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2003 YEAR IN REVIEW - Part Two

"THE YEAR IN REVIEW"

By David W. Virtue

Part Two

Frank Griswold continued to put his foot in his mouth, this time the boot belonged to former President George W. Bush who took an implied swing at Frank Griswold in a brief speech about the 15 billion dollars the United States, courtesy of the American taxpayer, will pour into fighting global AIDS. Two US presidents had now publicly smacked a sitting Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church - the first in recorded history.

In order to do damage control for his outrageous remarks, Griswold tried to spin his own words, and in private correspondence to President Bush wrote; "My comments were taken out of a larger context and had to do with my international travels as Presiding Bishop and my opportunities to meet with bishops and archbishops in other part of our worldwide Anglican Communion many in countries overwhelmed by poverty and disease."

Lies and nonsense. If he was so misunderstood why didn't he return President George Herbert Bush's phone call to his New York office? He didn't. Griswold said he was out of the country and couldn't return the call. No call forwarding at 815? Aware that he had blown it, Griswold wrote a form letter to all who expressed outrage at him saying, "These are anxious days as war with Iraq is an ever-present possibility and our economy causes grave concern. We are profoundly aware of our personal and collective vulnerabilities." Only his revisionist pals bought that line.
Two bishops, The Rt. Rev. Claude E. Payne (Texas) and the Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly wrote saying that, "while many have taken offense at Bishop Griswold's rhetoric, no one is compelled to agree with him totally or at all. He followed his conscience in making the remarks." Some conscience.

Episcopalians for Traditional Faith urged Griswold to apologize for his anti-American slurs saying he had embarrassed Episcopalians everywhere. "His anti-American comments are entirely inappropriate for someone who owes his position and good fortune to the very nation he publicly rebukes. Instead of defending the Faith against those who hate us, he seems reluctant even to mention that faith," said Jan Mahood president of
ETF.

The American Anglican Council (AAC) emerged as the organization of choice for Evangelical Episcopalians in 2003 and quickly voiced its support for Bush's pledge of funds to combat AIDS on the African Continent and in the Caribbean.

The British-based CHURCH SOCIETY took another swing at the Archbishop of Canterbury warning of the threat of 'false teachers' in the church. "We are confident that if false teaching is refuted by our appointed leaders then the pressure that exists to seek alternative oversight will evaporate." Last year, the Church Society criticized the Archbishop himself for "false teaching".

And some 30 US denominations agreed in a proposal to create the broadest alliance of Christians ever formed in this country. The steering committee of the budding effort, tentatively called Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. invited a wide range of national church bodies and agencies with five segments of U.S. Christianity, listed in the plan as "Evangelical/Pentecostal, Historic protestant, Orthodox, Racial/Ethnic and Roman Catholic." The Catholic Church and most evangelicals and Pentecostals do not belong to the National Council of Churches, now the largest U.S. ecumenical group but in serious decline. There was one sticking point: The nation's largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, was reluctant to join; though it had an observer at the meeting. The alliance gathered groups that "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as God and savior according to the Scriptures" and "worship and serve One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

In Pittsburgh, the Bishop, Robert Duncan announced that Trinity Cathedral was in serious financial troubled describing the situation as "bleak to alarming" and declared it a transitional parish, firing most of the staff. The Dean, the Very Rev. Richard P. Pocalyko resigned. There were no plans to replace him.

In other Episcopal news the Dean of the University of the South's School of Theology in Sewanee, The Very Rev. Guy F. Lytle III , an orthodox theologian, stepped down as dean over allegations that he sexually harassed a student but would remain on the school's faculty after taking a leave of absence. This action against the dean subsequently turned out to be more political and theological in nature with the Dean coming under fire because he was orthodox in faith and morals, facing revolt from a growing liberal/revisionist faculty.

The San Francisco parish of St. John's, a predominantly gay parish, was torn apart by ecstasy-fueled rave dances and reached a new ecstasy level with Episcopal Bishop William Swing accepting the resignation of its rector, the Rev. Kevin Pearson, and ending the Divine Rhythm Society's all night dance and drug-related antics. The vestry resigned as well. The bishop said he was especially concerned about parish drug use in light of the recent deaths of two participants at an unrelated New Year's Eve dance party at the Cow Palace. The rector reportedly said, "We use entheogens to reach for God, not to get high." Really.

