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Coronavirus Shuts Down Anglican Communion * New Irish Primate * Lambeth Conference cancelled? * GAFCON Conference in Kigali Postponed * ACNA Bishop Contracts COVID-19 * Anglican Diocese of Great Lakes gets new Bishop * Plague of Locusts Haunts African

Coronavirus Shuts Down Anglican Communion * New Irish Primate * Lambeth Conference cancelled? * GAFCON Conference in Kigali Postponed * ACNA Bishop Contracts COVID-19 * Anglican Diocese of Great Lakes gets new Bishop * Plague of Locusts Haunts African Nations * Bishop Barbara Harris Dies

Ultimately what Christians know we must do is point people to God, pray to God, and make very clear that our only hope is found in Christ. Our ultimate refuge is only in the true and living God. We knew that, we need to remind ourselves of that. We need to share that with our neighbors, even if we share it with our neighbors at some distance. --- Albert J. Mohler

Ideal and reality. What do you think of the church? Your answer will probably depend on whether you are thinking about the ideal or the reality. In the ideal, the church is the most marvelous new creation of God. It is the new community of Jesus, enjoying a multi-racial, multi-national and multi-cultural harmony which is unique in history and in contemporary society. The church is even the 'new humanity', the vanguard of a redeemed and renewed human race. It is a people who spend their earthly lives (as they will also spend eternity) in the loving service of God and of others. What a noble and beautiful ideal! In reality, however, the church is us (if you will pardon the bad grammar) -- a disheveled rabble of sinful, fallible, bickering, squabbling, stupid, shallow Christians, who constantly fall short of God's ideal, and often fail even to approximate to it. --- John R. W. Stott

The mainly progressive effort to restrict the free exercise of religion is plainly illiberal and contrary to the constitutional order. If there is one single legal strand that ties together the myriad threats to religious liberty and free speech in the United States -- efforts to coerce Catholic hospitals and adoption agencies into violating their convictions, to toss Christian student groups off campuses, to force Christian institutions to facilitate access to abortifacients, to compel the speech of Christian creative professionals, or to place in doubt the accreditation and tax exemptions of Christian educational institutions -- it's that they depend for their success on inverting the proper constitutional order. --- David French

This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way. We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused. . . . We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate. . . . Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want. . . The Sexual Orientation Regulations [which came into force in April 2007] are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God's judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance. --- The Telegraph

I fear anyone who dissents from today's pervasive culture of political correctness will be visited by the Thought Police... so, how long until anyone who writes an article like this is dragged away in handcuffs? --- Peter Hitchens

We moderns think we control Nature, and have beaten death back to the margins. Nature -- and history -- would like to have a word with us --- Rod Dreher

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
March 20, 2020

An old preacher once said to me, ere he departed this life; "Hold onto the things of this world lightly." It is sound advice that I have taken and maintained over many decades albeit not easily. We came into this world with nothing and we will just as surely leave it...with nothing.

Tough words as you watch your 401k's take a nose dive these past weeks. But God never promised us a rose garden or a bountiful bank balance. Jesus was clear, "give us this day our daily bread" and by all accounts, for many, it is coming to that.

Most of you reading this have more than your "daily bread", but you, like me, must admit that we have been thrown for a loop, as shops, restaurants and other haunts we have known for years have suddenly closed.

The streets of Philadelphia, the sixth largest city in America where I live, are eerily empty, as theaters, stores and restaurants once bustling with people are closed and we are forced to pick up "take-out" that was not our first choice...and wait in line for it.

Small businesses are taking the brunt of the coronavirus storm I am told. I spoke with a part time Anglican priest who runs a shop fixing computers and all things technological, but he can't get parts from China because of COVID-19. He has six Christian employees who depend on him for salaries, but now that is in jeopardy. Give us this day our daily bread starts to ring eerily true.

"Be anxious for nothing..." said St. Paul. Easier said than done especially when you have a family of six to feed. Will I be laid off, if so, what happens when the regular pay check is no longer there? Be anxious for nothing...really. Dependency is not something Americans do well at. Americans are raised to be "rugged individualists," the John Wayne, Marlboro Man mentality. You can make it on your own and grow rich if you just try hard enough, work harder and obey all the rules...and then along comes a virus that reshapes all our lives.

