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TEC Reports Huge Decline in Parishioners and Finances * Wisconsin's Three Dioceses agree to Merge * Parish leaves ACNA and Ends up in Limbo * Cancel Culture and The Episcopal Church * ACNA Bishop Forced to Take leave over Abuse of Power * More

TEC Reports Huge Decline in Parishioners and Finances * Wisconsin's Three Dioceses agree to Merge * Parish leaves ACNA and Ends up in Limbo * Cancel Culture and The Episcopal church * ACNA Bishop Forced to Take leave over Abuse of Power * C4SO Bishop Supports CRT * John Stott Remembered * Welsh Evangelicals want their own Bishop

The divided self. What we are (our self or personal identity) is partly the result of the Creation (the image of God), and partly the result of the fall (the image defaced). The self we are to deny, disown, and crucify is our fallen self, everything within us that is incompatible with Jesus Christ (hence Christ's command, 'let him deny himself and follow me'). The self we are to affirm and value is our created self, everything within us that is compatible with Jesus Christ (hence his statement that if we lose ourselves by self-denial we shall find ourselves). True self-denial (the denial of our false, fallen self) is not the road to self-destruction, but the road to self-discovery. -- John R.W. Stott

ON RESOLUTION B012. "I don't think it has provided a resolution to the conflict. Those in the theological minority, I think, have accepted it as the least of the available evils, but that doesn't make it not an evil." --- Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Springfield (ret.)

"We have gone from a country that worshipped and celebrated God and those who love Him, to a country that tolerated God, to one that was annoyed by God and His people, to one that openly disdains and hates anyone who doesn't worship at the secular altar of the state. Christian culture seems to be waning, while cancel culture is ascendant." --- Sean Davis, The Federalist

"I do not believe, in the Episcopal Church or beyond, that it will be long possible to live in splendid confessional isolation without considering the presence and differing opinions of our fellow brothers and sisters." ---Hannah Matis, Covenant Magazine

"One of the greatest threats to the Christian church is not heretics or false teachers, but rather those who have the right theology but are willing to overlook and tolerate gross error for the sake of unity, and castigate those who speak up for truth as being divisive or unChristian." -- Karl Dalhfred

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
October 8, 2021

WHERE COULD I GO BUT TO THE LORD, might be the cry of many Christians today as they watch their world view and their country slowly collapse in the face of a woke culture.

On Thursday, the University of Virginia released polling results that should shock exactly no one who closely follows American politics and culture. A majority of Trump voters (52 percent) and a strong minority of Biden voters (41 percent) strongly or somewhat agree that it's "time to split the country."

Why would they even contemplate taking such a drastic step? Well, the poll provides the answers, and they're not surprising. Competing partisans loathe each other and view the opposition as an existential threat. This also isn't new. It's been tracked in poll after poll for year after year. This poll found that a "strong majority" of Trump supporters falsely believe there is no real difference between Democrats and socialists. A majority of Biden voters falsely see no real difference between Republicans and fascists.

What this poll tracked better than many others is that the mutual loathing is based more on emotion than policy. In fact, the poll found that majorities of Trump voters expressed support for most elements of the Biden infrastructure and reconciliation plan. Even the least popular plank (supporting unions by banning state "right to work" laws) garnered 42 percent support from those who voted for Trump.

Yet, broad consensus on the most important legislation now pending in Washington didn't stop 80 percent of Biden voters and 84 percent of Trump voters from viewing the opposing party as a "clear and present threat to American democracy."

So, the question is this, how should Bible believing, credal Christians, respond to this deep divide?

Can we continue on with business as usual? What are the implications for evangelism, discipleship, church planting and, most of all, separating out politics from the faith in our witness to the world?

We Anglicans, governed as we are by Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer are never permitted to stray into politics in services or sermons. A priest does so at great peril. We sit next to each other, Democrat and Republican, rich and poor, employed and unemployed, declaring our faith, believing that God is in control both of our lives, the church and the world; hoping against hope perhaps that the worst won't befall us and that the country will not descend into civil war.

Our cry might well be, WHERE COULD I GO BUT TO THE LORD,
Where could I go
Oh, where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
Brother won't you tell me
Where could I go but to the Lord


Recently released figures from The Episcopal Church Parochial Report on average Sunday Attendance revealed that in 2011 TEC had 698,376, but by 2020, that figure had plunged to 483,098 or 30.8%. Between 2019 and 2020, the ASA figure dropped 11.7%. TEC is heading into its own personal columbarium.