In the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA, the prestigious and venerable 217-year old Episcopal Academy announced it would have workshops on homosexual acceptance, with the tacit approval of the head teacher Mr. Hamilton Clark and the Bishop of Pennsylvania Charles E. Bennison. A national homosexual organization called GLSEN - Gay and Lesbian Straight Education Network which actively promotes homosexuality was doing so right inside the Episcopal Academy on Philadelphia's pampered mainline.

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council convened Jan. 27-30 in the Dominican Republic got into power issues with a "Separation of Powers" resolution passed that would keep separate fiduciary and executive responsibilities assigned to Executive Council.

At issue was the sudden collapse of negotiations to relocate the Church Center from its current mid-Manhattan location to the campus of the General Theological Seminary about 20 blocks further southwest. Frank Griswold was on the hot seat and in deep trouble because he was told to implement and facilitate the move to General Theological Seminary and at the last moment brushed it aside for what he calls his "missional" objectives. What happened was that inside policy wonks at 815 could see their power evaporate in a puff of smoke if a move was made and Griswold nixed it. It was an enormous power struggle with Griswold on the hot seat.

A group calling itself "Claiming the Blessing" a coalition of pansexual forces announced it was building a third of a million-dollar war chest to promote liturgical rites for same-sex blessings at the upcoming GC2003. This was just the beginning a campaign to promote sodomy at all levels in the church, with the triumph of V. Gene Robinson's consecration as the next Bishop of New Hampshire.

In the Church of England the Queen approved the nomination of Reverend Canon
Dr Nicholas Thomas Wright, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey, to be the next Bishop of Durham. Tom Wright, as he is better known to most Anglicans is a prolific author and debater, who appears regularly on the circuit defending orthodoxy with rival and debating pal Marcus Borg over whether the New Testament's accounts of a divine Jesus were myth or history.

And in Raleigh, NC, St. Andrew's pled her case in front of the NC Court of Appeals for their property. ECUSA Bishop Clifton Daniel III, of East Carolina wanted the property and spared no effort or money, to take it back from the Rev. King Cole and his AMIA followers. The bishop ultimately won, but got a virtually empty parish for his troubles.

The new ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY gave an interview to the London Telegraph and said basically "No" to same sex blessings.

Questioned on why some evangelicals seem to be very worried about him and did he understand why? The archbishop opined that underlying problem was that they had
difficulty with what they thought he believed about Scripture and Revelation.

"Because I have emphasized in some of what I have written the sheer difficulty of talking about God, they have thought I can't have a doctrine of Revelation, I must be agnostic. I would want to put it exactly the other way around. It is precisely that it is because it is
God that is revealed in Jesus Christ that you would expect some difficulties in talking about it."

Questioned on his left wing social commitments Williams had this to say: "My Left-wing commitments have come from two main impulses which have been deep anxiety and unhappiness and distaste about the individualism which has sometimes characterized the Right in the last two or three decades and something which I suppose does come from deep in the Welsh non-conformist tradition, not pacifism exactly, but a deep-rooted
internationalism which makes me extremely skeptical about war as a solution to international problems."

Heir to the throne Prince Charles said he must be "Defender of Faith", and not simply "Defender of The Faith". His remarriage was also not a done-deal and his living in sin was found to be something of an impediment to orthodox folks who felt that his living arrangement with Camella Parker Bowles still rated a concern.

ECUSA's Integrity organization for homosexual acceptance found its counterpart in an organization called 'Changing Attitudes' set up in the Church of England. An Anglican priest Colin Coward and claims 200 Anglican members established the group. They are being funded by charity money raised from the National Lottery and 'Comic Relief', a telethon program which was originally set up to raise money for children dying
from hunger in Africa.

World Anglican leaders condemned the war on Iraq stepping up to the plate to condemn the US going to war unless sanctioned by the United Nations. Those criticizing US foreign policy were American, England, Canadian and Australian leaders who are, for the most part, theologically and socially liberal. The UN has become the new secular god to which everyone must bow regardless of its morality. It also signaled a complete handover of moral decision making and authority to this organization known more for compromise than legitimate peace. ECUSA's Peacenik Presiding Bishop told The Chicago Sun-Times that "we are in a state of corporate desolation." Speaking at an Episcopal conference called "Will Our Faith Have children?" Griswold opined that "the only sense of community we have now is shared fear or anxiety." He asked rhetorically, "Will our children have a world?"

To keep the pressure for peace on the front burner, the new Bishop of Washington, John Chane zipped across the Atlantic to have a chat with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to try and persuade him to see the "peaceful" light and to help our President see the same light also. The light bulb he shone had low wattage. The UK and US went to war anyway and won it.