We need each other. My wife and I live with our old dog in a condo complex on the Delaware River and our immediate neighbors include a wonderful Jewish couple on one side of us and a homosexual couple on the other side. We are all friends and support each other. I love Anne's Jewish apple cakes and sometimes we sit outside and drink wine together. That's community. I am also on the Vestry of my church and I stay in touch with other members almost daily. Contact is important.

You give up if you want to give up. With all the electronic toys at our disposal, staying in touch now is better and easier than at any time in history. I recently reconnected with an old evangelical Presbyterian minister I knew 40 years ago. He is 105 and lives quietly alone in Florida, having outlived his wife. I send him stories I write, especially my satirical essays. He appreciates getting emails. Perfect? Not in the least, but we could not have done that 25 years ago. He told me the other day that he is circling the airport and expects to land sometime soon. I know what he means.

We are forced, because we are all stay-at-homes right now, to either interact with our neighbors, even if six feet apart, or hunker down and hope we don't go crazy, drink too much and contemplate suicide as a way out of the loneliness. Yes, Christians do take their lives, sad as it maybe. (Please don't rake me over the coals and engage me in the theology of suicide, I am not up for it for right now.)

A priest sent the following video which I think is sound advice. Taking Vitamin D3, based on a metadata analysis, lowers the chance of getting a viral infection by 70%. Western societies are historically lacking in Vitamin D3 which is critical to our immune system. You can produce it by sun exposure (where the weather permits) on as much of your body as the "law allows" or, better, via supplementation. Dr Campbell (a British nurse with a PhD) also put out this helpful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5yVGmfivAk. Perhaps this will assist someone. It is not a cure. There is none. And please don't buy into the chloroquine talk that it is a cure. The drug has been around since the 1940s and is known for being generally safe and well tolerated in mild to moderate doses, although it can be toxic in high doses. It was used for Malaria and I once took a dose after spending time in Africa. It, too, is not a cure.

*****

I have posted a major article on the shutdown of entire Anglican Communion and how provinces and diocese are coping, which you can see here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-communion-shuts-down-over-coronavirus-pandemic

But here is what Anglicans are doing in Kenya. From VOL's African correspondent; The Anglican community in Kenya has started praying for 10 minutes daily that almighty God helps them to defeat coronavirus. They pray from home or wherever they are starting at 8:00 AM.

This came into effect after the Anglican Churches in Kenya suspended all physical services for 30 days in line with government's directive to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The church also directed its members to worship from their homes as families, using the Morning Prayer Book, but cautioned the gathering should not attract large groups.

Not bad advice.

*****

Do you sense that something is missing in the churches' response to the coronavirus? No one can fault them for ignoring the dangers of spreading the virus: bishop after bishop has taken the difficult decision to suspend public worship, and offered sensible advice about precautionary measures their flocks can take. And, in many cases, that's about it. Indeed, many church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, sound more like health and safety officers than the successors to the apostles, writes Damian Thompson.

Dr. Gavin Ashenden, a former Anglican turned Roman Catholic, argues that the [Church of England's] bishop's attitude of 'wash your hands and be nice' reflects the churches' polite surrender to secularization -- but suggests that ordinary believers now have the opportunity to show the public what Christianity really looks like. The coronavirus, dreadful though it is, could mark a turning point -- one that leads to a religious revival in which the old breed of bishop-bureaucrat gives way to more inspiring leadership. One can but hope.
We are seeing reformation in the Anglican communion, but not necessarily revival. One could be a prerequisite for the other. Reformation includes the birth of the ACNA and GAFCON, though one doubts that PB Michael Curry or Archbishop Justin Welby sees it that way. Revival is a spontaneous outpouring of the Holy Spirit when we least expect it. This cannot be manufactured by calling for "revival weekends" or "Holy Spirit weekends". God does not come at our bidding; it is His timing not ours. IF revival comes, it will come from the bottom up, not top down. Few bishops are humble enough to let God work that way, it spoils their orderliness and dress ups.

