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New Kenyan Archbishop will Continue in GAFCON * Rev. Mpho Tutu license pulled for marrying fellow Lesbian * Washington National Cathedral gets fund-raiser Dean to lead it * Uganda APB warns against syncretism *ACC leader to visit Central Florida

Our likeness to God. Those who regard a human being as nothing but a programmed machine (behaviourists) or an absurdity (existentialists) or a naked ape (humanistic evolutionists) are all denigrating our creation in God's image. True, we are also rebels against God and deserve nothing at his hand except judgment, but our fallenness has not entirely destroyed our God-likeness. More important still, in spite of our revolt against him, God has loved, redeemed, adopted, and recreated us in Christ. -- John R. W. Stott

God gives us more than we can handle "to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." -- John Piper

"All manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, it is even promoted as a social good. The result is hostility to Christians and increasingly, religious persecution. This is not an ideological war between competing ideas. This is about defending ourselves, children and future generations from the demonic idolatry that says children do not need mothers and fathers. It denies human nature and wants to cut off an entire generation from God." --- Cardinal Robert Sarah
This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac "tapping into" popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party -- out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear -- falling into line behind him. --- Robert Kagan

A Christian perspective. First, we affirm human dignity. Because human beings are created in God's image to know him, serve one another and be stewards of the earth, therefore they must be respected. Secondly, we affirm human equality. Because human beings have all been made in the same image by the same Creator, therefore we must not be obsequious to some and scornful to others, but behave without partiality to all. Thirdly, we affirm human responsibility. Because God has laid it upon us to love and serve our neighbour, therefore we must fight for his rights, while being ready to renounce our own in order to do so. -- John R.W. Stott

Convincing someone raised in the church that they are lost is often even harder than getting someone saved. -- John Piper

In Genesis 2:15 God says; The Lord God put humans in the Garden of Eden to work the soil and take care of the garden. This was God's first commandment to humankind; "Look after my earth" But what have we done? We have polluted this earth, 60% of the eco-systems on which we depend for life are now degraded beyond the point of repair. The Lord God says; I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. Jer 2:7 Creation is in agony; We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Romans 8:22 Meanwhile Creation is waiting for us...... For creation waits with eager longing for the children of God to be revealed. Romans 8:19. Gus Speth speaking of scientists has this to say; "We scientists do not know how to do that. I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems re selfishness, greed, and apathy...and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation and we scientists do not know how to do that". The World is Our Host We then ask ourselves; HOW CAN THE CHURCH RESPOND? --- Ellinah Wamukoya president, Anglican Environmental Network.

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
May 27, 2016

Have you ever asked which nationalities consider religion most important?

Generally speaking, religion is more important to people in poorer countries than in richer ones - but the US, where 53 per cent of people feel strongly about their religion, bucks the trend, with the highest-ranking entry out of all advanced economy nations.

Data from the Pew Research Center's 2015 Global Attitudes survey has measured how people around the world feel about religion in their lives.

Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, topped the list of nationalities which consider religion most important, with 98 per cent of respondents who said that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is a very important part of who they are.

Senegal and Indonesia, which are both predominantly Muslim, come in at number two (97 per cent) and three (95 per cent) respectively, but many countries with religious plurality, such as Nigeria (a mix of Islam and Christianity) and India (mainly Hindu), are still near the top of the list with 88 per cent and 80 per cent respectively.

Uganda ranked fourth with a large portion of their population being Anglicans.

The US ranked 21st, slightly behind Turkey and just ahead of Venezuela, with 53%. This means, of course, that 47% of Americans claim no religion at all or say religion is not important to their lives.

My wife and I recently left the comfort of suburbia where most people would claim to be Christian or at least nod to religion as important, even if they only attend a few times a year. Now ensconced in Philadelphia, in a condo with some 250 folk from all regions of America and the world, we can find only two or three Catholic couples who attend church on a regular basis. Most people simply don't care and why would anyone attend an Episcopal church where one would never hear anything about Jesus and the salvation he offers...just a whole lot of talk about social justice, racism and white privilege.

