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Is Schism Coming to Anglican Communion? * GAFCON Australia forms Diocese; gets Pushback from Primate * Upper Midwest Bishop in Eye of Abuse Storm * Hypocrisy marks TEC over Sex * Truro Church fires Priest * Residential School Scandal Touches ACofC * More

Is Schism Coming to Anglican Communion? * GAFCON Australia forms Diocese; gets Pushback from Primate * Upper Midwest Bishop in Eye of Abuse Storm * Hypocrisy marks TEC over Sex * Truro Church fires Priest * Residential School Scandal Touches ACofC * Armed Forces Chaplains Cool with ACNA and Nigeria * South African Priests Blast Makgoba over anti-Israel stance

The 'new theology'. The evangelical quarrel with the modern fashion of radical theology, which boasts of a 'new reformation', a 'new theology', a 'new morality', even a 'new Christianity' is precisely this that, alas, it is what it claims to be! It is 'new'. It is not a legitimate reinterpretation of old first-century Christianity, for from this it deviates at many vital points. It is an invention of the twentieth century. --- John R. W. Stott

The Anglican Communion, as well as other parties in Christendom, are bedeviled by these creatures of Satan. The conflict between truth and error has never been so intense, and in this battle to the death, the Church of England and its offshoots are blameworthy for abandoning the ancient heritage of a Reformed catholicism shaped by ancient creeds, saintly wisdom to be culled from successive generations of sanctified people of God, and the open door into reliable truth achieved at the Reformation, a tradition that must be cultivated to its full potential by unceasing looking toward and close hearing of the eternal and pure Word of the Lord. In our time the blessing of the Word of God is severely assaulted, and a somnolent church is wasting the wealth of its inheritance. -- Rev. Roger Salter

"We are witnessing the construction of a new Babel. Ours is a post-Christian society, an anti-culture that has rejected the Word of God. In our pride, we want on our own terms and by our own accomplishments what creatures can only receive from God. We have thrown off His reality--about gender, sex, life, etc.--and tried to construct our own. As a result, our language is increasingly disconnected from truth, our words unintelligible, and our ability to communicate crippled." --- Fr. Paul Scalia

Scripture and systems. I do not believe that the Bible provides 'a complete system of theology' or 'a comprehensive guide' to ethics. Systematic theology is certainly a legitimate and even necessary academic discipline, but God did not choose to reveal himself in systematic form, and all systems are exposed to the same temptation, namely to trim God's revelation to fit our system instead of adapting our system to accommodate his revelation. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
July 30, 2021

SCHISM! It should be apparent by now to both Archbishop Justin Welby and Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council that the divisions within the Anglican Communion will not go away. The divisions are, in fact, irreconcilable and irreversible.

The divide is deepening almost monthly, with increasing fragmentation over homosexual practice. New revelations about the trajectory of the Church of England, the 'mother church', with a 'Living in Love and Faith' "reconciliation" report touting full homosexual acceptance, only ratchets up the anger among Global South primates. This solidifies their determination never to compromise with Western pan-Anglican pro-homosexual attitudes and behaviors.

There was another reminder this past week when GAFCON Australia outlined a plan to support Anglicans who leave the Anglican Church of Australia (ACA) over doctrinal revision which overturns the plain teaching of Scripture.

"With great sadness and regret, we realize that many faithful Anglican clergy and lay people will no longer be able to remain as members of the ACA if changes allowed by the Appellate Tribunal majority opinion take place in their dioceses", Bishop Richard Condie, Chair of GAFCON Australia said.

"For this reason, GAFCON pledged in late 2020 to form a new Diocese for Anglicans who will be forced to leave the Anglican Church of Australia."

In October 2019, GAFCON consecrated a new evangelical diocesan bishop, Jay Behan in Christchurch, New Zealand. Christchurch is the first such diocese formed, following the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia's communion impairing decision to bless same sex marriage. To read more, click here: https://virtueonline.org/growing-schism-anglican-communion

PUSHBACK came swiftly with Australian Primate Geoffrey Smith ripping into the idea. "It feels like the life of our church is being undermined from within," said the archbishop.

In a 'Dear Episcopal Colleagues' letter, the Anglican Primate excoriated the idea of a new GAFCON diocese saying, "We need to be clear that the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal has not changed the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia. The Appellate Tribunal can't change the doctrine of anything. All the Appellate Tribunal can do in these matters is respond to questions concerning the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia and the Canons adopted by the General Synod."

The primate said there was no legitimate claim that the Appellate Tribunal had changed in any way the doctrine of the church.

