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AAC leader leaves TEC...Nigerian HOB issues new warning to TEC...More

Christian Mission. Christ's universal authority. The fundamental basis of all Christian missionary enterprise is the universal authority of Jesus Christ, 'in heaven and on earth'. If the authority of Jesus were circumscribed on earth, if he were but one of many religious teachers, one of many Jewish prophets, one of many divine incarnations, we would have no mandate to present him to the nations as the Lord and Saviour of the world. If the authority of Jesus were limited in heaven, if he had not decisively overthrown the principalities and powers, we might still proclaim him to the nations, but we would never be able to 'turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God' (Acts 26:18). Only because all authority on earth belongs to Christ dare we go to all nations. And only because all authority in heaven as well is his have we any hope of success. It must have seemed ridiculous to send that tiny nucleus of Palestinian peasants to win the world for Christ. For Christ's church today, so hopelessly outnumbered by millions who neither know nor acknowledge him, the task is equally gigantic. It is the unique, the universal authority of Jesus Christ which gives us both the right and the confidence to seek to make disciples of all the nations. Before his authority on earth the nations must bow; before his authority in heaven no demon can stop them. --From 'The Great Commission', in "One Race, One Gospel, One Task", ed. C. F. Henry and W. S. Mooneyham (Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1967) --Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity" - John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One by one they leave. This week the president of the American Anglican Council, Canon David C. Anderson announced that he was, sadly, leaving the Episcopal Church after serving it for more than 35 years. In a personal reflection, which you can read in today's digest he wrote this: "It came time for me to change trains, and All Saints' Day was a good day to do it. Do I have regrets about 62 years in the Episcopal Church and approximately 35 years in ordained ministry in TEC? No."

Then he said this: "I believe the issue of timing and how long to stay in TEC is one that each person and parish has to answer individually, but it is a question that will grow more significant each month. It may be that the global Anglican Communion will provide a way for those in TEC to remain safe, but until that happens, we want to stand with those in harm's way and help defend them. If the Anglican Communion doesn't make such provision, all orthodox TEC churches will need to leave eventually! In my 62 years in TEC, I didn't change-the church did. I have understood and shared the same Gospel throughout my life, but the church that I served left me behind as it rushed headlong into beliefs that do not appear to be either Anglican or Christian."

Canon Anderson stands in a long line of those who have, in recent years, finally said 'enough is enough'. The Rev. Chuck Murphy a strong activist Episcopal priest left, and with a group of other unhappy priests watching the drift of the Episcopal Church away from orthodoxy, left with him to form the Anglican Mission in America - today a thriving mission that is reaching out to 130,000 million unchurched Americans under the spiritual and pastoral care of the Archbishop of Rwanda, Emmanuel Kolini. The Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, former Dean of Trinity School for Ministry followed and so the pace quickened. In recent days such leaders as the Rev. David Roseberry, pastor of the largest attended Episcopal parish left as did Ekklesia head, Canon Bill Atwood. The Rev. Martyn Minns, now a bishop with CANA led a contingent of Virginia parishes out of the Episcopal Church recently, while some of the biggest parishes in the Diocese of Florida with household names like Sam Pascoe, Jim McCaslin, Rob Sanders et al - the brightest and best minds in The Episcopal Church - fled to various orthodox Anglican provinces and jurisdictions. Other names include Os Guinness, John Yates, Chuck Nalls, Sam Edwards, the late Lou Tarsitano, Peter Toon, (PBS President), Praveen Bunyan...and the list could go on and on. In time there will be bishops, perhaps John-David Schofield will be the first, but we shall see. Some eight sitting TEC diocesan bishops have asked for commissary status, which is their way of saying they want out from under Mrs. Schori and would happily settle for an orthodox archbishop of Dr. Rowan Williams choosing. The great exodus from The Episcopal Church has begun in earnest and there is no immediate sign of it abating or letting up soon.


