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LONDON, ONT: Christ Anglican Church closes 151-year-old doors
By Craig Gilbert
April 21, 2014
It’s not a death in the family but for the 40 remaining parishioners at London’s second-oldest Anglican church, it sure feels like one.
Christ Anglican Church at the corner of Wellington Road and Hill Street hosted its final service on Easter Sunday (April 20). Its congregation has voted to disband after more than 150 years in the architecturally significant SoHo landmark they’ve turned into one of the city’s most joyous places, but can’t afford to maintain.
Though technically retired, the Venerable Nancy Adams, Archdeacon of Delaware, has for the past 10 months presided over the services there, which a century ago packed the pews with 100 people three times each Sunday but now draw about 25 people just once.
WINDSOR, ONT: Supreme Court of Canada deals final blow to Anglican parishioners
By Sarah Sacheli
Apr 21, 2014
A breakaway group of Anglican parishioners has been dealt a deathblow in their legal battle over ownership of a Riverside church.
The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to grant St. Aidan’s parishioners leave to appeal, dismissing their case with costs.
The group of about 100 parishioners broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada in 2008 over the church’s acceptance of same-sex marriage and other disagreements over interpretations of Scripture. The group joined the Anglican Network in Canada and went to court over ownership of the church building on Wyandotte Street East.
The American Bible Society's recent "State of the Bible" survey found that the percentage of "Bible skeptics" is now precisely the same -- 19 percent -- as for those who are truly "engaged" in Bible reading and who strongly value biblical authority. The "Bible friendly" segment of the population shrank from 45 to 37 percent --- ABC report
"In so much of popular Christianity today, people are just nodding their heads and saying they believe all of these doctrines, but this really isn't having much of an impact on their lives. If they actually believe in the resurrection, it should make a difference. The resurrection matters more than the Easter bunny." --- The Rev. Jonathan Dodson
Personal relationships. In Colossians, chapter 3, St Paul gives us two general principles governing personal relationships. Here they are: 'Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.' The second is: 'Whatever you do, work at it heartily as to the Lord and not unto men' (verses 17 and 23). Now let me tell in my own words what I believe these two principles mean. Firstly, I have got to learn, if I am a Christian, to treat other people as if I were Jesus Christ. That is what it means to do everything *in the name of* the Lord Jesus. To do something in somebody else's name, is to do it as his representative. When David stood on the field of battle against Goliath, he said: 'I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts.' That is, I am not coming in my own name, I am coming as his representative. So to the Christian, to do everything in the name of Jesus Christ, is to do it as if he were Jesus Christ. I have got to learn, if I am a Christian, to treat other people with the respect and the consideration, the thoughtfulness and the graciousness with which Jesus Christ would treat them. The second principle is the exact opposite. It is to learn to treat people as if *they* were Jesus Christ. I must learn to do everything as unto the Lord. The roles are now reversed and I must learn to treat every person with the graciousness, the humility, the understanding, and the courtesy, not now that he would give to them but that I would give to him ... I tell you that these two principles, to treat other people as if they were Christ and as if I were Christ, are as realistic as they are revolutionary. This is not idealist rubbish. This is practical advice about personal relationships. --- From "The Doctor -- A Person" (Cape Town: Medical Christian Fellowship)
Fort Worth court denies TEC motion to stay proceedings
Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth
April 24, 2014
In compliance with the mandate issued by the Texas Supreme Court on March 21st, today the 141st District Court in Fort Worth agreed to move forward with a new trial in the property suit brought five years ago by The Episcopal Church against the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. It is anticipated that the next major event in the proceedings will be a hearing on motion for summary judgment sometime this fall, when neutral principles of law concerning trusts and property ownership in the State of Texas will be applied in the dispute.
On Thursday morning Judge John Chupp heard discussion on both sides, then ruled on two motions. He denied a motion by TEC to stay the resumption of proceedings in his court, which would have postponed the case further while TEC considers an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court; and he ordered the return of the $100,000 cash bond posted by the Diocese in October 2011 in connection with our appeal to the state Supreme Court. His order also terminates other conditions of the supersedeas bond.