Clearly, the GAFCON folk thought differently and their pre-emptive strike that the ACA might change its mind was a warning shot across the Church's bows. We shall see how it all plays out. To read more, click here: https://virtueonline.org/australian-anglican-primate-rips-gafcon-plans-form-new-diocese


The growing storm over a layman, one Mark Rivera, sexually abusing children is reaching fever pitch with everyone who has a dog in the hunt railing about the bishop's lack of action in dealing with the young man. Abuse stories are coming out: https://virtueonline.org/acna-abuse-case-mother-alleged-victim-says-she-paid-price-coming-forward

On the hook is Bishop Stewart Ruch, III, Bishop of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Ruch requested a leave of absence "to create any needed space for the province to take next steps regarding this serious matter and to assure the people in the diocese as well as the survivors involved that there will be a transparent and independent process."

Archbishop Foley Beach weighed in earlier this month and said the province would undertake oversight of the independent investigation into allegations of abuse within the diocese, ensure that pastoral care for survivors is offered, and conduct a review of diocesan structures and processes. Below are some recent developments in that unfolding situation. He also said the Executive Committee expressed sorrow, called for prayer, and approved the formation of a Provincial Response Team.

Beach then met with the Bishop's Council of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest and shared that he has appointed Bishop John Miller to serve the diocese as Acting Bishop and Bishop Todd Atkinson to assist Bishop Miller. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-archbishop-appoints-two-bishops-assist-diocese

A group of prevention advocates calling themselves #ACNAtoo wants input on an investigation into how allegations of abuse were mishandled.

Those allegations "are not limited to, covering up a failure in mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse, allowing those involved to continue in their positions of leadership which risked further negligence and abuse, and not informing his diocese of the abuse in a timely manner."

The initial abuse allegations against Rivera, a former volunteer minister at Christ Our Light Anglican Church in Big Rock, Illinois, were reported to legal authorities by a victim's mother in May 2019. But Ruch did not inform church members in the diocese about the alleged abuse until May 2021. Rivera had previously worked with youth as a volunteer at another prominent church in the diocese. He has been charged with felony child sexual abuse and sexual assault and awaits trial.

This is not as easy as it all looks.

It is a lot harder for a bishop to discipline a layman. All priests swear fealty to their bishop once a year, yielding obedience to him/her. Not so lay people. A bishop can fire, inhibit and depose an errant priest and a College of Bishops can depose an errant bishop. But lay people are harder to deal with. The priest of a parish can ask the lay leader to step down and, if sex is involved, can and should call the police. This was done by Ruch. Rivera has been charged and faces a trial and possible prison. How guilty Ruch is remains to be seen, but the ACNA should walk carefully and look at all the evidence before deciding Ruch's guilt.


HYPOCRISY. This did not stop a TEC stooge weighing in on recent ACNA sex abuse and other failures, accusing the ACNA of hypocrisy.

A snarky guest contributor article in the COVENANT section of The Living Church magazine, titled ACNA'S SCANDALS AND MINE by Steve Schlossberg, outlines the "ugly smirk" and "enormous leer" that he feels about ACNA's recent moral failings.

"They're not only as bad as we are [in the Episcopal Church] or as bad as they believe we are, they're actually worse: on top of being morally degenerate, they've now been exposed as hypocritical."

Really. First of all, sin can and does rear its ugly head any time or place with no respecter of persons or institutions. We are all sinners. No exceptions.

Secondly, no one ever thought ACNA was free of sin and that occasionally its priests and bishops can and do fail, commit sexual sin, and other kinds of sin for that matter.

The difference is that TEC has legitimized sexual sin so that there is no such thing as sexual sin any more, except for adultery. All other sins like homosexuality, lesbianism and LGBTQI "sins" are no longer deemed sin because TEC has done away with the idea of this as sin. (See also Resolution D039 that did away with fornication). In any other century, two men or two women marrying would have been deemed sinful and might have resulted in jail. TEC has normalized these sexual behaviors. You can read more of my take on all this here: https://virtueonline.org/acnas-scandals-are-not-same-episcopal-churchs-scandals


The Episcopal Church is at a crossroads, church leaders said this week during the annual Union of Black Episcopalians conference and revival; if it is to flourish and maintain integrity, it must embrace a revolution in values both within and beyond its walls.

"Reform has its time and place, but reform is not enough," Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in his sermon during the opening worship service. "Mere tinkering at the edges -- that's not enough. We need a revolution."

In his sermon on July 27, Curry touched on all three, preaching on Jesus' "revolutionary" statements on the necessity of being born again in John 3. American society needs such a rebirth, he said, pointing to recent events -- and it is the church's mission to lead the way.