AND still the warnings come from the Global South archbishops. This week in Nigeria, the House of Bishops issued a statement at their annual retreat (January 9-13) have issued a communiqué warning Anglican Communion leaders that they will break fellowship with those provinces that do not repent of their apostasies and submit to the authority of Scripture. You can read the full story here or in today's digest: http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5341 Will The Episcopal Church heed the warning and repent. There is little indication it will, in fact, the lines seem only to harden each day with more fleeing parishes, increasing litigation over property, and more outrageous statements about what the faith means by Mrs. Schori the Presiding Bishop.

From the DICOESE OF MINNESOTA came word of yet more tyranny by a revisionist bishop. The Rt. Rev. James Jelinek clamped down hard on Messiah parish in St. Paul and said they could not invite Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi to their parish. It is typical of the fear these tyrannous bishops generate and the reason they are so hated.

When the story got out, an orthodox parishioner wrote VOL and said this: Even the "moderate" clergy are afraid to cross this tyrant (Bishop Jelinek). Our AAC chapter is a totally scattered bunch of 30 or so folks from Rochester in the south to Brainerd in the north. Outside of Messiah, we have no concentration at all. We're generally a very passive and timid bunch. Yet Jelinek has deemed that our mere existence so threatens the diocese, he pretty much denies any access to any parish for our talks and denies us any publicity even in the announcements section of the diocesan web page. I knew he was a control freak, but this is totally off the deep-end. He wants to control any and all information flowing into and out of the diocese. He, and those in tune with his agenda, control EVERYTHING in the diocese."

There you have it. Liberal and revisionist bishops are men who live with two basic drives...control and intimidation and fear and hatred of all things orthodox, even though liberalism is incapable of filling churches or starting a single mission.

Undeterred, Archbishop Nzimbi will visit the diocese on Tuesday Jan. 23rd at Bethel Christian Fellowship in St. Paul at 7.30pm; on wed. 24th at the Episcopal Church of Sts. Thomas and John in New Richmond, Wisconsin and on Thursday Jan. 25 at Rochester Covenant Church, MN, and on Sunday again in northern MN. In the latter he will conduct a wedding. In times past the orthodox archbishop has received standing ovations wherever he has spoken, strengthening the faith of those who need it and much more. Boundary crossing is now a way of life for these godly men from Africa. They will not be bullied by liberal and revisionist TEC bishops.

A SIGN OF THE TIMES. As people flee so goes their money with them. A member of Holy Comforter in Montgomery, Alabama wrote to say that the church's budget which proposed $355,000 had received only $276000 - a huge shortfall, and typical of what is going on in one midsize parish after parish. And the other truth is that numerous dioceses do not have trust funds and endowments to draw on to make up the difference. In time these dioceses will die or be forced to merge.

In the DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA more parishes voted to leave this week. This week's vote at the Church of Our Saviour at Oatlands on leaving the Episcopal Church required two separate sets of voting regulations: the regulations of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which restrict votes to parishioners over 18, and the regulations of the Diocese of Virginia, which forbid absentee votes. Parishioners aged 16 and 17, who are allowed to vote by the Episcopal Church's regulations, were allowed to cast color-coded ballots, and parishioners who could not attend were allowed to vote absentee; both groups' votes were tallied separately from the main count.

On the question to leave The Episcopal Church and join CANA and the Anglican Province of Nigeria eligible voters 18 or over present, voted 123 yes, 4 no.

On the second question to keep the property, 123 voted yes, and 4 no.

Over at Epiphany, in Herndon, VA, they voted 78% for to leave, and 89% to keep their property.

In the DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES money and people continue to slip away. At St. Thomas the Apostle in Hollywood, VOL has learned there is a $75,000 shortfall in pledging year over year. This figure was contained in a letter that the parish sent to members. The 'gay' Anglo-Catholic parish rector, Ian Davies, is leaving on a 'sabbatical' January 22 and will not attend the annual meeting at the end of the month at which the financial crisis will certainly be at the top of the agenda! According to a source, Fr. Davies needs to "recharge his batteries" and will be ensconced at the Episcopal Franciscan House on Long Island for two months. Interesting place indeed. This was the place where a young friar was anally seduced by members of the order and ultimately committed suicide. The church also rents to a Romanian Orthodox congregation. Irony of ironies, the Romanians are out of communion with the TEC. Another irony is that the associate rector, Mark Stewart, is an alumnus of Nashotah House! Both priests are Affirming Catholic types whose liturgical predilections (e.g., the immaculate conception of Mary) are even off-putting to that broad church guru Bishop J. Jon Bruno who whenever he visits the parish, invariably remarks that the altar does not face out to the congregation!