*****

Nigeria has become a 'killing field of defenseless Christians.' At least 350 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since the start of 2020, according to a new report.

The Nigerian-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law - or Intersociety, as it is also known - estimates that around 11,500 Christians have been killed in the country since 2015 "when the present central government of Nigeria came on board".

Out of this figure, it attributes 7,400 deaths to militant Fulani herdsmen and 4,000 to the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The bloodshed by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen is mainly affecting the north of the country.

Boko Haram splinter group, the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), has also been responsible for a string of deadly attacks and the execution of a pastor in recent months.

"Generally, many, if not most of the victims of Boko Haram/ISWAP attacks in Nigeria's Northeast are Christians," it said.

Other Christians, the report said, were falling victim to roadside attacks by bandits and "highway kidnappers".

Last year, Intersociety said that at least 1,000 Christians had been killed by Fulani herdsmen in 2019 and at least 2,400 the previous year.

It estimates that at least 20 clergymen have been murdered and another 50 abducted since 2015, while at least 2,000 churches and Christian worship centers have been targeted in arson attacks, with Fulani herdsmen being responsible for about 1,500 of these, and Boko Haram 500.

"Nigeria has fully become a killing field of defenseless Christians," Intersociety said.

*****

The Church of Ireland has a new Primate. He is the Bishop of Clogher, John McDowell, elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. The Archbishop-elect was chosen by the Church of Ireland's House of Bishops to succeed Archbishop Richard Clarke, who retired in February. The translation will take effect on Tuesday April 28; but the date of his enthronement has not yet been announced. Bishop John will become the 106th in the succession of abbots, bishops and archbishops of Armagh since Saint Patrick. The Church of Ireland is an all-island institution, serving dioceses in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Bishop John grew up in Belfast and pursued a career in business prior to training for ordination. He was ordained in 1996 and initially served as Curate of Antrim from 1996 before becoming Rector of Ballyrashane in 1999. Both parishes are in the Diocese of Connor. In 2002, he moved to the Diocese of Down and Dromore to become Rector of St Mark's, Dundela. While there he also served as Honorary Secretary of the Province's General Synod and became the Church of Ireland's contact person for the Porvoo Communion -- an ecumenical partnership of Anglican and Lutheran Churches in Europe which share a common life in mission and service. He is Chairman of the Church of Ireland's Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue.

Sources tell VOL that he is a team player and won't rock the ecclesial boat. "He is a good committee man."

The Church of Ireland has two internal provinces. The Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, is the Primate of Ireland. The Primate of All Ireland is a title held by the Archbishop of Armagh.

*****

The Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes has announced The Rt. Rev. Grant LaMarquand will serve as Temporary Bishop of the Diocese.

Last week, the Diocese announced that the Rt. Rev. John Miller, who had been serving as Temporary Bishop of the Diocese since November, needed to resign for health reasons. The process for selecting the next bishop of the Great Lakes is getting underway, but Bishop LaMarquand will provide support to the Standing Committee and the Diocese in the interim.

*****

Bishop Steve Wood, rector of the prominent St. Andrew's Church, has tested positive for the coronavirus and been admitted to an ICU at East Cooper Medical Center. Wood, who also presides over the Anglican Church in North America's Diocese of the Carolinas, has been placed on a ventilator. Church leaders noted that being on the machine gives Wood, who is 56, "a boost in fighting off the virus."

The Rev. Anthony Kowbeidu, St. Andrew's associate rector for missions, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. He is showing no symptoms, according to the Post and Courier.

Wood's diagnosis comes just days after St. Andrew's, which has more than 2,000 members, hosted six Sunday worship services.

*****

The first woman consecrated a bishop in the Anglican Communion died at the age of 89 this week. Episcopal Bishop Barbara C. Harris served as bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Massachusetts from 1989 to 2002. Harris, an African-American, devoted decades to supporting social justice causes. According to the Episcopal Archives, she was with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in one of the 1965 marches on the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside Selma, Alabama, and she served as crucifer at the unauthorized ordination of 11 women in Philadelphia in 1974. She stood in the revisionist camp and hated orthodoxy.