In the DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND Bishop Orris Walker tried to secretly reinstate a priest, one Lloyd Andries, formerly of St. Gabriel's, Brooklyn who was exposed in a 1996 Penthouse story, "The Boys from Brazil." This story revealed a "secret cadre of gay and bisexual cross- dressing Episcopal priests whose private lives included the most bizarre rituals imaginable" and prompted the priest to resign from his parish. Andries even "married" one of his Brazilian boys. The bishop wanted him back as a supply priest and got the Diocesan Standing Committee in secret, to make it happen. It all fell apart when a number of diocesan priests got wind of it and Walker could not get enough bishops to sign on to his stupid idea. It died. Four contiguous dioceses had to give their approval for the reinstatement with Bishop Daniel Herzog (Diocese of Albany) refusing to do so.

And in the DIOCESE OF OREGON one of the candidates looking to be the next bishop said he went around with a ventriloquist Dummy called Dexter to enhance his sermons.
Being light in the loafers as a bishop is one thing, and acting like a dummy is quite another; the marvelous feat is managing to be both.

NORTH OF THE US BORDER in Canada talks broke down between The Diocese of New Westminster and representatives of the eight orthodox parishes. Revisionist Bishop Michael Ingham blamed the dissident parishes saying the parishes wanted to talk about separation, not reconciliation. Not true said representatives of the parishes, that interpretation was entirely false. But a group of clergy and lay leaders from the DIOCESE OF ALGOMA in the Province of Ontario sent a letter to Bishop Ingham and the lay leadership of the Diocese of New Westminster arguing that marriage was strictly for heterosexuals and the Diocese and bishop had no business changing the church's teaching. The eight parishes then hosted Chuck Murphy, Bishop of the Anglican Mission in America to Vancouver, and several of the ACiNW priests were in Pawleys Island, SC at the AMIA headquarters to listen and talk things over at their annual gathering. AMIA leaders came in support of Bishop Buckle with an oversight resolution arguing that overlapping jurisdictions within the Communion were a good thing. FORWARD IN FAITH stepped up to the plate to stand with the eight orthodox parishes commending them for their faithful commitment to Biblical Faith. "We see this action as being completely in line with the call for alternative oversight from the Lambeth Conference of 1998, and with that of the Primates' Meeting of 2001. We urge all bishops, especially in the USA and in Canada, to support Bishop Buckle in his stand," they said.

THE ENTHRONEMENT of the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, took place at Canterbury Cathedral, England, on February 27 at 3 p.m. beginning a new era following the Evangelical George Carey. A demonstration by a number of British,
Canadian and US orthodox priests was held in support of traditional teaching. Several priests wore black armbands outside Canterbury Cathedral in protest. It was an action to show positive support for traditional teaching rather than as a protest or demonstration since the latter automatically seems to portray those protesting in a negative light, said the dissenters.

While the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams was being enthroned another drama was being played out down the street. A number of Primates including the Archbishop of West Indies, The Most Revd Drexel Wellington Gomez, the Archbishop of Central Africa; The Most Revd Bernard Amos Malango, the Archbishop of Kenya; The Most Revd Benjamin M. P. Nzimbi, the Archbishop of Congo, The Most Revd Dr. Fidele Balufuga Dirokpa; the Archbishop of Rwanda, The Most Revd Emmanuel Musaba Kolini and the Archbishop of South East Asia, the Most Revd Datuk Yong Ping Chung met to discuss the unfolding situation in the Diocese of New Westminster where eight parishes are under siege from New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham.

These parishes are being asked to violate their consciences and Holy Scripture by having to agree with their bishop on blessing same-sex unions. They won't. There were in fact two meetings; one in a hotel and the other at St. Mary Bredin Church in Canterbury, and the sole question on their minds was how to provide alternative oversight for the 'New Westminster 8.' Also present was a member of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW) Paul Carter who was seeking to get the involvement of the Primates.

As it turned out, an historic breakthrough came in the person of the Bishop of the Yukon, the Rt. Rev. Terence O. Buckle who swept down from the North like a knight in shining armor to offer alternative Episcopal oversight to these New Westminster parishes, and he did so with the full support of these overseas Primates. Bishop Buckle submitted an offer to the Bishop of New Westminster to provide alternative episcopal oversight to the parishes of the ACiNW, and to other orthodox parishes in the diocese that may wish to join the ACiNW in the future. But this went over like a lead balloon and Michael Ingham immediately fought back saying he would inhibit Buckle if he so much as stepped foot in the Diocese of New Westminster.

