Tuesday, July 31, 2018

World Vision Responds to Islamic Relief Agency Concerns

To their credit, World Vision has contacted me and issued a statement addressing my and others’ concerns about their role in funding the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA or IRA).
I do not have any value-added commentary to add, but I find their statement plausible at least.  I post it below in full.
World Vision’s work in Sudan is focused on improving the lives of the most vulnerable children. In 2017, our programs reached approximately 674,000 vulnerable people, 70 percent of these were children and women.  The work sub-granted to IRA in 2014 was a very small percentage of our significant program expenditures in Sudan, less than 1% of our total at that time.
In March 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) approved World Vision’s grant proposal that clearly listed Islamic Relief Agency (IRA) as a proposed sub-grantee. At the time of selection, there was no indication that IRA had any possible ties to an alleged terrorist-supporting organisation.
There are several Islamic Relief organisations operating around the world which are not blocked, and when we searched the blocked parties lists for "Islamic Relief" in "Sudan," the searches produced no results.  That is still true today on the website of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
In May 2014, when WV applied to renew its registration with OFAC as a charity working in Sudan, it identified IRA as a sub-grantee in its application. OFAC approved the renewal in August 2014 without any comments or questions about IRA.
In November 2014, we informed OFAC and USAID that we had concerns about IRA in Sudan possibly being related to certain other organisations with “Islamic Relief” in their names, designated by the US government as organisations allegedly supporting terrorism.  Because of these concerns, we suspended further grant implementation by IRA pending clarification from OFAC.
In January 2015, OFAC responded that IRA in Sudan “appears to be the same entity” as the one on OFAC’s blocked parties list. The sub-grant by then had expired, it was not renewed, and we discontinued any future collaboration with IRA.  At this time, OFAC authorised us to pay IRA $125,000 for the humanitarian work that was verified to have already been completed under the grant.  The payment made to IRA was not a diversion of funds but payment for programming services of confirmed quality.
World Vision took its compliance obligations seriously, but respectfully asked permission to pay IRA money owing for legitimate humanitarian work (salaries, humanitarian aid and supplies for beneficiaries, travel etc.) already incurred. World Vision explained failure to do so could have exposed it to potential legal liability for breach of contract, resulted in the very real chance of Government expulsion from Sudan and as a consequence, the loss of a lifeline for tens of thousands of children and their families.
World Vision has robust controls and screening processes in place and condemns any diversion of aid funding and strongly condemn any act of terrorism or support for those activities.  
We have no evidence that any of our funds have been used for anything other than urgent humanitarian work.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Pope in the Waterloo Gallery

It is interesting what can stick in one’s mind during travel.  Pope Pius VII sticks in my memory from my visits to Windsor Castle.
That may seem odd given that the focus of Windsor Castle is the history and housing of the British Royal Family.  And the glorious Chapel of St. George certainly stands out as well.  So my focus on a pope may indeed be odd.  
Yet I remember him indeed thanks to a wonderful portrait in the Waterloo Gallery in the State Rooms of the castle.  As one may guess from the name, the Waterloo Gallery displays portraits of worthies who played a role in resisting and defeating Napoleon and in dealing with the aftermath.  Most of the subjects are in idealized stately and/or heroic poses.  But not Pius VII.
With Pius, the genius of the man who painted the portraits of the gallery, Sir Thomas Lawrence, is most evident. Pius VII is painted very honestly, in a remarkably informal sitting posture, and with few obvious trappings of the papacy.  He is elderly yet at the same time with a lot of life and personality.  His expression is almost mischievous as if saying, “Napoleon thought he had me beaten.”
An excellent video on the Waterloo Gallery with some focus on the portrait of Pius VII may be found here.
It is interesting that Pius VII is enshrined in this gallery; for he actually had a mixed record in opposing Napoleon.   His predecessor, Pius VI was dogged in opposing attacks on the church from the French Revolution and from Napoleon.  That did not work out well as he died a prisoner of Napoleon.  The papacy itself was in peril as well.
Pius VII understandably wanted a different result, so he was beyond reasonable in seeking accommodation with Napoleon. That included attending Napoleon’s coronation as Emperor in 1804, against the advice of some of his Cardinals, and enduring petty disrespectful treatment from the tyrant while in Paris for the occasion.  And it also included later agreements that reduced the papacy’s power.
But Napoleon was not nearly as flexible as the Pope.  When Pius was pushed to the point where he felt he had to say no – the appointment of bishops in the Papal States was a presenting issue, but who knows if Napoleon could have been appeased even if Pius VII gave in on that – then the furious Napoleon had him arrested on the night of June 9th, 1812 with the intention of confronting him at Fontainebleau.

