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2000 Episcopal priests set to retire in 6 years * Scandals in Episcopal Prep Schools Escalate * TEC Pushes Pansexual Agenda in Africa * Dozen CofE Married Homosexual Priests set to out themselves * APB of Wales steps down * Burundi has new APB

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. -- 1 Cor.16:13

An unpopular doctrine? The real reason why the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone is unpopular is that it is grievously wounding to our pride. --- John R.W. Stott

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt. " -- Bertrand Russell

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
August 26, 2016

As the Episcopal Church sinks slowly into the sunset, with millions of dollars in Trust Funds, valuable properties worth millions of dollars strategically located in large cities and a healthy Church Pension Fund, the other side of the coin is that its pulpits will lose several thousand priests and close more than 1500 churches over the next six years.

The Episcopal Church will see a drop of more than 2,000 full time parish priests in the next half dozen years, as retirement numbers increase geometrically, with a likely decrease of ordinands going into the ministry, Church statistics reveal.

This translates into the number of full time priests being reduced by 65% - 75% of total congregations in the denomination. These numbers are from 2014, the last year reported in some cases. Indications are that the situation is probably worse now in 2016. The average age of an Episcopal priest is 59 (or the mean - half older, half younger) there is a tsunami of retirements headed their way in the next 5-10 years with no possible way of filling pulpits with new ordinands.

A researcher looking at the Church's archives after reading Mary Ann Mueller's extensive article on the crisis in American Episcopal seminaries that showed 70% of TEC's 11 seminaries with fewer than 100 students, crunched the numbers, showing that of the 11 approved and accredited seminaries (one apparently closing in 2017) only 9 exist, if one leaves out Yale and Bishop Kemper. Kemper is basically an online diploma mill. Mueller's story can be accessed here. http://tinyurl.com/h7lexzu

For all its efforts to double the Church by 2020 and TREC, an attempt to reimagine the Church, nothing, it seems, is working. The church continues on its Gadarene slide. You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****

The scandals in TEC prep schools seem never ending. Two more emerged this week. The first was in Boca Raton, Florida, where a prep school teacher was caught in inappropriate contact with students.

A probe blasted the Florida prep school for failing to protect students from the teacher's inappropriate behavior. According to The Palm Beach Post, administrators at St. Andrew's School looked the other way last year as one teacher seemed to have inappropriate relationships with four students despite repeated warnings. You can read the full story in today's digest.

The second school is the ongoing saga being played out at St. Paul's, in Concord, New Hampshire, where attorneys there are pushing back on a Senior Salute civil lawsuit brought by a 15-year old J.D. and her parents. The parents are suing St. Paul's School for failure to protect daughter from Owen Labrie's sexual advances. However, the school wants to limit media coverage because the headlines are making it almost impossible for the elite Episcopal preparatory school to shake the consequences from the 2014 impropriate actions of a graduating senior with an underage student.

In August last year, graduating senior, Owen Labrie, was convicted on three counts of misdemeanor Sexual Assault, one misdemeanor count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and one felony count of Prohibited Use of Computer Equipment. The final count brought with it a one-year jail sentence, five-year probation, and the requirement to register as a sex offender in Vermont.

St. Paul's attorneys want to reveal her name, but victims' right advocates feel that if her identity is made known, it would make it harder for other young assault victims to come forward and reveal a sexual assault.

"Someone as young as she is (Miss X) shouldn't have to choose between getting justice and publishing her name," Colby Bruno, a senior legal counsel at the Boston-based Victim Rights Law Center, told the Concord Monitor. "Not only can she not undo the assault that happened to her, but by publishing her name, she can't put the cat back into the bag. In the days of Internet searches, there is the concern that this will follow her for the rest of her life."

St. Paul's defense attorneys replied: "Look, we'll let you go under a pseudonym, that's OK. You can be 'Jane and John Doe parents of J.D.' but in exchange -- our little quid pro quo -- you've got to stop talking."

