jQuery Slider

You are here

Sex and the ACNA * Bishop Ruch to face Trial * Nigerian Primate will Continue Rescue Mission in NA * Pakistani Bishop Faces Horror of Muslim Persecution * Two ACNA Parishes flee to other Jurisdictions * The Society Demands Seal of Confession be Mandatory

Sex and the ACNA * Bishop Ruch to face Trial * Nigerian Primate will Continue Rescue Mission in NA * Pakistani Bishop Faces Horror of Muslim Persecution * Two ACNA Parishes flee to other Jurisdictions * The Society Demands Seal of Confession be Mandatory * CofE new Group pushes for blessing SS Unions

"God had one son without sin but none without suffering." -- St. Augustine

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Because He has overcome the world, and because we are in Him, so shall we also overcome. All this tribulation and trouble is temporary, but our life in Christ, and all the truly good things in life are eternal. We must not look too much at the trouble in our fallen world but instead keep looking to the Answer. To our inner turmoil, we can say (like Jesus said to the storm) "Peace, be still." In order to keep up our strength, we must at times take our eyes from the earth and look toward heaven. -- Dr. Bruce Atkinson

"If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to heaven. We must count it no strange thing, if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other men. Free pardon and full forgiveness, grace along the way, and glory at the end... all this our Savior has promised to give. But He has never promised that we shall have no afflictions." -- Bishop J. C. Ryle

Where the secular culture becomes so intertwined with the kingdom of Christ, the collapse of the former leads to despair -- Michael Horton

There is good biblical evidence that God not only suffered in Christ, but that God in Christ suffers with his people still. Is it not written of God, during the early days of Israel's bitter bondage in Egypt, not just that he saw their plight and 'heard their groaning', but that 'in all their distress he too was distressed'? Did Jesus not ask Saul of Tarsus why he was persecuting him, thus disclosing his solidarity with his church? It is wonderful that we may share in Christ's sufferings; it is more wonderful still that he shares in ours. --- John Stott

With the Reformation, Luther revived Augustine's insights. The kingdom of Christ advances exclusively through the spiritual sword: the Word of God. -- Michael Horton

Dear Brothers and sisters
August 18, 2023

SEX AND THE ACNA. For most of its 14-year existence the ACNA has been scandal free. Recently that has changed. In 2020 bishop Ronald Jackson (II Great Lakes) resigned over charges of sexual misconduct. In 2021 Todd Atkinson (I Via Apostolica) was charged with abuse of ecclesiastical power; in 2020 Bishop James Hobby (VIII Pittsburgh) failed to act with urgency, transparency, and timeliness when an accusation of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy. This week, the Bishop of the Upper Midwest Stewart Ruch faces a church trial for violating provincial canons. The case concerns a young now jailed laymen Mark Rivera who was found guilty of sexual abuse of some 14 young women. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-bishop-stewart-ruch-face-church-trial-violating-provincial-canons You can read Ruch's response here: https://virtueonline.org/letter-bishop-stewart-ruch

Compared to the Episcopal Church's sex scandals which are legendary, ACNA's sins are minor. By contrast TEC's egregious behaviors over sexual abuse, cover ups, failure to invoke Title IV are legendary. Web blogger Eric Bonetti's Anglican Watch website is dedicated to exposing the sexual and abusive sins of TECs bishops and priests. You can read multiple stories here: www.anglicanwatch.com

Case in point is a retired Episcopal priest Allen Farabee who was arrested for exposing himself to minors. Previously dean of the Buffalo Cathedral, Farabee was pushed out amidst plummeting attendance at the cathedral and controversial remarks in support of gay bathhouses.

Now, local media report that Farabee, 76, has been arrested after two alleged incidents in which he exposed himself to a 9-year-old girl at a local pool in Florida. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/retired-episcopal-priest-allen-farabee-arrested-exposing-himself-minors


Two revisionist Episcopal organizations have gone out of business. Episcopal Journal & Cafe has suspended its online publication as of Aug. 15, 2023. The EJC team said the economics of online publications, and a former print one, are challenging and the decision has been made to stop updating the site and ultimately archive it. Another organization, Integrity USA an LGBTQ+ advocacy group within the Episcopal Church is in meltdown. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/vivian-taylor-reveals-corruption-within-episcopal-lgbtq-advocacy-group-integrity


ACNA Bishop Stewart Ruch, of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest will face a church court trial which will be conducted by an elected body of Bishops, Priests, and Laity elected by the Provincial Council called "The Court for the Trial of a Bishop" for violating ACNA Provincial Canons.