In the DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA comes word that the diocese is postponing the consecration of the Rev. Mark Lawrence. They made the following announcement.

Due to the fact that the expiration date for the consent process is not until March 9, 2007, the tentative consecration date of February 24, 2007, for Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence has been postponed until after Easter. This deferment is necessary because of unanticipated delays in the mailing of the Consent Requests to Diocesan Bishops and Standing Committees which did not occur until the second week of November, 2006. We look forward to setting a date certain for Fr. Lawrence's consecration in the near future after consultation with the Presiding Bishop's Office of The Episcopal Church.

The Rev. J. Haden McCormick President of the Standing Committee Diocese of South Carolina http://www.dioceseofsc.org/

This raises the interesting question as to why they would bother consulting with the PBs office if they have no intention of inviting her to consecrate the new bishop!

ON THE PLUS side of the ledger, the Anglican Relief And Development (ARDF) Project received a White House Grant for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation and HIV/AIDS (SARAH) Network in Kenya, has been named a sub-grantee in the first round of three-year grants awarded in the fight against HIV/AIDS by the New Partnership Initiative (NPI) announced by President George W. Bush last year on World AIDS Day. The primary project grantee is Global Outreach for Addiction Leadership and Learning (GOAL) Project based in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. The GOAL Project was one of 23 recipients that will share the $72 million NPI grant.

As Director/Founder of GOAL, Terry Webb, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was invited by President and Mrs. Bush to the White House to receive the grant award and to kick off World AIDS Day on December 1, 2006. "We are happy to share the blessing of this grant with ARDF's SARAH Network project. We started praying for the GOAL project a year ago and have been overwhelmed with what God has provided," said Webb. "The objectives of GOAL and SARAH both address the wide ramifications of the alcohol abusing behaviors that lead to the spread of the HIV virus. By supporting SARAH, we can not only serve our neighbors next door through GOAL, but also our neighbors half way around the world through ARDF."

Created by founder, Margaret Namirembe Oketch of the All Saints Cathedral Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya, and led by Canon Wycliffe Balongo, the SARAH Network is a group of Christian professionals, church leaders and volunteers coordinated by these Anglican clergy and lay persons who work together to implement projects that break the cycle of substance abuse and addiction and the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities. In November, the SARAH Network held its first clergy conference in Kenya to train pastors in AIDS education on topics including understanding addiction, the 12–step program for recovery, and prevention.

FROM Tim McMichael comes the new statistics of departures of both parishioners and money from the DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA. Regardless of who wins the property disputes, this is money and people Bishop Peter James Lee will never recover from. Here is the summary:

In the last 14 months, 15 congregations have voted to break with the Diocese of Virginia. These vibrant congregations represent 6,175 parishioners on an average Sunday, or nearly one in five that attend church on an average Sunday in the Diocese. These churches also give at above average levels, representing over a quarter of the money given on an average year in the Diocese (16.4 Million in Plate and Pledge out of a diocesan total of 63 Million).

So far, the following churches have either departed (i.e. settled situation) or just voted in the last month:
The Falls Church - ASA 1,900
Truro - ASA 1,800
Church of the Apostles - ASA
450 All Saints Dale City - ASA 350 (Settled I think)
Christ our Lord - ASA 200 (Settled I think)
Saint Margaret's - ASA 160
South Riding Church - ASA 150 (Settled - no property)
Christ the Redeemer - ASA 140 (No Property)
Church of the Holy Spirit - ASA 130 (No Property)
Saint Paul's Haymarket - ASA 120
Saint Steven's Heathville - ASA 120
Church of the Word - ASA 120
Potomac Falls - ASA 90

