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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Sacred Synod!

The bishops of Monmouth, Bangor, St Davids (Bp-elect), Llandaff (Abp), Swansea and Brecon and St Asaph in Sacred Synod, 2016.  Source: Church in Wales

The bishops of the Church in Wales will meet in Sacred Synod on Sunday 5 January in Brecon cathedral to confirm the election of Cherry Vann as Bishop of Monmouth.

Pictured above is former Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan in Sacred Synod in 2016. He retired to his newly built Cardiff bunker in January 2017 after engineering the disastrous election of the first female bishop in the Church in Wales.

Much has happened since the new bishop of St Davids was appointed. She lost no time in surrounding herself with women clergy, turning Wales' national shrine into a feminist enclave while trying to eject elderly male priests from further service in her diocese. 

Gone in mysterious circumstances is the then bishop of Monmouth giving rise to claim and counter-claim in a long, drawn out process which did no-one any favours apart from his replacement which turned out to be more about the mission of feminism in the Church than the redemptive mission of the Church.

Persistent rumours of an improper relationship continue to dog another bishop on the bench while John Davies, bishop of Swansea and Brecon, has replaced Barry Morgan as Archbishop of Wales promising 'more of the same - but faster'. He has proved to be true to his word, dragging the Church in Wales into the secular world at an increasing pace.

Barry Morgan was replaced as bishop of Llandaff by LGBT campaigner, June Osborne, following in the footsteps of Joanna Penberthy. The previously tipped Sarah Rowland Jones, vicar of St John's in the heart of Cardiff, was instead made Dean of St Davids, offering Osborne the opportunity of extending the sexual diversity of clergy in her diocese by filling the resulting vacancy at St John's by a transgender vicar who appears to believe that her primary mission is to normalise transgenderism.

The sexual revolutionary mission of the Church in Wales continues with normalising same-sex relationships following the appointment as bishop of Monmouth of Cherry Vann who invited her electors and Monmouth diocesan officers to Bishopstow before Christmas for 'drinks and nibbles' with the new bishop and her partner Wendy.

The Notice of the meeting of the Sacred Synod to confirm the election of Cherry Vann was posted the day after the drinks and nibbles party. It states: "This will be a public meeting and, should any member of the Church in Wales wish to draw to the bishops' attention any matter in relation to this episcopal election, they are invited to attend the meeting in person."

Much has changed in the sixty + years since this photograph of Church in Wales bishops was taken when five bishops held Oxford Firsts in Theology:

Source: Anglican Misfit

Sacred in name only, it is unlikely that any member of the Church in Wales attending the Synod will wish to draw to the bishops' attention any matter in relation to this episcopal election given the current mission of the Church in Wales.

This is where it is leading. The new 'norm': Proud dad Reuben Sharpe has revealed how he gave birth to miracle baby Jamie with partner Jay in Britain’s most modern family - and even the couple's doctor was transgender.

2020 is the anniversary of the disestablishment of the Church in Wales. Preaching to the converted and those willing to 'go along to get on' the 2020 Vision video has been viewed a mere 2,840 times in the five years since its appearance in September 2014. A make believe world skips over the reality of the situation as regular, adult Sunday attendance continues to plummet; 14% down from 30,424 in 2014 to 26,110 in 2018.

The 2020 Vision initiative seeks a "reimagined Church in Wales" agreeing to support the "continued development of a unity scheme - the Church Uniting in Wales - incorporating Methodist, Presbyterian, United Reformed, and Baptist Churches alongside the Church in Wales."

There will be nothing sacred about Sunday's synod. It will merely confirm the bishops' intention to separate further the Church in Wales from the Holy Catholic Church to which it jokingly claims to belong - 'locally adapted' into a do-as-you-please Church.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Happy Christmas!

Nativity. Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre (1714 - 1789). Private collection, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wishing you a Joyous Christmas
and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Advent IV: Reflecting in the darkness

The Advent Wreath                                                     Source: Church of England

"Advent marks the beginning of the church year. It is a time for reflection in darkness, for renewal of hope and for a movement towards a beginning." - Church of England Advent and Christmas

For many Anglicans the 'renewal of hope' has taken an unexpected turn. It truly is a time for 'reflection in darkness'. 