A press release from the ACNA said this: "A Board of Inquiry empaneled to consider a Presentment filed in June of 2023, submitted by priests and lay persons predominantly from within the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, against Bishop Stewart Ruch III has determined that there are reasonable grounds to put the accused to trial. By canon such a determination from a Board of Inquiry shall be made public (Title IV, Canon 4, Section 6)."

Mark Rivera, a lay minister in Ruch's diocese was convicted of felony sexual assault and felony child sexual assault. https://virtueonline.org/acna-bishop-stewart-ruch-face-church-trial-violating-provincial-canons


The Archbishop of Nigeria the Most Rev. Henry C. Ndukuba says the Church of Nigeria's North American Mission (CONNAM) will continue its work as "a rescue mission to provide a safe haven for Nigerian Anglicans leaving the Episcopal Church."

"The Church of Nigeria is not interested in an expansionist move in America," he said. "We only maintain a 'pedagogical presence in America.' We stand to encourage and enable all faithful Anglicans who share our convictions on the authority of the Scripture, faithfulness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the Anglican heritage as we have received it." The North American Mission has "engage[d] the leadership of ACNA on some of issues of interest," he said, but one church property in Irvington, New Jersey, remains the subject of a civil lawsuit.

This has been a delicate balancing act for ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach who has weathered some awkward moments with the Nigerian Archbishop when Beach was chairman of GAFCON. Let's hope the Irvington NJ issue is resolved amicably.
You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/nigerian-archbishop-affirms-north-american-mission-nigerians


TWO ACNA PARISHES decided to leave and join other Anglican jurisdictions.

Christ the King Anglican Church, College park, MD, of the Diocese of Living Word -- ACNA (Formally CANA EAST) is transitioning to the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity," says the Church warden.

The Rector of the Church, The Rev Zenith Benson says he and his congregation are excited to be part of the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT). We appreciate the support received and relationship built while at ADLW; we look forward to building new fellowship in the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT). No doubt we will miss our friends at the Diocese of the Living Word (ACNA), we are moving on to join the mission of the Church of Nigeria in North America. ADOTT is a diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-church-joins-adott

Another parish in the Diocese of Church for the Sake of Others (C4SO) has decided to leave and join up with the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Dr. Shawn McCain Tirres of Resurrection (church) South Austin in Texas has decided after a sojourn of eight years in the Anglican Church in North America, that it was all a "misaligned" mistake and the Episcopal Church was now a better fit for him and 80% of his parish.

He wrote at length about it here:

However, a review of his reasons for leaving the ACNA and moving to TEC do not hold up under scrutiny. In fact, they are misleading, pearl clutching, woke nonsense. You can read my take here: https://virtueonline.org/egypt-promised-land-and-back-egypt

You can read Jeff Walton's hard news take here: https://virtueonline.org/second-anglican-parish-heads-episcopal-church

Overheard by a ministerial student at New Orleans Baptist Seminary a half century ago from a retired pastor speaking in chapel. Ascending the pulpit, he looked all around that beautiful chapel, and after a dramatic pause, declared, "Eighty percent of you will have your ministry compromised or destroyed by one of three things -- love of money, seeking denominational prominence, or inappropriate relationships with women other than your wife." He was prescient.


If you think you've got troubles read what our Anglican brothers and sisters are undergoing as they are being persecuted in Pakistan. Some 21 churches across all denominational lines were burnt to the ground along with many houses and Bibles in an unprecedented attack by Muslim extremists, forcing thousands of Christians to flee for the lives from mob violence.

Anglican Bishop Azad Marshall who serves as the Moderator Bishop of the Church of Pakistan said in a statement; "We, Bishops, Priests, and lay people are deeply pained and distressed at the Jaranwala incident in the Faisalabad District in Pakistan. A church building is being burnt as I type this message. Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been tortured and harassed having been falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran. We cry out for justice and action from law enforcement and those who dispense justice and the safety of all citizens to intervene immediately and assure us that our lives are valuable in our own homeland that has just celebrated independence and freedom." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/pakistan-anglican-bishop-decries-attacks-churches

And here: https://thecritic.co.uk/who-hears-the-persecuted-church/

While Nigeria holds the world record for Christian persecution by Muslim extremists, we are seeing in the West a different sort of persecution by secularists and woke advocates who are attempting to drown out the voices of orthodoxy in churches, universities and the market place in general.

A story about what is going on in Britian and the woke culture of intolerance can be seen here: A bewildered Christian in the Pride Lion's Den: https://anglicanmainstream.org/a-bewildered-christian-in-the-pride-lions-den/

Home truths on Men and Women can be seen here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2023/08/18/home-truths-on-men-and-women/

Spiritual amnesia and the decline of the West can be seen here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2023/06/18/spiritual-amnesia-and-the-decline-of-the-west/


RAGING FIRES. Fires are raging throughout North America with very few signs they are abating any time soon. We all know what happened in Maui with the loss of lives, homes, and churches.

