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2003 YEAR IN REVIEW - Part Six (Final)


(Part 6)

By David W. Virtue

AND AN OFFICIAL PROPOSAL obtained by Virtuosity from the Primates of
the Global South & The Anglican Communion Institute, which had met in
Nairobi, Kenya, offered a two stage proposed plan of action. Stage One
- Emergency Action - called on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of
New Hampshire to rescind its approval of Canon Gene Robinson's
nomination for election, prior to November 2, 2003. Failing that Stage
Two - Formal Structures - would kick in and from November 2, 2003 and
Easter, 2004 if repentance was not forthcoming after Easter, 2004 only
those orthodox ECUSA bishops who uphold a commitment to the Holy
Scriptures and to the historic faith and order of the church would
continue to have full participation in the affairs of the Communion,
including voice and vote in the councils of the Communion. The rest
would be out of communion.

This discipline would take the following form: Bishop Ingham would be
reduced to observer status in the Communion (no voice, no vote). His
further participation in Communion affairs would be suspended.
Mechanisms would be implemented to protect parishes and clergy in New
Westminster who maintain a commitment to the historic faith and order
of the Communion.

Sydney's Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen threatened to split the
Church and transfer his allegiance from the Archbishop of Canterbury to
the Primate of Nigeria over the issue of gay clergy. "We must recognize
the possibility that the Anglican Communion will actually divide," Dr
Jensen said in an interview. "It is conceivable, I have to say, that
two world Anglicanisms may develop, perhaps with two mutually exclusive
centres." Instead of looking to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan
Williams, for moral authority, Sydney could "look more to Nigeria or
some other place for the chairmanship of the board." And that was just
for starters.

It is not just the Episcopal Church that will come unraveled, the
implications of Robinson's consecration is having a rippling effect
across the globe and among many Christian denominations.

In UGANDA Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo announced that he had
broken communion with the ECUSA bringing to three the number of African
provinces who had broken communion with the American branch of

IN CANADA things went from bad to worse. Michael Ingham the New
Westminster Bishop called the actions of the biblically orthodox
Vancouver 11 ACiNW parishes schismatic saying, "It is clear that the
intransigence of the leadership of the dissenting group may force our
negotiations to focus on structural separation (schism) rather than
reconciliation. In view of this, diocesan officers must exercise both a
fiduciary and a stewardship responsibility to preserve the territorial
integrity of the diocese, and the assets of its parishes, for the
future of the Anglican Church in British Columbia."

AND IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH the call went out for Griswold to resign.
Two rectors in the Diocese of Colorado who run CommunionParishes.com
with some 6,000 supporting Episcopalians wrote a letter which invited
anyone who felt so inclined to sign and send directly to the church's
national headquarters in New York.

IN DAYTON, OHIO a number of Episcopal churches formed an independent
Anglican Fellowship in the wake of actions by the Episcopal Church's
General Convention last August. Andy Figueroa, Webmaster and former
Director of Communications with the Episcopal DIOCESE OF SOUTHERN OHIO
resigned his position after the August decisions. "These are painful
times for Episcopalians who feel they have been betrayed by their
leadership," he said.

Figueroa announced the formation of Christ the King Anglican
Fellowship. The fellowship, inspired by the Anglican Congress (a
movement working to unite separate Anglican churches in the US and
Canada), is a collaborative effort with Christ the King Reformed
Episcopal Church (REC).

In the DIOCESE OF THE RIO GRANDE the evangelical Bishop Terence Kelshaw
said this: "We are not traditionalists as some would rudely and
scornfully dismiss us, but we are men and women of God who (as The
Message would put it) will not be turned into traitor to Him who called
us by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message, another
gospel, and one which turns the unchanging Gospel of Christ on its

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, issued a
statement responding to the reported severing of ties with the
Episcopal Church in the USA by the Anglican Church in Nigeria. "If
these reports are accurate, my prayer is that the Nigerian bishops will
come to reconsider their action and await the outcome of the commission
established by the worldwide Communion."

www.anglican-mainstream.net They were looking for a million signatures
affirming orthodoxy by Christmas Day, and got them.

"We will wind up fighting pew to pew and steeple to steeple." Canon
David Anderson, President, American Anglican Council. The AAC emerged
as the central orthodox player in the forefront of the spiritual battle
being waged against the liberal/revisionist hegemony of The Episcopal
Church and its innovators. The fast growing Episcopal organization had
14 chapters across the US with more signing on.

A regional AAC meeting in Atlanta elicited a screaming Associated Press
headline: "Episcopalian schism coming". ECUSA's emerging leading
orthodox bishop Robert Duncan told AAC delegates who are angry about
the recent consecration of an openly gay bishop to remain patient,
assuring them that "early skirmishes will be within the next 60 days."