In poor health, Pius barely survived the trip.  But it turned out the health of Napoleon’s regime was even more precarious.  By the time the Pope made it to Fontainebleau, Napoleon was off to fight Russia where he would eventually lose most of his army.
But Pius VII did not know this, and when Napoleon returned, he was able to badger the isolated pope into an agreement that would have greatly weakened the papacy.  After deep regret, Pius later repudiated that.  And at that point there was little Napoleon could do about it.  He abdicated on April 14th, 1814 (temporarily it turned out -- Waterloo was in June 1815). Pius VI triumphantly returned to Rome on May 24th.
Thus for all Pius’ human frailty, miscalculations, and concessions, his imprisonment and twice saying no to Napoleon rightly turned Pope Pius VII into a symbol of resistance to Napoleon’s tyranny.
And Thomas Lawrence’s portrait captures well both the human frailty and the resilient strength of character of Pius VII. It captures the little old pope who outlasted Napoleon.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

BREAKING: Obama Admin Gave Funds to Terror-listed Group . . . After Pressure from World Vision

Overnight, some attention is being given to the breaking story that the Obama Administration granted aid funds to the terror-listed Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA).  ISRA has quite a history.

By 2000, ISRA had raised $5 million for bin Laden’s group. The Treasury Department notes that ISRA officials even sought to help “relocate [bin Laden] to secure safe harbor for him.” It further reports that ISRA raised funds in 2003 in Western Europe specifically earmarked for Hamas suicide bombings.

Lovely.  But what I find most troubling about this story has not yet been given much attention – World Vision’s role in pressuring the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to make the grant to ISRA:
Despite this well-documented history, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in July 2014 awarded $723,405 to World Vision Inc., an international evangelical charity, to “improve water, sanitation and hygiene and to increase food security in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.” Of these funds, $200,000 was to be directed to a sub-grantee: ISRA.
Responding to a Middle East Forum (MEF) inquiry, a USAID official explains that World Vision had alerted it in November 2014 to the likelihood of ISRA being on the terror list. USAID instructed World Vision to “suspend all activities with ISRA” and informed the State Department, OFAC, and USAID’s Office of the Inspector General. USAID and World Vision then waited for OFAC to confirm whether ISRA was designated or not.
USAID emails obtained by the Middle East Forum reveal that in January 2015, World Vision was growing unhappy while waiting for OFAC’s assessment. Mark Smith, World Vision’s senior director of humanitarian and emergency affairs, wrote to USAID, stating that the Islamic Relief Agency “had performed excellent work” for World Vision in the past, and that “putting contractual relationships in limbo for such a long period is putting a significant strain” on World Vision’s relationship with the Sudanese regime. Smith also revealed that World Vision had submitted a notice to OFAC indicating its “intention to restart work with [ISRA] and to transact with [ISRA]” if OFAC did not respond within a week.
World Vision’s statement stunned USAID officials, who complained that World Vision’s behavior “doesn’t make sense.”

But the grant was eventually made anyway.

Then, incredibly, on May 7, 2015 — after “close collaboration and consultations with the Department of State” — OFAC issued a license to a World Vision affiliate, World Vision International, authorizing “a one-time transfer of approximately $125,000 to ISRA,” of which “$115,000 was for services performed under the sub-award with USAID” and $10,000 was “for an unrelated funding arrangement between Irish Aid and World Vision.”
An unnamed World Vision official described the decision as a “great relief as ISRA had become restive and had threatened legal action, which would have damaged our reputation and standing in Sudan.” 