From the Diocese of the Arctic we learn from Bishop David and Archdeacon Alexander that Yellowknife (their headquarters) is under an evacuation alert at this time and the situation can change at any time.

My own VOL researcher faced a close life and death situation in Huntsvile, TX when wild fires came close to destroying her modest home. She was saved by local firefighters who contained the flames in time.


All this has a lot people thinking that we are living in the End Times and the Lord is about to return to save his people. "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains," said Jesus, "but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

In the US, 39% of adults believe humanity is 'living in the end times.'

I wrote about this. Of course, we have been living in "the last days" for over 2000 years, and current apocalyptic predictors who are usually American and British end of the world doomsdayers, believe the world is coming to an end with the righteous raptured and those "left behind" to face God's wrath, damnation and ultimately, hell. Of course, the Second Coming Has Been 'Imminent' for 2,000 Years.

This American and British centric view of things while compelling hardly comports with a God who sees beyond the narrow confines of western civilization, viewing the world in more global terms. Past civilizations that have risen and fallen are numerous. They include Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization, Mesopotamia, Rome, and Persia.

It may well be that God wants to save more than one billion Chinese souls, not to mention millions who live in Nth. Korea, Africa and Asia. It is arrogant to think we can either know or manipulate God in returning.

There is a mountain of irony in Jesus' own words when challenged about the end times. He said he did not know: only the Father knew and apparently, he wasn't saying. (Mt. 24:36)

We should be about the business of proclaiming the gospel. You can read my piece here: https://virtueonline.org/end-all-things


To make the point, IRAN a country that is 90% Shi'ism is the official religion. Despite this Iran is the fastest growing church in the world...over one million now. But two Anglican missionaries working in the area who regularly disciple and send trained Iranian missionaries into Iran, believe the true figure is between 8m and 12m. "That's the consistent numbers we're getting back."

A 2020 survey found that just 40 percent actually identify as Muslim. An even larger number--about 47 percent--said they were "nones," atheists, spiritual, agnostic, or humanist. Another 8 percent claim Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion. About 1.5 percent said they were Christians.

Over the past four decades, Christianity has grown faster in China than anywhere else in the world. Daryl Ireland, a Boston University School of Theology research assistant professor of mission, estimates that the Christian community there has grown from 1 million to 100 million. Some estimates now say it is closer to 115 million, which means there are more evangelicals in China than America. Wheaton College's Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals estimates that about 30 to 35% (90 to 100 million people) of the U.S. population is evangelical.


The (Anglo-Catholic) Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda in the Church of England has asked the government to carve out an exemption for priests hearing a confession from proposed mandatory reporting of child abuse.

In a letter to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) dated 14 August 2023 the bishops of The Society asked that an "exception be added to make provision for the Seal of the sacrament of Confession, as practised in the Roman Catholic Church and parts of the Church of England".

Under Anglican, and Catholic canon law, the seal of confession is inviolable. A priest may not repeat or disclose anything said to him by a penitent confessing their sins. The Society's letter notes "the loss of the Seal would take away from survivors a safe space for disclosure and would be doing so against the incredibly remote contingency, and unproven concern, that perpetrators will abuse the Seal. This will not make us a safer Church. Rather it will take away from many victims and survivors a place in which a journey of healing can begin."

Enforcing mandatory reporting upon clergy would be "incredibly difficult" they observed noting "The very essence of sacramental Confession is that it is a private, confidential encounter. It is far from clear how such an arrangement could be satisfactorily 'policed' by secular authorities."

You can read their statement here: https://virtueonline.org/seal-confession-and-mandatory-reporting-child-sexual-abuse


Having failed to obtain consents to be the next Bishop of Florida, the Rev. Charlie Holt was named rector at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida, tossing a bone to the loser. This is called the Stockholm Syndrome -- the loser victim who identifies with and empathizes with their captor or abuser and their goals. Now new allegations of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination by Florida Bishop John Howard were a factor in the decision by churchwide leaders to deny consent to the ordination of Howard's elected successor. A month since that decision nullified the diocese's election of a bishop coadjutor, the allegations against Howard have not gone away and members of the diocese say they want to know what's next. Howard has been under scrutiny for possible canonical violations at least since October 2022, when a letter drafted by Florida clergy sought the attention of Province IV leadership.


The Church of England is desperately trying to find ways to square the circle over sodomy and blessing same sex unions, but it is finding it hard to do so. Their leaders call it "walking together" presumably with some hand holding.