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh) vice president of the American
Anglican Council did not specify what those "skirmishes" would be, but
he hinted at a move toward a possible split in the American church.
Duncan and AAC president the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson - two leading
critics of V. Gene Robinson's consecration - reported at the
organization's Georgia chapter meeting that they are drafting a charter
for the Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes. Both said it would
be "a church within a church."

The Bishop of Atlanta, Neil Alexander "disinvited" the AAC. He forbade
the organization from meeting in any church in the diocese. The only
orthodox-evangelical parish in the area was denied an advertisement in
the local diocesan newspaper, and the AAC was also forbidden to buy an
ad in the paper. Another excellent example of Episcopal inclusion.

Duncan and Anderson reaffirmed that a split between orthodox
Episcopalians and liberal factions seemed inevitable - although that
may be years down the line. In the meantime, the Network of Confessing
Dioceses and Parishes would address the immediate concerns of
conservative Episcopalians, they said.

ACROSS THE COUNTRY in one diocese after another, orthodox and
revisionist forces were arrayed like armies facing each other across a
great unbridgeable divide. In nearly every diocese the forces are
uneven. In some dioceses like South Carolina the orthodox side is
strong, but the vocal minority had the national church leadership and
attorney David Booth Beers beating the drums for them.

In the Diocese of Albany it is lopsided in favor of the orthodox but
the minority at a recent diocesan convention were vocal, loud and
pushy. In swing dioceses like Tennessee, Southwest Florida and Florida
the armies are more evenly arrayed, while in Colorado the scales are
tipped marginally toward liberals, but the orthodox are financially
well- armed, theologically astute and they know how to fight. Bishop
Robert O'Neill, barely into his first year as bishop was asked to
resign for his voting record at GC2003, as was Presiding Bishop
Griswold by a serious theologian and a number of theologically orthodox

In the DIOCESE OF OKLAHOMA Bishop Robert Moody pulled the license of a
godly deacon this week for opposing General Convention's resolutions on
same-sex blessings and Gene Robinson's election, in a sermon he
preached, while in the DIOCESE OF NORTH CAROLINA a group of rectors
covering the Research Triangle, the Piedmont Triad, and Charlotte,
challenged the approval Bishop Michael Curry gave to the Gene
Robinson's consecration and sex-same union blessings.

And as the year closed the orthodox in the DIOCESE OF NEW WESTMINSTER
found some safety and power in numbers (11 ACiNW parishes versus one
revisionist bishop). Their plight got the full attention of the
national church body. Bishop Victoria Matthews (DIOCESE OF EDMONTON)
was appointed to lead up a task force to examine alternative oversight
for dissenting conservative parishes in Canada.

In the DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON Bishop John B. Chane announced that he
intended to create a committee to help develop optional liturgical
rites which clergy in the Dioceses of Washington could use to bless
same-sex unions.

Fr. David Moyer and his congregation, the Church of the Good Shepherd
in Rosemont, PA applied for alternative ecclesiastical oversight to get
out from under the revisionist Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles

THE FANTASY CONTINUED with The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge,
Massachusetts trying for the umpteenth time to search for
reconciliation on sexuality issues. The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston the
president of the seminary wanted "to bring together people in an
atmosphere of mutual respect."

The news came in that Frank Griswold had resigned ARCIC talks between
Roman Catholics and Anglicans while Nigerian Anglican Province
announced it would set up a US branch, "to protect and afford its
members a place of worship without interference or interaction with the
new gay bishop-Gene Robinson.

The Bishop of the Lagos West Diocese of the Anglican Province of
Nigeria, the Rev Peter Adebiyi disclosed the plan in an interview with
the News Agency of Nigeria, said the church which would be called the
"Church of Nigeria in the US" would be established as soon as it was
feasible and a priest posted there. "We have told our people to leave
the US Episcopal Church and give us time to set up our own, because out
members are spread across the states in the US," Adebiyi explained.

There were growing signs of convergence amidst increasing fragmentation
in the North American Anglican scene. A three-day conference in
Orlando, Florida drew more than 50 bishops, clergy priests and laity
from a dozen splinter Anglican groups from the Continuum, the Reformed
Episcopal Church, other Anglican groups and two orthodox bishops from
The Episcopal Church. Collectively they represent more than 165,000
Anglicans in the U.S. and abroad.

Held under the banner of the U.S. Anglican Congress, the conference was
held at St. Luke's Cathedral, a flagship ECUSA parish in the Diocese of
Central Florida under the spiritual authority of The Rt. Rev. John
Howe. The Rt. Rev John Lipscomb, Diocese of Southwest Florida was also
present, as was a bishop from the Anglican Mission in America, the Rt.
Rev. John Rodgers. Retired ECUSA Bishop the Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons
Allison (SC) also attended and gave an anecdotal history of ECUSA's
slow decline and fall. The Rev. Todd Wetzel, executive director of
Anglicans United (formerly Episcopalians United), brought the
conference together. "What we are seeing is a movement towards
convergence," said Bill Bugg an ECUSA layman from Atlanta in his
opening remarks, and this theme carried through discussions for the
next three days. "A new realignment is in process," said the Rev. Todd
Wetzel, and this conference was a microcosm reflecting a greater
realignment, a macrocosm of seismic proportions going on in the wider
Anglican Communion.

