Boko Haram Conflict Cuts Nigeria Wheat Crop as Farmers Flee

bobko haram map

  • Wheat imports estimated to be 4.1 million tons in 2016-17
  • Former biggest producer Borno state now producing no wheat

Wheat growers in Nigeria’s northeast have abandoned their farms under the onslaught of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, a setback for the country’s efforts to cut imports by boosting local production, a research agency said.

“Wheat production in the zone has declined to just 20 percent of what it used to be due to insurgency,” Oluwashina Olabanji, executive director of the Lake Chad Research Institute, said in an interview in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. Borno, which used to account for about a quarter of Nigeria’s production, currently grows no wheat, he said.

Nigeria produced an average of 80,000 metric tons of wheat a year for decades until the introduction of a new variety in the 2012-13 season that tripled the average yield to as much as 6 tons per hectare (2.47 acres), increasing output to 400,000 tons in 2015-16 as more areas were cultivated, according to the institute. This compares with the output of 3.3 million tons during the same period by Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest producer.

This new variety hasn’t been introduced to Borno, with most of the wheat-growing areas under occupation or within reach of the Islamist militants, Olabanji said. Production is expected to be little changed in the current season because many farmers have fled their land, according to the agency.

Nigeria is expected to import 4.1 million tons of wheat in the 2016-17 season, compared with the 4.3 million tons imported in 2015-2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The country’s rain-fed wheat, typically planted in October and harvested in April, is grown in 13 states in the northeast and other highland areas.

Nigeria’s combined output of wheat, rice, corn and sorghum will probably decline to 16.3 million tons in 2017-18, from almost 16.5 million tons a year earlier, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report this month.

Displaced Farmers

Borno faces an elevated risk of famine, with the number of people affected forecast to roughly double to 115,000 this year because the violence has forced people to flee their homes and farms, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

“The majority of the farmers who should’ve been trying out the new varieties are now at internally displaced camps depending solely on what is being provided for them,” Abubakar Gamandi, chairman of the Farmers Association in the region, said in a April 18 phone interview from Maiduguri.

Nigeria is battling an insurgency by Boko Haram to impose its version of Islamic rule on Africa’s most populous country of more than 180 million people. The conflict has spilled over to neighboring countries and tens of thousands of people have died in the group’s violent campaign. The militants have caused $9 billion of damage since the beginning of their insurgency in 2009, according to the United Nations.

Fannami Modu, who had a three-hectare wheat farm in the town of Marte, said his farm was burned when insurgents raided the place in 2012.

“I used to earn a lot from wheat,” he said. “It was devastating when they destroyed our crops.”

How can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

By Ted Schroder,
The atheist says, “There is no God, and therefore there is no life eternal.” The agnostic says, “I do not know if Jesus is God and therefore I do not know if he was raised from the dead.” The materialist says, “There is no reality except physical life, and therefore there is nothing beyond this mortal life.” The philosopher says, “There may be spiritual universals and therefore there may be some kind of immortality of the soul.” The secularist says, “I don’t care whether God exists and therefore any religion is irrelevant to me.” Jesus said, “A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear God’s voice and come out — those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”(John 5:28,29). The Bible teaches that there will be a general resurrection of the dead. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

St. Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15 that the resurrection of the dead is essential to the Christian faith. He argues, first of all, from the premise that Jesus the Christ was seen by hundreds of people who are still living and can attest to their experience of him. He was seen, not as a ghost, but as a solid, bodily presence who could be touched and who could share a meal with them. When his disciples were startled and frightened thinking they saw a ghost, he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:38,39).

That Christ rose in bodily form is proof of the resurrection of the dead to those who believe in him. Down through the ages, beginning with St. Paul himself, countless people have experienced the presence of the risen Christ. If there is no resurrection of the dead then not even Christ has been raised and all these appearances are mere hallucinations.