You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****

There is apparently no end to the underhanded ways TEC is pushing its pansexual agenda in Africa. Jeff Walton, writing for Juicy Ecumenism, says funding from western progressives in the Anglican Church of Canada and U.S.-based Episcopal Church, are using the Anglican Alliance, the Anglican Consultative Council's (ACC) development, relief, and advocacy agency which is based out of the Anglican Communion Office in London, to finance and change the churches' teaching on marriage and so-called rights of equality in African provinces.

"I have to confess to you that I am deeply disturbed by some of what is happening in the Communion and its churches today," Anglican Communion Secretary General, Josiah Idowu-Fearon. reported. "I have seen Anglicans who are poor and marginalized in their own societies plead for their right to maintain Anglican orthodoxy in their own churches, only to be swept aside by a campaign to change the churches' teaching on marriage and so-called rights of equality."

There is no lack of money, in pursuing this agenda, he said. You can read Walton's full account in today's digest or here: http://tinyurl.com/gs3yj7y

*****

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, is urging Anglican leaders in Africa not to "fall in line" with "socially progressive" views and programs "which suggest that the Bible is wrong". Speaking to members of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meeting in Rwanda, Idowu-Fearon said that the Church "will not crumble or bow the knee to a godless secular culture that despises the Bible and what it teaches" and urged the Churches in Africa to remain focused on serving the people of the continent.

He made his remarks in a wide-ranging address in which he praised the Anglican Communion as "the one organization throughout Africa which is trusted to deliver on projects."

He said that, after a year in his present role, he had come to appreciate the "important and central position" that Anglican churches in the "incredible, diverse, beautiful and challenging continent" of Africa "occupy on the world stage."

He said: "Through our work, we are the source of the gospel, of education, of democracy, of civil society and political parties; and of the reduction of maternal and child mortality on our continent," he said. "These were not imports from outside. These resulted from the work of our African grandfathers and grandmothers in the faith.

"They were the village evangelists, and catechists, and schoolteachers, and nurses and farmers and laborers and parents who brought to our continent the living Word of God, Jesus, through the written word of God, the Bible in the power of the Spirit.

"It was Bible-believing Christians who have transformed the face of Africa in the last 150 years and we can transform it again."

*****

A dozen homosexual clergy in the Church of England are set to defy the Church's official stance on same-sex marriage. They say they will write to church leaders to say they are already in same-sex marriage and want their official position reconsidered.

They are set to reveal that they have married their partners, defying the official line taken by church leaders on same-sex marriage. Half the signatories have already declared themselves to be in these unacceptable marriages, including Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who was one of the first priests to openly defy the ruling.

The letter is likely to reignite the heated debate on the issue, which has divided the church since same-sex marriages were legalized in England and Wales in March 2014.

It will also further alienate the Global South and GAFCON primates, who see this defiance go unstopped by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or even repudiated by him.

*****

Burundi has a new [GAFCON] archbishop. He is the Most Rev. Martin Blaise Nyaboho, who was installed as the fourth Archbishop of Burundi, on Sunday, August 22, in in Bujumbura's Holy Trinity Cathedral. He was elected as the as the fourth primate of the province, in June. He succeeds Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who retired after 11 years in the post.

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, also took part in the service. He said that Archbishop Martin was taking up office at a tough time in Burundi and also within the Anglican Communion.

Referring to the Church as "beautiful but fragile", Dr. Idowu-Fearon presented Archbishop Martin with a glass jug that, if dropped, would easily break. "Don't break the Church," he said, "but keep the focus and unity of the Province".

There were also representatives from the Church Mission Society (CMS), Mothers' Union and the Church of England's Diocese of Winchester, which has a companion link with the Anglican Church of Burundi.

The Anglican presence in Burundi was established through the work of CMS in the 1930's. It grew rapidly as a result of the East African Revival. Today, it has some members from an estimated population of just over nine million people in Burundi.

*****

The Archbishop of Wales, who has spent 14 years at the helm of the Church of Wales, will retire next year. He is the longest serving archbishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. He will also retire as Bishop of Llandaff after more than 17 years, having previously been Bishop of Bangor for nearly seven years.

