In The News

Churches Under Attack: Churches and statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary were burned and vandalized in the first half of July in a series of attacks.

San Gabriel, an eighteenth-century mission founded by St. Junipero Serra in California was gutted by fire on July 11. The following day, Queen of Peace church in Ocala, Florida, was set on fire when a man drove into the front of the church before pouring gasoline into the narthex and setting it on fire. No parishioners were hurt and the arsonist is in jail on no bond.

A statue of Mary at St. Peter’s Church, Boston was set on fire on July 11, when an arsonist set plastic flowers in the Madonna’s hands on fire. Another statue of Mary was vandalized on July 10 outside the Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in New York, and a statue of Mary was decapitated at St. Stephen’s church, Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 10. A further two statues of Christ were vandalized in the same week.

The attacks follow on from comments on social media by Shaun King, a prominent Black Lives Matter supporter and activist:

“Yes. All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down. They are a gross form of white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down.”

Hagia Sophia Becomes a Mosque Again: Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has declared Hagia Sophia cathedral a mosque following a court ruling on July 10.

Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century A.D., Hagia Sophia cathedral stood as the central church of the Eastern Roman Empire until 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople and turned the building into a mosque. The church, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, became a museum in 1934 under President Mustafa Kemel Ataturk.

The decision to turn the cathedral back into a mosque provoked a strong response from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who stated that the Russian Orthodox Church responds with “bitterness and indignation” to attempts to “degrade or trample upon the millennium-old spiritual heritage of the Church of Constantinople.”

“A threat to Hagia Sophia,” he stated, “is a threat to the entire Christian civilization and, therefore, to our spirituality and history. To this day Hagia Sophia remains a great Christian shrine for every Russian Orthodox believer.”

Black Jesus? The new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, told the UK’s Sunday Times that “Jesus was a black man, and he was born into a persecuted group in an occupied country,” who would have joined BLM protests. Cottrell, who is white, also accused the Church of England of being “too white”:

“The leadership of the Church of England is still too white, and I hope under my watch we’ll see further changes on that. The Church of England has not been good at reimagining what its ministry of leadership should look like.”

Perhaps the new Archbishop of York has forgotten that his predecessor John Sentamu is black?

Diocese of South Carolina Wins: The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, which left the Episcopal Church in 2012 won a legal victory on June 19 when Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson ruled that diocesan property did not belong to the Episcopal Church.

Dickson’s ruling states:

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the thirty-six Plaintiff Parishes be, and hereby are, declared and affirmed as the title owners in fee simple absolute of their respective parish real properties, with improvements thereon and their accompanying personal property.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that certified true copies of this order shall be filed in the Clerk of Court’s Office in the county where each parish is located.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Defendants herein have no interest in the Plaintiff Parishes’ properties.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that ownership to Camp St. Christopher remain as titled to the Trustees of the Corporation as stated in the 1951 deed.

The Episcopal Church is appealing the decision. Forward in Christ urges your continued prayers on behalf of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Forward in Christ Congratulates Fr. Will Hazlewwod SSC on his consecration as Bishop of Lewes in the Diocese of Chichester. Bishop Hazlewood will serve on The Society’s Council of Bishops and is a faithful Anglo-Catholic who upholds the Church’s teaching on faith, order and morals. Congratulations also go to Bishop Richard Lipka on his election as Bishop Coadjutor of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints. Bishop Lipka’s election was consented to by ACNA’s College of Bishops in June.

Sudan Abolishes Apostasy Law: Sudan has abolished its apostasy law, which carried a death penalty for leaving Islam. The law was repealed under the Miscellaneous Amendments Act, passed country’s Sovereign Council in April.

In a press announcement, Sudanese Minister of Justice Nasr al-Din Abdel Bari said the Act repeals the apostasy law, protects freedoms and also grants previously forbidden liberties. These include the freedom of women to travel abroad with their children without producing the written consent of their husband, the criminalisation of female genital mutilation and the decriminalisation of alcohol consumption by non-Muslims.

According to Islamic law, Sharia, all sane male converts from Mohammedanism face the death penalty for apostasy. Several Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Somalia have the death penalty for apostasy in their laws.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.