They have not lost their faith but they have lost their Church, abandoned by bishops who claim to be moved by the Holy Spirit but follow the spirit of the age, the Zeitgeist.

The clearest possible signal of the direction of the Church of England, as in the Church in Wales and other liberal Provinces,  has come from the Archbishop of York designate who believes that the Church should look to society rather than to scripture and tradition for guidance.

Consequently thousands of Anglicans have been left by their Church to reflect in darkness. Some have made the journey across the Tiber. For others that journey presents its own difficulties, particularly for disaffected Roman Catholics who found their spiritual home in the catholic and reformed Anglican Church.

Pray that the truth will be revealed. Pray for Gavin Ashenden who will be received into the Roman Catholic Church today, for those led astray by errant bishops and particularly for all those left reflecting in the darkness. 

Friday, 20 December 2019

Caption corner 20 December 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn post election    Source:Twitter  

As usual printable captions will appear under Comments.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Stephen Cottrell: A bit of an oik from Essex?

The Archbishop of Canterbury with Archbishop of York Designate Stephen Cottrell,  Source: CofE

A bit of an 'oik from Essex' has been nominated as the new Archbishop of York in succession to Dr John Sentamu. Not my description but Stephen Cottrell's description of himself in a Sheffield Diocesan Development Day lecture in 2011.

A gifted communicator, his appointment is understandable given the liberal direction of the Church of England. He had been widely tipped to succeed Richard Chartres as Bishop of London but lost out to former head nurse Dame Sarah Mullally.

A critic of the church for its 'shortcomings' in promoting BAME clergy into senior positions and a supporter of the ordination of women who looks forward to seeing a female archbishop of Canterbury, he can count himself lucky that he has not found himself sidelined like other men, a victim of his own political correctness.

Asked by the Guardian about the issue of same-sex relationships which has "divided the church for more than 20 years", he said there was “absolutely no place for homophobia in our church, and absolutely everyone, regardless of their sexuality, is welcome in our church”.

Christian Concern tweeted differently: "@CottrellStephen has previously shown he has no respect for Biblical truth on human sexuality and marriage."

Cottrell's appointment has caused some controversy, so much so that a spokesperson for the Church of England has issued a Statement on the Archbishop of York designate, the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell denying accusations made against him by "a pressure group". He was said to have told clergy that 'if they disagree with the approach the Diocese is taking on matters of human sexuality' they should follow their consciences and leave.

The implication in the statement is that 30 clergy are lying or mistaken.

In June 2019 gafcon uk issued a statement by representatives of conservative evangelical clergy from the Diocese of Chelmsford confirming that “we are used to being told that we don’t belong”.

Christian Today reports the same issues with claims and counter claims in an article "Stephen Cottrell's appointment as Archbishop of York exposes divisions in the Church of England":  One thing is sure Stephen Cottrell's liberal views offend many orthodox Anglicans who have been left out in the cold by a self-styled inclusive church.

 Liberal Bishop Becomes Archbishop of York, No. 2 in Church of England was the headline in the New York Times: "Cottrell has been outspoken in his support for women clergy and has said everyone is welcome in the Church regardless of their sexuality."

Commenting on Bishop Stephen Cottrell's Presidential Address to Diocesan Synod on Saturday 11 March 2017, Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream wrote that Cotterell has given "one of the clearest indications yet of the next stage of major change in the Church of England’s approach to sexual ethics" after he called for “prayers of thanksgiving” for same sex relationships.

Ironically Stephen Cottrell replaced the openly gay priest Jeffrey John as bishop of Reading in 2004 after John was pressured to step down by the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

One can only speculate on the trajectory of Cottrell's career had Jeffrey John not been persuaded to step down as bishop of Reading but Jeffrey John must have been feeling particularly sick on reading of Cottrell's elevation. More able than many Dr John has played by the rules while lesser clergy have flaunted them. Had he defended the Church's traditional teaching on marriage he would have gained wider support.

By teaming a new, liberal Archbishop of York with an ineffectual Archbishop of Canterbury the Church of England looks destined to stray even further from biblical truth with a further exodus of disaffected Anglicans.