Her most memorable lines, and one that she will be remembered for, is one she delivered at the 1998 Lambeth Conference where she was so miserable about the presence of so many orthodox bishops. She famously said, "If a**holes had wings, this place would be an airport." It was also at Lambeth that she announced that the African bishops had been bought off with "chicken dinners." Had anyone else used such a racial stereotype, Ms. Harris would have howled with outrage. But Black on Black stereotyping was apparently acceptable.

My perspective on her can be found here: https://virtueonline.org/legacy-barbara-harris-if-aholes-had-wings-lambeth-1998

*****

Will Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) in The Episcopal Church take a nose dive with the conoravirus? Yes, but don't worry. Virtual services will count says the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of the General Convention.

Many churches are holding services online, and that practice will grow quickly. Platforms such as Facebook Live, YouTube, Zoom and others all offer different ways to measure viewership. There have been lively discussions on Facebook groups and elsewhere about how churches should keep track of attendance and participation during the pandemic, he said. H/T The Living Church

*****

Seven African Archbishops including Lord Carey are appealing for help to combat a locust plague. Ravenous locust swarms, originating in Oman, have swept across East Africa, with devastating impact. Now it is spreading east to Iran and Pakistan. Thousands of Kenyan Christians facing food shortages in the badly hit Pokot region have just sent out an urgent call. Uganda is also badly hit.

Lord Carey, Archbishops Stanley Ntagali (former APB of Uganda), Stephen Kaziimba (Uganda), Jackson Ole Sapit (Kenya), Masimango Katanda (Congo), Laurent Mbanda, (Rwanda) and Benjamin Kwashi (Jos Nigeria) have issued an appeal for help.

These leaders are pleading for help for thousands of already marginalized and persecuted Anglican Christians who are among those facing severe food shortages as vast swarms of desert locusts caused catastrophic loss to crops. The ravenous swarms are sweeping across East Africa with devastating impact on countries including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan. Tanzania and Uganda. The UN has warned the region is on the verge of a food crisis.

Anglican Archbishops and bishops from the region and from Pakistan are uniting with Barnabas Fund in our appeal to brothers and sisters worldwide. We urgently need your gifts to save the lives of many thousands.

Please help our brothers and sisters if you can. But, above all, remember them in your prayers. You can help here:

SAVING GOD'S PEOPLE FROM STARVATION

Barnabas Fund Easter Appeal

£8/$10* could provide 15kg of wheat in Ethiopia

£15/$19* could provide 30kg of rice in Pakistan

£6/$8* could provide 20kg of maize in Kenya

*Costs and specific needs can vary between countries and/or regions.

https://barnabasfund.org/en/appeals/save-gods-people-from-starvation-%E2%80%93-plague-of-locusts-devastating-crops-in-africa-and-asia

For another take on this issue click here:
file:///C:/Users/David/Downloads/Easter-Appeal-Letter-2020-Anglican-Mainstream%20(1).pdf

*****

To Lambeth or not to Lambeth, that is the question. A source in England told VOL that the Lambeth Conference will be cancelled owing to the coronavirus. GAFCON chairman Foley Beach said the upcoming conference in Kigali, Rwanda has now been cancelled.

*****

If you have a funny bone and enjoy satire you can read my latest here: https://virtueonline.org/god-says-coronavirus-meant-empty-churches-nominal-christians
GOD SAYS CORONAVIRUS MEANT TO EMPTY CHURCHES OF NOMINAL CHRISTIANS

In a universal press release delivered by the Holy Spirit on the Mount of Olives, God said that He has allowed the Coronavirus as a wakeup call that he hates lukewarm so-called "Christians" and would prefer people to be either hot or cold.

"No, I didn't will it, but I am allowing it, to wake people up that nominalism is the biggest sin in this day and age. If you think generic Mass Eucharists to people who don't really believe in their hearts to what my Son did on the cross, then I am done with them and they can die in their sin."

Click here: https://virtueonline.org/god-says-coronavirus-meant-empty-churches-nominal-christians

*****

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