I don’t want to jump to conclusions. Perhaps ISRA somehow reformed, and World Vision knew that better than bureaucrats up the line?  But World Vision has been at the very least careless about partnerships before, even (apparently without their knowledge) funding Hamas.  This ISRA story, too, is troubling and bears watching.  
If I see a response from World Vision, I will post it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

C. S. Lewis and Getting Ideas in Church

Ever get an idea while sitting in church (other than muzzling annoying children, perpetual conversationalists . . . or the preacher)?  C. S. Lewis did once. In July 1940, he wrote to his brother:
Before the service was over – one cd. wish these things came more seasonably – I was struck by an idea for a book wh. I think might be both useful and entertaining.  It wd. be called As one Devil to Another and would consist of letters from an elderly retired devil to a young devil who has just started work on his first ‘patient’. The idea wd. be to give all the psychology of temptation from the other point of view.  
Many of you can already surmise that this was the beginning of The Screwtape Letters.  Lewis wrote that he had returned to church after a “many weeks” absence due to illness.  I am glad he felt up to going to church that day!
I note this now because I just had a similar experience this past Sunday.  I don’t recall it being prompted by anything in the service of Holy Communion itself.  Nor was it as momentous as Lewis’ idea to be sure.  Perhaps it was just my mind wandering as it is prone to do when it should be fixed on the Lord?  Nonetheless I got an idea how better to put my studies to use.  And I already consider it so much better than what I previously had in mind that I am rejoicing and thanking God for his guidance.  (More on the guidance perhaps in due time.)
But I do think God sometimes rewards attending to him in worship by very personally giving us good ideas as to how better serve him out in the world.
Or at least that’s my excuse for my mind wandering.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Anti-Semitism in The Episcopal “Church” (Yes, I will use scare quotes.)

William Murchinson documents well the vomits of anti-semitism at the General Convention of The Episcopal “Church”:

Resolution after resolution targeted Israel for its apparently endless failures to bestow full rights on Palestinians in the so-called “occupied” territories. Resolution authors wanted the church, through its investments, to pressure Israeli acquiescence in a pro-Palestinian policy.
A convention deputy from Hawaii spoke of Israel’s “brutal occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza (from which, actually, Israel withdrew formally in 2005), saying, “We as a church are complicit in the occupation. We have money invested in it.”
The resolution’s authors desired an “investment screen” to make sure Episcopalians, bless their compassionate hearts, refuse help to the Israeli oppressors, affirming that “Palestinian lives matter.” As they do: just as Israeli lives matter — lives menaced daily by the Hamas terrorists whose anger breaks out whenever there seems any chance of getting away with it.
The resolution passed the convention’s House of Deputies 619-214, only to stall in the House of Bishops. Six other resolutions, out of 15, passed both houses . . .

Now don’t give me the bovine excrement that criticism of Israel does not amount to anti-semitism.  Yes, Israel isn’t perfect nor beyond criticism.  But this sort of obsession with bashing the most free nation in the Middle East while paying little to no attention to, say, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Muslim persecution of Christians, etc. comes from one source – the Satanic evil of anti-semitism.
Which brings me to a matter which has been implied here on this blog but should be spelled out, and now is as good a time as any: why do I use scare quotes when referring to The Episcopal “Church” and to likeminded “bishops” as well?
First, I do not consider The Episcopal “Church” to be a legitimate church anymore. Likewise for similar libchurches such as my past “mainline” Presbyterian “Church.”  You go apostate; you lose the right to be called a church.
Second, TEC, PCUSA, etc. push such pure evil such as anti-semitism and abortion on demand, that I consider it important for Christians to denounce them and not allow them the dignity of being called a church.  Christians, the faithful church, should disassociate themselves from such evil in the strongest possible terms.  And that includes making it clear that those who advocate for such evil are not the faithful church.  To fail to do so enables the deceptive evil of apostates and their pseudo-churches.
(I realize that some faithful Christians remain in the Episcopal Church.  The presence of such in an otherwise evil organization does not make said organization a legitimate church.) 
I fully realize that some consider my use of scare quotes to be rude, even *gasp* uncivilized.  I refer those to how the church fathers and even St. Paul referred to heretics and apostates.  They make scare quotes look very tame.
I will also say that if one is more offended by my scare quotes than by The Episcopal “Church,” one’s priorities need serious self-examination.
So I intend to continue to use scare quotes and the equivalent and may increase my use of them in referring to libchurches. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

