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Americans Are Giving Up on Church * COVID Fallout Hits TEC; ACNA Not So Much * Welby Says Partnership not Jesus in Climate Change Controversy * Welby Worst ABC in History? * GAFCON Australia and Ireland Score Nazir Ali's Defection * ACNA bishop in trouble

Americans Are Giving Up on Church * COVID Fallout Hits TEC; ACNA Not So Much * Welby Says Partnership not Jesus in Climate Change Controversy * Welby Worst ABC in History? * GAFCON Australia and Ireland Score Nazir Ali's Defection * SCOTUS Rules in Favor of ACNA Nuns Over Abortion * ACNA Bishop Faces Allegations of Misconduct * Welby Blasts Non-Attenders to next Lambeth Conference

Christianity without Christ is a frame without a picture, a casket without a jewel, a body without breath. --- John R.W. Stott

Let's be clear about something. There is no such thing as "The Anglican Ordinariate." If you converted to Roman Catholicism, then, well, God bless you. We believe you are still In Christ and we still love you. But don't use the word "Anglican" to try to convert us. We are not a mission field. We are already in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. --- Robert Hart

Several religious denominations have seen memberships fall in recent years, including among young adults and teens. A new survey suggests that many young people perceive a disconnect between themselves and the houses of worship that need believers to sustain their congregations. --- Beliefnet.com

Half of young people ages 13 to 25 surveyed said they don't think that religious institutions care as much as they do about issues that matter deeply to them, according to a report released by the Springtide Research Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit. Those issues include racial justice, gender equity, immigration rights, income inequality and gun control. --- Wall Street Journal

" ... to address males with female pronouns or females with male pronouns is to contribute to our culture's confusion about sexuality and the nature of the human person, which is literally leaving casualties in its wake. No amount of surgical mutilation of body parts, effeminate behaviors, or artificial female appearances can make a man a woman." --- Carlos D. Flores, Public Discourse

Dear Brothers and Sisters
November 12, 2021

THERE is a public crisis no one is talking about. Americans are rapidly giving up on church and our minds and bodies will pay the price, says a lengthy article in Christianity Today.

The article cites an Anglican priest by the name of William Glass, who grew up in a dysfunctional family trailer park in Florida, absent of any religion, but got converted through friends who took him to church. "The bonds I formed in church meant that when things got bad, there was something else to do besides the next bad thing."

Glass's case might be a dramatic one, but it illustrates a documented pattern in our society. People find their social and personal lives improved--sometimes their lives even physically saved--when they go to church often.

In 2019, Gallup reported that only 38% of Americans view organized religion with "a great deal of confidence," down from 68% in 1975. The study's authors speculate that this trend has been driven in part by the highly publicized moral failures and crimes of religious institutions and leaders. (The sins of someone like Ravi Zacharias have deep consequences, not to mention a host of mega church leaders, evangelists and immoral pastors.)

The most common experience of Christians who don't go to church seems to be less a deliberate choice and more a substitution of habits. Put differently, many Christians are opting to go it alone, moving their faith into quarters so private that even the church is not allowed in. Obviously, this trend drives down church attendance and membership.

This means that Americans growing disaffection with organized religion isn't just bad news for churches, it also represents a pubic health crisis, one that has been ignored, but the effects of which are likely to increase in coming years.

Of course, the point of the gospel is not to lower your blood pressure, but to know and love God as you are known and loved by Him. We have to distinguish between the imperfect flourishing that is possible in this life and the perfect happiness and joy that is made full in the life to come.

Medical workers were 29% less likely to become depressed, about 50% less likely to divorce, and five times less likely to commit suicide than those who never attended. Health care professionals who attended services weekly were 33% were less likely to die during a 16-year follow up period than people who never attended.

What all this says is that church (where sin and salvation is preached) is not only important for the life to come, it has profound implications for life in the here and now. Married folks not only live longer than singles, but the longevity gap between the two groups is growing, U.S. government health statisticians report. They have checks and balances on their lives and going to church (when pushed by a partner) can actually be a positive influence.