UNBELIEF AND FAITH: John 20:19-31
By Ted Schroder,
April 27, 2014
Belief in the resurrected Christ does not come naturally to anyone. Thomas said, “Unless I see physical evidence with my own eyes, I will not believe that Jesus is alive.” He speaks for all people who are unable to believe. I have counseled at length with someone who just cannot believe in Christ as necessary to his life. You can argue with such a person all day long, and share what may be to you sufficient evidence for them to be convinced, but there is in every human being an inherent inability to believe what we cannot see with our own eyes. We have an inherent spiritual blindness. That is why faith is defined as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Jesus had been telling the disciples for three years that he would have to suffer and die and then he would be raised from the dead but they did not believe him. It was beyond their comprehension. Faith in the reality of the resurrected Christ is impossible without a supernatural revelation by the Spirit of God. Why is this?
An Archbishop for Northern Sudan
by Faith McDonnell
April 12, 2014
I first met the Rt. Reverend Ezekiel Kondo, Bishop of Khartoum, far from his diocese. He was in Ambridge, Pennsylvania for the ordination of my friend the Rev. Michael Yemba as a priest of his diocese. It just may have been the first time, too, that I had ever seen a bishop who could dance quite like Bishop Kondo!
On April 4, 2014, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan elected Bishop Kondo as the first Archbishop for Sudan (north). Kondo will serve as Archbishop of the Internal Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and also continue as the Bishop of Khartoum.
The Church had responded to the independence of South Sudan by changing the official name from the Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) to the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS). In November 2013, when all of the bishops met, they were determined to keep the unity of the Province, and not to divide on national lines.
But within this province that consists of these two nations, a strong leader is needed for the churches and dioceses that lie with the Islamic Republic of Sudan. The Church has chosen well in Bishop Kondo. Kondo has served the Diocese of Khartoum (not an easy place!) as its bishop since 2003. He has defended the people and property of the diocese against the Islamist regime when it was possible, and stood as a bold witness in the rubble of bull-dozed churches and refugee settlements when it was not.
Should The Episcopal Church Now Embrace Threesomes?
By David W. Virtue
April 24, 2014
Here comes the bride. And another one. And another one! Meet world's first married lesbian THREESOME . . . and they're expecting a baby in July. Doll, Kitten and Brynn, all from Massachusetts, married last August. Kitten is expecting a daughter in July.
The world's only "married" lesbian threesome are expecting their first child. Kitten, 27, is pregnant after undergoing IVF treatment using an anonymous sperm donor. The trio eventually plans to have three children - one for each of them, according to news reports.
Apparently, there is a word for this: throuple.
When asked what the benefits are to having three people in a marriage, one of the ladies notes that chores are much easier when distributed among three people. Good point. She went on to say, “poly-fidelity is not something seedy…. it can be a perfectly acceptable choice of life and love.”
ELM GROVE, WISCONSIN: Three years later St. Edmund's still is empty
Thistles grow tall while vines wrap around the door
By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
April 24, 2014
In December 2011, the parishioners of St. Edmund's Anglican Church were preparing to joyfully celebrate the birth of their Saviour when a Waukesha County Circuit Court judge unceremoniously handed the sweeping church edifice and all surrounding buildings over to the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee as a Christmas present, giving the stunned congregation 24 hours to vacate the property.
An immediate stay from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in Madison bought the congregants about 30 days, but by Jan. 31, 2012, they were tossed out into the winter snow along with their priest -- Fr. Samuel Scheibler -- and their preschool children.
Now another Easter has come and gone -- the third -- and St. Edmund's still stands empty. No one worships in the church. No one raises a voice in prayer, praise and song. The church is as silent as a tomb. The recently remodeled rectory is vacant, classrooms are gathering dust and the preschool has folded. Wild thistles are creeping towards the entrance and a vine enwraps the glass doors.
WASHINGTON: Army Supporting Prayer Day Despite Protest
by Chris Carroll
Stars and Stripes
April 19, 2014
The Army plans to support a National Day of Prayer event closely associated with an evangelical Christian organization despite a protest from a group that wants to crack down on what it calls fundamentalist Christian domination of the U.S. military.
In a letter Thursday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, demanded the Defense Department withdraw support from a May 1 Capitol Hill prayer event. It is being organized in part by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a non-profit evangelical group chaired by Shirley Dobson, wife of evangelist James Dobson.
Army officials on Friday said there were no plans to back out of the event. The Army still intends to send a chaplain and the Military District Washington will contribute a color guard, a vocalist and a military band.
House of Bishops Report Says Lying, Fighting for Properties, Deposing Priests is Legitimate Behavior for Presiding Bishop
A Satirical Essay
By David W. Virtue
April 24, 2014
As they emerged from a four-day summit, the House of Bishops, meeting in a clandestine huddle, announced that lying, fighting for properties, deposing priests is a legitimate behavior for the Presiding Bishop and is protected under the church’s canons and constitution.