A recently completed document on Women's Ordination put together by
leaders of the AMIA nixed women to the priesthood but said they could
go as high as the diaconate.

The Episcopal Church found itself in broken communion with eight of the
communion's largest provinces and in impaired communion with 24 other
provinces. In total ECUSA was now out of favor with some 38 million
Anglicans worldwide. Furthermore both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic
churches had shunned him and recently he chose to resign from ARCIC
talks under pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury's council of

THE PRIMATE OF CENTRAL AFRICA The Most Rev. Bernard A. Malango, wrote
Griswold a letter telling of his betrayal "your actions have caused.
There may be some clever way of describing it in your mind so that you
can live with it. We have ways of describing it as well. It was
dishonest, false, and a great betrayal. How can there be any hope for a
shared future when communications and commitments mean nothing? In
meeting after meeting, you have either stayed silent or have protested
that ECUSA and your bishops are overwhelmingly orthodox, that you
believe the Bible and the Creeds and the faith of the church."

THE PRIMATE OF SOUTHEAST ASIA Yong Ping Chung unanimously rejected the
purported consecration of Dr V. Gene Robinson ('Robinson') regretted
that communion with the ECUSA as well as those who voted for the
consecration and those who participated in the consecration service was
now broken.

VIRTUOSITY learned of an Episcopal webring where clergy and laity could
write anonymously to each other using fake E-mail addresses with one
single objective - to bring pressure to bear and ultimately
presentments against orthodox bishops who were not willing to conform
to General Convention's recently passed resolutions affirming same-sex
blessings and V. Gene Robinson's consecration. It was a sinister
development hosted by the Episcopal Church's leading sodomite, Louie
Crew at his website.

In the DIOCESE OF NORTH CAROLINA Bishop Michael Curry held a secret
meeting with 30 vicars and told them to conform to his will and that of
General Convention or else. He told them he did not want them to talk
about alternative episcopal oversight and strictly charged them not to
discuss what is going on in the wider Anglican Communion.

And then there was the story about a parish in the DIOCESE OF OHIO
where Bishop J. Clark Grew II faced a revolt from spiritually hungry
parishioners at Christ Church, Hudson, Ohio. This parish was a cash cow
to the bishop, but the godly Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals were
tired of political sermons and wanted spiritual food not temporal stuff
easily obtainable from any local newspaper. Some 60 of them met at
another church for Bible studies and worship. Bishop Grew got wind of
the "alternative worship" and wrote a letter threatening to any clergy
who showed up to perform sacramentally. Seven did.

The DIOCESE OF FOND DU LAC voted to send a letter of disassociation
from the Gene Robinson consecration and the same-sex blessings
resolutions of GC2003. Bishop Russell Edward Jacobus and the Executive
Council permitted individuals to direct their giving through the
congregations away from 815, ECUSA's national church headquarters.

But in the DIOCESE OF HAWAII their diocesan convention reported figures
for baptized members had plunged 12.5 percent over the last two years
along with an additional 11.8 percent drop in communicants of good
standing. Bishop S. O. Chang, a revisionist who formerly worked at 815
in New York is a close friend of Frank Griswold.

Perhaps fearing a revolt Bishop Robert O'Neill told his clergy in
Colorado Springs that resolution CO51 did not authorize same sex
blessings and that he wouldn't allow any to take place until something
definitive comes out of General Convention which would not happen for
another three years.

And the AMERICAN ANGLICAN COUNCIL president Canon David Anderson heated
up the action in his Advent message, telling readers that orthodox
Episcopalians have many reasons to be hopeful right now.

Three dioceses announced the formation of a network of dioceses and
congregations to reform the Episcopal Church which is "telling a lie
with the things they approved last summer.'' Next month clergy and lay
representatives will join bishops from as many as 13 dioceses in Plano,
a Dallas suburb, for a constitutional convention. Pittsburgh Bishop
Robert W. Duncan is the moderator of the new Network of Anglican
Communion Dioceses and Parishes. He has begun to emerge as the Primus
inter pares of the Episcopal Church. This rival "church within a
church" would continue to adhere to the pre-General Convention 2003
constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church.

Canon Bill Atwood of EKKLESIA, the international outreach arm of this
emerging group is working with the vast majority of orthodox Primates
to coalesce around Holy Scripture and against the Robinson
consecration. And the recent merger of two ministries, the Scholarly
Engagement with Anglican Doctrine, (SEAD) and the Anglican Institute to
form THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION INSTITUTE (ACI), as the theological brains
behind this new movement, and suddenly there was a whole new ball game.
The ultimate prize is international recognition as the legitimate
expression of Anglican Christianity within North America.