60,232 souls just don't vanish. "These numbers indicate a doubling in the rate of membership decline and a tripling in the rate of attendance decline over the previous year."

Jeff Walton of IRD reports that TEC also took a huge hit in its finances.

In a first, the church's giving metric, known as "plate and pledge" dropped $59 million (-4.3%) from 1,353,835,316 to 1,294,757,071. This is especially noteworthy as the U.S. inflation rate was only 1.4% in 2020, easing from 2.3% in 2019. There were fewer Sundays to attend, corresponded with fewer opportunities to give, and collection plates suffered. 38 parishes closed across the country.

In response to a newly surveyed question, 24% of Episcopal parishes reported a "very significant" negative impact of the pandemic upon their congregation's finances, while an additional 39% reported a "somewhat significant" impact.

Many Episcopal parishes closed to in-person worship for much of the pandemic. Parts of the Episcopal Church ceased services altogether -- streaming or otherwise -- with parishioners directed to either a diocesan-wide virtual service or to the Washington National Cathedral.

You can read his full report here. https://virtueonline.org/alarm-bells-episcopal-church-decline-accelerates

Here are the Fast Facts from the Parochial report data 2020.

Another reflection by VOL correspondent Mary Ann Mueller, Fudging Figures Episcopal Church's ASA Spin Cycle can be read here: https://virtueonline.org/fudging-figures-episcopal-churchs-asa-spin-cycle

Now if you add the huge losses in properties won by the ACNA ($100 million in Ft. Worth), this is no longer chump change. PB Michael Curry and the HOB must be feeling the pain. Is it any wonder that more and more dioceses will be forced to juncture (read merge) over the coming months as they see their fortunes fade and people leave for greener spiritual pastures or columbaria?

Is it any wonder that aging Episcopal bishops are heading out the door(I think this image of the catheter is distracting and a slap that should be beneath you checking their catheter bags) before heading off to golf courses?


To illustrate how the losses are affecting whole dioceses, the Episcopal News Service reported that Wisconsin's three dioceses would pursue reunion as one.

Leaders of Wisconsin's three Episcopal dioceses announced Oct. 5 that the dioceses will take steps to combine -- a canonical process known as reunion.

In August, the dioceses had announced they were launching a formal process "to explore ways to deepen cooperation and coordination." I wrote at that time that this could happen and lo and behold, it hath come true. Budget short falls, aging congregations and no young people coming forward to fill pews is a sure sign of death. The Midwest is a graveyard for TEC, only the coastal areas have survival possibilities, but the overall numbers are not good.

The Diocese of Los Angeles announced this week that they have no plans at this time to call for the election of a bishop suffragan. The death of Bishop Jon Bruno, who ran the diocese into the ground financially over property lawsuits and more, and the departure of Bishop Suffragan Diane M. Jardine Bruce to become bishop provisional of the Diocese of West Missouri has meant that three retired bishops will fill in for the departing Bruce. Things are so desperate the diocese had to call in The Rt. Rev. Chet Talton, sixth bishop suffragan of Los Angeles, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday to return to the episcopal rota! It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see where all this is going. One of the two other bishops is former PB Jefferts Schori, which is a sure-fire win to push the diocese right over the cliff. She has a hard time even believing in the supernatural!


I wrote a piece that encapsulates why TEC is in the mess it is despite all the talk of 'beloved community' by PB Michael Curry. I titled it; CANCEL CULTURE AND THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. The minions of cancel culture have had a field day in The Episcopal Church.

If in doubt, cancel it out. Former Albany Bishop Bill Love was canceled. He refused to accept resolution B012 demanding that homosexual marriage be accepted and received in his diocese. He refused. He was canceled, episcopal style. Of course, it's done with polite language, faux pain, and do come back when you are enlightened; but we all know that is not going to happen. There is no right of return, and why would Bishop Love possibly want to return?

