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Former TEC COO Sues Church * Long Island Priest Fired for Child Porn Revelations * Diocese of Rochester Sells HQ * TEC leaders Could Nix 2018 GC in Texas over Trannie Toilets * UK Bishop Blasts Welby over Camp Abuse of Boys

Christ's example. *Lowliness* was much despised in the ancient world. The Greeks never used their word for humility (*tapeinotes*) in a context of approval, still less of admiration. Instead they meant by it an abject, servile, subservient attitude, 'the crouching submissiveness of a slave'.(1) Not till Jesus Christ came was a true humility recognized. For he humbled himself. And only he among the world's religious and ethical leaders has set before us as our model a little child.

"All true Christian preaching should be expository...The expositor opens what seems to be closed, makes plain what is confusing, unravels what is knotted, and unfolds what is tightly packed." --- John Stott, The Challenge of Preaching

According to Pew Research these seven nations (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) make up about 12% of the world's Muslim population, leaving 88% of the global Muslim population unaffected. In fact, all of these nations come from the Middle East-North Africa region which as whole, contrary to what you might have thought, contains only a fifth of the world's Muslims. Based on 2010 figures, there are 1.6 billion Muslims (making it the second largest religious tradition in the world) and nearly 62 percent live in the Asia-Pacific. Two nations in the Asia-Pacific, India and Pakistan, by themselves are home to more Muslims than the entire Middle East-North Africa region. The two largest Muslim nations in the world by absolute numbers are both in the Asia-Pacific: Indonesia (209 million) and India (176 million). --- Marcus Roberts for Mercatornet.net

The humility of dependence. Humility to Bash [the Rev. E. J. H. Nash] was synonymous with dependence. He told me several times of the serious illness he had had when he was a young man. When he was at his lowest ebb, and was not at all sure that he would survive, he remembered being so helpless that he needed to be fed. This utter dependence which in a sense was for him the ultimate in humiliation, seems also to have been the beginning of humility. He learned then the inescapable fact of our human dependence on each other, and even more on God. The humility of a little child, to which Jesus several times alluded, is the humility of dependence. It is right to refer to children as 'dependants', for that is what they are, dependent on their parents for everything they possess. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
February 10, 2017

President Donald Trump may have inadvertently done Christians a favor. His lies and half- truths have raised serious flags with Millennials who have been variously described as "post truth", relativist in morals and absolute truth deniers with a conundrum.

If there is no absolute truth, then why call out a president you may like or dislike on his lies and exaggerations? If President Trump tells that many lies (Hilary Clinton had her fair share) and needs to be fact checked every time he opens his mouth, then perhaps there is something called absolute truth after all!

We are being told we live in a "post truth" world where there are no moral norms, no absolute truths, but if we have a president who requires constant fact checking, then perhaps we do have an absolute moral and ontological standard to judge things by!

Millennials, who have pretty well discarded any notion of absolute truth, may have to face up to the fact that there are absolute truths. Is there a God you cannot ignore? Is there a Savior who offers salvation? Are you yourself free of sin? If not lies, what are your particular sins that require repentance?

Mr. Trump may have done us all a big favor, even if you did vote for him.

Worth thinking about.

*****

Hell hath no fury like a bishop scorned. Bishop Stacy Sauls, former COO of the Episcopal Church, got the axe from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry soon after Curry got the top slot. Apparently, a severance deal was cut, but not to Sauls' liking and so he has sued Curry and others for more money.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry read a statement to the staff of the Episcopal Church Center concerning the investigation initiated on December 9, 2015, into potential violations of personnel policies. Two staff members have been terminated, and a third has been found innocent of violations or knowledge of said violations, but will be replaced in order to implement different leadership policies and directions. The investigation found general problems in the workplace environment, and a firm has been retained to help the ECUSA address deeper issues and implement a better and healthier culture.

The actions that I took were based on the facts determined and findings reached by that independent investigation, wrote Curry.

As TEC sinks slowly into the sunset, the temptation to grab what you can is irresistible. Will there be enough money to pursue Curry's much ballyhooed Jesus Movement revival to save the Church from extinction. We wait with raptured attention, or perhaps until the Rapture.

