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THE SONG OF MARY: MAGNIFICAT - Luke 1:46-55

The Bible is full of praise and thanksgiving. Biblical religion is a religion of rejoicing, of music and son. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) It is noteworthy that Christianity has produced so much music. Christmas, in particular, is the season for so much beautiful music as we celebrate the coming of the Messiah and the hope he brings.

The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution

Speaking thirty years ago, Attorney General Meese warned that "there are ideas which have gained influence in some parts of our society, particularly in some important and sophisticated areas that are opposed to religious freedom and freedom in general. In some areas there are some people that have espoused a hostility to religion that must be recognized for what it is, and expressly countered."[1]

Our Lady of the Atonement becomes jewel in the Ordinariate's crown

This action officially took place on Tuesday (March 21). The first thing Bishop Lopes did, was to immediately travel from Houston to San Antonio -- 200 miles away -- to personally meet his new congregation that very evening and assuage their worries with a parish wide meeting, in which he explained the ins and outs of joining the Ordinariate and answered parishioners' fears and many questions.

TANZANIA: Anglican Prelate Dr Mokiwa Now Saddled With Court Costs

Advocate Emmanuel Nkoma, for the Church's Archbishop, Dr Jacob Chimeledya and Registered Trustees of Anglican Church of Tanzania, as defendants, could not raise any objection to the request for the withdrawal of the suit, but he pressed that the costs be paid to his clients.

The lawyer told the court that it was Dr Mokiwa who brought his clients to court and, thus, were entitled to be paid the costs they had incurred in hiring advocates to represent them in the matter, plus other payments made to the court after filing certain documents, notably the Written Statement of Defence.

CENTRAL AFRICA: Former Anglican Bishop Kunonga to pay $427,000

The Supreme Court upheld the High Court decision ordering him and his allies to pay $427 892, plus
interest and court costs to the Diocese of Harare.

Justice Paddington Garwe threw out Dr Kunonga's contention that the shares were sold to meet the
costs of running the affairs of the church.

He found that the assets had not been used for the benefit of CPCA, but in furtherance of the interests
of the new church Dr Kunonga and his allies had formed.

SAN ANTONIO: Our Lady of the Atonement to go into the Ordinariate

Bishop Lopes was schedule to meet with Our Lady of the Atonement parishioners Tuesday evening to give them the lay of the land and answer any questions they may have about the process of becoming an Ordinariate parish.

"It appears that our difficult situation has been resolved," Phillips wrote to his anxious parishioners. "I look forward to us being together as one parish family."

Since this is a breaking story, Virtue Online will keep you abreast of the developments as they happen.

KANUGA: Washington Bishop Drops Bombshell on House of Bishops

"There are 88 congregations in the Diocese of Washington. Many are small, with a worshipping congregation under 200. Looking deeply at the trends and internal realities of each, only 12 of them, at most, are on a path of sustainability and growth; another 12-15, at the other extreme, are in precipitous decline--most of them in our most vulnerable or rapidly transitioning neighborhoods or communities.

PEWSEY, UK: My Experience of Worship in a Church of England Country Parish

I decided to attend the local parish for 11.am worship, and so I made my way up the hill to St. John the Baptist Church, Pewsey. I was told this is the main church in a team ministry of 16 parishes served by three full-time stipendiary clergy. This precludes a 17th century church with no electricity held in the middle of a field which only has a couple of services a year. Only four of the 16 have a service every Sunday. This is the biggest and most well attended parish in the diocese.

More calls for Welsh church to make Jeffrey John a bishop

Dr John is in a long-term gay relationship with another Anglican priest and in a strongly worded open letter on Sunday claimed his sexuality was the sole reason why he was blocked.

Candor Breaks Out at Kanuga

This went well enough, and then the plenary floor was open to sharing from the table discussions. All was going according to plan. Then one bishop (whom I will not name, though he probably wouldn't mind) got up and said, in effect, "There's an elephant in the room, and we're ignoring it in favor of a bunch of navel gazing." That's when everything went off the rails. A handful of others got up and said, "Yeah. There's an elephant in the room, and we need to talk about it!" Except ... nobody actually named the elephant.

The Shack -- The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment

In the shack, "Mack" meets the divine Trinity as "Papa," an African-American woman; Jesus, a Jewish carpenter; and "Sarayu," an Asian woman who is revealed to be the Holy Spirit. The book is mainly a series of dialogues between Mack, Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu. Those conversations reveal God to be very different than the God of the Bible. "Papa" is absolutely non-judgmental, and seems most determined to affirm that all humanity is already redeemed.

Freeing Religion from Government's Grip

You've probably heard about the Christian bakers, photographers, florists and wedding planners who have been fined heavily or put out of business for declining to service same-sex ceremonies. And the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have been threatened with ruin for declining to pay for abortions.

But did you hear about the law signed on September 30th by California Gov. Jerry Brown that singles out religious colleges? They have to jump through hoops that other institutions are spared, simply because their beliefs are suspect in the eyes of the government.