One piece of very good news is that, by 2050, there will still be more Christians than any other religious group.

The global Christian population will remain stable over the next 35 years, despite Muslims being the fastest-growing religious group. Islam is forecast to be the world's largest religion by 2070, if current trends continue.

*****

The newly elected Anglican Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Jackson Ole Sapit has promised to unite citizens in the country. He has also promised to stay in GAFCON.

Ole Sapit said he looks forward to a united Kenya, one which is free of corruption and anchored on societal morals.

The archbishop exuded confidence in his quest to unite the country, adding that he will strive to build a strong nation that is not divided along ethnic lines, political alignments and religious beliefs.

"My main concern is to unite the country in order to achieve societal development and transformation, by living peacefully and cohesively," said Ole Sapit.

The archbishop will have to wait till 3 July, when he will undergo consecration and enthronement as per the norms of the Anglican church, to assume his new position.

Bishop Ole Sapit will succeed Bishop Eliud Wabukhala as the sixth archbishop of the ACK, after trouncing five other bishops in the race.

VOL wrote to the new archbishop about where he stood with GAFCON and got back this reply, "I am fully committed to the proclamation of the gospel of Christ in truth as is presented to us in the Holy bible to which I affirm is the authority under which I will serve the Church of Christ." Amen to that.

*****

The daughter of Nobel laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa has given up her clergy credentials after marrying a Dutch woman. The Rev. Mpho Tutu told the local media that since her church did not recognize her wedding, she could no longer serve in the country.

Mpho Tutu said the church had instructed a bishop to revoke her license, which granted her the authority to preside at Communion, officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals.

"I decided I would give it up to him rather than have him take it, a slightly more dignified option with the same effect," the City Press quoted her as saying in an online news story.

Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, attended their daughter's wedding to academic atheist Marceline Van Furth in Franschoek, near Cape Town. The two first married in the Netherlands, Van Furth's home country, in December.

Although South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in 2006, the Anglican Church maintains that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman.

The sickness in Anglicanism continues, and you wonder why we are fast losing credibility as a denomination with no message.

*****

Needing to raise tens of millions of dollars, the Washington National Cathedral picked a fundraiser for its new dean. The Rev. Randy Hollerith, 52, who leads St. James's Episcopal Church in Richmond, will step into the breach after the disastrous tenure of Gary Hall, a gregarious, Hollywood-bred activist, who brought the Gothic cathedral into the news by hosting same-sex weddings, gun control events and Muslim prayer, among other things.

Hollerith will be responsible for stabilizing the cathedral in a different way.

Hollerith isn't as widely known and describes himself as not driven by issues; he was picked out of a field of 32 candidates, in good part because of his experience as a strategic fundraiser and manager. That's considered essential at a time when the cathedral needs to raise tens of millions of dollars to get on stable financial footing because of a damaging earthquake and a culture that is largely deserting its commitment to religious institutions.

So, no gospel hope, it's all about money, money, money. If Hall's background as a former comedy writer, whose parents were non-practicing Christians, represents Americans' drifting relationship with organized religion, Hollerith's background represent the flip side. His family was involved in the cathedral since its founding, his great-grandmother was there when the foundation stone was laid in 1907, and his brother and wife are both Episcopal priests. (His brother Herman is the bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia and his wife, Melissa, is chaplain at an Episcopal boys' prep school, St. Christopher's.)

Hollerith grew up in Alexandria and, as rector of St. James church in Richmond, raised nearly $8 million to expand the building.

One layman who resides in the diocese and has been an active Episcopalian for more than 40 years, wrote to say that the Washington Diocese has virtually ignored their Architectural Commission for 20 years or more, and now the Diocese apparently no longer sees a need for the volunteer organization, composed of architects, engineers, builders and lawyers. "Their church buildings deteriorate around them for lack of leadership, vision, stewardship and complete lack of expertise in care of historical properties.