THE ANGLICAN PROVINCE OF UGANDA issued a stunning rebuke to ECUSA and
to Frank Griswold personally over the November Gene Robinson
consecration. In a scathing public letter they let it be known that
they will refuse to allow a delegation from ECUSA to attend the
upcoming consecration of their new archbishop. The American Anglican
Council applauded the Ugandan Church's actions and further decried
ECUSA's apparent attempt at financial manipulation. The Anglican
Province of Uganda reiterated that it had broken off all ties with the
Episcopal Church over its support for the consecration of an actively
homosexual bishop and said it was praying for the newly formed Network
of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. They then invited a
delegation from the Network to attend the consecration.

And in the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT, Bishop Andrew D. Smith ordained an
avowed lesbian, Sherrell Osborn, to the priesthood in Christ Church
cathedral in Hartford over the objection of two priests, Ronald S.
Gauss and Alyn Benedict. The Bishop of Connecticut had promised his
diocese that he would appoint a bipartisan task force to advise him on
how the diocese should proceed on issues of human sexuality following

AND IN PROVINCE NINE, which is composed of overseas dioceses within the
US Episcopal Church, things recently got so hot for one bishop that he
invited a number of his "supporters" to join him in laying siege to his
own cathedral. Thankfully it appears that no gunplay occurred on sacred
ground, but Ecuador Bishop Jose Neptali Larrea-Moreno is under
ecclesiastical indictment for his refusal to cooperate with an
investigation into longstanding financial irregularities. Larrea who
had reportedly refused to attend General Convention because of fears
that he would be arrested upon arrival on US soil, knows the Episcopal
Church is on to him over serious unresolved questions of diocesan
finances he oversaw.

the diocese along with ECUSA versus All Saints Church Waccamaw, erupted
to the surface. The bishop Ed Salmon stepped in and on December 17,
excommunicated the vestry of All Saints Church and in a letter declared
that the Vestry had vacated its offices as Vestry Members and that the
Bishop had reduced All Saints to a mission. He then said he would
appoint a mission committee to replace the current Vestry as the
governing body at All Saints Church.

AND AS IF TO THROW MORE GASOLINE on the already overheated Anglican
Communion facing schism, Bishop V. Gene Robinson announced that he
wanted to marry his partner Mark Andrew. "I Want To Marry" screamed one
newspaper headline. "I am very supportive of the right to marry,"
Robinson said in a telephone interview with The Eagle Tribune
newspaper. And just when you thought there was no bottom to the
outrage, V. Gene Robinson accepted an award from a soft core porn
website. Robinson was named "Person of the Year for 2003" from
PlanetOut a soft core porn website, for his "unprecedented achievement
and its impact on the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
community." PlanetOut interviewed Robinson where he happily accepted
the award. The Advocate the nation's leading gay and lesbian
newsmagazine, also named him "person of the year", giving him a front
cover picture in full bishop's regalia.

Gay bishop named years' top newsmaker said RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE. His
approval and consecration, and the ensuing threats of schism in the U.
S. church and the wider Anglican Communion, were collectively cited as
the top religion news story of 2003 -- a ranking shared with criticism
of the Anglican bishop of Vancouver, British Columbia, who approved
same-sex unions.

Colorado Episcopal Bishop Jerry Winterrowd expressed regret that he
supported the election of the nation's first openly gay bishop, saying
the church was not ready. Winterrowd, who retired Dec. 31, said he went
into August's General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA intending
to vote against the election of Gene Robinson as New Hampshire bishop,
but then didn't. "Subsequently, I would say that I am on very thin ice
there," Winterrowd.

EPISCOPALIANS. The Anglican Communion Institute announced the
appearance of a new document drawn up for the orthodox Anglican
presence within the United States and Canada. Titled "The Theological
Charter for Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes" of ECUSA and the
Anglican Church of Canada it follows in the same line as other ACI
documents, including "Claiming Our Anglican Identity" and "Steps of
Discipline" but is meant to serve as the theological mission statement
for Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes in North America. It has
been adopted by the Bishops who form the leadership for this network,
whose Moderator is the Rt. Revd. Robert Duncan.

A tornado ripped through St. James Church in Houston, but the school
was left standing. A number of bishops died in 2003, the most notable
being Paul Moore of New York. Known as a limousine liberal, the
patrician bishop felt the pain of the poor and disenfranchised women
without affecting his own lavish lifestyle.

THE YEAR ENDED QUIETLY, but beneath the surface the plates are ready to
move again as new ecclesiastical earthquakes develop in the Year 2004.
We wait with baited breath.


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