The Plight of Homosexuals, and the Way Out

During a survey of HIV clinics, one care provider told researchers, "It's not a question of them not knowing how to save their lives. It's a question of them knowing if their lives are worth saving."

Beer, Bibles, Bullies and Bigotry

We saw another prime example of this when a brief video on homosexual marriage was put out by the Bible Society of Australia in conjunction with Coopers Brewery. A very civil debate featuring two Liberals (one a homosexual in favour of it, one a heterosexual against it) was a light-hearted and friendly bit of discussion about this key issue.

On the Bishop of Burnley; Where is the Surprise here?

When women's ordination burst forth through the irregular ordinations of the Philadelphia 11 on July 29, 1974, The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America became snake bit. Now the Church of England has become dragon bit and the Archbishop of Canterbury will not rise up as a dragonslayer as the godly St. George did. The famed dragonslayer is the patron saint of England and his St. George's Cross is in the center of every waving Union Jack as the upright cross is superimposed over the X-shaped St. Andrew's Cross.

A New Era

As we study the Reformation Church, we recognize that it is impossible to view the events, personalities and emerging theological perspectives without also taking in the emergence of nation-states, the transformation wrought by the printing press, or, indeed, the troubled marriages of England's Henry VIII. In the modern era, it is almost impossible to separate the Enlightenment from the evangelical revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries. The tension between enlightenment ideals and religious faith has marked the last two centuries.

AUSTRALIA: Justice Peter McClellan warns churches to get their houses in order or face the consequences

"I think that unless institutions do perform and put their house in order then the community needs to respond for them," Justice McClellan told the royal commission on Friday during a final hearing into the Anglican Church, and a panel discussion that included Newcastle Bishop Greg Thompson.

"As a citizen I couldn't agree more," replied former Anglican Church of Australia general secretary, Reverend Dr Bruce Kaye.

Some Lessons for Pentecostals from The "Recent Anglican War"

Now, it seems, those same disputes have come to the Pentecostal world, with Urshan College giving the Society of Pentecostal Studies (SPS) the boot as a venue for their gathering because the SPS had the bad taste to allow a prominent LGBT activist on the program. (Pentecostals will have to excuse my Palm Beachy characterisation of things, you like to celebrate roots, those are mine.) This has led to a firestorm on the "online trash fire" that Facebook has become. For those of us who have marched through this battlefield with the Anglicans, it's "deja vu all over again."

Former Queen's Chaplain Gavin Ashenden quits 'liberal' Church of England

He declined to comment on the move until his six-month waiting time is up.

It comes after the long-standing critic of the Church left his post as Queen's chaplain in January following a row over a Quran reading in Glasgow Cathedral. The Shropshire-based priest criticised the decision by Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, for inviting a reading from the Islamic holy book at the Epiphany service on January 6.

Episcopal House of Bishops "Fireside Chat" Documents Reveal Desperate Need to Halt a Church in Decline

One document headed, "Guiding Principles for HOB Meetings" revealed a management approach to the Church's problems under the heading of "rhythms or arcs reflecting both a developmental learning arc and the natural rhythms of our bodies and spirits." Question: What the blazes does that mean? Among suggestions were "experiential orientation" and "try it on for size"...hardly in the vein of St. Paul.

Singapore Anglican bishop: Parents should be 'strongly advised' about Beauty and the Beast's 'homosexual content'

The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast features a gay subplot and an "exclusively gay moment" between two male characters.

"Parents are therefore strongly advised to provide guidance to their children about this remake of Beauty and the Beast and indeed to their children's entertainment choices in a rapidly changing age," wrote Ponniah. He encouraged the faithful to pursue Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."

QUESTIONS JESUS ASKED: For Which of These Good Works do you Stone me? --- John 10:31-42

The modern secular world wants to kill Jesus for claiming to be God. For anyone to claim divine authority is regarded as egotistical and an affront to the desire to be one's own authority -- to be autonomous and to create one's own identity apart from any constraints. They want to kill any unique claim to be God. They want to shame anyone who claims to speak for God. They want to eliminate God from the universe. They want to delete God from conversation except as a vulgar exclamation. They want to exclude God from any possibility, from any prayer.

Episcopal leader meets with China's Puppet "Christian" Three Self Movement

He visited China at the invitation of the China Christian Council (CCC) and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). He attended meetings in Beijing and Shanghai, where he met with the minister of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), the Chinese government agency that oversees religious practice, and CCC/TSPM leaders, including Elder Fu Xianwei.

LONGVIEW,TX: Anglican church sets first confirmation service

The occasion is special enough to draw Todd Hunter, bishop of the four-state Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others. Known to members by the abbreviation, C4SO is a part of the Anglican Church of North America.

Anglicans trace their heritage to Henry Tudor's Church of England, which King Henry the Eighth founded when breaking from the Catholic Church at the start of the 16th century Reformation.

Hunter, who lives in California, said he became an Anglican seven years ago. His mission has been to plant churches.

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