"There are literally hundreds of buildings uncared for and unattended for lack of funds and expertise. And when they are cared for in instance after instance they are cared for wrongly for lack of expertise.

"It's interesting that TEC sues the hell out of congregations to acquire others property and then cannot afford to maintain them."

*****

From the Diocese of Albany comes this. The Rev. Adam Egan, a priest in The Episcopal Diocese of Albany, has pled guilty in the Town of Colonie Justice Court to a misdemeanor charge of attempted unlawful surveillance. The charge and subsequent guilty plea are a result of Fr. Egan's arrest by Colonie Police on December 23, 2015, for allegedly attempting to videotape a woman in a local Salvation Army dressing room. Fr. Egan submitted his letter of resignation to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church after six years of ministry, and it was accepted by the Vestry (the governing body of the church) on May 17th, 2016. It was effective May 22nd, 2016. He has been on Administrative Leave since his arrest, meaning he is prohibited from functioning in any capacity as an ordained person and from wearing clerical dress. With the civil proceeding against Fr. Egan concluding, he will now face Title IV Ecclesiastical Discipline in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. Fr. Egan remains on Administrative Leave with the restrictions on his ordained ministry still in effect. The future of his ordained ministry will be dependent on the outcome of the Title IV Ecclesiastical Disciplinary proceedings.

"Fr. Egan recognizes and is deeply sorry for the tremendous hurt and damage his actions have caused. He has taken responsibility for his actions and is working very hard to get the help that he needs to insure that such inappropriate behavior never happens again. As painful as this entire situation has been for so many, God has a wonderful way of redeeming even the most difficult and painful situations, making good come from bad. I trust that will be true in this situation as well," said The Rt. Rev. William Love, Ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany.

*****

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali, has warned against syncretism -- the practice of merging different religious beliefs. The warning came after a prominent Christian politician made a public visit to her ancestral shrine to give thanks for her re-election -- a practice in line with the country's traditional religions.

"We value our ancestors because we are connected to them by the relationship we have," Ntagali said. "But, we must always trust only in God. We no longer need to go through the spirits of the dead because Jesus is our hope and protector. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, as Jesus says in John 14:6.

"The Church of Uganda condemns syncretism," he said, as he urged bishops and clergy to "use this opportunity to proclaim the sufficiency of Christ crucified to meet all our needs, and to work pastorally with Christians to apply this glorious truth practically in their lives.

"As we approach the commemoration of the Ugandan Martyrs on 3 June, we are challenged by the faithfulness, commitment, and witness of these youth. Their willingness to renounce the 'world, the flesh, and the devil' and to joyfully embrace the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ, even unto death, is a model for how we should all understand living a life with a single-minded focus on Jesus as the only Saviour and only Lord.

"There is a cost to discipleship and a great reward in following Christ."

*****

Bishop Greg Brewer of the Diocese of Central Florida has invited the general secretary of the Anglican Communion to visit his diocese to "address sensitive topics that have caused division within the denomination." Really. Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon is billed as second-in-command to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Communion.

Central Florida church leaders hope Idowu-Fearon's visit will bring clarity and close some of these rifts, says a press release.

So, let me tell you how this will go.

Brewer bills himself as a charismatic evangelical who was supposed to take a stand against homosexual practice, but folded his tent when two homosexual men stepped forward and wanted their kid baptized. Following this debacle, (and getting pulled off the board of TSM), Brewer said he would not deny openly homosexual persons from taking communion, but drew the line at allowing non-celibate homosexuals to be ordained in his diocese. But I don't know if that has changed since then. It might have.

So imagine the following exchange:

BREWER: What is your stand on homosexuality as the head of the Anglican Consultative Council archbishop?

FEARON: As you know I have stated my position that I don't believe that homosexuality is right, and the province of Nigeria, (my province) is dead against any kind of homosexual expression, and has taken the toughest stand in the Anglican Communion on that subject, even to the point of having no further dealings with the Episcopal Church. In fact they have their own Anglican diocese here I'm told -- CANA -- which is a diocese of ACNA.