Secondly, he argues that “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.” Central to the proclamation of the Gospel by the apostles, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, is the resurrection. When Paul presented his defense to Governor Felix he declared that “there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” In Athens he argued that God has given proof to all men of the last judgment by raising Jesus from the dead. Peter at Pentecost quoted David’s prophecy when “he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was no abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”

My New Testament professor, C. Kingsley Barrett, in his commentary on this passage wrote, “Take out the resurrection, and there is nothing left….If there is no resurrection, the Christian proclamation is a lie placed where it is likely to do most damage, in a statement about God… In other words, Christianity is completely destroyed: you might as well never have believed at all.”

Why would the apostles proclaim something that was false? What would be their motivation? They suffered and were persecuted for this belief. What had they to gain by perpetuating a lie? The Message translates these words, “If there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling you a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ — sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.”

You can’t have a Christianity that is sweet talk about ethical behavior, or an emotional spirituality, or social justice for the oppressed, or prophetic indignation, without the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. Christianity without the resurrection is worthless. Without the resurrection of Christ your faith is useless.

Thirdly, he argues that if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. In other words, there is no forgiveness, there is no salvation, there is no good news, no Gospel. Christianity is completely destroyed, you might as well never have believed at all. In many churches where the resurrection is not proclaimed the message is merely one of good thoughts and exhortations to good behavior. There is an attempt to provide comfort to those who suffer but there is no Gospel content or salvation message to transform human lives mired in sin. If there is no resurrection then death has won, there is no victory over the human condition of condemnation and alienation from God. If Christ is dead and buried there is no hope, no redemption. If Christ is dead what has he to give us? If Christ is dead then his promises to be the resurrection and the life, that those who believe in him will never die, are empty promises that cannot be fulfilled.

Lastly, he argues that if Christ has not been raised, then those who have fallen asleep in him are lost. They died under a delusion of a future life in Christ. They died hoping in Christ and resurrection. But that hope is in vain if Christ has not been raised. They thought that death was falling asleep in Christ — falling asleep in his arms of mercy and love, that the day of their death would see them in paradise with the Lord. They believed that they would wake up in his presence. We believed that we would one day be caught up together with them to meet the Lord and so we would be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). But without the resurrection of Christ they are lost forever. We will never see them again. We ourselves have nothing to look forward to. Are the materialists right? Is there nothing beyond this physical life of space and time? Have we come from nothing and do we go to nothing? Do we perish like the grass which withers and the flowers fall? Is that the reality which we must face with courage and resignation? Is there no advantage in being a Christian? Is our hope a delusion? So Paul concludes, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” In other words, we would be putting our trust in something which is fraudulent, a Ponzi scheme of theology which deceives us and cannot deliver any rewards.

You can see how important the resurrection of Christ is to our faith and life here on earth. Without it we and all our loved ones are lost. When you or your loved ones face death what do you believe will happen? “What will become of you?” said a non-Christian, “Supposing there should be no resurrection?” “Well,” said the believer, “I like to have two strings to my bow. If there is no hereafter, I am as well off as you are; if there is I am infinitely better off. But where are you? If in this life there is, indeed, a hope of a life to come, then you shall be in the next life of all men most miserable for you will not be prepared. You will still be in your sins.”

Jesus said, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me. You will grieve, but your grief will be turned to joy” (John 16:16,20). “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

If you want to be forgiven, if you want to experience the salvation of God, if you want to enter into life eternal, life in all its fullness, if you want to walk in the Spirit of freedom, if you want to become mature, if you want to enter into the kingdom of God, if you want to know the love of God, then believe in the resurrection of Christ, put your trust in his grace, his gift of the true and living way that is everlasting.


CANADA: Diocese of Niagara Parish Offers Islamic Prayers to Allah

CANADA: Diocese of Niagara Parish Offers Islamic Prayers to Allah

By David W. Virtue, DD

Western Christianity’s flirtation with Islam has apparently reached, or should I say evolved, to a new level.