Hundreds of orthodox episcopal priests were cancelled because they refused to bow the knee before the Moloch god of sodomy and for their intransigence. They, too, were cancelled. ACNA was born. You can read more here, and no, it is not satire. https://virtueonline.org/cancel-culture-and-episcopal-church


An ACNA parish withdrew from the C4SO Diocese and landed in limbo. A lot of the problem arose of the CEEC acronym which led to confusion over an Anglican Ink headline and accusations that one evangelical Episcopal Body was pro-homosexual.

St. Mary of Bethany Parish in Nashville, TN, withdrew itself and said they are joining with the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, (CEEC) a denomination not to be confused with the Continuing Evangelical Episcopal Church (CEEC), because they claim the denomination they want to join is pro-homosexual.

Both have the same CEEC acronym causing confusion. Archbishop Robert Gosselin, Metropolitan and Archbishop of the Continuing body told VOL that, "we are not 'that' CEEC." The confusion stemmed from a bad headline on Anglican Ink and a statement that the Communion Episcopal group was pro homosexual.

However, Quintin D. Moore, Archbishop of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches said the congregation has not been accepted into their denomination and denies being progressive. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-parish-withdraws-c4so-diocese-and-lands-limbo


The ongoing debacle in the ACNA Diocese of the Upper Midwest needs resolution. More stories are pouring out about abuse. I posted two stories: CAROL'S STORY - Part 1 and 2 which documents alleged older child to younger child sexual abuse at Church of the Resurrection, which was further compounded by the church leadership's alleged mishandling of these allegations. The youth pastor at that time knew of the abuse, failed to respond appropriately, and caused additional harm and trauma in his response to the children involved. To clarify, the events described below took place before the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) province had been formed.

Who's Who

• "Carol" - a survivor who alleges sexual abuse by an older boy when she was a child at Church of the Resurrection and subsequent mishandling of those allegations by Church of the Resurrection staff and parishioners.
• Church of the Resurrection - a large ACNA parish located in Wheaton, IL that serves as the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of the Upper Midwest.
• Keith Hartsell - youth pastor at Church of the Resurrection during the time of this story, later a priest in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest & a high-ranking leader of The Greenhouse Movement.

You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/carols-story-parts-1-and-2


The Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest is beset with more problems than it should. In an exclusive, VOL learned that Bishop Todd Atkinson was taking a leave of absence - withdrawing as acting assistant bishop of the diocese over charges of abuse of power.

Furthermore, questions were raised in 2018 as to the establishment of Via Apostolica, Atkinson's diocese for full membership in ACNA as a Missionary Diocese because of concerns of extra biblical revelations and 'Heavy Shepherding'. A dozen Canadian priests signed a letter urging Charlie Masters, Moderator Bishop of the Anglican Network in Canada to refrain from recommending Atkinson and Via Apostolica as a missionary district in ACNA, until significant questions concerning his leadership style and theology were considered. Masters refused to listen to them and now it has banked up on this diocese. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/abuse-power-cited-bishop-todd-atkinson-taking-leave-absence


ON THE GLOBAL FRONT, outgoing Anglican Communion Secretary General, the Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, 72, who announced he was retiring, dodged a question put to him by a Premier reporter about the Welsh decision to bless same-sex marriage, saying only that, "As long as God is alive, there will always be the Anglican Communion of churches."

He told Premier he is "very confident" in the future of the group and said, "My confidence is not based on the human aspect, but on the divine aspect, in that the church belongs to God, and the Anglican Communion of churches, is a part of God's Church, the universal church."

That's despite fears of divisions over theological stances, especially around the issue of sexuality. Fearon conveniently ignored that GAFCON, which holds the majority of global Anglicans soundly in its grip, roundly rejects homosexual practice especially homosexual marriage as a violation of Scripture, the creeds and the Canons and Constitutions of most Anglican provinces.

It should be remembered that Fearon took over as Sec. Gen. from one Gregory Cameron, a personal friend of Rowan Williams. Cameron went on to become the Bishop of St. Asaph in Wales, a leader in the push to bless homosexual marriage in Wales. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-general-secretary-spins-welsh-decision-bless-homosexual-marriage

To no one's surprise, evangelicals are pushing for a new bishop after the Church in Wales allows pastors to bless homosexual marriages. Evangelicals who hold to traditional Christian teaching on sexuality and marriage want a new bishop to be appointed in the Church in Wales following the results of an early September vote to allow pastors to bless same-sex marriages.