IN a report from England the ax was out for bishops in the C of E facing catastrophic decline. Bishops were being urged to resign over the Church's decline with a report saying that its decline is far greater than its leadership is willing to admit. It says that the Church's collapse is "across the board" and calls on the bishops to take responsibility and go.

IN SOUTH AFRICA, the Dean of St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town came out of the closet and declared himself a homosexual. The Very Reverend Rowan Smith said he hoped and prayed that one-day he and his partner would be able to enter into a homosexual relationship blessed by the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA). This is the first known case of a high cleric in the Anglican Church on the African continent being outed, and in a country which has the highest incidence
of AIDS in Africa and in the most liberal African province.

SEWANEE SEMINARY was exposed as dysfunctional by Virtuosity with an independent report saying the faculty was so divided there seemed little hope of the institution emerging from its problems with any resolution in the foreseeable future. At the center of the storm, for the past 11 years, was the strong, able figure of Dean Guy Lytle III, who had come under repeated hostile fire from a number of theologically liberal faculty who have wanted him removed from the University of the South's seminary because of his orthodox views. Seminary leaders started to spin my story on their dysfunction. They circled the wagons putting out this statement to all Faculty and Staff of
the University of the South saying: "We, the faculty and senior administrators of the School of Theology of the University of the South, wish to make known the following: We are aware of fallacious and ill-informed criticisms of the faculty both as a whole and as individuals. We regard such comments as a calumny that applies to all of us".

"While making no claim to perfection, we affirm our ability to work together and celebrate our differences as expressions of the vitality of thought required by scholarship and the spirit of inquiry preserved through Sewanee's rich tradition of academic freedom."

FIRST TALKS aimed at healing the breach between The Reformed Episcopal Church, The Anglican Province of America and The Anglican Church in America began, with news that Donald Perschall, Presiding Bishop of the American Anglican Church (AAC) had "gone over" to the Episcopal Church to become rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon, Illinois.

But homosexual misbehavior continued on the radar screen of ECUSA and in Texas the Episcopal Church joined with a number of homosexual advocacy groups to seek repeal of the state of Texas's anti-sodomy statute in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Griswold filed an amici (friend of the court) brief on behalf of a Texas man accused of violating the state's statute prohibiting homosexual conduct, the Episcopal News Service reported March 7. The matter has become a cause celebre among homosexual activists.

THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION continued to roil from crisis to crisis. From the UK to Cyprus, from Australia to Vancouver, from Tennessee to Pennsylvania the Anglican Communion twisted and turned.

IN CYPRUS, delegates from around the Communion meeting at the Anglican Communion Mission Organizations heard The Revd. Riaj Jarjour, General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, remind delegates that the mission of Jesus was to "restore the dignity and worth of all and set free a groaning creation." "We need a mission to Muslims, not to bring people to Christ but to proclaim Christ, Jesus the peacemaker, Jesus who came with justice and Jesus the reconciler."

IN AUSTRALIA the new Dean of Sydney's St. Andrew's Anglican Cathedral, Philip Jensen, made a striking debut. In his inaugural sermon at the cathedral, Dean Phillip Jensen - brother to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen - attacked what he saw as excessive relativism in the media treatment of Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. They can't all be right, he argued. The media called him a Fundamentalist and out of step with contemporary thought.

AND IN VANCOUVER, the 'Dissident 8' received public support from the American Anglican Council (AAC) the evangelical wing of The Episcopal Church USA. They came out with a statement applauding the Bishop of Yukon (Canada) Terence Buckle for offering sustained pastoral care to New Westminster parishes. The parishes voted overwhelmingly to accept Yukon Bishop Terry Buckle's offer of Alternative Episcopal Oversight. The decision allowed Buckle to act as an alternative bishop with full jurisdiction for those parishes that were effectively orphaned by the decision of their diocese's governing body and Bishop in June 2002 to bless same-sex unions. The congregations - all of them members of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW) coalition -- also approved a motion offering to enter a discussion with the Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham, to implement the plan "with a view to maintaining peace, harmony and goodwill" between the parties. The motion passed with an average 98% majority in each of the parishes, including Canada's largest Anglican church, St. John's (Shaughnessy), as well as all the Chinese congregations in the Diocese. But Bishop Michael Ingham told the CBC that there was no change in his position to accept such oversight. He threatened to make a presentment against Bishop Buckle or anyone else who intervened in his diocese.