We have seen the Episcopal Church’s National Cathedral open its doors to Islamic worship. We have seen passages of the Koran publicly read in a cathedral in Scotland, with only minimal pushback. In Germany, Islamic prayers were offered in a Lutheran Church by an Imam, with fierce pushback by a Christian Lutheran woman; who called the act blasphemous. We have seen the Archbishop of Canterbury shake hands publicly with dodgy Islamic leaders who would sooner kill him than love him if circumstances were different.

But what we have never seen before is this.

In the wake of the Quebec mosque shooting, St. Simon’s in Oakville, Ontario, in the Diocese of Niagara, decided to support Muslims, by praying to Allah during its monthly labyrinth walk.

Now you should know that the bishop of this diocese, one Michael Bird, is a revisionist, dare one say loathsome little man, who hates opposition of any kind and even sued a blogger because he found himself satirized for his crazy positions. He has pushed the revisionist button at every opportunity especially and including the public promotion of homosexual marriage and much more. As you can imagine, he is not loved by orthodox Anglicans, many of whom dumped the liberal diocese, leaving friends and church buildings behind in order to stay faithful to the gospel.

The labyrinth walk is normally reserved for trendy events like Gaia inspired eco-worship, so this is a new exploration of the boundaries of voguish virtue-signaling, a further lurch into fatuity, writes David of samizdat, who must remain anonymous for fear of retribution. (Free speech on sodomy is on its last legs in Canada).

David writes that it was only a couple of decades ago when St. Simon’s was an orthodox and faithful evangelical parish.

And then came the news of the shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City, during evening prayers in late January.

According to one liberal Anglican priest, faith communities across Canada were shocked.

So, the question that must be asked is this, have these same Anglicans shown ANY shock at the destruction of an entire Anglican diocese in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram and the slaughter of thousands of mostly Anglican Christians? Nope, not a word. They don’t count, largely, we suspect, because they are evangelical in faith and morals and the Diocese of Niagara dumped all that a long time ago.

Have there been calls for a Day of Prayer by Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz for some 90,000 Christians (one every six minutes) who were imprisoned, tortured and killed by Islamic extremists last year?

The story continues. At St. Simon’s, Oakville, Rector Darcey Lazerte tried to comfort his parish community with a sermon focusing on understanding and taking action to support the Muslim congregations. “It only seems fit to dedicate our monthly labyrinth walk to peace in support of the Muslim community,” he lamented in a sermon.

“An invitation to Al Falah Islamic Centre was quickly offered, and through Dr. Majid Kazi’s effort, eight members of the mosque joined our walk. Together with five members of the parish, two people from Greening Sacred Spaces Halton and several regular walkers, our February labyrinth walk became a spiritual support group.

“As part of the meditations, we used a Muslim prayer for peace by Muhammad al-Jazri. It was completed during the siege of Damascus, December, 1389. The debriefing at the end of the walk was a testament to the strength of the Muslim brothers and sisters in their pursuit of peace and greater understanding of the foundation of their faith.

“We are hopeful that this new fellowship will lead to other shared opportunities.”

This was the prayer:

O Allah, unite our hearts and set aright our mutual affairs, guide us in the path of peace.
Liberate us from darkness by Your light, save us from enormities whether open or hidden.
Bless us in our ears, eyes, hearts, spouses, and children.
Turn to us; truly you are Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.
Make us grateful for Your bounty and full of praise for it, so that we may continue to receive it and complete Your blessings upon us.

I’m not sure what “enormities” the congregation of St. Simon’s need to be liberated from, but perhaps one is the enormous folly of reciting an Islamic prayer in a Christian church.

And you thought the only truly insane Anglicans in North America were in TEC! Move over TEC, you have just been replaced.


Christian Concern

“GAFCON is enabling the Anglican Communion to be fit for God’s purposes in the twenty-first century. We are uniting Anglicans around the world in faithful witness to Jesus Christ and recovering Biblical truth where it has been compromised. There is much still to do, but we give great thanks to God for his grace at work among us.”
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh – GAFCON Chairman

GAFCON is the future

The Anglican Communion worldwide is a most amazing gift of God, but it is being squandered by false teachers determined to substitute their own ideas for God’s revealed will in Scripture. They do this without rebuke from the Communion’s traditional leadership.