C. S. Lewis Warns of Ideology Hijacking Christianity

Another letter of C. S. Lewis that has gotten my full attention was written to Dom Bede Griffiths in January 1940, early in World War II.  This is the passage I find remarkable:

Fascism and Communism, like all other evils, are potent because of the good they contain or imitate. Diabolus simius Dei…. [“The devil is the ape of God.” Tertullian]  This does not for me alter the conviction that they are very bad indeed.  One of the things we must guard against is the penetration of both into Christianity. . . .  Mark my words: you will presently see both a Leftist and a Rightist pseudo-theology developing – the abomination will stand where it ought not.

Lewis’ prediction borders on the prophetic. “A Rightist pseudo-theology” did indeed develop and hijack the mainline churches in Germany under the Nazis. After World War II, Marxist Liberation Theology became a parasitic plague on the Roman Catholic Church and no doubt influenced the current occupant of the See of St. Peter. Most mainline Protestant denominations in the West became far more adamant about pushing left of center politics than about the Faith once delivered to the saints.  The World Council of Churches listened more to the Kremlin than to Christ.  Trust me; I could go on.
As Lewis warned, we must guard against our churches being hijacked by ideological politics.  It happened with remarkable ease to the Episcopal Church and other once mainline churches.  And, yes, it can happen to the Anglican Church in North America.  I’ve seen it happen to past churches and parachurch groups of mine and so am alarmed when I see what may be the beginnings of it happening to ACNA.  Maybe I am being an alarmist.  I hope so at least.
Nonetheless, in this, as in many areas, we would do well to listen to C. S. Lewis.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

God and Man in Genesis 18 (A Sermon for Trinity 6)

When Father Ben invited me to preach today, I was glad to see that Genesis 18 was among the assigned readings for Morning Prayer.  It is not only a very interesting and engaging chapter; it contains a great deal of mystery.  And who doesn’t enjoy mystery?
And in the midst of its narrative is profound teaching concerning God and man.  It contains themes that are vital to the rest of scripture and that are vital to us if we are to understand ourselves and to begin to comprehend God and his dealings with men and women.  It is such a rich chapter we can only begin to dig into its treasure in one sermon; so let’s get with it.
The mystery begins in the first two verses:
…The LORD appeared to him (Abraham) by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.  He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him.

So God appears to Abraham, but not in a burning bush or in a storm but apparently as three men, as three travelers.  And the passage does not really explain that.  There are different interpretations but we will return to this mystery later.
Abraham’s response to the three sojourners is immediate and very hospitable, even though it was the heat of the day when a nap in the shade might have been his plan.  He hastens to prepare a meal for the three. It is not clear whether he yet realized that it was God that was passing through, although he clearly does realize that later in the chapter.  But his urgency indicates that he knew these three were not ordinary travelers.
And did you notice how much the passage dwells on the hospitality and preparations of Abraham, of Sarah, and of their servants?  Hospitality is a virtue given much weight in scripture.   In the New Testament, Hebrews 13:2 exhorts us, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
In Abraham’s case, he was not only being hospitable to angels, but to God Himself!

Then the three ask, “Where is Sarah your wife?”  And God again foretells that Sarah will bear Abraham a son.  Now God had told Abraham this before, but not in Sarah’s hearing.  This was back in Genesis 15.  Abraham’s response then was to exercise faith and to believe God as it says in that famous verse, quoted repeatedly in the New Testament: “he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”  Now, this time the Lord has Sarah also hear the promise of a son.
Sarah’s response is not quite the example of faith that Abraham’s was.  She takes at look at herself and at Abraham and at their old age . . . and she laughs.  And it is safe to say this is not the laughter of joy but of skepticism. Her laugh is the ancient equivalent of “Yeah.  Right.”
The Lord’s response is gentle but firm.  He asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And he again repeats the promise of the son.
In fear Sarah, well, lies and says, “I wasn’t laughing.” God again is gentle, but firm. “No, but you did laugh.”