AND IN PENNSYLVANIA Bishop Charles E. Bennison won another round in his fight to take back parishes that wanted to uphold the catholic faith. St. James the Less in Philadelphia got plastered by the judge and the parish was told it had to turn over its property and the rector leave the parish manse to the bishop, who can then put in his own vestry and rector. The parish appealed but by year's end they were still meeting in their church, though their future remains uncertain.

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH'S wish list to double the church by 20/20 came under scrutiny by Virtuosity when it was learned that some $2 million was being thrown at this "ministry" to make this fantasy come true. The Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, earmarked $2 million dollars to "address 20/20 energies". That's a lot of expensive "energies." The national church's budget, all $125 million plus dollars will also provide funds for a "national identity campaign" with a bunch of ads telling people "who we are corporately."

The HOUSE OF BISHOPS issued a pastoral letter on the pending war with Iraq expressing unhappiness at the Bush administration, urging peace and prayer all around.
"As your bishops, we commit ourselves to adopt a discipline of fasting and prayer for the return of peace."

But an editorial in ANGLICANS ONLINE a news service with 200,000 readers with a strong liberal bent, made the observation about the war in Iraq which they opposed saying; "We see the first as proof that Satan is real and present, and the second as proof that God is real and present. Such is our life and our world: an omnipresent God and an omnipresent Satan."

The HOUSE OF BISHOPS THEOLOGY COMMITTEE issued a report which said no to same-sex rites. The committee, which consisted of thirteen persons including six bishops and seven academic theologians representing diverse theological viewpoints, wrote that while they acknowledged deep diversity and division over homosexuality in the church, it was imperative that the Episcopal Church refrain from any attempt to "settle" the matter legislatively.

Archbishop Williams in a pastoral letter to Anglican Primates expressing his concerns about the conflict in Iraq and his hope for a positive future for the region. In his letter to the Primates of the Anglican Church's 38 Provinces, Dr Williams spoke of his concern for Christian communities of the Middle East, and of his prayers for them and their neighbours of other faiths. Acknowledging Iraq as the homeland of Abraham, Dr Williams also voiced hopes for reconciliation and justice in the region.

FORWARD IN FAITH called on Griswold to provide episcopal pastoral care for the orthodox in ECUSA. In a letter they called upon him to use his considerable influence
to bring this proposal to fruition. "However, we would be less than forthright with you, and fail in our responsibility to those we represent, if we did not go on to say that the House of Bishops' proposal for 'supplemental episcopal pastoral care' seems to us to fall far short of the 'appropriate episcopal care' which the Communion has promised and our constituency requires." The issue of pastoral care become a recurring issue throughout the year.

A British bishop broke rank to back the Iraqi war. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Peter Forster, lent his unqualified support to military action, saying it was morally and legally justifiable. His statement echoed comments by the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev John Oliver, that military action had become the least morally repugnant option. Support from the senior clerics cheered No 10.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen called for a speedy and just resolution to the Iraqi War
saying the outbreak of war in Iraq constituted a solemn moment, with many dangers and threats and potential for great human suffering.

And UGANDAN Archbishop Mpalanyi Nkoyooyo of the Anglican Church of Uganda and Simeon Kayiwa, leader of the National Fellowship of the Born Again Churches of Uganda, said the attack on Iraq was justified. "Saddam Hussein has been a dictator for too long, committing atrocities even on his own people," Nkoyooyo said. He also said the Government was right to support America.

The bishops "Gift of Sexuality" Theology report of the House of Bishops was welcomed by the AAC saying that "though we don't agree with every element of this report, it is apparent that the Bishops have offered measured and thoughtful recommendations intended to prevent schism in both the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion," said the Very Rev. David C. Anderson. Episcopalians United under the leadership of the Rev. Todd H. Wetzel also supported the findings of the HOB Theology report.

The UNITED ANGLICAN CHURCH that had earlier set about merging with the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) decided that such a merger was not possible.
The UAC left the TAC citing TAC's collaborative decision making.

And to round off the mad month of March, Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison wrote in the Pennsylvania Episcopalian that Jesus was Sinner. The revisionist bishop who had denied a number of basic doctrines of the Christian Faith, said that while Jesus forgives sins, "He acknowledges his own sin. His call is to preach repentance and forgiveness."
Bennison, who supplanted former Bishop Newark Bishop Jack Spong as ECUSA's leading revisionist had also written a Visigoth Rite of marriage for both heterosexuals and homosexuals had also failed to affirm basic doctrines of the Christian Faith such as the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only way of obtaining salvation, the authority of Scripture and more.

END OF PART TWO

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