Gafcon is the future. Through Gafcon the true gospel is being proclaimed and the Bible guarded. We hope this snapshot will demonstrate that the faithful of the Anglican Communion have risen and have begun to reclaim the Communion for a confident and clear witness to Jesus Christ.

By becoming a Gafcon supporter you are helping shape the future, a future where we will see the West re-evangelised and the gospel continue to spread in the fast growing parts of the world.


  • GAFCON 2018 will be held in Jerusalem, returning to the place where the movement began in 2008 when over 1,000 delegates acclaimed the inspirational Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. Attendance increased to over 1,500 for GAFCON 2013 in Nairobi and we expect a healty increase in 2018. We aim to fund 500 bursaries so that no one is excluded for financial reasons.
  • The Gafcon Primates Council meets annually and represents the majority of practicing Anglicans worldwide. Last year’s meeting in Nairobi included representatives from ten provinces and we expect a similar attendance this year.
  • From the beginning, Gafcon has stood with faithful Anglicans who have been pushed to the margins or even ejected by revisionist leadership. In South America, the pattern seen ten years ago in North America is being repeated and the Anglican Diocese of Recife is to become a new Gafcon province, the Anglican Church in Brazil, a safe place for faithful Anglicans in Brazil and throughout northern and central South America.
  • As the Scottish Episcopal Church prepares to make official its rejection of apostolic teaching about marriage and sexuality in 2017, the Revd David McCarthy, Rector of one of Scotland’s largest Anglican congregations, has spoken movingly of how Gafcon is a ‘source of great hope’.
  • In addition to Provinces represented at the Gafcon Primates Councils, there are a growing number of branches to serve regions where there is no provincial involvement. This map shows how widely Gafcon is now established throughout the Communion.


  • The Gafcon Bishops Training Institute (BTI) was launched with an inaugural international conference in September 2016 in Kenya, led by Director the Rt Revd Dr Samson Mwaluda. Nearly thirty recently consecrated bishops attended for eight days of fellowship, leadership training, Bible teaching, robust discussion and fun. The next conference will be held in May 2017.

  • The Gafcon website has had a major upgrade so that all our supporters can be informed and equipped through regular high quality content including personal testimony and teaching videos.
  • The Gafcon Theological Consultation was launched in February 2017 at a meeting hosted by Uganda Christian University and chaired by Archbishop Peter Jensen. This group will work with Gafcon aligned theological colleges across the Communion to ensure high quality bible training and teaching resources are widely available.

Gafcon Theological Consultation - February 2017


  • In January 2016 the Gafcon Primates played a leading role at the Canterbury Primates meeting called by Archbishop Justin Welby. The Primates voted overwhelming to apply disciplinary measures to the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC), following its official adoption of same sex ‘marriage’. Sadly, these measures were not followed through, but the Gafcon Primates were widely quoted by the BBC and international media as the leading voice for orthodoxy in the Communion.
  • Meanwhile, violations of the mind of the Communion on marriage and sexuality, as expressed in Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, continue in the Church of England itself as revisionists attempt to establish ‘facts on the ground’. In November, GAFCON UK courageously drew international attention to this trend. A subsequent House of Bishops report recommended no change in the Church of England’s doctrinal position, but indiscipline continues.
  • An Epiphany service at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, included a liturgical reading from the Koran in which the divinity of Jesus was explicitly denied. The Archbishop of Canterbury declined to comment, but Gafcon UK leaders were prominent in the protests that followed this shocking departure from apostolic faith.