BREWER: So is that your position?

FEARON: Well, not exactly. In Lusaka recently, there were supposed to be "consequences" if TEC went forward with more ordinations of openly homosexual persons. But a motion was withdrawn at the last moment, so there were no consequences at all and, as you know, my salary is paid by the Episcopal Church, and I have no intention of upsetting my paymasters.

BREWER: So, are you saying you are for or against sodomy?

FEARON: That all depends on who I'm talking too. When I talk to you and your people, I will be against it, but with one eye on Presiding Bishop Michael Curry who says he is not taking TEC backwards on pansexuality, so I will have to hedge my bets a bit. One has to be diplomatic here you know.

As you know, I rejected criticism from six former members of the Anglican Consultative Council's Standing Committee of statements made during and after ACC-16. The comments centered on Resolution 16.24 -- "Walking Together" -- which deals with how the ACC responded to the Primates' Gathering and Meeting in January.

The critics issued their own statement which they said was to clarify their understanding of that response. In it they say that, in receiving a report on the gathering by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ACC "neither endorsed nor affirmed the consequences contained in the Primates' communique".

I took a different view. I simply do not agree with their interpretation here. The response of the ACC was clear, and its support for the Primates was clearly expressed.

BREWER: So that means you stand by disciplining TEC for its open opposition and hostility to the biblical prohibition on homosexual behavior.

FEARON: Well, not exactly. We are communion rich in pluriformity and diversity, and we have to learn to "walk together" if we are to stay together in any meaningful way.

BREWER: Thank you for your enlightening position, archbishop. Your return business class ticket awaits you, and a generous donation from my diocese to the wonderful contribution you are making in keeping the Anglican Communion together.

FEARON: I am delighted to bring clarity to the situation for you, Greg, and don't forget to look me up next time you come to London. Dinner is on me...or TEC.

*****

The Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Canada is in major decline. VOL has been receiving weekly reports of closing parishes from a number of sources in the area. Last week, the Bishop of Toronto, Colin Johnson, revealed a dire prediction and said, "The demographic projections for the Diocese project that in 15 years we will have 50-70 fewer parishes (and clergy?), although there may be more non-traditional forms of ministry and gathered missional communities."

The reasons behind the decline of the Anglican Church of Canada have been speculated about by columnist and author Ian Hunter, but don't look to the bishop to admit that progressive policies and revisionist teachings have anything to do with it. Instead, he will change the subject. Here is his take, "The visioning, coaching and pastoral care involved in amalgamations and closures requires substantial resources, direction and leadership if done well (and even more if it is done poorly!)."

"The same is true for establishing new forms of ministry. We are learning about that from other dioceses and from our own experiences," he writes.

I guess that means the diocese has to get more top-heavy for these new forms of ministry. What new forms of ministry he is talking about? I always thought that if you go out and preach it, teach it, and live it, they will come.

Then he blandly says this, "We are leaders in this area and other dioceses, including English and American dioceses, look to us for advice, though the learning is usually mutual." REALLY!

Can he cite one example?

Leaders in the area of establishing new forms of ministry shouldn't result in the closure of churches. Any advice these folks can give to the declining American or English dioceses can only contribute to the death spiral we have been witnessed, wrote a blogger in Toronto.

"Maybe he is boasting about being a leader in downsizing. I am at a total loss for words..."

*****

Justin Welby wants to wipe out AIDS by 2030. You can read and watch it here. http://tinyurl.com/jus6d3x

There is nothing particularly surprising about this, since the Anglican Church seems to have an obsessive interest in making broad declarations about things over which it has no control or influence. When Anglican leaders are not parading their impotence by Making Poverty History or demanding justice on behalf of the climate, they are, with no medical knowledge whatsoever and a diminished confidence in the efficacy of prayer to heal, trumpeting that AIDS is to be banished by 2030. But why AIDS?