There is much to learn from this exchange.  First, indeed there is nothing too hard for the Lord.  Nothing is impossible with God.  And we err if, like Sarah, we look to our circumstances more than we look to God, if we have more trust in our interpretation of circumstances than in God using circumstances and even overcoming them. From our second reading in Romans 4, we see that Abraham knew as well as Sarah that they were old, well past the normal age to have children.  But he trusted in God’s promise of a son anyway.  He trusted God to overcome the circumstances of old age. 
In short, we need to be like Abraham and remember that God is God.  And he can and will do whatever he wants whenever he wants.    
Second, God is faithful.  And his faithfulness does not depend on our faithfulness – thank God!  As St. Paul quoted an ancient creed in 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful.”  God is faithful and will fulfill his good purposes.  
And that brings us to our third point – God is gracious.  Note that the Lord’s response to Sarah’s skepticism was not, “Okay, no kid for you!”  God gave a son to Abraham and Sarah anyway.
Now, we certainly should not presume on the grace of God.  We should not think that we can do whatever we want or think whatever we want without consequence.  But thank God that, although faith is necessary to receive the full blessings of God, he is patient with us, and understands our weakness, including the weakness we often have in our faith.  God is good to us even when our trust in the goodness of God is far from perfect.
And let’s not be too hard on Sarah.  God is good far beyond what we can even imagine.  As today’s collect says, he “hast prepared for those who love [Him] such good things as pass man’s understanding.”  His great goodness certainly tests and stretches our faith.  Even as we believe in God, it is sometimes hard to believe just how good he really is.
A fourth point is a bit obvious, but it needs to be said.  God is omniscient; he is all knowing.  So don’t even think about trying to sneak something past him or to hide something from him.  Sarah tried that and got embarrassed.
If and when we sin, we should be honest to God and confess our sins to him.

Speaking of sin, when it is time for the three men to set out from Abraham’s tent, God lets Abraham know that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah cries out for judgement.
But as Abraham sees them off, he does not say, “Yes, git ‘em, Lord.”  (That’s what I probably would have done.)  No, he instead boldly intercedes for Sodom and that even though he now clearly knows it is God he is talking to.  And Abraham is very persuasive, asking:
Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?
And the Lord answered that he would spare Sodom if he found fifty righteous.  But Abraham is concerned about the innocent and about his nephew Lot who was a righteous man, but was also foolish enough to move to Sodom.  And he is not very confident about fifty righteous people being in Sodom.  (That reminds me of certain U. S. cities, but I digress.) So he keeps interceding:
 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 
He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
Abraham was rather persistent, was he not?  Is not his persistence combined with reverence an example to us as we pray?
More importantly, we again see the grace of God here.  If there were only ten righteous people in the city of Sodom, God would have spared it.
But I will not try to hold you in suspense.  We know from the next chapter that God did destroy Sodom after rescuing Lot and some of his family and getting Lot out of there.  There were not even ten righteous people in Sodom.
Is this not a picture of how sinful mankind is?  Psalm 14 goes even farther: There is no-one righteous, not even one.  We have all sinned; we all need Christ’s forgiveness.

Since we have been studying the Book of Revelation, I will also note that this is a sneak preview of the end times and of the Apocalypse.  Mankind will go from bad to worse and isgoing from bad to worse in case you haven’t noticed. More and more the sin of man cries out for judgement.  God remains patient, but his righteous judgement will come and that suddenly.
Is it warm in here?