The historic Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008 concludes with the words ‘The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ’. Partnership in the Gafcon movement is stimulating new mission initiatives worldwide. Here are just a few recent examples:

  • The Anglican Church in North America has now linked up with the Gafcon aligned Diocese of Recife and the Anglican Church of South America to form ‘Caminemos Juntos’, an evangelistic and church planting initiative across the Americas.
  • The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) created by Gafcon, has announced plans to pioneer twenty-five new local churches by 2020 and two hundred and fifty by 2050.
  • In January 2017, the Gafcon Church Planting Consultative group met to plan a global church planting network for mutual learning, collaboration and encouragement. Church planting is seen as a key strategy in the re-evangelisation of the West.

How you can help

  1. Pray
    This is our top priority. Without prayer we labour in vain.  Hopefully the emails you receive with links to Gafcon news, our blogs, videos and regular updates provide useful fuel for your prayers. Why not encourage others to subscribe by forwarding this link to other Bible believing Anglicans you know? (
  2. Become a Supporter
    For the movement to grow and have real influence around the world we need to recruit as many active Supporters as possible who will assent to the Jerusalem Declaration, Gafcon’s commitment to Biblical truth and apostolic orthodoxy. If you have not yet done so, please read the Declaration here and email us at to say you assent.
  3. Become a Partner (donor)
    We need finance to resource the movement properly: to provide effective communications, to mobilise the Gafcon Primates, to connect supporters worldwide and train and equip church leaders. Our hope is that most of our Supporters will become Partners by donating to the movement. A modest donation given regularly by a large number of Partners will make it possible to maintain a sustainable movement. Please become a Partner by donating here.

Conservative vicar calls on bishop to ‘repent’ over thanksgiving for gay couples

harry-farley Harry Farley Journalist

A Conservative Anglican vicar is calling on his bishop to repent for saying the Church’s view on sexuality was ‘morally unacceptable’.

Rev Steven Hanna, of St Elisabeth, Becontree, said his church ‘could not in good conscience’ attend an upcoming conference organised by Bishop Steven Cottrell after he called for thanksgiving prayers for gay couples.

Rev Steven Hanna, vicar of St Elisabeth Brecontree, will not attend a training session organised by the bishop.BBC

In a presidential address Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell said the Church of England was seen as ‘immoral’ for its refusal to welcome gay marriage and said it should reach an ‘agree to disagree’ compromise over gay marriage as it had done over women’s ordination.

‘It would be particularly foolish for us to ignore the missiological damage that is done when that which is held to be morally normative and desirable by much of society and by what seems to be a significant number of Anglican Christian people in this country, is deemed morally unacceptable by the Church. As I have said before, I am not sure the church has ever before had to face the challenge of being seen as immoral by the culture in which it is set,’ he said in an address to Chelmsford’s local diocesan synod.

But Hanna said his bishop had ‘not said clearly what we believe he should have said’ and called on him and other bishops to repent.

‘We disagree that it is damaging to mission to proclaim biblical and traditional views on marriage and faithful sexual relations only within the boundaries of traditional marriage,’ he said in a statement on Monday.

‘We believe to proclaim this is consistent with Christ’s gospel. We believe it is faithful to being Christ’s disciples and faithful to His mission and not damaging to it, even if many do not like that message. Not to proclaim this, we believe, is unfaithful.

‘We call all our bishops to public repentance – both for what they have said publicly and for what they needed to say clearly but haven’t publicly said.’

It comes amid growing friction within the CofE as it wrestles over the next steps on sexuality.

A report that held a predominantly conservative line on gay marriage was rejected by the ruling general synod in February. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York responded to the unprecedented defeat by calling for a ‘radical new Christian inclusion’ for gay couples in the Church.

But conservative factions have hinted they could switch their loyalties, and more importantly their financial support, away from the CofE as they perceive a liberal shift.

GAFCON, a traditionalist grouping of mainly African primates, has called for a ‘new vision’ for the Anglican Communion.

‘Despite its enduring historical symbolism, Canterbury can no longer be the defining centre, but through the Gafcon movement a growing number of faithful Anglicans are now recovering their true identity in the gospel itself as the Bible is restored to its rightful place at the heart of the Communion.’