****

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island fired a Long Beach priest charged with possessing child pornography and drugs. The Rev. Christopher King, 51, the priest at St. James of Jerusalem Episcopal Church, was arrested Friday after investigators found images of boys engaged in sex acts on a computer at his church residence, authorities said. King also had crystal methamphetamine in his West Penn Street home office and bedroom, authorities say in court records.

"The diocese and the entire Episcopal Church have a zero-tolerance policy with respect to criminal conduct of any kind, including the allegations made against Father King," Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano said in a statement. "As a result of these allegations, I have today terminated Father King's license to function as an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Long Island."

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of California's Diocese of El Camino Real put King on administrative leave Saturday, meaning he cannot function as an Episcopal priest anywhere, Provenzano said. King arrived on Long Island in 2001 from the El Camino Real diocese, which still has jurisdiction over him, Provenzano said.

The diocese has a history of sado-masochistic priests masquerading as Christians. In 2006, I wrote a story headlined The Boys from Brazil in which then Bishop Orris Walker was forced to fire the Rev. William Lloyd Andries, who imported young men from Brazil and other countries for sexual purposes and then "married" one of them. A new priest to the diocese was later name in a PENTHOUSE magazine story.

VOL obtained figures on the parish and the diocese and none of it looks hopeful. The parish has less than 50 ASA and a P&P of $52,000. One doubts it has much of a future. Overall, the diocese claims 135 parishes with a total ASA of 13,685, but it is the Caribbean Anglo-Catholic parishes that are the liveliest and for the most part keep the diocese afloat. The diocese received only 83 into its fold in 2014, performed only 255 marriages, but buried 721 people.

*****

The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester sold its headquarters and chapel for $1.2 million and then moved its diocesan administrative offices to St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 3825 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta, after finalizing the sale last month.

The Bishop, Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, said the funds will enter their endowment and will be used to support such things as outreach missions and growth of our congregations. That's code for we don't have enough money coming in to keep HQ going, so we are selling it off in the hopes we can keep the remainder of the diocese from running into the ground.

The diocese began exploring a sale of the 100-year-old building, where it oversaw 46 parishes in eight counties, earlier this year. The area diocese has been based at the site since 1954.

Episcopal leaders said last year that the decision to sell was more about renewing their focus on "going out into neighborhoods and traveling lightly."

Other dioceses that have been "traveling light" include the dioceses of Rhode Island, Delaware and Pennsylvania, all of whom have sold either their cathedrals or diocesan headquarters.

*****

VOL's national correspondent, Mary Ann Mueller, uncovered a letter from the Presiding Bishop and HOD President revealing a veiled threat to move General Convention over Texas's proposed Bathroom Law.

As the Episcopal Executive Council prepared to meet in Lithicum Heights, Maryland, the two presiding officers of General Convention penned a joint letter to the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), protesting Texas' latest privacy bill which, if passed, would "require Texas residents to use bathrooms according to their sex designation on their birth certificate. It would also prohibit local governments from passing laws that protect gay rights in 'intimate settings' such as public restrooms."

Where they would move the convention to is not disclosed. You can read her fine bit of sleuthing in today's digest.

*****

The Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt. Rev. Alan Wilson, says that claims made by Archbishop Justin Welby that he was ignorant of boys being abused at summer camps run by John Smyth, do not hold up. The Archbishop vigorously denies any such knowledge. The bishop accused the Archbishop of lying, but declined to clarify his assertion.

Smyth, now 75 and living in South Africa where he campaigns on morality, was the head of a Christian charity, the Iwerne Trust, when he ran the holiday camps. The young Justin Welby was among the Christian young men who attended the camps. The camps were where public school evangelical Christians were sent if they were deemed to have potential as future leaders in the Church of England.

Smyth ran Christian summer "Bash" camps under the auspices of the Iwerne Trust and is alleged to have beaten as many as 22 boys who attended the camps over a series of years. The attacks only stopped when one victim, the author of the anonymous letter, attempted to commit suicide.

According to U.K. evangelist, Canon Dr. Michael Green, there were no such beatings at Iwerne! "They occurred in a shed on his property in Winchester, and later in Zimbabwe."