The temptation to give up on church is there in spades. COVID has made it easier to stay at home, watch church on Zoom, and then decide not to go back at all when the doors finally open.

Here are six reasons why people may not be coming back to church:

They are COVID hesitant, inertia, weak attachment, Church switching, no value added and finally no Jesus. One of the reasons it's tricky to apply consumer analogies to ministry is because consumerism makes the customer king, not Christ. Consumerism prioritizes a customer's needs and wants. And consumers rarely want the Cross, even though that's what they really need.

Progressive churches like The Episcopal Church, have made a plethora of issues the centerpiece of their faith; no gospel of God's Good News, but endless talk of racism, critical race theory, gender issues, homosexual marriage, government programs to alleviate poverty, have driven people away. If what you proclaim is little more than the Democratic Party at prayer, then perhaps you deserve to die.


Recent statistics on the fallout of COVID for church attendance in both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America make for interesting reading.

TEC took a major hit in the year 2020, not only in attendance but also in membership and -- unusually -- in the pocketbook of the historically affluent denomination, reported Jeff Walton of IRD.

Statistics released by the Office of the General Convention show domestic membership in an uninterrupted drop of 61,243 persons to 1,576,702 (-4%) from 1,637,945, while average Sunday attendance declined 60,232 persons to 458,179 (-12%) from 518,411.

These numbers indicate a doubling in the rate of membership decline and a tripling in the rate of attendance decline over the previous year. Median Average Sunday Attendance in the denomination has dropped from 57 persons in 2016 to 50 persons in 2020. Long-term, 61% of Episcopal parishes saw their attendance decline 10% or greater in the past five years.

By contrast, the Anglican church in North America (ACNA), which anticipated a significant decline in APSA for 2020, saw only a minor decline of 1,192 (83,119 in 2020 compared to 84,310 in 2019). Membership declined slightly from 127,624 in 2019 to 126,760 in 2020. "Although there was fluctuation within our dioceses, the overall number of churches remained the same at 972," Andy Gross, Director of Communications for the ACNA told VOL.


A parochial report put out by TEC says the Church is not a building, yet millions have been spent by TEC trying to retain parishes and dioceses from defecting to the Anglican Church in North America. The Episcopal Church is being forced to face the reality that it is in deep trouble.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced churches to close their physical doors in the spring of 2020, Episcopal congregations across the United States and around the world began to re-imagine what it means to be the church. Physical distancing became a reality. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/tec-church-not-building-parochial-report


Nearly a third of millennials identify as LGBT, a new study finds. A report in the Washington Examiner revealed that roughly 30% of millennials in the United States identify as LGBT, according to a recent study conducted by Arizona Christian University.

Among the 30% of millennials who identify as LGBT, 39% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 said they fall into that category. This conclusion is based on the results of the study, which surveyed 600 people between the ages of 18 and 37. The study was overseen by George Barna, Arizona Christian University's Cultural Research Center's director of research.

"The generation is redefining sexuality, their own and how to perceive and respond to the gender identity and sexual-orientation choices of others," the study, which was published as part of the Foundation of Freedom's October issue, said. "With that have come new ideas and choices regarding marriage and family. Consequently, a social institution that used to be a safe harbor has now become a battleground."

There are profound implications for gospel proclamation in this news. The news itself is terrifying and may say a lot about parenting in America, but the mere fact that so many young people self-identify as LGBT should be of enormous concern to evangelicals as they reach new younger generations for Christ.


Archbishop Justin Welby is back in the news, this time over climate change. The only way forward is in partnership, he says; but is he right? The ABC ignores the Fall, the universality of sin 'far as the curse is found' and the fact that only God can save us, we cannot save ourselves.

"We are rightly fearful of climate change. It is the biggest threat we face; ignored, it will become our fate," said Welby at a COP26 conference of global leaders discussing climate change.

But climate change is not the biggest threat we face. The biggest threat we face is ignoring Christ crucified and fearing climate change. When we stand before God at the Last Judgment, we won't be asked why we sold our gas guzzling Chrysler for an electric Fiat. We will be asked what we did with his Son our Savior.