Generation Z Most Conservative Since WWII?

BreakPoint: Kids These Days

For years, we’ve been hearing that one side of the political aisle is on “the right side of history.” But history doesn’t seem to be cooperating.

For at least a decade, Millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, entitled, and stuck on social media. While that may not be entirely fair, they are notoriously liberal, overwhelmingly supporting left-leaning candidates and favoring policies like nationalized healthcare and same-sex “marriage.”

But Millennials are also getting old—relatively speaking. The first are now reaching the ripe old age of thirty-five! And sometime between 1995 and 2000, the millennial generation ended, or at least stopped being born, and a new generation began.

Members of “Generation Z” are now beginning to graduate high school, and 2016 was the first time any of them were old enough to vote. At seventy million and counting, they’re also about to outnumber their predecessors.

So, what’s so intriguing about this new brood? Well, according to a growing body of research, they may be, by certain measures, the most conservative generation since World War II—more than Millennials, Generation Xers and even the Baby-Boomers.

Millennials were raised in a time of roaring prosperity, when video cassettes were a bigger influence than digital technology, and many came of age before the age of radical Islamic terror. Gen Z kids, by contrast, are “digital natives.” They’ve never known life without the Internet, and have grown up surrounded by instant access to the world’s harsh realities on their smart phones.

These young people are products of conflict and recession. They can only remember a news cycle “marred by economic stress, rising student debt… and war overseas.” As a result, they’ve taken on what one team of Goldman-Sachs analysts called a “more pragmatic” and conservative outlook on the world.

Of course, generalizations at this stage are very early and very subject to development. But according to polling in the wake of the 2016 election, Gen Z Americans didn’t vote like their Millennial predecessors. Eight out of ten of these kids identify themselves as “fiscally conservative,” and they prefer saving to spending—at rates not seen since the Silent Generation.

And get this: According to one British study conducted by global consultancy firm, The Guild, almost sixty percent of Gen Z respondents in the U.K. described their views on “same-sex marriage, transgender rights and marijuana legalization” as “conservative” or “moderate,” compared with a whopping 83% of Millennials who called themselves “quite” or “very liberal” on these issues. The Gen Z participants were even ten times more likely than Millennials to dislike tattoos and body piercings!

These are good trends, but these students still need discipleship and catechesis. A tendency toward traditional values, by itself, means nothing unless those who believe in revealed Truth, the Gospel, the natural family, and political and religious liberty step forward and train the next generation to articulate and live out these truths.

What is clear from this emerging data about the young is that they don’t fit neatly into rhetoric about the “right side of history.” As Columbia University sociologist, Musa Al-Gharbi writes, trends like this are deeply troubling for those so recently crowing that the future belonged to one political party.

No one knows what the future holds, except the One Who holds the future! And the fact that so many were apparently wrong about the right side of history is just another reminder that He alone is God, Whom the Psalmist called “faithful throughout all generations.”

Further Reading and Information

Kids These Days: Generation Z Most Conservative Since WWII?

Eric has highlighted some interesting and surprising statistics for the post-Millennial generation. These statistics show that there is a great opportunity for believers to be engaged in discipling and training this younger age-group. For even more details about Generation Z, check out the resources linked below.


Gen Z is the most conservative generation since those born before 1945

  • Marketing Communications News
  • September 15, 2016
The Democratic Party Is Facing a Demographic Crisis

  • Musa Al-Gharbi
  • The American Conservative
  • March 2, 2017
50k ‘Gen Z’ Students Identify as Republican

  • Alberto Avalos
  • Hispanic Heritage Foundation
  • October 27, 2016
The Post-Millennial Generation Should Worry Democrats

  • Pete Vanderzwet
  • February 7, 2017

KANUGA: Washington Bishop Drops Bombshell on House of Bishops


By David W. Virtue DD

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, dropped a bombshell on the HOB meeting in Kanuga this week. A sermon she gave became the talk of the bishops and the ‘elephant in the room’, according to Springfield Bishop Dan Martins.

