414 reads)

FT. WORTH: TEC suffers third loss in Texas Supreme Court

By Jack Iker
Episcopal Diocese of Ft. worth
April 18, 2014

First came the ruling against TEC in the direct appeal we brought to the Texas Supreme Court, issued on August 30. Second came the denial of TEC’s request for the court to rehear (or reconsider) that ruling. And now comes their third loss, on April 17. The high court has denied TEC’s motion to recall the mandate it sent to the trial court, which would have “stayed the proceedings” (stopped the legal process in Texas) while they try to get a review of our case from the U.S Supreme Court. Apparently the state Justices agreed with our attorneys that it is highly unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court will review the case at this stage. Nonetheless, TEC has until June 19 to seek review at the national level.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/18 11:50:00 (223 reads)

Enthusiastically Episcopalian or the Risen Christ?

By Ladson F. Mills III
Special to Virtueonline
April 18, 2014

Like the familiar set from a bad movie sequel the Episcopal Church in South Carolina recycled a past theme for its upcoming diocesan convention in Pawley’s Island. It will use the May 3rd gathering to once more declare itself “Enthusiastically Episcopalian.”
When the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina used this title for a 2011 conference it seemed mildly ridiculous and rather sad. There was little for the Episcopal Church to be genuinely enthusiastic about three years ago and from today’s perspective much less so.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/18 9:10:00 (193 reads)

Maundy Thursday


by Roger Salter
Special to virtueonline
April 18, 2014

While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one, they said to him, “Surely not I?” Mark 14: 18-19.

Is It I?

Is it I who treacherous could be?
Is evil betrayal dormant in me?
Would I like Peter draw a sword,
But Judas-like wield it at the Lord?
Is there within my deepest part
A deceptive, conspiring, wicked heart?
O Lord, before I age and die
Quench this question, “Is it I”.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/17 11:30:00 (513 reads)

This is Not Equality

By Wendy Wright
Turtle Bay and Beyond
April 16, 2014

In Nigeria, gunmen kidnapped more than 100 schoolgirls and torched the surrounding town on Tuesday. A day before, a deadly blast killed 71 people. A day later, 18 people were killed in another attack.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department is laser-focused on . . . promoting homosexuality.

In 2011, former Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Obama directed all federal agencies working abroad to protect and promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/17 11:00:00 (159 reads)


By Ted Schroder,
Easter Day,
April 20, 2014

The first person to see Jesus after the resurrection according to John’s Gospel was a most unlikely candidate. Her name was Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala, a town in Galilee. Why does she feature so prominently in the account of the resurrection? In those times women could not testify in courts.

“In a patriarchal culture a woman’s testimony was considered unreliable and so inadmissible as evidence. This means that if you were fabricating an account of the resurrection in order to promote your religion or your movement, you would never make a woman the first eyewitness. And yet, in the accounts of all four gospels the first eyewitnesses are women. The only historically plausible answer to why women are in the account at all – why the men who wrote these accounts would put women in when their testimony was considered unreliable – is because it must have happened. Mary must have been there. She must have seen Jesus Christ first. There’s no other motive or reason for the author to say she was.” (Timothy Keller, Encounters with Jesus, p.94)

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/17 8:20:00 (535 reads)

Time for the Church of England to cut the knot: Parts 1 and 2


This is the first in a two part series on establishment. Next week another guest blogger will argue that the Church of England should continue to be established.

Three issues vexing the Church of England right now, and two more that could lurch into view very soon, suggest that the time has come for the Church to initiate steps towards disestablishment.

The Church is already embroiled in two controversies which bring to the fore the irksome constraints on its freedom of action that even our diminished form of establishment still imposes. The first is its increasingly angst-ridden struggle to approve women bishops.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/16 15:20:00 (694 reads)

SCOTLAND: Funds lost as wealthy churches quit in new gay protest

By Brian Donnelly
16 April 2014

Two of the wealthiest Church of ­Scotland congregations are quitting the Kirk just weeks before the General Assembly over the issue of gay ordination.

The move is a new cash blow with the two congregations contributing £315,000 between them to the Church.

One of the congregations has already left, with the second negotiating terms.

The departure of St Catherine's Argyle, in the leafy Grange district of Edinburgh, and New Restalrig in Willowbrae, also in the Scottish capital, comes as almost 1000 key figures are due to gather for the annual meeting of the Church in the city in May.

The two confirmed breakaway congregations are in the "higher givings bracket" and so among the wealthiest in terms of donations.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/16 12:10:00 (720 reads)

Historic Anglican, Pentecostal consultation "a flying start"
Nine Anglicans and eight Pentecostals gathered for two days of dialogue, prayer and worship
April 10, 2014

An historic consultation took place between Anglicans and Pentecostals earlier this week at High Leigh in Hertfordshire.

Initiated by the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, it took forward resolutions passed at successive Lambeth Conferences, and bore out Archbishop Justin Welby’s recent call for greater interaction between the two traditions.

Nine Anglicans and eight Pentecostals gathered for two days of dialogue, prayer and worship to explore their similarities and differences, and to chart a way forward for enhanced partnership in mission.

Papers were presented on the roots and development of Anglicanism and Pentecostalism in England and worldwide, on Christian initiation, on worship, ministry and spiritual gifts, and on the nature and mission of the Church.