In conclusion, a quote from The Spectator in an article The slow, strange race to be the next Bishop of London by Ysenda Maxtone Graham, author of The Church Hesitant:

"But my money (and other people’s, too) would be on Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford. He was state-educated in Leigh-on-Sea, so can be ‘a bit cor-blimey’, as some have said to me. It’s true that his recent talk in the cathedral to his clergy included the phrases ‘Who gives a toss?’, ‘Flush down the toilet’ and ‘What the bloody hell?’ But he grows on you. He’s a scintillating public communicator, straddles both the Evangelical and the Anglo-Catholic traditions, is self-deprecating, funny, articulate and imaginative. If he’s chosen, we’ll just have to blot out the Chartres voice from our memory: no point in comparing them."

Also mentioned in Ysenda's article is 'the once-tipped June Osborne' who seemed to have been 'shunted into sidings as cathedral dean and may well go no further'.

She did. Swept up by the Church in Wales, again at Jeffrey John's expense.

At least, in Cottrell terms, Dr John is "welcome in our church" which is more than many Anglicans can say.

Postscript [23.12.2019]

From Church Times:

"Bishop Cottrell had 'spoken out — when many others have been silent — about the need for the Church to respect and honour the LGBT+ community'." - Jayne Ozanne, a member of the General Synod and a prominent LGBT campaigner.

"He’s a great teacher and communicator of the faith, he’s rooted in Catholic spirituality, he speaks his mind, and he’s a voice for LGBT inclusion." - Revd Dr Johanna Kershaw, Associate Priest of Outwood, Stanley, and Wrenthorpe, in Wakefield.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Social care

From age uk:

Dear Reader,

I need your help today with social care.

With a new Government just starting to make plans, we have a huge opportunity to make sure that fixing care is a top priority for their first year in office.

I want to see a care system that’s free and available to every one of us when we need it. One that allows us all to grow old with dignity, without forcing us to sell our homes to pay for the support we need.

If tens of thousands of us come together and call for this, we’ll be impossible to ignore. So please will you sign my letter to the Prime Minister and help make care fair?

Our new Government has the power to fix care once and for all. Together, we can make it their priority to do just that.

Thank you for your help,

Eorann, Age UK Campaigns Team

Monday, 16 December 2019

Another page turns

While he was a chaplain to the Queen, Gavin Ashenden objected to the reading of the Koran at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. The Koranic chapter on Mary, read from the lectern at the service of Holy Communion explicitly denied the divinity of Jesus. 

Under pressure from Buckingham Palace, Dr. Ashenden resigned his royal chaplaincy in order to be free to challenge the rising tide of apostasy in the Church of England.

His wise counsel, particularly on Anglican Unscripted, has been greatly appreciated by disaffected Anglicans whose Church has left them.

Consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe by the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church, Bishop Ashenden struggled, without pay, to provide an element of leadership for orthodox Anglicans. Without a formal structure he effectively used the Internet to perform his ministry.

It says much for his integrity that he was asked by a Roman Catholic bishop to use his skills for the benefit of the Kingdom as a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Our loss is their gain. May he continue to be blessed in his ministry of truth.

Postscript [19.12.2019]

Gavin Ashenden: Why I’m becoming a Catholic

A million miles from Victor Sylvester!

Victor Sylvester and partner                         Photo Credit: Photo Agency/Fanpix

The BBC's much anticipated Strictly Come Dancing spectacular climaxed on Saturday night.

By public vote the winner was ex-Emmerdale soap opera star Kelvin Fletcher and his partner Oti Mabuse.

For those of us long enough in the tooth to remember Victor Sylvester and the BBC Television Dancing Club, Kelvin's samba was a million miles away from ballroom dancing of old but re-captured by Emma Barton with her partner Anton Du Beke in their Viennese Waltz.

This Twitter clip sums up the change. 

Just like the church and society!

Saturday, 14 December 2019

No Christians allowed

Welcome - but not if you are a Christian                                Source: CBNNews

From CBN News:

No Christians Allowed: Muslim UN Officials Block Syrian Christian Refugees from Getting Help

"Christian Syrian refugees have told CBN News that they have been blocked from getting help from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, by Muslim UN officials in Jordan.

"One of the refugees, Hasan, a Syrian convert to Christianity, told us in a phone call that Muslim UN camp officials 'knew that we were Muslims and became Christians and they dealt with us with persecution and mockery. They didn't let us into the office. They ignored our request.'

"Hasan and his family are now in hiding, afraid that they will be arrested by Jordanian police, or even killed. Converting to Christianity is a serious crime in Jordan.