According to Martins, the ruckus started when Budde, a theologically lite bishop whose fantasy theology comes from her favorite “theologian”, New Age master David Whyte, and who once said liberal Christianity can be saved, told the assembled bishops that her diocese was in deep trouble and offered up the following.

“There are 88 congregations in the Diocese of Washington. Many are small, with a worshipping congregation under 200. Looking deeply at the trends and internal realities of each, only 12 of them, at most, are on a path of sustainability and growth; another 12-15, at the other extreme, are in precipitous decline–most of them in our most vulnerable or rapidly transitioning neighborhoods or communities. The rest, despite working as hard as they can, will most likely be, without some intervention or significant change, almost exactly where they are now 10 years from now in terms of size and capacity for ministry—-is in a part of the country that is experiencing significant population growth and where other expressions of the Christian faith are thriving. I can’t bring myself to count the number of congregations I cannot, in good conscience, recommend to those who are seeking a vibrant expression of Christian community.”

She went on to say, “There’s no doubt in my mind that the Jesus Movement is alive and well in the Diocese of Washington. I cannot say the same about the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement in all of its expressions. And on my watch, I will do everything in my power, redirect every resource I can, examine every assumption about how we do things and why, in order to promote greater spiritual health, joy, and capacity for ministry throughout the diocese. That includes evaluating all that it costs the diocese for me to be part of the House of Bishops. I must evaluate my efforts, and ours, based on the fruits they produce.”

Has the bishop suddenly become the canary in the coal mine, or is she standing on the crumbling ramparts of TEC shouting that the emperor (Michael Curry) has no clothes (the Jesus Movement is working for her) and TEC is slowly withering and dying? Has the realization dawned that there is no future for her diocese, and by implication The Episcopal Church?

“I find myself saying ‘no’ to a lot of interesting things and important work that I could do because I’m the bishop of the Diocese of Washington, precisely because those things keep me from the real work of being the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington. And I do my best not to be thrown off course for too long by the storms, but deal with them as effectively as possible, and then redirect my focus on the slow, steady work of revitalizing the church.

“Many of the issues holding us back in the Diocese of Washington are spiritual. We, like Nicodemus, need to be born again. Many of the congregations in the Diocese of Washington offer a tepid expression of Christian life, with almost nothing to offer the very people congregational leaders say they want to “attract,” she said.

Budde said many of the issues holding the diocese back were structural and cultural, embedded in personal preferences masked as core values. She further opined that many obstacles were the result of institutional weakness, as congregations feel constrained to put their best energies to their buildings rather than the ministry the buildings exist to serve.

“If we don’t address these weaknesses, it doesn’t matter how earnestly we want to join in God’s mission in the world, how prophetic our calls are for justice. For our capacity to go where Jesus calls and do what Jesus needs us to do is hindered by our weakness, just as any physical weakness hinders our personal capacity to fully engage our lives.”

She concluded, “I cannot accept this as God’s preferred future for us. And I know that you don’t either….I want nothing more than to learn from you, to hear about what you are discovering, experimenting with, all the new ways you’re learning of being the church. Wouldn’t it be amazing, if on our watch, we could turn the trends of decline around?”

That is not going to happen. The Episcopal Church has been sliding down the primrose path of pansexuality for over 40 years imbibing sodomy, changing its canons on marriage to support same-sex marriage, supporting abortion, euthanasia and a whole host of culture war issues in the name of “justice”, “rights”, “radical inclusion” and “generous orthodoxy”, that many believe is driving America to the brink of spiritual suicide indicated by the rise of Nones and the slow death of Protestantism.

Bishop Budde will draw zero strength from other dioceses as 98% of them are in much the same position as her own…slowly withering and dying.

The Episcopal Church has sown to the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind, and it took a revisionist Episcopal bishop to finally stand up and tell the truth.