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TEC Statistics Reveal Church in Catastrophic Decline * Charlie Holt Wins Florida Bishopric Again in Re-election Bid * ANiE Offers Safe Harbor to CofE Fleers * Canadian APB Says 3 African Primates have Left Communion * Brazil Elects First Woman Bishop

TEC Statistics Reveal Church in Catastrophic Decline * Charlie Holt Wins Florida Bishopric Again in Re-election Bid * ANiE Offers Alternative to CofE as Safe Harbor * Canadian Primate Says 3 African Primates have Left communion * Brazil Elects first Woman Bishop * Bishop John Rodgers has Died

"No church can spread the gospel with any degree of integrity, let alone credibility, unless it has been visibly changed by the gospel it preaches. We need to look like what we are talking about. It is not enough to receive the gospel and pass it on; we must embody it in our common life of faith, love, joy, peace, righteousness and hope." -- John R.W. Stott

The liberal left has taken its desire to maximize freedom to unimaginable depths of depravity. It is no longer satisfied with destroying Christian morality but reserves for itself the right to alter reality --John Horvat II

With all the division and vitriol in American politics and culture nowadays, some people are asking whether the United States might literally come apart. And since "some people" includes my editor, I draw upon my professional training as a historian to say, yes, it absolutely could --- John Robson, Historian

On reforming the Church. What is of particular interest, because it applies to Christian communities in every age and place, is the interaction which the apostle Paul portrays between the church and the gospel. He shows how the gospel creates the church and the church spreads the gospel, and how the gospel shapes the church, as the church seeks to live a life that is worthy of the gospel. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
November 25, 2022

The BIG news of the week is the catastrophic slide in Average Sunday Attendance the Episcopal church has experienced over the last two years, owing, in most part to the COVID pandemic.

It is a veritable tsunami with over 165,328 Episcopalians wiped off the books with Average Sunday Attendance dropping below 300,000 for the first time in its history to 292,851 a loss of 36.08% from 458,179 in 2020 (below 500,000 for the first time) and now under 300,000. A total of 62 congregations were permanently closed.

Parochial reports from 2021 show that overall domestic membership (those on the books but not necessarily attending or attending sporadically) fell by 56,314 to 1,520,388 (-3.57%) from 1,576,702.

Recovery is impossible with declines like that. While episcopal demographers will argue that this is all about Covid, that would not be true. The endless push to accept woke issues like climate change, white privilege, anti-racism, CRT, sodomy, LGBTQ, transgender and homosexual "marriages" were all church growth killers. Generations X, Y and Z are not pouring into episcopal churches.

Furthermore, parishes now have aging rectors who have little interest in church growth. These rectors are waiting out retirement, and there is not a next generation of young rectors willing to push the evangelical button for the conversion of young Americans, especially when any talk of sin largely relates to white privilege and racism. The increasing ordination of homosexuals and lesbians to places of leadership are also not winning tickets.

The Diocese of New Hampshire never grew under Gene Robinson. The endless preoccupation with woke issues is an attendance killer. If your theology is little more than the New York Times with a liturgical veneer, then either you cancel the church or the Times.

However, one statistic stood out: overall giving. It was up.

Finances were the only metric to move in a positive direction, reversing a rare decline in funds collected the previous year, noted Jeff Walton of Juicy Ecumenism. The average pledge grew from $3,226 to $3,360 (+$134), while plate-and-pledge grew 3.33% in 2021 after declining 4.3% in 2020. This still reflects an inflation-adjusted loss, however, with the 3.3% rate of growth trailing the 4.7% average inflation rate in calendar year 2021.

ENS, the church's official news source tried to put their best spin on it with this:
"While the impact of COVID-19 on church attendance continued throughout last year, The Episcopal Church's newly released 2021 Parochial Report show an increase in overall giving amid challenges presented by pivots to online and hybrid worship since 2020."