Morgan is among the most revisionist of Western archbishops in the Anglican Communion, whose only legacy was changing a law enabling women to be ordained as bishops and then apologizing "unreservedly" to gay couples for prejudice in the church. Under his tutelage, there was no evangelical revival and churches continue to wilt and die.

In Sept, 2014, I wrote about the The Washed up World of the Anglican Church of Wales and noted that Morgan said that he would resist the founding of another province with every fiber of his body. He was, of course, alluding to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). He made this statement at the 2009 Virginia Annual Council.

Well, his body might need new fibers because his Church might not be around for very much longer at the present rate of decline.

According to the latest statistics (2013), the Anglican Church in Wales shows Average Sunday Attendance (over 18) of just a little over 31,000 and under 18 of just a few over 6,000. That's a drop of some 1,728 persons (over and under age 18) from 2012. The Church is not attracting Millennials.

The trend for the future will be much the same as the past as there are no green shoots of renewal extant in the province, a source told VOL. Wales is the former ecclesiastical home of the less than notable, Dr. Rowan Williams.

*****

Last week, at an LGBT summit held during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, leaders within the movement laid out their plans to attack religious freedom across American to advance their agenda.

According to reports from The Daily Signal, leaders intend to rewrite the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include "protections" over sexual orientation and "gender identity," strip state Religious Freedom Restorations Act laws and other local so-called "anti-LGBT" legislation, and exploit the Americans With Disability Act to force private businesses to adhere to transgenderism (by using gender dysphoria as a disability).

These leaders' endgame is pretty straightforward: Total destruction of religious liberty surrounding the LGBT movement. Dissent is not an option. You will comply.

The first and foremost goal of the LGBT lobby is to rewrite the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by enacting the Equality Act, under which the Civil Rights Act would be amended to "include sexual orientation and gender identity among prohibited categories of discrimination." According to Evan Wolfson, the former president of Freedom to Marry, the Equality Act is "unfinished business."

Essentially, the re-writing of the legislation from over 50 years ago, would void protection from private businesses under the 1993 RFRA, signed under former President Bill Clinton. For instance, if you're a business owner with deeply-held religious beliefs against participation in gay weddings, you're out of luck (and First Amendment protections): get ready to bake that cake and take those pictures for Sam and John's wedding.

Building on this attack, LGBT leaders plan on voiding all religious protections standing in the way of their totalitarian agenda, since, according to Wolfson, religion is the "excuse" that "people are bigots."

"To defeat their opponents, LGBT groups plan to go state by state to strike down religious freedom measures and, instead, implement their own laws on sexual orientation and gender identity. They said they intend to do this until new federal law or court decisions negate that necessity," reports The Daily Signal.

In other words, even local and state governments will be stripped of religious protections. For example, charities and even adoption agencies which reject same-sex marriage and transgenderism, will be forced to comply with the LGBT agenda if such religious liberties are overturned.

Lastly, the LGBT lobby plans on exploiting the American With Disabilities Act to force private companies to "accommodate" trans people--people diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Leaders have their eye on a case in Pennsylvania at the moment: Blatt v. Cabela's Retail Inc. A trans "woman" is suing over the lack of accommodation he received as a person diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Such a win would be the "'first of its kind litigation strategy' with the potential of overturning exclusions for transgender individuals under the Americans With Disabilities Act."

LGBT activists plan on teaming up with dominate progressive groups like Black Lives Matter to help advance their agenda. Gun-control advocacy and abortion "rights" are also on the list of causes the LGBT lobby plans on co-opting for gain.

If these leaders execute their plans, religious freedom will be utterly null and void when it comes to deeply held beliefs concerning same-sex marriage and transgenderism. As usual, the culture battle is being brought to conservatives; if they don't fight back, swaths of American religious liberty could disappear before our eyes.

*****

Seven South Carolina University Presidents have written a letter to their Governor Nikki Haley over what they see as a violation of their religious rights.