Canon Green, a contemporary of John R.W. Stott, said he went to these camps three times a year for about 8 years and he never saw or heard of anything untoward. "Smyth was not there in my day. He was clearly a sadist and the beatings recorded are horrific. The Iwerne camps and Bash in particular were major formative influences in my life and that of my friends, many of whom have become substantial Christian leaders at home or abroad. I learnt there, as I have never learnt so well elsewhere, how to lead an inductive Bible study without dominating it, how to preach for decision, and how to help an individual to faith. Bash himself is one of the greatest pastors I have known with immense insight, humor and a strong evangelistic gift without being emotional."

The Buckingham Bishop then went on to blame evangelical theology for the abuse, which he said promulgated a "nasty" and "punitive" doctrine of a vicious God. In an interview, Wilson linked evangelical theology with "violence and nastiness."

Canon Dr. Michael Green, author of 50 books and a leading world authority on evangelism, a contemporary of John Stott and friend of Billy Graham repudiated the bishops' claims, and told VOL that Bishop Wilson is a thorn in the side of the diocese and nobody can understand why he was ever made a suffragan!

"The Bishop of Buckingham is only a suffragan, but he makes a lot of controversial statements to the media. He does not like biblical standards nor the evangelicals who uphold them. He is in favor of gay sex and same sex marriage, thus contravening the agreed position of the worldwide bishops in Lambeth 1.10, and the recent declaration by the English House of Bishops upholding traditional Christian standards. He certainly does not speak for the Church of England." You can read my full report in today's digest.

*****

In his February letter, GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, commented on the recent report from the Church of England's House of Bishops on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships. The report recommended no change in the Church's official teaching, however there were "serious concerns" warned the Archbishop. "The report encourages a relaxation of church discipline and confuses pastoral sensitivity with a permissive church culture which already tolerates, in practice, clergy who have contracted same-sex 'marriages''. Therefore, despite its merits, the report has weakened the GAFCON Primates' confidence in the Canterbury based instruments of the Communion.

Archbishop Okoh finished his letter by paying tribute to Revd. Dr. Mike Ovey, whose death in early January shocked and saddened so many in the GAFCON family. VOL has posted a reflection on Dr. Ovey by the Rev. Dr. Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream. You can read my full account of this in today's digest.

*****

GAFCON leaders have accused the Anglican Communion leaders of "manipulation". The Anglican Communion broke an agreement from the January 2016 Primates' meeting by letting The Episcopal Church take part in decision making, GAFCON leader and Nigerian Primate, Nicholas Okoh claims.

GAFCON says the American branch sat in on a meeting on polity and doctrine in Lusaka.

After the January 2016 Primates' meeting, it was decided that The Episcopal Church would not be allowed to "take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity".

This was the Church's punishment for taking a view that was pro same sex marriage.

It is now claimed that this agreement was broken. However, the Anglican Communion is said to have told GAFCON that there was no formal vote at the meeting so no rule was broken.

"This is sophistry," blasted GAFCON. "The Primates' agreement in January was never limited to the narrow issue of the method of voting," the group added in a statement.

"Whether a meeting uses a consensus model, or a voice vote, or paper ballots, or electronic ballots is of no relevance. The Episcopal Church was not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine. They did."

Archbishop Peter Jensen, General Secretary of GAFCON, said: "The future of the Anglican Communion does not lie with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written."

*****

An interdenominational march of 350 with a significant proportion being Episcopalians, marched in downtown Baltimore this week to protest Trump's immigration order. Episcopal Bishop Sutton said, "This is what democracy looks like."

Amer Omar says his mother is all the family he has left, since the day in 2009 that police broke into the family's home in Sudan, trashed the place, arrested his father and brothers and killed his cat.

Omar -- now 22 and a Baltimore student -- fears he'll lose his connection to his last blood relative after President Donald J. Trump banned travelers from seven countries with Muslim majorities, including Sudan, from entering the United States for at least 90 days.

Omar told about 350 participants in a march for refugees in Baltimore on Saturday, that his family suffered discrimination in his native country because his parents were from the Darfur region, which has been embroiled in civil war since 2003.

"The government in Sudan targeted my family," he said during a service after the march at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation on University Parkway.

One marcher carried a sign bearing images of the Statue of Liberty and the words "I'm with her." Another placard read, "They came for our Muslims, and we said no."

The marchers' chant: "No hate, no fear. Refugees are welcome here" could be heard from two blocks away. At times, their words were drowned out by the sound of horns from passing cars, tooting support.

The interdenominational march in Baltimore, one of several such protests this weekend in the United States and abroad, was organized by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. There were marches in Washington, Philadelphia, Boulder, Colo., and London.