The Church in Wales, composed of six Anglican dioceses in the United Kingdom, does not allow clergy to conduct legally binding same-sex marriage ceremonies. However, in a Sept. 6 vote of 28 to 12 in favor, with two abstentions, clergy were approved to host blessing ceremonies for same-sex unions in their churches. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/evangelicals-push-new-bishop-after-church-wales-allows-pastors-bless-gay-marriages It's interesting why they have not called on GAFCON Bishop Andy Lines, missionary bishop to Europe to step in.


IRAN. An Anglican missionary couple told VOL this week that they had 144+ churches and growing in Iran with some 21 churches in formation, with the Badini Kurds, having the first known indigenous movement ever among them. There are no outside missionaries; disciples are making disciples. "We baptized our first Yazidi (Northwestern Iraq) gospel worker, recently. We have 13 to train. This is our first breakthrough," the missionary couple told VOL.


The GIDEONS have ceased to exist in the UK following conflict with its USA parent body. A worthwhile ministry over many years distributing bibles, a name familiar to wide society, but brought to an end by its parent body. The issue seems to be over whether women could apply for membership on a spiritual or an occupational basis. They will now operate as GOOD NEWS For Everyone.


Lovers of the teaching and ministry of the late John Stott, revered as one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century, will be happy to learn that a new book, JOHN STOTT: A Summary of his Teaching by Ted Schroder is out and can be purchased at Amazon on Kindle for $9.68

It is a rare privilege when you are among handful of disciples to get a front row seat with one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century -- John Stott - a man described by NY Times columnist David Brooks as a man who could have been America's Protestant pope.

Another who had a front-row seat was New Zealand-born Ted Schroder, who was John Stott's assistant in 1967. Ted stayed a personal friend until Stott's death in 2011. Schroder has a long and distinguished ecclesiastical career of his own. He authored this volume as a summary of Stott's teaching, or 'Uncle John' as he was affectionately known.

You can read how Stott handled the rise of the charismatic movement, his views on hell, his changing views of evangelism and social justice activism, his love of birds and much more. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/john-stott-summary-his-teaching



https://www.springtideresearch.org/research/ The State of Religion & Young People 2021. Over 75% of young people identify as religious or spiritual. But they told us they're not turning to faith communities during stressful moments in life.

https://albertmohler.com/2021/10/07/briefing-10-7-21 Out with Easter and Christmas Terms: Modern Cult of Wokeness on Display as School In Oxford Secularizes Its Calendar in the Name of Sensitivity

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.utterly.inspiring.life.of.african.saint.apolo.kivebulaya/137529.htm The utterly inspiring life of Anglican 'African saint' Apolo Kivebulaya

https://anglicanmainstream.org/conservative-mps-close-interest-in-c-of-e-affairs/ Conservative MPs' close interest in C of E affairs. Disestablishment anybody?


BISHOP TODD HUNTER and Critical Race Theory. The bishop of C4SO, an ACNA diocese has come out in favor of CRT. Rod Dreher, author of The Benedict Option and Orthodox believer, said that the bishop once "issued a guidance praising Critical Race Theory." I can't imagine this going down well with ACNA's College of Bishops. He smears people not supporting Critical Race Theory in the church as "name calling and thinking the worst of people's motivations," likening them to those who accused Martin Luther King of being a Communist.

He says CRT "is simply trying to understand the hidden, underlying issues of race (or other forms of injustice) that go beyond the individual and express themselves structurally." He even compares it favorably to missionaries seeking to understand cultures with "an open devotion to Jesus Christ and the neighbors he has given us to love."


The vaccination question: a theologian reflects, part 1. The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, Professor of Historical Theology Radner weighs in on the COVID vaccination debate and asks, "How did the issue of vaccination so divide the church?"