"A clear pattern of discrimination by the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan against Christians. And it appears to be one reason that while tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim war refugees have been settled in the United States and Britain, only a small number have been Christian."

And the two governments that could stop this persecution of Christian refugees – the US and Britain – have done little to nothing about it."

Full CBN News report HERE.

I doubt that this problem will be mentioned in cosy inter-faith gatherings far away from suffering Christians.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

£10 million church fund targeted to support free love

Note the Diocese of Monmouth's statement on mission and priorities: "Our mission and priorities. We work with". 

That statement sums up the current direction of church and state. 

The Church in Wales has initially allocated £10 million to an Evangelism Fund for dioceses to 'enact their strategies on evangelism and church growth'. The Diocese of Monmouth, soon to be headed by the first openly same sex partnered woman bishop, has targeted evangelism fund money to plug same sex relationships through @MissionMonmuth #lovewithoutlimit

Earlier this month Anglican Mainstream published an article “The Tory Party at prayer”?  If so says their Executive Secretary, Andrew Symes, the Church of England reflects the new ‘conservatism’ of the secular progressive elites, not tried and tested values.

Bishops fail to grasp the anti-Christian philosophy behind the LGBT agenda, he says:

"It is the Conservative Party which introduced the change in the definition of marriage; which has overseen and facilitated the exponential rise in ‘gender transition’, and is now pushing through the new Relationships and Sex Education programmes in schools. Rather than oppose this, or at least equip faithful Christians to understand the rapid cultural change and live distinctively in relation to it, the C of E has taken the side of the sex and gender radicals. This website has tracked many examples of this, but just in the area of education: following on from the release of Valuing All God’s Children, the C of E’s LGBT-affirming guidance on ‘homophobic and transphobic bullying’ co-written with Stonewall was released two years ago; Church of England primary schools are using the transgender lobby group Mermaids to ‘train’ staff and governors and backed by Diocesan education departments in doing so, and now senior leaders have expressed approval for the new RSE programme in this document released last week....

"No doubt many Bishops see RSE as a done deal and not worth risking the relationship between church and government; some see the new regulations as merely a way of teaching children to be positive about difference and kind to others, without understanding the anti-Christian philosophy behind the LGBT agenda. But this ideology like a virus has proved adaptable: previously attaching itself only to the political left and secular atheism, it has morphed to be find a home also among Conservative politicians and church leaders. The long march through the institutions is almost complete."

Transforming institutions means allowing drag queens to read same sex storybooks to children.

It means encouraging bishops to support pride events in which naked men parade in front of impressionable young children.

It is making a mockery of Christ's sacrifice when he was dragged through the streets to the Cross.

Police with Wesh Pride                                           Source: Twitter @PrideCymru

“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Diane Abbott is missing

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn  Source: Independent/PA

Diane Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary and former lover of party leader, Jeremy Corbyn has been conspicuous by her absence in the General Election campaign. 

An Express report suggests: “They have hidden Diane Abbott from the cameras, not only because her son was arrested after allegedly biting a police officer, but because she literally makes no sense at all when she speaks. And yet she is the shadow home secretary, who in a few days might find herself in charge of the country’s police forces and MI5, which she once said should be abolished."

According to the MailOnline, Abbott's privately-educated son, 28, was arrested after 'biting one police officer and spitting at another outside Foreign Office' where he used to work. He was bailed to appear back in front of magistrates in February by which time his mother could be Home Secretary.

There have been too many instances when Abbott's bungling have given the impression that she is simply not up to the job, examples here and here, but old loyalties may prevail.

Many voters would feel more comfortable if Diane Abbott were missing from the political stage permanently.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Ask your candidate to reject Stonewall's manifesto

Source: Citizen Go

From CitizeGo:

Stonewall have produced an 18 page election manifesto which they are asking candidates to make a public pledge of support for. While it is not unusual for lobby groups to produce election literature, the sheer scale and depth of Stonewall's maifesto demonstrates the extent to which they wish to influence government policy and public life. Other lobby groups, such as for example, the World Wildlife Fund and the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Royal College of General Practiioners have kept their manifestos to 1-2 pages. 