It is ironic that giving was up. This is the last desperate stand of rich white Episcopalians dressed in penguin suits with expensive bottles of whisky and cigars, playing with $1,000 poker chips on the deck of the Titanic.

The Episcopal Church's "white privilege" crowd which Bishop Michael Curry rails against are keeping the lights on.

VOL predicted, aided by professional pollsters, that TEC (and all mainline denominations) would be out of business by 2040. Apparently, that timeline was too optimistic. With the latest statistics, the date might now be closer to 2030.

That some 63 churches have closed is just the beginning; those figures will swell to the hundreds as more and more churches empty across the country. Most episcopal churches can barely muster 25 members. Median Average Sunday Attendance dropped from 55 persons in 2017 to 21 persons in 2021. Long-term, 88% of Episcopal parishes saw their attendance decline 10% or greater in the past five years, and 90% of congregations report attendance of less than 100 persons.

The average age of an episcopalian is 69, (that was in 2019); the clergy are just a few years behind. By contrast, the average Catholic is 50, the average nondenominational evangelical is 49, the average atheist is 42.

On hearing the news, a retired orthodox bishop told VOL, "We have seen this coming on for years. Covid just pushed TEC over the line. When you abandon the faith, the church has only itself to blame.

The only two viable institutions in TEC are the Church Pension Group and Trinity Wall Street.

Two stories here will give you more detail: https://virtueonline.org/numbers-plummet-twin-pandemic-years-empty-episcopal-church-pews
And here: https://virtueonline.org/attendance-crash-covid-restrictions-take-toll-episcopal-church

More: Statistical Totals for the Episcopal Church by Province and Diocese can be browsed through by clicking here. https://www.generalconvention.org/parochialreportresults
A report on 2020 numbers can be viewed here: https://juicyecumenism.com/2021/10/06/episcopal-church-statistics-2020/
while 2019 numbers can be viewed here. https://juicyecumenism.com/2020/10/07/no-relief-for-shrinking-episcopal-church-in-2019/


In the Diocese of Florida, the Rev. Charlie Holt won again in an election do-over.

At a special electing convention on Nov. 19, Holt won resoundingly among the laity and squeaked by among the clergy. In the May election which saw him win resoundingly, the results were rejected because of alleged "procedural objections," but the LGBTQ community and a revisionist woman theologian in the person of Diana Butler Bass objected because Holt was seen as too conservative on the hot button issue of homosexual marriage.

Diana Bass said at the time that Holt should not get the bishops' consents because of his views on homosexuality. It is ironic, because Holt said he would abide by the polity of the church on B012, not prohibit churches that want to perform same-sex marriages and would welcome LGBTQ+ persons into the ordination process.

Holt was elected on the first ballot, a stick in the eye at the pansexual lobby who do not want Holt and his conservative views and perhaps thought they could quash his re-election bid.

All that is required now is a simple majority of diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to consent to the election within 120 days. Will he get them?

Among the laity, 132 cast their votes with Holt getting 79. Only 67 was needed. It was tighter among the clergy 56 for and 56 against.


Most churches in the Church of England are not financially sustainable, a Cambridge University report found. The future of British churches is at risk unless they can find innovative ways of being financially sustainable, the alarming report concluded.

The joint study was carried out by the Diocese of Ely and the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.

A survey of hundreds of churches in the Diocese of Ely, which spans Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk, found that only one in five was financially profitable.

A third of the church buildings cost more money to run each year than they currently bring in. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/most-churches-are-not-financially-sustainable-finds-cambridge-university-report


It is this writer's belief that pansexual Anglicans would rather burn down the communion than repent, even as the Church of England is cratering and dying.

The Mother Church is under siege. The pansexual agenda now rocking the Church of England is catastrophic for its future viability. Every indication is that the CoE will concede the battle to the same-sex marriage revisionists.

A quiet inevitability hangs over it. Those protesting the CoE's direction know that, however erudite their argument, that the biblical standard that marriage is between one man and one woman, is a battle they will lose.

