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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/21 10:00:00 (445 reads)

Archbishop of Canterbury likens foodbanks to suffering in Syria
Archbishop of Canterbury leads Easter assault on hunger, praising food banks as bishop speaks of “sinful” effect of Coalition cuts

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
April 20, 2014

Church leaders renewed their stand-off with the Coalition over hunger in Britain using Easter sermons to speak of poverty and destitution, as one bishop claimed Government cuts were having “sinful consequences”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby singled out the experiences of people turning to food banks in the UK as an example of suffering in the world, alongside the crises in Syria and Ukraine.

He also said those who quietly man food banks were making a more powerful statement of the Christian message than figures such as himself who “shout” about religion on a national stage.

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, also singled the issue out, speaking of those in Britain and elsewhere who feel “excluded from the fruits of the Earth”.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/21 8:20:00 (771 reads)

China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years
The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976

By Tom Phillips, Liushi, Zhejiang province
April 19, 2014

It is said to be China's biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross.
The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a "miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church".

The £8 million building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China's breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.

"It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence," beamed Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi's altar in the lead up to Holy Week.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/21 7:30:00 (689 reads)

African Anglicans Don't Need Canterbury's Arm Around Their Shoulder
God's Word is Their Rule

By Julian Mann
Special to Virtueonline
April 21, 2014

African Anglicans believe sex outside of heterosexual marriage is wrong because God's Word written, the Bible, says so. Therefore their reason for opposing same-sex (anti-)marriage is radically different from the institutional focus of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Archbishop Welby was quite factually right to point out in a recent radio interview that if the Church of England did embrace gay 'marriage', then it would lead to more attacks on African Anglicans. But British religious affairs journalist Damian Thompson has incisively exposed the AofC's lack of moral clarity in his expressed 'hesitations' about the Church of England conducting gay weddings. This follows an interview Dr Welby gave to Mr Thompson's Telegraph colleague Col Moreton:

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/21 6:30:00 (262 reads)

Muslims and Jews know their sacred texts. Why don't Christians?

By Cristina Odone Religion
April 20, 2014

Cain and Abel. Moses parting the Red Sea. The Prodigal Son's return. Lazarus rising from the dead. Imagine how impoverished our literature would feel if allusion to these biblical tales were lost on the reader.

Today, they are. A recent survey found that only one in 20 people could name all ten commandments, and that 62 per cent of respondents did not know the tale of the Prodigal Son. Poets like Michael Symmons Roberts, who's just won the Forward Poetry Prize, have warned against what Seamus Heaney called the "hollowing out of civilisation": our ignorance of the Bible and other sacred texts means poets, writers, or artists can no longer assume that we draw from a common and cherished legacy.

The Church of England wants to fight this by inviting adults to enrol in a "Pilgrim" course, a kind of Sunday School for grown-ups. Good luck to them – though I suspect that the only people who will make time for this are the lonely elderly who probably already know their Bible anyway.
What the bishops should be investing in, instead, is their existing faith schools. Here, among primary and secondary schoolchildren, the Churches can teach not only the stories of the Good Book, but their morals. The Anglican and Catholic hierarchies should be fighting critics who want to shut down faith schools as divisive — reminding them that ignorance, not knowledge, is divisive. They should be fighting the enemy within who would want to dilute the Anglican (or Catholic) ethos of these schools, for fear of seeming "exclusive".

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/20 23:00:00 (1488 reads)

Archbishop Welby fails to hold Love of God and Holiness of Life together in Gay Dithering


By David W. Virtue
April 21, 2014

Perhaps the ALPHA course didn’t teach the connection deeply enough or preferred to dodge the issue altogether.

Whatever, the Archbishop of Canterbury has made a fundamental error that could cost him the Anglican Communion. In preaching up God’s love for absolutely everybody and giving a pass to same-sex civil partnerships (while repudiating gay marriage), he has publicly divorced God’s love from God’s holiness and His demands on our everyday lives.

By giving a pass to same sex marriage, Archbishop Welby has fallen for the psychological and therapeutic rather than the moral and divine.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/19 8:40:00 (503 reads)

The fact is, marriage has been treated shabbily by today's politicians, says Lord Carey

The Daily Mail
April 18, 2014

Among those I admire most, towards the top of the list must come Winston Churchill. I am confident many Daily Mail readers will say the same.

Through his stubborn leadership, moral courage and brilliant oratory, more than anyone else I can think of he deserves the accolade of the saviour of Western civilisation.

There were many things that sustained him through his amazing life, but one that stands out was his marriage to Clementine. They were together for 56 years and remained deeply in love throughout those years.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/18 13:20:00 (1486 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 (657 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 11:50:00 (650 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 (364 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 2014/4/18 9:00:00 (1221 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 2014/4/17 11:30:00 (983 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 (296 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 (832 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 (1004 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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