On a happier note, I have saved the best for last.  Let’s go back to the beginning of chapter 18:
And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him.
We should be careful in interpreting this passage.  There is a lot of mystery here, and we should not presume to be able to solve the mystery.  But isn’t it interesting how the Lord chooses to visit Abraham in this instance and how the scripture puts it: “the Lord appeared to Abraham . . . behold, three men were standing in front of him.”
Now I do not think that what he have here is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Nor have I come across a reputable interpretation that sees the passage this way.  One interpretation John Calvin proposed is that we have here a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ accompanied by two angels.  That is the most likely interpretation I have come across. One reason it makes sense to me is that only two visit Sodom in the next chapter, which may imply that one of the three is of a higher status.  
Now all this is interesting.  But we should have the humility to let mystery be mystery and not be toosure of exactly who the three men are.  What we can say with more confidence is that the Lord has provided here a marvelous picture of the Holy Trinity – “the Lord appeared to Abraham . . . behold, three men were standing in front of him.”  God visits him.  Three persons visit him.  It is an early picture of the Trinity that is hard to miss!
Now some would have you believe that the Holy Trinity is some invention of the church.  If you watch the History Channel or certain silly movies or read certain silly books and magazines, maybe the Illuminati and the Freemasons (We must include them!) conspired with Constantine and the Magisterium to invent the Trinity.  
But, no, the Holy Trinity is who God is and how he has revealed himself.  And that revelation began way back in Genesis.  The revelation of God as the Holy Trinity does not become more clear until later in scripture, in the New Testament, but that revelation certainly begins in Genesis. 
And in Genesis 18 and elsewhere in scripture, we see that God – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – is gracious, is faithful, is omniscient, that is he knows all, and he is omnipotent – nothing is too hard for him.  We can trust in him.
Indeed let us follow the example of faithful Abraham who believed in and trusted the Lord. “And the Lord counted it to him as righteousness.”

Let us pray.
O God, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Friday, July 06, 2018

“Lazy” C. S. Lewis

I’m continuing to read/skim The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis.  And last night I came across something I had to reread.  In July 1940, he wrote to Dom Bede Griffiths, “In fact I have recently come to the conclusion that a besetting sin of mine all my life has been one which I never suspected – laziness….”
I certainly would have never suspected that either.  When I read his letters and look at all the work he did then and throughout his life, about the last thing I would call C. S. Lewis is “lazy.”  When I look at his academic work only, as an Oxford student then Fellow, I sometimes wonder how he found the stamina and doubt I could have handled his schedule even in my younger days.  But he wasn’t just an academic, of course.  People often forget his work included maintaining a household which included the often difficult Janie Moore, the mother of his fallen friend from World War I, Paddy Moore, from a young age.  Lazy?
My opinion is that what we see here is that Lewis could be hard on people, including himself.  Some of his private comments on people he met and dealt with were less than charitable. He seems a snob at times. But he was perhaps hardest on himself.  He took self-examination and confession very seriously.  Some of his introspection even comes across as obsessive on occasion.  Perhaps that trait is one reason he wrote The Screwtape Letters so well. 
In any case, if C. S. Lewis was the least bit lazy, I hate to think what that makes me! 

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Anglican Troll of the Year

Yes, about half of 2018 remains. Yes, I have never given such an award as Anglican Troll of the Year before.  But Jules Gomes’ post supposedly reporting that the Church of England’s General Synod may abolish the Holy Trinity to make nice with Muslims demands recognition.
Yes, it was satire and hilarious, lampooning a number of parties in the Church of England.  More importantly, in spite of giveaway names in it (I particularly like “Rev’d Janus Pliable, Rector of St Simplicio’s Church, Bishopsbottom, London.”), it was such good satire that some thought it was true.  One might say it was too close to true.
 We are aware of a blog entitled 'Church of England's Synod may abolish Holy Trinity to include Muslims'.
 Apparently some commentators appear not to have realised the author intended it to be a joke. For the avoidance of doubt, this article is entirely without basis of fact, and is published marked as 'satire'.
 The agenda for the July 2018 General Synod can be found here, including details of all Private Member Motions listed for debate. 
The Church of England remains fully committed to the doctrine of the Trinity. 
Thus Gomes’ post and eliciting that denial from the Church of England already wins the Anglican Troll of the Year award.
“Troll” often has a negative meaning. It should not be so interpreted here.  Rest assured that this award is given out of great admiration for very effective and impactful satire.  Well done, Fr. Jules!