The Living in Love and Faith report has only one purpose: to enable the Church of England churches across the country to participate in a false process of learning and praying together as part of discerning a way forward in relation to matters of identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage. That goal leads to the full acceptance of homosexual practice. That process will lead inevitably to the rejection of the 2000-year biblical worldview on marriage. "Listening" is code for hearing the whine of gays until they get their way.

The homosexual steamroller will brook no opposition. The bare-knuckle fight is on for the soul of the church. Based on the history of the last 40 years, the Church of England will succumb to the pansexual demands of a small, shrill, and strident group who have all the time in the world to see their worldview embraced, right up to and including the consecration of bishops living in same-sex relationships. It worked in the American Episcopal Church; it will work in the Church of England.

The bishops of Oxford and Worcester want same-sex marriage, the Bishop of Southwark would prefer blessings, and the Bishop of Portsmouth is seeking a 'big tent.'

In response, theologians Vaughan Roberts, Ian Paul and Andrew Goddard have tried to explain the biblical teaching and the need for 'visible differentiation,' should any such a change take place.

Theologian M. Barratt Davie made this point; "To rescind its current ban on same-sex blessings and same-sex marriages would mean, by contrast, the Church effectively saying that it had ceased to trust in God as the creator and was repudiating his Lordship. This is because the Church cannot both trust in God and accept his Lordship and simultaneously reject the pattern for sexual intercourse and marriage that he has ordained. It can do one or the other, but it cannot do both."

Is anybody really listening? Based on what has happened in The Episcopal church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales, "listening" is code for, 'you will hear the sad stories of gay exclusion and vote to bring us and help you to see the true light, making us priests and bishops in God's one holy, catholic and apostolic church...and when you have done that, we will kick you out if you dare use the Bible to condemn our behavior.'

Lesbian laywoman Jayne Ozanne and homosexual leader Colin Coward believe that homophobia has infected the Church of England, along with a handful, but growing chorus of bishops are already in place to push the homosexual marriage agenda into canonical acceptance. Not surprisingly, the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft said he expects more colleagues to publicly back his call for the church to start conducting same-sex weddings, with five bishops already voicing their support.

You can read Dr. Davie's piece here: https://virtueonline.org/why-church-england-bishops-have-option

Financial scandal also haunts the Church of England. The magazine Private Eye revealed that a certain Martin Sargeant, head of operations in the Diocese of London, diverted at least £5.2m ($6.3 million) of church money to fund a lifestyle that included flying to the US once or twice a month and gambling heavily. Last month he pleaded guilty to fraud and will return to court next week, when he has been told to expect a custodial sentence. A further charge of money laundering will lie on file. He did this over a ten-year period. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/diocese-london-sargeants-wager


But lefties in the Church of England are getting push back from the growing Anglican Network in Europe, (ANiE) and GAFCON Bishop Andy Lines who responded to Oxford Bishop Steven Croft over his approval of same-sex marriage.

He argued that robust protections for biblically faithful ministers, together with their congregations and buildings, should the Church of England be led into accepting heterodox faith and practice, won't work.

Any acquiescence to 'plural truth' within the denomination would require an acceptance of divergent and irreconcilable views within the same church on a matter about which the Bible is unequivocal. As one commentator has put it, a church with "two integrities" on a primary, gospel issue has no integrity.

"The Anglican Network in Europe, with its constituent members the Anglican Convocation Europe and the Anglican Mission in England is the result of gracious provision by the majority of faithful Anglican leaders worldwide. It is a safe harbour and a genuine, authentic and authorized Anglican alternative to compromise and cultural capitulation. Why not look for your nearest ANiE church, or investigate starting a new one? For more, click here: https://virtueonline.org/gafcon-bishop-lines-responds-oxford-bishop-croft-over-acceptance-s-s-marriage


The Primate of Canada, Linda Nicholls believes that three African provinces who disagree over homosexuality and women bishops have effectively left the Anglican Communion.