You can read my take here: https://virtueonline.org/climate-change-only-way-forward-partnership-says-welby


Will Justin Welby go down as the Worst Archbishop in the History of the Anglican Communion? Nary a month goes by when the titular head of the Anglican communion doesn't put his foot in his mouth, then, withdrawing it, is forced to apologize for what he said. Apologies are second nature with Justin Welby; the latest being his accusation that failure to act on climate change could be worse than the inaction of world leaders in the face of Nazi atrocities against the Jews.

Following his latest gaffe, there were calls for him to resign. A "twitter storm" erupted over the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments, with calls for him to step down being posted across social media.

Allison Pearson, a columnist with The Telegraph, called upon the Archbishop to step down. Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, said he was incredulous for the Archbishop to compare the deliberate murder of six million Jews with a contentious issue like climate change. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/will-justin-welby-go-down-worst-archbishop-history-anglican-communion


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby threw accusations at those refusing to attend the Lambeth Conference next year. He said they were playing "power games" and were a "tool of power" for "small groups that claim extraterritorial jurisdiction".

While not naming names, he clearly had GAFCON archbishops and bishops in mind. These people have made it abundantly clear that they will not attend because of unresolved issues over homosexuality and Welby's failure to uphold the strictures placed by the '98 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 on provinces that no longer uphold marriage between a man and a woman, refusing to forbid homosexual practice as "incompatible with Scripture". You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/welby-issues-accusations-lambeth-conference-holdouts


GAFCON, sadly had to distance Itself from Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, citing theological differences. The former CofE Bishop of Rochester was a formative thinker in the development of GAFCON, but a parting of the ways was inevitable.

The Chairman and the General Secretary of GAFCON issued a statement bringing clarity to the recent defection of former leading Anglican theologian Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali to the Roman Catholic Church via the Ordinariate.

"Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali has been very involved in the affairs of GAFCON ever since its birth in 2008, and therefore the announcement of his move to the Roman Catholic Church has been unsettling for many Anglicans," wrote ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and Nigerian Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/gafcon-distances-itself-dr-michael-nazir-ali-citing-theological-differences


To no one's surprise the Episcopal Diocese of Albany Standing Committee reversed its policy, and opened its door to homosexual marriage. They reversed its policy to prohibit homosexual marriage and announced on Nov. 1 that the ceremonies may proceed in the diocese. This brings the diocese into compliance with General Convention's mandate to make marriage rites available to all couples, a report from ENS announced. Albany is the last remaining American diocese in The Episcopal Church to allow this practice.

"We seek the renewing and rebuilding of our diocesan community," the standing committee wrote in its announcement, which quoted the 79th General Convention's Resolution B012 and other church documents in explaining the committee's decision. "We pledge ourselves to work with one another in a spirit of mutual respect in the midst of 'theological diversity in regard to matters of human sexuality.'" You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/surprise-albany-standing-committee-reverses-policy-opens-door-homosexual-marriage


Ghana's religious community is taking a beating from the world press over its decision to pass a homosexual bill criminalizing homosexual behavior.

The response from the Anglican Church in Ghana and its Archbishop, the Most Rev. Dr Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, has drawn the ire of Archbishops Welby (Canterbury) and Cottrell (York) and a small coterie of woke Church of England bishops.

But what the Ghanaian Archbishop and his HOB actually said draws a distinction between persons who have homosexual tendencies and homosexual behavior which the archbishop said was unbiblical and violated the culture of Ghana.

"The support of the church for the Anti-LGBTQI Bill is borne out of the belief that the practice is unbiblical and ungodly. We see LGBTQI as unrighteousness in the sight of God and therefore will do anything within our powers and mandate to ensure that the Bill comes into fruition." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/ghanaian-response-homosexual-bill-draws-ire-welby-and-cofe-bishops

Yesterday Welby released a statement about his conversation with the Ghanaian archbishop which said absolutely nothing. Here is what Welby wrote; "This was a conversation between equals: I have no authority over the Church of Ghana, nor would I want any. I say that partly because of Britain's colonial history in Ghana, but also because of the very nature of the Anglican Communion. We are a global family of churches who are autonomous but interdependent: a holy, catholic, apostolic Church bound together by history, sacraments, liturgy, and the love of Jesus Christ for each and every person. One of the key conclusions of the meeting is that human dignity is always paramount, and that cultural, social and historical contexts must also be considered and understood."