"As South Carolinians, we are fortunate to have leaders in all areas of government who understand the value of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, specifically its provision for the free exercise of religion. You are among these leaders. We believe religious freedom at our institutions is at serious risk, and we respectfully ask for your help.

It is widely known that America's oldest institutions of higher education began as religious colleges, and that throughout the history of the United States, faith-based colleges and universities have been free to conduct their campuses in ways that are consistent with their religious convictions.

However, in recent weeks, we have grown concerned about developing threats to the free exercise of religion in higher education at both the national and state level, and the potential impact those threats would have on our longstanding ability to set expectations of conduct that align with our institutions' longstanding religious tenets.

One such example, Senate Bill 1146 in the California Assembly, would greatly limit the ability of students, faculty, and staff on our campuses to freely exercise their religious beliefs. As originally introduced, SB 1146 would deny students' ability to participate in state grant programs--programs that exist to help low-income students, many of whom are racial minorities--at schools that are found in violation of the bill.

The Obama Administration has placed mandates on educational institutions that essentially force public school students to use bathrooms with members of the opposite biological sex, even though to do so violates the privacy and modesty of students, who may object on the basis of their deeply held religious values.

Our nation has historically held to the idea that conscience and religious conviction come before the demands of the state. While we and our institutions do not agree on all religious matters, we all agree that the government has no place in discriminating against religious individuals or religious educational institutions by disqualifying them from grant and loan programs because of religious expression guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

*****

A remote controlled flying drone, equipped with a video camera, is to be used to identify maintenance requirements of historic churches in Yorkshire, England. The Church of England's dioceses of Sheffield and York are to take part in a pilot program organized by the National Churches Trust. The scheme will be funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund -- a grant-making body distributing funds from the UK's National Lottery.

The National Churches Trust (NCT) will use the £90,100 GBP to establish the Yorkshire Maintenance Project, which, they say, will "help keep churches and chapels in Yorkshire in good condition and to prevent the need for expensive repairs."

The project will entail drone surveys of churches, training workshops to help volunteers maintain church buildings and a new Maintenance Booker website where churches of all denominations can organize gutter clearances and other urgent maintenance tasks.

It is not the first time that churches have found a use for drones. Last month, the authorities at ChristChurch Cathedral in New Zealand, released dramatic footage showing the extent of the damage caused by the 2011 earthquake to the city's historic cathedral; and the Church in Wales' Diocese of Llandaff explained that drones were being used to map ancient burial grounds.

*****

The Archbishop of Canterbury's communications team has a cool dozen people to help him get the word out. He seems to have more PR, Media and Communications people around him than the Prime Minister of Britain!!! You can check out the list here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/communications-office.aspx

*****

The Diocese of Montreal has an unsustainable deficit and even an unsustainable future. Mainline denominations love to talk about sustainability. Usually, it relates to the church's obsession with anthropogenic global warming, something that may not actually exist and, therefore, something that demands the full attention of pious clergy everywhere, writes David of Samizdat, an orthodox Canadian blogger.

"The Diocese of Montreal faces a real instance of sustainability -- or, rather, unsustainability. Its deficit is unsustainable. Ultimately, that means the diocese itself is unsustainable; the only question is, will debt cause it to evaporate before it melts due to global warming?"

A recent report from the diocese revealed this: Delegates to the annual diocesan synod approved a budget for 2017 with revenue of $2.08 million and expenses of $2.38 million, calling for a $300,856 operating loss, a little less than the $331,975 loss now forecast for this year. The operating losses were $529,482 in 2015 and $400,983 in 2014.

Diocesan treasurer Ron O'Connell told delegates, "Our diocese cannot sustain this rate of loss." He said, "It's very important that these things be addressed sooner than later, so that people understand that it's time for action." A number of parishes as well are facing threats to whether they can sustain themselves, he said, and some of them need assistance from the diocese in finding ways to "re-purpose" church buildings and other properties.