Curry talked about racism, Nazis marching in the streets, the Jan. 6 insurrection,
but nothing about repentance or the gospel to change peoples' lives. It is always about virtue signaling, anti-racism training, climate change, white guilt, reparations for past sins, but nothing about legitimizing homosexual sin which stalks the halls of 815 and the dioceses of TEC. Homosexual sin is is emptying churches quickly. Bishops and priests are leaving TEC in search of greener spiritual pastures. If people are being 'born again', there is very little evidence in TEC.

Reform! Who really needs reforming? When Mother Miriam of the Community of St. Mary, in the Diocese of Albany said they were quitting TEC, she wrote to Curry and said; "We are giving you notice, sir, that the Sisters of the Eastern Province have voted to leave TEC and have petitioned to be registered in the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word. We believe that in so doing we stay within the rich tradition of HISTORIC Anglican doctrine and worship rather than acquiesce the cultural maelstrom many present-day Christian denominations try to accommodate." Bishop Curry never replied to her.


On the Anglican home front, Truro Anglican Church, a parish in the Diocese of the mid-Atlantic led by Bishop John Guernsey, which has been in turmoil for some time with the departure of Tory Baucom to Rome, reveals it has lost its second senior minister in two years. VOL was told that the wardens of the Northern Virginia parish have asked their acting rector, the Rev. Tim Mayfield, to resign.

On 25 July 2021, the vestry sent an email to the congregation calling a parish meeting for 8 August 2021. "At the parish meeting, the wardens will present an oral statement that provides more information about the process and outcome of the investigation" that led to Fr. Mayfield's resignation.

In the email they said: "In February, the vestry received allegations against Tim Mayfield made by two adults. Consistent with the employee handbook, the vestry and diocese engaged an independent investigative team. In May, the investigators completed their work and provided the vestry and Bishop Guernsey with a thorough oral report, which found the allegations credible. Tim has denied and continues to deny the allegations, but he has nonetheless chosen to resign for the best interests of the parish."

The investigation conducted by an outside law firm was "incomplete, biased, and that no definitive conclusions could be drawn" from the review, and they opposed "any statement that implies culpability or misconduct" by Fr. Mayfield.

The three vestry members had harsh words for the diocese, alleging that "prior to July 15, 2021, we received no in-person, direct, pastoral or ecclesiastical guidance to the vestry, despite repeated requests, during the nearly 5-month investigation and deliberations."

Mayfield's suspension had been "unnecessary and damaging" and had left him and his family isolated and neglected, they charged.

A better way could have been found to resolve these questions, they argued, that was "just and fair for all."


The Residential School catastrophe in Canada is generating much ink. Nearly three-quarters of the 130 residential schools were run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations, with others operated by the Presbyterian, Anglican and the United Church of Canada, which today is the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

The Canadian government has acknowledged that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the schools, with students beaten for speaking their native languages.

The 10th Indigenous Anglican Sacred Circle recently acknowledged the pain and loss.

At the lighting of the Sacred Fire, National Indigenous Archbishop Mark MacDonald drew attention to the destruction of Lytton, B.C. by wildfires. He noted recent revelations about unmarked graves at residential school sites. He highlighted the ongoing struggle of many communities with COVID-19 and an epidemic of suicide, particularly among young people.

Pope Francis expressed his pain over the discovery and pressed religious and political authorities to shed light on "this sad affair." But he didn't offer the apology sought by First Nations and the Canadian government. An Indigenous delegation will be travelling to the Vatican in the hope it will lead to an apology from Pope Francis.

"The Anglican Church has apologized," he told a virtual news conference. "The Presbyterian Church has apologized. United Church has apologized."


There are suggestions that there is a rift in who the JURISDICTION FOR THE ARMED FORCES AND CHAPLAINCY belongs to; ACNA Bishop William Atwood wants to clear that up. It has been thought the Jurisdiction was solely with Nigeria. Not true.

He writes; "Sorting through the history of the relations between the Anglican
Church in North America and the Church of Nigeria, we have discovered that a Canonical action remained unaddressed from several years back. Both the Anglican Church in North America and the Church of Nigeria have agreed on a way forward. There is no longer a question of the place of the Jurisdiction in the Anglican Church in North America. The Jurisdiction is fully integrated with the Anglican Church in North America, will continue to be, and we celebrate that."

At the most recent Provincial Council during his report, Armed forces chaplain Bishop Derek Jones described the relationship saying, "The Chaplains need the ACNA, and the ACNA needs the Chaplains. Our cohesiveness and joint commitment to sharing the Gospel is the strongest it has ever been."

"We work together seamlessly under the Canons of the Anglican Church in North America. The chaplains are thrilled to be able to make many significant contributions nationally and internationally to the overall ministry of the Anglican Church in North America (in addition to their chaplaincy work.)"