Notice what is missing. No mention of the Ghanaian archbishop's stand on Lambeth 1:10. No mention that the Ghanaian archbishop stood his ground and would not cave in to Welby on sodomy. No mention that the Ghanaian leader made a distinction between homosexuals and homosexual behavior. Nothing. Welby backed down, another fight lost.


Allegations of misconduct, including the abuse of ecclesiastical power, have been made against Bishop Todd Atkinson of the Via Apostolica Missionary District, based in Alberta, Canada. Bishop Atkinson is on a leave of absence and Bishop Quigg Lawrence, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, has been appointed to work with Via Apostolica during this season. A Provincial Investigative Team has been formed to look into these matters, and is beginning its work. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/provincial-investigation-concerning-bishop-todd-atkinson-begins


The Church in Wales has a new bishop. John Lomas, a former aircraft engineer who served during the Falklands War has been named as the next Bishop of Swansea and Brecon. Wales is very Woke, and while he is a conservative, he is considered a sop to evangelicals. In short, he won't change the overall direction of the Church, which has voted to bless homosexual marriages.


Church of England closures are a source of great sadness, says Sir Michael Palin, a Monty Python actor who doubles as Vice-President of the National Churches Trust. He is supporting a campaign to preserve church buildings.

"Churches remain a vital and much-loved part of the UK's heritage and we can't let them fall into neglect and disuse." But the NCT says the number of churches open and being used for worship has fallen from around 42,000 to 39,800 in the last ten years.


A majority of Protestant churches are now open for in-person services, but foot traffic has been slow to return to the pews, particularly for black churches, a new survey from Lifeway Research shows.

The survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors conducted Sept. 1-29 shows that some 98% of all Protestant churches are now open for in-person worship services, nearly matching pre-pandemic levels.

Still, data on in-person church attendance looks very little like it did pre-pandemic. Compared to figures from January 2020, the survey showed that as of August, 13% of churches were attracting less than 50% of their pre-COVID-19 attendance. Some 35% of pastors reported attendance levels between 50% and 70% for the period, while another 30% reported attendance levels between 70% and 90%. About one in eight of all churches said they were at attendance levels of between 90% and 100%, while 9% said they had more people in August than they did prior to the pandemic.


A recent CPG Compensation Report had some interesting highlights. The Church Pension Group in its annual survey of clergy compensation added data on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, all part of CPG's effort to fulfill compensation-related resolutions from the 2018 General Convention. Here are some highlights from the domestic dioceses:

Median compensation nationally for full-time clergy in 2020 was $83,392, up from $81,250 the prior year.

The number of clergy considered "full-time" was 4,559, continuing a steady decline from a high of 6,338 in 2003.

Sixty percent of clergy were male, and male clergy received median compensation about $10,500 higher than female clergy. That gap has widened slightly since last year's report, which showed a gap closer to $10,000. So why isn't Bishop Michael Curry not railing about this "injustice" against women?
And these clergy get paid without once having to mention that Christ died for their sins and the sins of those who sit in the pews. Those in those pews will hear endless sermons on being nice to homosexuals, (and not being homophobic if you happen to think that sodomy is sin), affirming homosexual marriage, engaging in anti-racism training, starting pubs in dying churches, erecting tents and port-o-potties in empty car lots, as well as endless talk about climate change which most people can do little about.

If these clergy were running small businesses, they would be fired for incompetence, and their $80,000+ salaries would go to someone who could make their churches grow.