This was the conclusion reached this past week by Canadian Anglican Primate Linda Nicholls. She proclaimed in the Anglican Journal that the boycott of the Lambeth Conference by the provinces of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda was a sign that those provinces have left the global grouping of Anglican churches.

"Some have already indicated by their non-participation that they have separated from the Anglican Communion. Others continue to participate despite disagreement and I see that continuing into the future," she said.

Well, there goes the grand new-fangled but fake "doctrines" of inclusion and diversity so praised and revered by western liberals. You can read her riff here: https://virtueonline.org/have-three-provinces-who-disagree-over-homosexuality-and-women-bishops-left-anglican-communion


Brazil elected its first female Primate in Latin America. The Rt. Rev. Marinez Rosa dos Santos Bassotto was elected presiding bishop and primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil -- IEAB) on November 13, becoming the first woman to lead an Anglican province in Latin America. Bassotto, who will continue to serve as bishop of the Diocese of the Amazon, succeeds the Most Rev. Naudal Gomes, who has been presiding bishop of the IEAB since 2018. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/brazil-elects-first-female-primate-latin-america


Nondenominational' Is now the largest segment of American Protestants, according to a US Religion Census. Independent congregations have surged in the last decade, according to a report in Christianity Today

Not the "nones," who have commanded attention for years, as the number of Americans who don't identify with a specific religious tradition has grown from just 5 percent during the Cold War to around 30 percent today. This is the nons--nondenominational Christians, people who shake off organizational affiliations, disassociate from tradition, and free themselves from established church brands.

The number of nondenominational churches has surged by about 9,000 congregations over the course of a decade, according to new decennial data released by the US Religion Census. Little noticed, they have been quietly remaking the religious landscape.

There are now five times more nondenominational churches than there are Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations. There are six times more nondenominational churches than there are Episcopal. And there are 3.4 million more people in nondenominational churches than there are in Southern Baptist ones. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/nondenominational-now-largest-segment-american-protestants


Evangelical pastors attending a conference on reconstructing evangelicalism believe that they must address the "failings" of evangelicalism and the best ways of mending them.

The pastors chose to be particularly blunt about one thing: the very definition of evangelicalism.

According to Religion News, the pastors posed a fundamental question that served as a springboard for the day's discussion: "What is an evangelical?"

Joel Lawrence, the Center for Pastor Theologian's executive director, honestly answered: "Nobody knows exactly what an evangelical is."

The question paved the way for the group's thorough discussions on the flaws of the evangelical movement and brainstorming of the possible means of addressing those flaws. It also served as a springboard for the participants' definition and deconstruction of evangelicalism.

The event, hosted by Chicago's Calvary Memorial Church, attracted 400 evangelical pastors and various church leaders.

For Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a historian, evangelicalism is a 'consumer and political culture.' Du Mez added that perhaps it is more important to ask, "Who is not an evangelical?" and who decides who can be called one.

Meanwhile, Beeson Divinity School's dean, Doug Sweeney, said a lot of Americans equate evangelical with politics that follow the MAGA style.

"That would not be one of my favorite characteristics," Religion News quoted Sweeney saying.

He also said that the term "evangelical" must be closely associated with theology rather than politics. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/evangelical-pastors-discuss-ways-mend-failings-evangelicalism


All is not well within the Roman Catholic realm. Two high-profile Anglican converts to Catholicism are warning of the perils of Pope Francis' Synod on Synodality. Two former Anglican bishops, Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali and Dr. Gavin Ashenden, who recently crossed the Tiber, are cautioning against the synod being hijacked by "pressure groups" and the listening process "mistaking the spirit of the age for the Holy Spirit."

The two men drew on their experience of the Church of England's synodal process and warned that the same thing could happen to the RCC under the increasingly woke Pope Francis. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-converts-warn-synodal-perils


REPARATIONS: WHO PAYS WHOM? Should they even be paid? No, says Fr. Calvin Robinson, a black Anglican priest who was refused ordination in the Church of England and is now with the Free Church of England.