But a chart on the 10 leading causes of death, heart disease kills five times the number of people as AIDS. Even diarrhea kills as many people as AIDS. Why isn't the Archbishop of Canterbury telling us what a great privilege it is to be invited to give a message on the fight against diarrhea?

The reason, I suspect, is that, in a similar vein to Romans 1:18-32, as the church's interest in eternity has waned, so its interest in sex -- homosexual sex in particular -- has increased, attracting a disproportionate number of homosexual clergy.

Although AIDS can be spread through heterosexual contact, the preferred way to contract it is still through homosexual activity. As has been pointed out many times, homosexual men are "more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States."

So for Anglican leaders, combating AIDS is a species of group self-interest.

*****

President Barack Obama has named a transgender woman to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The White House announced earlier this month, that Barbara Satin, the assistant faith work director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, was named as a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which advises the president on how to improve partnerships to serve Americans in need.

Satin, a member of the United Church of Christ, is the first openly transgender member of the United Church of Christ's executive council.

"I am both honored and humbled to be selected to serve on the President's advisory council," Satin, an Air Force veteran, said in a statement released through the United Church of Christ. "Given the current political climate, I believe it's important that a voice of faith representing the transgender and gender non-conforming community -- as well as a person of my years, nearly 82 -- be present and heard in these vital conversations."

Has the president totally lost his mind? Don't answer that.

*****

Does religion help you live longer? A Harvard study confirms perceptions of a link between going to church and good health.

Women who attended religious services more than once per week are more than 30 percent less likely to die during a 16-year-follow-up than women who never attended, according to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Frequent attendees also had significantly lower risk both from cardiovascular- and cancer-related mortality. A link with substantially lower breast cancer mortality was particularly striking.

The study was published earlier this month in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

"Our results suggest that there may be something important about religious service attendance beyond solitary spirituality," said Tyler VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. "Part of the benefit seems to be that attending religious services increases social support, discourages smoking, decreases depression, and helps people develop a more optimistic or hopeful outlook on life."

Nearly 40 percent of Americans report attending religious services once per week or more. Previous studies have suggested a link between attendance and reduced mortality risk, but many were criticized for major limitations, including the possibility of "reverse causation"--that only those who are healthy can attend services, so that attendance isn't necessarily influencing health.

The new study addressed these criticisms by using rigorous methodology that controlled for common causes of attendance and mortality, used a larger sample size, and had repeated measurements over time of both attendance and health.

The researchers looked at data from 1992-2012 from 74,534 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study. The women answered questionnaires about their diet, lifestyle, and health every two years, and about their religious service attendance every four years. The researchers adjusted for a variety of factors, including diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking status, body mass index, social integration, depression, race and ethnicity.

Compared with women who never attended religious services, women who attended more than once per week had 33 percent lower mortality risk during the study period and lived an average of five months longer, the study found. Those who attended weekly had 26 percent lower risk and those who attended less than once a week had 13 percent lower risk.

The study also found that women who attended religious services once per week or more had a decreased risk of both cardiovascular mortality (27 percent) and cancer mortality (21 percent).

*****

Tom Lin, who has dedicated his entire career to campus ministries in the United States and overseas, has been named the new president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. In August, the Taiwanese American will become the organization's first non-white president. Over its 75-year history, InterVarsity has made diversity a priority through multiethnic ministry initiatives--including the Urbana conference that Lin directed for the past five years--and internal programs designed to develop minority leaders.

"We've got so many men and women, ethnic minorities, who serve in leadership at InterVarsity. We've worked at it, and we've continued to learn and grow. We never say we've arrived, but this is a significant moment for InterVarsity," the 43-year-old told CT. "It is significant ... for any large, North American evangelical organization to have a non-white president."

*****

We are in the midst of our spring fund appeal drive and I hope you will take a few moments to put a check in the mail to support VOL's vital ministry. Regardless of amount every penny helps. You can also send a donation via PAYPAL at the link here: http://www.virtueonline.org/support-vol/

You can send a snail mail check to:

VIRTUEONLINE
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Thank you for your support.

David

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