More news from Albany. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACNA nuns seeking an opt-out from abortion mandate. The Supreme Court ordered New York courts to reconsider Diocese of Albany v. Emami, a case challenging New York's coercive abortion mandate, in light of Becket's unanimous victory in Fulton v. Philadelphia. New York requires employers to cover abortions in their health insurance plans--even if the employers are religious groups like the Sisterhood of Saint Mary, an Anglican order of nuns dedicated to a peaceful, contemplative monastic life and youth outreach. After New York courts upheld the coercive mandate, Becket and Jones Day joined Tobin and Dempf, LLP, to represent the Diocese of Albany at the Supreme Court, which today vacated the lower courts' rulings and ordered a rehearing of the case. These same nuns were successful in leaving the Episcopal Church without losing their property. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/supreme-court-rules-favor-acna-nuns-seeking-opt-out-abortion-mandate


On Saturday, Nov.1, English Cardinal Vincent Nichols ordained former Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali as a Catholic priest in full communion with Rome within the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Archbishop of Westminster described the ordination Mass at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory, Warwick Street, London, as "a moment of great joy." The personal ordinariate was created by Benedict XVI in 2011 for groups of former Anglicans seeking to preserve elements of their patrimony. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/english-cardinal-ordains-ex-anglican-bishop-catholic-priest

GAFCON Ireland and GAFCON Australia both ripped Nazir Ali for his move to Rome. The Australians said, "We are confused about how Bishop Michael has come to the decision he has made. We continue to believe that the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is in error in several key respects which makes Bishop Michael's decision one which we cannot understand or endorse."

The Trustees of GAFCON Ireland said they are deeply troubled by the recent transition of Bishop Michael Nazir Ali to the Roman Catholic Church. "He has previously defended Christian orthodoxy around the world and courageously spoken on behalf of the persecuted church. However, Bishop Michael has now aligned himself with doctrines that are, in the words of the Thirty-nine Articles, "repugnant to the Word of God". We cannot affirm Bishop Michael in his decision. We urge him to reconsider and return."


The hatred of all things Anglican by Episcopal leaders spilled over this past week when progressive author and Episcopalian Diana Butler Bass ripped into Glenn Youngkin, who won the gubernatorial race in Virginia, defeating the democratic incumbent.

Bass writes that GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin is "creepy" and "a wolf in fleece clothing." Maybe worst of all, she alleges: Anglicans are hiding behind the curtain. She berated him for his 'Anglican Roots' and 'Literalist Faith'.

A church historian, Bass doesn't offer policy critique or a direct criticism of the fleece vest-clad Republican businessman. Instead, she questions religious connections that she believes place the candidate in uncomfortable proximity to charismatic-influenced church renewal, wrote Jeff Walton.
You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/diana-butler-bass-frets-youngkin-anglican-roots-and-literalist-faith


The Rev. Juan Carlos Quiñones was elected on the 4th ballot to serve as bishop of the Diocese of Ecuador Central. He received 10 clergy and 12 lay votes. The electing convention had a quorum of 37-members, 19 clergy and 18 laity. They chose among three candidates in the first round: The Rev. Joel Almono a priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts; the Rev. Juan Carlos Quiñones of Quito, Diocese of Ecuador Central; and, the Rev. Gerónimo Alava of Guayaquil, Diocese of Ecuador Litoral. The three subsequent rounds included Almono and Quiñones. Quiñones is the first Afro-Equadorian to be elected bishop in Ecuador.



'The Gospel of Christ is at stake': Finnish bishop facing prosecution over Christian values can be seen here: https://virtueonline.org/gospel-christ-stake-finnish-bishop-facing-prosecution-over-christian-values

Reject Greta's empty gospel and preach Christ, not climate. Can be seen here: https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/

Samford disinvites historian Jon Meacham after student anti-abortion protest. See more here: https://virtueonline.org/samford-disinvites-historian-jon-meacham-after-student-anti-abortion-protest

Sexuality in Crisis - Where is the Science? It is a strange world where people may choose their own gender but be banned from changing their orientation. The UK Government has now commenced a consultation on banning change therapy. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/sexuality-crisis-where-science


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