"I am a conservative and traditionalist Christian. Yet during this Time of the Virus, I seem to have ended up on opposite sides with many of those with whom I would otherwise agree in the faith. The matter is vaccination: I am vaccinated (and I wear a mask with most others!), I think most people would be well served by being vaccinated, and I support vaccination mandates for those who work or frequent places of public interaction, including schools, as a way of serving others well. How did the issue of vaccination so divide the church?" You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/vaccination-question-theologian-reflects-part-1


The Anglican Diocese of Egypt announced an historic moment in the launching announcement of a new Anglican Church territory in Alexandria. Justin Welby will be there to inaugurate the event. Dr. Sami Fawzi, Archbishop of Alexandria, said it would be the 41st province in the Anglican Communion. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-diocese-egypt-historic-event


The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council asks the question, If GAFCON Is Merely A Conference, What Is The Point? In his report from the GAFCON Primates' meeting, Archbishop Foley Beach declared that "GAFCON is not an ecclesial jurisdiction; it is a conference." He commented in response to the deep disappointment that many have been feeling since a GAFCON Province has consecrated two women as bishops of the Church despite a moratorium on such consecrations. Although a spokesperson for GAFCON is reputed to have stated that this moratorium among GAFCON Provinces had expired, this is clearly not the case.
• The GAFCON Primates authorized a Task Force on Women in the Episcopate in 2015. That Task Force consisted of 19 Bishops and theologians from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, North America, Chile, Myanmar, Sydney (Australia) and the UK.
• In 2017, the GAFCON Primates authorized a representative of the Task Force to consult with a "Panel of Advisors"--a bishop, clergy, and lay representative from each GAFCON Province or Branch. The Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll did so.
• In 2018, the GAFCON Primates received the Interim Report of the Task Force and approved its primary recommendation:

Ashey asks some incisive questions and offers some answers. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/if-gafcon-merely-conference-what-point


CHURCH OF ENGLAND NEWS. Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream reflects on The future of the Church of England: Synod, wider culture, and challenges for evangelicals. He writes: "Different wings of the Church of England have been mobilising to ensure sufficient representation of their distinctive points of view in the new General Synod, elections for which are currently taking place. While Synod candidates understand their responsibility for governance of the organisation in a broad sense, they are aware that if elected, their votes will affect crucial decisions to be made by the church, not just in matters of finance, administration and mission strategy, but in areas which touch on fundamental theological issues. How the specific headline question is answered: "should the church bless and celebrate same sex relationships or not?" -- depends on how the church understands its own nature and purpose; God, his word to his people and the world; what we should believe and how we should behave."

BBC Editorial Guidelines and Christian Values. Judith Sture, an occasional VOL columnist, made a complaint to the BBC about the language used on one of their programmes. Not on the news, or in a drama, or from a member of the public sounding off on camera. No. It was a complaint about Strictly Come Dancing (that's Dancing With The Stars for US readers). Yes, you did read that correctly. I complained about an example of offensive language used on Strictly.

"So what was I getting my knickers in a knot about? Well, one of the judges decided to use the name of Jesus as an expletive in her comments about a dance. Much as another person may say, in the same situation, 'Bloody hell, mate, you nailed it there.' Only she didn't say it that way. She chose to use a name that is important and valuable to Christian believers -- to give the same effect." You can read her piece here: https://virtueonline.org/bbc-editorial-guidelines-and-christian-values

FACTOID. There have been a multitude of lawsuits over the last year over various governmental orders to churches and faith organizations to simply shut down during the COVID -19 pandemic. Many have been resolved in favor of the churches' First Amendment rights.


VOL is in a campaign to raise funds to keep us going.

The truth is out. Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury tried to broker homosexuality into the Anglican communion and failed. Williams bombed because one man, a Nigerian Archbishop, Peter Akinola, stood up to him and said "no!"

For over a decade (2000 to 2010), the two men faced each other in one venue and from one country to the next. They locked horns over who would blink first. Williams said Akinola would blink, but he was wrong. Dead wrong.

In the end, Williams slunk away. He retired eight years early. He had failed to achieve his goal. He had hoped to twist the communion to suit western pansexual provinces like The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and other such provinces. Instead, Williams saw GAFCON's birth and growth. Today GAFCON stands strong as the response of the faithful who oppose the mistaken direction of progressives in the mostly Western Anglican Communion.
We may never know how close the communion came to being splintered and scattered into a thousand ecclesiastical pieces by the Affirming Catholic Williams. It was a close call. A Nigerian Anglican evangelical Archbishop saved the day...and the communion.

VIRTUEONLINE broke the story. Most of the mainstream Anglican media ignored the story, either out of fear or sheer disbelief. They still refuse to expose it all.
No Anglican news service covers the communion like VOL does.

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