*****

TEC's Presiding Bishop Michael Curry wants to see revival in the Church, so he is holding revival meetings around the country to try and jump start the church, "catalyzing the energy already there," he says. Now, evangelism and Episcopalianism are not two words that go together, but Curry is trying to give the church a fresh vision of what might be possible if everyone gets on board. "Don't be afraid to stand up for the name of Jesus ...and don't be afraid to be an Episcopalian," he said in Pittsburgh recently.

There is a ton of irony here. Before the Diocese of Pittsburgh split, it was one of the most active evangelical dioceses in TEC. Under Bishop Bob Duncan, the diocese grew and prospered. Since the split and under TEC's new bishop, Dorsey W. M. McConnell, the diocese has languished.

There is little evidence to support that Curry's call to evangelize will work. Most Episcopalians are not remotely evangelical (a necessary starting point to evangelize anyone) and most wouldn't know how to lead someone to the Lord. It is not in their DNA. So much ground work needs to be done before this is even possible and Curry is not doing it.

*****

The long-serving Primate in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan, Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, said he will step down from his position in November this year.

Daniel Deng is the fourth Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan since his enthronement on 20 April 2008.

Deng told a congregation at Emmanuel Diocese in Yei town on Sunday that his tenure as Archbishop will expire in November, saying the church will elect a new Archbishop to lead the Anglican Church in South Sudan.

Deng thanked members of the Episcopal Church for electing him as Archbishop for ten years. "I feel it is important to notify you about that we need to see that the Anglican Church is well governed, and we have to see into it that it is governed by the right people," said Deng.

*****

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, has announced he will retire at the end of July. Bishop David was consecrated as Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, in 2005 and was elected primus four years later. Under his leadership, the Scottish branch of Anglicanism took a major step towards allowing same-sex marriage. One doubts he will be missed. The real question is who will succeed him.

*****

The Archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging Christians of all denominations to join in with a 10-day global prayer initiative "Thy Kingdom Come" from Ascension Day to Pentecost. What began last year as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England, has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer. Last year more than 100,000 people joined in, and in 2017, it's expected to be on a bigger scale. The initiative runs from 25 May to 4 June.

*****

On March 13, Anglican choral Evensongwill be celebrated in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican for the first time.

The Evensong comes five months after Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby celebrated Vespers together at the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio to mark the Anglican Centre's fiftieth anniversary.

Permission for this unique occasion was granted by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St Peter's Basilica, during a recent meeting with Archbishop David Moxon, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Archbishop Moxon will preside at the 3.00pm service, while the preacher will be Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican. The music will be sung by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford.

This date has been chosen as the nearest available day to the historic feast day of St Gregory the Great, who has become an unofficial patron of relations between the two churches. St Gregory was the Pope who sent St Augustine to England in 595 to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons and who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

The service will be celebrated according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

*****

The Archbishop of Canterbury and His All-Holiness Bartholomew of Constantinople have pledged to fight modern slavery in its various forms, and signed a joint declaration condemning modern slavery at a forum in Istanbul.

*****

The Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) new policy accepting so-called transgender applicants won't affect scouting units sponsored by the Catholic Church.

In an official statement issued on February 4, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCOS) said:

(The new policy) has no impact on the operation and program delivery of Scouting program(s) in Catholic-chartered units. Scouting serves the Catholic Church through the charter concept, which is similar to a franchise. The units chartered to a Catholic institution are owned by that organization. The BSA has stipulated that religious partners will continue to have the right to make decisions for their units based on their religious beliefs.

On January 30, the Boy Scouts of America decided to change membership eligibility based on gender from one's birth certificate to one's membership application.

*****

I have new work in addition to being president of VIRTUEONLINE. I have taken on the role as North American Correspondent for GLOBAL CHRISTIAN NETWORK. You can see my scribblings here: www.globalchristiannews.org I welcome feedback.

*****

We have not reached the financial level necessary for a working budget for 2017 but we are slowly getting there. We are receiving more support once the threat of putting VOL behind a paywall became a possibility.

If you are a regular reader, then think seriously if you want to keep the news coming FREE into your e-mail inbox each week or being able to go daily to VOL's website. A donation of any amount helps keep the home fires burning.

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Thank you for your support.

David

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