In addition to the operating losses, the diocese is shouldering special costs of establishing a new "church plant" in the former Church of St. James Apostle. The impact of these on diocesan funds is estimated at $200,000 in 2016 and the budget provides for another $200,000 in 2017. Mr. O'Connell said a further $100,000 is expected to be spent in 2018, following which collections from new worshippers at the church plant are forecast to move the plant into the black.

The 2017 budget approved by the synod, includes some spending reductions. With the shift to publishing The Anglican Montreal to four times a year rather than 10, beginning this fall, the newspaper is expected to cost the diocese $40,000 in 2016, instead of the $53,500 in the original 2016 budget, and $32,100 in the 2017 budget.

Also, spending on the French language ministry in Sorel, expected to cost $31,500 this year, is eliminated from the 2017 budget. Audited financial statements presented to the synod showed that the assets of the diocese declined to just under $14.1 million, including $8.7 million in investments at the end of 2015 from $15.1 million, including $11.1 million in investments at the end of 2014. After deducting liabilities, net assets declined to $11.3 million from $12.9 million.

A knowledgeable, former priest of the diocese told VOL that when Reg Hollis retired from being bishop, the evangelicals, charismatics and catholics could not agree on a candidate. Andrew Hutchison, the liberal, won and proceeded to demolish the diocese. It went from 90,000 Anglicans to 19,000 during his tenure. Then they made him Primate of Canada. Re-evangelizing the diocese by the new woman bishop, a charismatic, who, of course, is pro-homosexual marriage, is not promising.

*****

Prince Hassan of Jordan, a Muslim, has teamed up with Dr Ed Kessler, the Jewish interfaith expert, to issue a joint denunciation of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Writing in a joint opinion piece in the UK's Daily Telegraph, they denounce as "incredible", claims by Daesh that Christianity is a Western import to the region. "Christianity has been part of the essential fabric of the Middle East for two thousand years", they say, ". . . it was born here and exported as a gift to the rest of the world. Christian communities have been intrinsic to the development of Arab culture and civilization."

*****

In the last VIEWPOINTS we told you about the declining world of the TEC's Episcopal seminaries. So here's the good news about America's largest seminaries? They are all solidly evangelical.

Thanks to figures collected by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), from the 2015-16 academic year, there appears an interesting picture: students seeking training for church ministry in the United States are largely attracted to evangelical Protestant seminaries, a trend that hasn't changed much over the past twenty years.

The evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary ranks largest, with 1,542 full-time enrolled students during the 2015-16 academic year. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary follow closely behind with 1,438 and 1,356 full-time enrolled students, respectively. All of the ten largest seminaries in the country are evangelical Protestant. Five of the six theological seminaries associated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) are among the top ten largest in the country. Meanwhile, the SBC-affiliated Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary barely missed the list, with 705 full-time students enrolled. (TEC's combined 11 seminary enrollment is 599).

Do you think there might be a lesson or two to be learned by TEC seminary leaders about what constitutes a good seminary?

*****

In Louisville, KY, a federal judge dismissed all charges against a Kentucky county clerk in light of a new state law. Federal Judge David Bunning -- a George W. Bush appointee -- dismissed three lawsuits against Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, arrested last year for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

"In light of these proceedings, and in view of the fact that the marriage licenses continue to be issued without incident," Bunning ruled, "there no longer remains a case or controversy before the Court."

In September 2015, Davis spent five days in jail owing to her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. A fervent Christian, she declared, "To affix my name or authoritative title on a certificate that authorizes marriage that conflicts with God's definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman violates my deeply held religious convictions and conscience. For me, this would be an act of disobedience to my God."

*****

The Archbishop of the United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA) Peter D. Robinson is moving east from Prescott, AZ where he has been pastor of St. Paul's Anglican Church and has accepted an invitation to be Minister-in-Charge of St. David's Anglican Church, Charlottesville, VA. He will maintain his present title and add Bishop Ordinary of a reorganized Eastern Missionary District.

*****

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