On the International Anglican front, the Diocese of Angola will be divided into four new dioceses, indicating continuing growth in the Global South. The Bishop of Angola, the Rt. Rev. Andre Soares, has inaugurated the second of four new dioceses to be formed from his diocese. On 25 July, Bishop Soares led celebrations in Luanda to mark the formation of the Diocese Divina Esperança (DDE). The "Diocese of Divine Hope" will be led in the interim by the Rev. Joaquin Bondo as vicar general. It will comprise the provinces of Bengo, Cuanza Norte, Malanje and the northern portion of the province of Luanda.

On July 18, Bishop Soares of Angola launched the Diocese of Christ the King (Diocese Anglicane de Christo Rei) in Uige in the north-west of that country, whose vicar-general is the Rev. Manuel Mfinda. The diocese will consist of the provinces of Cabinda, Uige and Zaire.

Bishop Soares is slated to lead the Diocese de Bom Pastor covering the city of Luanda and the provinces of Cuanza Sul, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul.

The fourth diocese will cover the eight central and southern provinces. It has yet to be inaugurated, but its vicar general will be the Ven. Pedro Jamba.

The dioceses within the republics of Angola and Mozambique are in the process of forming a new Anglican province to be known as the Igreja Anglicana de Moçambique e Angola (IAMA).

Even as the West wilts and dies, African provinces add dioceses as they grow by leaps and bounds. Nigeria and other Anglican provinces are also experiencing growth as well.


Bishop Azad Marshall, the Church of Pakistan's new moderator, says that despite a recent setback, he remains undaunted in his efforts to secure legal protection against the forced conversion to Islam and marriage of Christian girls. This information comes from a report published in TLC.

On July 14, Pakistan's Supreme Court rejected on technical grounds a constitutional petition filed by Marshall under Article 184(3) of the nation's constitution, which gives the court jurisdiction over matters of public importance related to the protection of fundamental rights of Pakistan's citizens. Justice Mushir Alam stated that the petition was improper because it did not address an individual case or grievance.

Marshall strongly objected to the ruling, telling Morning Star News, "This is not sustainable because the matter is not restricted to an individual case. Rather, it relates to the entire Christian population in Pakistan and the violation of their fundamental rights."


From South Africa: four Anglican ministers have broken ranks over their church's anti-Israel stance. "What do you do when the leadership of an organisation you've spent your whole working life serving adopts a policy or position that your conscience won't tolerate?" asks Reverend John Atkinson. He is one of four local Anglican Church ordained ministers who recently spoke out against the Anglican Church of Southern Africa's (ACSA's) anti-Israel doctrine.

Atkinson, along with Reverends Dave Doveton, Dudley Greenshields, and Allan Smith also wrote a letter to the United Orthodox Synagogues' Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, thanking him for taking a stand against ACSA's approach to Israel. Atkinson wrote in response to Goldstein's recent open letter to Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba. In that letter, the chief rabbi said the archbishop was "making a terrible mistake that endangers your own church".

After receiving the letter from the four ministers, the chief rabbi invited them to meet him, which both parties said was very positive. "We wanted the chief rabbi and the Jewish community to know that there are many Anglicans who would find these policies offensive and a contradiction of our faith," said Atkinson. "We may be sanctioned, but we aren't afraid. Standing for the truth and against antisemitism is much more important."

It should be noted that the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is the most liberal province on African soil. It has been supported over the years financially by the American Episcopal Church.

The group believes that ACSA's anti-Israel resolution "expresses the ideological perspective of a small but influential elite, and by no means is representative of the average Anglican in Southern Africa. This is why we have made public our rejection of anti-Israel decisions and policies in our denomination".

Between them, the four ministers have about 160 years of service looking after congregations within their denomination. Two of them were lecturers in theological institutions. All of them have a wealth of experience in their chosen professions.

To read more, go here: https://virtueonline.org/south-africa-anglican-ministers-break-ranks-over-churchs-anti-israel-stance


CUBA. The Episcopal Church along with other mainline Protestant agencies have for 50 years apologized for Cuba's dictatorship. It comes as no surprise that they are mostly silent to the appeals of protesters. While TEC says it stands with the people in the present unrest, at the same time TEC berates the US over Cuba embargo. The Episcopal Church has totally failed to mention 62 years of communist oppression.

The mainline churches' love affair with Fidel Castro, which saw American liberal elite standing with Fidel Castro praising his country's health care system, is now seeing it all erupt. The people of Cuba are pouring into the streets, talking about lack of goods and services, as well as the loss of basic freedoms. Pictures have shocked the world and embarrassed American church leaders who once praised Fidel and his henchmen.


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