By a 98% majority, the HOB affirmed what the Presiding Bishop has been practicing for more than eight years saying that “any attempt to restrict her behavior would impact the church’s growth and future General Convention resolutions denying her a free hand to do exactly as she pleases.”
The HOB’s decision won high praise from former bishops Jack Spong and Gene Robinson whose theology and morality have opened new unparalleled vistas of thought and opportunity. Many bishops are saying she must be given a free hand to spend as much money as she pleases to pile on lawsuits, even to the point of taking dioceses like Ft. Worth and South Carolina to the Supreme Court of the US.
Stop Twisting the Bible … to Make it Fit Same-Sex Marriage
By Gary DeMar
April 23, 2014
I love a challenge. I’m competitive by nature. I hate to lose. Having made an admission of my competitive nature, it’s more important to get the facts straight than to manipulate the facts so you can be right.
So when I saw the headline that there is no message against same-sex marriage in the Bible, I felt a challenge coming on. Has somebody come up with an argument I’ve never encountered? I’ve read all the arguments pro and con, did I miss something?
Michael Brown writes, “As I note in my book [Can You Be Gay and Christian?: Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality], there are ‘no new textual, archeological, sociological, anthropological, or philological discoveries [that] have been made in the last fifty years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently.’”
Same-Sex Relations in the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches
Has ARCIC and ARC-USA run its course?
By David W. Virtue
April 23, 2014
The Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the U.S.A. (ARC-USA) has released a keynote document, Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness, with a clear statement that the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Church are further apart than ever on sexuality issues. This begs the deeper question: Why does the Roman Catholic Church waste its time talking to the Episcopal Church as it moves increasingly away from the biblical witness on human sexual behavior with every passing general convention.
“It is hard to see how our differences in moral theology and ecclesiology will be resolved, and it is not clear to many whether they should be,” said the document.
IRAN: FARSHID FATHI AMONGST PRISONERS BEATEN IN RAID
April 23, 2014
Evangelical church leader Farshid Fathi was amongst 30 prisoners who suffered injuries when guards and security agents assaulted inmates in Evin Prison, one of Iran’s most notorious jails, on 17 April.
Farshid Fathi, who is serving a six year sentence on false political charges, suffered a broken foot and toe when a guard stamped on them to prevent him assisting an injured inmate as forces from the Intelligence Ministry, Revolutionary Guards, and over 100 prison guards unleashed unprecedented violence on the inmates of Ward 350.
The assault on the prisoners occurred after they protested against an aggressive inspection that had lasted for over five hours. The Iranian authorities have denied reports of the incident; however, a member of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Motahari, requested that the families of the prisoners concerned be allowed to visit them, to ensure that the truth about the allegations is revealed.
UK: Attorney General: Rise of fundamentalism is 'damaging' Christianity
The rise of religious fundamentalists with a 'deep intolerance' to other people's views has made Christians reluctant to express their beliefs, Dominic Grieve warns
By Steven Swinford, and John Bingham
April 22. 2014
Christians are increasingly reluctant to express their religious views because they are being “turned off” by the “disturbing” and “very damaging” rise of religious fundamentalism, the Attorney General has said.
Dominic Grieve said that atheists who claim that Britain is no longer a Christian nation are “deluding themselves” and must accept that faith has shaped this country’s laws and ethics.
He said that 1,500 years of Christian values are “not going to disappear overnight” and said that many people remain believers even if they choose not to go to Church.
However, he warned people are being discouraged from openly declaring their beliefs because of the “deep intolerance” of religious extremists of all faiths, including Islam and Christianity.
David Cameron is right to refer to Britain as a Christian country, says Bishop
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali's letter to The Telegraph
April 22nd, 2014
SIR – It is understandable that the architects of secularism should be concerned about the Prime Minister’s claim that Britain is a Christian country. The reappearance of Christianity in public life would be very inconvenient for them.
They admit that Britain is constitutionally Christian. This is not, however, in a narrow sense, as they claim. The Coronation service and the Coronation oath are shot through with Christian beliefs and values, without which they would make no sense. So is that other great pillar of our liberties: the Magna Carta.
Parliament convenes with prayer, and bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords. National and civic occasions are marked by Christian ceremonies, and the calendar remains unabashedly Christian.
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