"No reparations are due. We paid the price," he says. "The argument for reparations never makes much sense. There seems to be a fundamental flaw that no one has addressed: Who would pay whom?"

We know there is no such thing as government money. There is only taxpayers' money. Demanding the government donate money to a particular demographic is, in fact, demanding they redistribute our money to people based on their skin colour. The premise is undeniably racist.

Not to mention, African/Caribbean people only make up 3% of the UK population. Why is it that we only ever hear of reparations for black people? Asian people make up more than double that, at 7% of the UK population; where are the demands for Indian/Pakistani reparations? Not that it matters, the idea would be equally unrealistic. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/reparations-who-pays-whom


Has God given America over to depravity. Dr. Michael Brown believes that the clearest sign that He has is the Drag Queen Story Hour which attempts to normalize what is evil in the most exaggerated, even overtly demonic form, with drag queens wearing satanic horns while reading to little children. An Obama Neighborhood Library in Long Beach, California, showed Drag queens reading to toddlers in libraries and schools. It also showed Drag queens engaging in indecent acts with children in gay bars. Drag queens are performing in churches. "If anything was a sign that God has given America over to depravity, it is this." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/clearest-sign-yet-god-has-given-america-over-depravity


On a higher note, Winfield Bevins of Anglican Compass asks; What Do Anglicans Believe? An Overview of Anglican Beliefs.

"What we believe shapes our identity, and ultimately, who we are. Singer-songwriter Rich Mullins affirmed this in an older song called "Creed." In the words of the song, he writes: "And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am. I did not make it; no, it is making me. It is the very truth of God, and not the invention of any man."

Orthodoxy means "right belief," and for Christianity, a right belief is a belief that agrees with the whole of Scripture and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. This is especially true regarding the core doctrines of the Trinity and the Church. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/what-do-anglicans-believe-overview-anglican-beliefs


TRANSUBSTANTIATION anyone? Transubstantiation became the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church at the Fourth Lateran Council that began, November 11, 1215. The Council of Trent in 1551 went on to confirm the doctrine of transubstantiation as Catholic dogma, and today's Catechism of the Catholic Church plainly states: "there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood" (1376).

But, says Dean Chuck Collins, Anglicans emphatically reject this teaching (Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, XXVIII), but it is the greatest curiosity that some still hold a functionally Roman view - that the elements of Holy Communion, at a moment in the liturgy (marked by an epiclesis, fraction, and the raising of the bread for public gazing) change from being bread and wine into the actual body and blood of our Lord. A minute earlier it was simple bread, but now with the words and actions of a sacrificing priest, it is the Creator of the universe lifted high for everyone to see, and everyone who consumes it, eats Christ's body whether they believe it or not (manducatio indignorum).

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the architect of Anglican liturgy, wrote extensively about this in 1550 "A Defense of the True and Catholike Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ." He devoted the third of four books to the question of real presence, citing the church fathers at length. Cranmer wrote: "They [Roman Catholics] say, that Christ is received in the mouth and entereth in with the bread and wine: we say, that he is received in the heart, and entereth in by faith" (Book III, Ch. II). "Cranmer's focus was not a change in, or even instrumental use of, the bread and wine, but rather the transformation of the recipients, who by the power of the Spirit were linked afresh to the saving efficacy of Christ's Incarnation and Passion" (Ashley Null "Cranmer and the Sacraments"). You can read his full take here: https://virtueonline.org/transubstantiation


It is with sadness that VOL announces the passing of the Rt. Rev. Dr. John H. Rodgers, Jr., evangelical theologian and professor. He was a much beloved and respected Anglican theologian, seminary dean, bishop, father and grandfather. He died at UPMC Passavant Hospital, Pittsburgh on November 23, 2022, from natural causes. He was 92 years old. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/rt-rev-dr-john-h-rodgers-evangelical-theologian-and-professor-jr-has-died


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