The Rev. Marc Lloyd a Rural Dean of Dallington in the Diocese of Chichester, UK is not so sure. In a longish piece you can read here: https://virtueonline.org/walking-together he concludes such a journey/pilgrimage or running the race for unity is not the only biblical value. "Divorced from other scriptural considerations, unity cannot be made the sole or ultimate aim of the Christian church. If some people walk away from the gospel or the teaching of Scripture, obviously we must stick with Jesus and not go off with them. We seek the way of wisdom, not of folly, and of fellowship with light, not darkness. The Bible makes it clear that the priority is to walk faithfully in God's ways, by his grace, neither turning aside to the left nor to the right, even if broadening our understanding of the way might be claimed to be the best thing to do for the sake of "walking together". Many Bible texts clearly show us the way."


What is Christian unity?: Abp of York: "good disagreement"; Rollin Grams: "one Lord, one faith, one body". When the Archbishop of York delivered his Presidential Address to open General Synod, the only thing that received any attention from his audience, commentators and the media was a single comment: "For if this God to whom we pray is 'Father' -- and, yes, I know the word 'father' is problematic..."

"The Archbishop went on to talk about unity and mission, as does every denominational leader who is trying to keep the sinking ship afloat with one hand while drilling a hole with the other. Gospel unity and Gospel mission are sublime, vital, life-giving and God-glorifying realities. But redefine sin and you've redefined the atonement and you've removed the message of God's mission. Redefine God and you've created a new religion and walked away from the Spirit-given unity as the body of Christ."

Two days later Rollin Grams (a former professor of Biblical Theology and Ethics at Gordon-Conwell now with the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life) responded with a rousing rebuttal: "True unity is unity with Christ." His treatise on "The Theological Unity of the Church and Its Separation from Darkness" is careful and thorough exegesis of Ephesians 1 beginning with twelve essential characteristics of the Church that establish her identity in Christ -- and the nature of her unity. However, Grams also notes that the Church's unity comes first and foremost from the oneness of God and the Church's own participation in the eternal life of the Trinity: "There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."(Ephesians 4:4-6) You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/what-christian-unity-abp-york-good-disagreement-rollin-grams-one-lord-one-faith-one-body


A NEW group created by the co-chairs of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) Steering Group is to meet next month. It will discuss proposals, which will be brought to the General Synod in November, for providing prayers for same-sex couples in church.

The co-chairs of the steering group -- the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev. Sarah Mullally, and the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen -- have sent invitations to people "across different traditions of the Church" to join three facilitated conversations.

The group, whose members have been involved in the LLF process before or have "lived experience" of the issues, will be asked to "provide their insight and reflections" on the proposals. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/new-group-asked-provide-insight-prayers-bless-same-sex-couples


MPs press the Church of England to rid itself of priests who oppose the ordination of women bishops. A debate broke out in the UK House of Parliament between two politicians. Dame Diana Johnson MP (Lab, Kingston upon Hull North): "If the Church of England will make an assessment of the potential merits of refusing to ordain clergy who do not personally recognise the ordination of women as diocesan bishops."

Andrew Selous: "The Church of England is fully committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all without reference to gender. The Church is also committed to ensuring that those who cannot in good conscience receive the ministry of women priests or bishops are able to flourish; the five guiding principles of the House of Bishops are the basis for this mutual flourishing and all candidates for ordination have to assent to them." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/mps-press-church-england-rid-itself-priests-who-oppose-ordination-women-bishops



THE TRANS MOVEMENT IS BECOMING MORE VIOLENT: https://virtueonline.org/trans-movement-becoming-more-violent

The lies of "born this way": https://virtueonline.org/lies-born-way


What Hath Newman Wrought: https://virtueonline.org/what-hath-newman-wrought

Edward VI: The Boy King and the Protestant Reformation: https://virtueonline.org/edward-vi-boy-king-and-protestant-reformation

No Golden Age for the Church - The Book of Jude: https://virtueonline.org/no-golden-age-church-book-jude

VOL. Dear friends. The cyber world is constantly changing and with it the growing needs of VOL to make much needed web changes for our readers. We need your help to make this happen. I am hoping VOL's readers will come to our aid to make this transition possible. You can make a tax-deductible donation by check, credit card or PAYPAL below.

P.O. Box 111
Shohola, PA 18458

A PayPal donation link can be found here: http://www.virtueonline.org/support.html

If you know someone who would like to receive these bi-weekly news reports, they can subscribe here: https://virtueonline.org/ It is free and nothing is behind a paywall.

Thank you for your support.


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top