Stonewall is already influencing policy in every area of public life and has managed to achieve institutional capture of many of our public bodies such as the police force and education authorities, where they are pushing an agenda which seeks to trample all over the existing rights and freedoms. Their manifesto seeks to embed these more deeply. We can already see the effect that they are having in schools, universities, local police forces and local authorities across teh country.

Candidates in this general election need to be challenged to uphold the fundamental freedoms we all enjoy, which enable social life to be lived decently. This is why we are asking canddiates to explicitly reject the Stonewall manifesto and instead pledge to support the following 5 principles:

1. Say no to Reform of the Gender Recognition Act

2. To keep single-sex prison facilities, rape shelters, lavatories, changing facilities, sports categories and sports facilities

3. To uphold fundamental freedoms of conscience and freedoms of expression

4.  To protect parental rights, young children and vulnerable adolescents

5. To uphold the impartiality of our public bodies, many of whom seem to be have been unduly influenced by Stonewall's ideology

Pledge to reject Stonewall's election manifesto HERE

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Difficult questions!

A meat cleaver that the 'Three Musketeers' plotters planned to use in their attack (West Midlands Police). Source: INDEPENDENT

Usman Khan, perpetrator of the latest Islamist terrorist atrocity in London, will have expected to be greeted by 72 virgins as his reward for being 'martyred' for his faith when he was shot dead by police.

The two young people Khan killed were taking part in a prisoner rehabilitation program. Khan had been invited to participate but the hand of friendship was of no consequence. Whatever good work his victims were doing to help Khan and other ex-prisoners, they were still classed as infidels in the  ideology to which Khan subscribed.

He would have regarded himself as a martyr because he, along with many other Muslims, was waging war on the kafir. The fact that his targets were innocent was irrelevant. In their book non-Muslims are regarded as 'unbelievers' deserving punishment, as do erring Muslims who can be sentenced to death for their apostasy .

Khan was sent to prison as a convicted terrorist. He entered a 'breeding ground for Islamist extremism' where he lied about his de-radicalisation as permitted under his ideology thus earning early release from prison.

The Independent reported following an earlier terrorist incident in 2018 that three prisoners, the  'Three Musketeers', mingled with fellow extremists they met in jail. They reinforced their beliefs there before turning their attention to "wreaking bloodshed" in the UK.

The lead commissioner for Countering Extremism told the Independent at the time: “Experts and those working in prisons have raised significant concerns with me about the spread of extremist ideas and behaviours among serving prisoners. This includes the risk that individuals are becoming more extremist in prisons. There are also fears about what happens when prisoners who advocate extremist beliefs and behaviour – whether Islamist or far-right supporters – are released into our communities.”

After the latest killings outraged commentators again demanded answers to some "difficult questions" about early release and de-radicalisation but what drives a desire to kill and maim innocent people who do not share their beliefs?

That is the most difficult question but it will not be addressed for fear of attracting accusations of Islamophobia, a label concocted to ensure that, unlike other faiths, Islam is beyond question.

Postcript [04.12.2019]

Five boys and pastor among 14 Christians shot dead in Burkina Faso church massacre
"An Islamist extremist attack on a church in Komondjari Province, south-east Burkina Faso, during Sunday morning worship on 1 December."  - Barnabasfund

Far away from London and one of many Islamist attacks abroad which are seldom mentioned in the British media.

These are not about historical events. Christians today are being persecuted all around the world.

From the Interim Report of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians:

"Violent persecution exists in many forms. Firstly there is mass violence which regularly expresses itself through the bombing of churches, as has been the case in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia, whereby the perpetrators raise levels of fear amongst the Christian community and attempt to suppress the community’s appetite to practice its right to public expression of freedom of religion and belief. State militaries attacking minority communities which practice a different faith to the country’s majority also constitutes a violent threat to Christian communities such as the Kachin and Chin people of Myanmar and the Christians of the Nuba mountains of Sudan. The torture of Christians is widespread in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Eritrean prisons, and beatings in police custody are widely reported in India."

If Islam became dominant in this country why would Christians here be treated differently to Christians abroad?

Postcript [07.12.2019]

Islam has three political strategies; immigration, population and violence. Reflections on Usman Khan...
"There is a precondition for rehabilitation -- you've got to want it ... it doesn't just happen through educational programmes
Facts of 'terrorist' killings are clear but our society is divided by the meaning" Bishop Gavin Ashenden