A report of the consultation will be made available shortly on the websites of the Church of England and participating Pentecostal churches and networks.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/15 15:20:00 (546 reads)

Archbishop Welby Struggles with a Greater Truth

April 11, 2014

As the Anglican Curmudgeon, it behooves me now and then to comment upon matters Anglican. And just now, there is a tempest in the Anglican teapot which I have refrained from noticing, because after all, it is still a small storm in a very small teapot.

And indeed, it is a “storm” only if you take its measure by the winds from the West – or (which comes to the same thing, direction-wise) from the left. By all other measures, including one which takes note of the fact that the winds are blowing only from the West, something must be going well in Anglican Land.

For the Archbishop of Canterbury has seen fit to share with Anglicans in the West his insights gained from a visit with Anglicans to the South. And from the reactions in the West, it would appear that neither group can even begin to comprehend why the other proceeds as it does. Even worse, it would appear that each group would prefer that the other did not call itself “Anglican.”

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/15 14:50:00 (1539 reads)

Diocese of Mississippi resolution calling Presiding Bishop into accountability dies
Resolution 2013-1 dealt deathblow by Standing Committee

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
April 15, 2014

Twin communiqués in the January 2014 edition of The Mississippi Episcopalian tell the story of what happened to Resolution 2013-1. One missive was from the diocesan Standing Committee, the other from Bishop Duncan Gray III (IX Mississippi). The year-old resolution, calling for the rescinding of Katharine Jefferts Schori's deposition of Bishop Mark Lawrence (XIV South Carolina), was permanently tabled. It will not be discussed during the Diocese of Mississippi's 187th Annual Council. The Resolution was dead on arrival at the 2014 diocesan meeting which was held Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Natchez.

The original Resolution "Rescinding Deposition of Bishop Mark Lawrence" was presented to the 186th Annual Council by Yazoo City's Trinity Episcopal Church rector Fr. George F. Woodliff III. It was co-sponsored by fellow Mississippi Episcopalian Gloria Walker.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/15 12:50:00 (499 reads)

It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship

April 14, 2014

The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” is back in the news and back in public conversation. The story first broke in a flurry of sensationalism back in September of 2012 when Smithsonian magazine declared that a papyrus fragment had been found which would “send jolts through the world of biblical scholarship.” Well, it didn’t jolt much of anything.

In 2012 Professor Karen King of the Harvard Divinity School announced that a papyrus fragment that had come into her supervision made reference to Jesus having a wife. Professor King announced that the papyrus fragment included the words, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.’” Smithsonian, which also produced a major television program on the finding, promised that the fragment would “send shock waves through the Christian world.”

As might be expected, numerous major media outlets jumped on the story. The Telegraph [London] ran a headline that stated: “Ancient Papyrus Could Be Evidence that Jesus Had a Wife.” In reality, even if the fragment is authentic in terms of dating to ancient times, the fragment revealed nothing that would have jolted anyone familiar with the early centuries of Christianity. The fragment of papyrus contained only about 30 Coptic words in eight fragmentary lines of writing.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/15 12:10:00 (387 reads)

UK: Easter: judgement and hope

By Andrew Symes
Anglican Mainstream
April 15th, 2014

The first example of a Church of England clergyman entering into a same sex ‘marriage’ took place on Saturday 12 April.

It is obvious that this is the first of many, creating ‘facts on the ground’ which will normalize such relationships within the church. As Andrew Carey says: “If gay marriage becomes relatively widespread among clergy it will become impossible to have discipline. This will amount to a change in teaching and it will then be difficult to resist demands for clergy to be able to solemnise gay marriage.” (Church of England Newspaper, 3 April 2014).

We will come to the question of discipline in a moment. But first, what are we to call these relationships? Those who hold to the traditional teaching on sexual morality are divided over this. For some, the biggest problem seems to be not disrespect to Bishops, flagrant sin, and the violation of God’s created order that has just happened, but the potential of discourtesy from conservatives in the way we put quotation marks around same sex ‘marriage’, or any other expression of concern about the change in the law. However, as Anglican theologian Martin Davie courteously points out: “… saying that the government changed the law in a legally valid way is not the same as saying that the government had the moral right to change the law in the way that it did.”

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/15 12:00:00 (935 reads)

STOCKTON, CA: John’s parish awarded to San Joaquin diocese

By Jennie Rodriguez-Moore
Record Staff Writer
April 12, 2014

A property rights battle over the historic St. John's Parish has ended years after a schism erupted within The Episcopal Church when part of the congregation opposed the church's acceptance of gay pastors.

Superior Court Judge Roger Ross on April 4 awarded the parish in downtown Stockton to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

The group that had broken away from the diocese - most of them with a history of multiple past generations in The Episcopal Church - and became aligned with the more conservative Anglican Church of North America was ordered out of the building in the ruling.

While Episcopalians saw the lawsuit as reclamation of a church that belonged to the diocese, the newly formed Anglicans held attachments to the building, where they felt rooted.

Some of them traced family membership back to great-great-grandparents. Some have the remains of loved ones stored in the building and their own resting spot next to family members already paid for.

"They're obviously not happy about the decision," the Rev. Kris Rudell said. "They're grieving, because it's been such a big part of their lives and their families' lives."

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