Now add the two above:
Church of the Epiphany - ASA 380
Our Savior - ASA 65

FORWARD IN FAITH Int. wholeheartedly welcomed the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Panel of Reference to the Appeal of the Diocese of Fort Worth. The response recommends that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the primates 'should publicly commend the adequacy of the Dallas Plan'. It clearly affirms that, despite the 1997 Canons, opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate should not be grounds for refusing consent to a bishop duly elected by the diocese. It also affirms that opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate is 'a recognised theological position' and that '...no diocese or parish should be compelled to accept the ministry of word or sacrament from an ordained woman'. We note that that wording clearly includes the ministry of the Presiding Bishop. Forward in Faith looks now for a gracious response from Dr Jefferts Schori, which would include a full recognition of the 'Dallas Plan' as an adequate provision for those women in the diocese of Fort Worth who are seeking ordination, and Primatial oversight for the diocese alternative to her own. http://www.forwardinfaith.com/artman/publish/article_349.shtml

WHILE an embattled Church of England flounders, news comes that traditional church weddings are making a comeback. However it turns out the trend has little to do with religion. A survey commissioned by the Church of England reveals that couples are choosing to get married in a church because they like the setting, The Times of London reports. The Henley Centre questioned 1,800 people who opted for a church wedding and found that just over half mentioned religion as a factor. Seventy-five percent said they chose to have their wedding ceremony in a church because they wanted a "proper wedding," while 69 percent said they chose a church because of its location.

NEWS from Southern Africa is that Archbishop Njongo (as he's called) Ndungane is retiring before the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Apparently this came as something of a surprise to many. A journalist did some sleuthing and finally got one of the bishops to talk about it. He said the HOB told Ndungane that, in 2007, he (1) had to arrange for a new election for the Bishop of Cape Town, a position he now holds; and (2) then retire, in order to let the new bishop go to the Lambeth Conference. This does not mean he won't be in Tanzania, of course; but it does seem as if some folks are eager to get him out as Archbishop. He is the only holdout liberal on the African continent and just about anything would be better as a replacement, especially if he comes up against Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola.

AMONG today's stories you will read VOL's take on Archbishop's Akinola's scriptural basis for opposition to homosexual acts. He has been much vilified by the secular media as well as Episcopal Church pansexualists, looking for any excuse to call him Fundamentalist and blaming him and the rest of the orthodox in the church for causing the schism in the church when in fact it is Robinson and his ilk that have done the church dirty.

MRS. SCHORI gave a full length interview on what she believes to the Arkansas Gazette this past week and you can read that in today's digest. Nothing about the interview gives aid and comfort to The Episcopal Church's orthodox. Her words will only ferment more schism. Canon Anderson has called it right. In time all the orthodox will have to leave - with or without their properties - there is simply no future now for anyone who holds to the faith once delivered for all to the saints. The courts will be forced to decide property issues; in some states parishes will win, in other states they will lose. One thing seems certain; those who are forced to start over do so, and seem to grow in numbers and strength. Money doesn't seem to be a great problem either. New churches are built and the faith is once again proclaimed without fear of a bishop looking over their shoulder wondering if they are being inclusive or diverse or whatever.

In the DIOCESE OF WEST TENNESSEE, delegates from a dozen churches in Memphis and across the South will ask the Anglican Church of Kenya to form a diocese and appoint a bishop for them in America. The unprecedented request was given to Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, who was in Memphis over the weekend for meetings and services hosted by St. Peter's Anglican Church in East Memphis. The archbishop said he will discuss the request with worldwide Anglican leaders in February and he hopes to have an answer by April. You can read that story here: http://tinyurl.com/ybmcqc One can't imagine Bishop Don E. Johnson taking this lying down. When we get his response we will bring it to you.

In the DIOCESE OF MILWAUKEE it was reported in the TLC that The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller, Bishop of Milwaukee, has been cleared of charges that he mishandled a formal complaint made by several parishioners against the Rev. Martha Ann Englert, rector of Grace Church, Madison.

A formal complaint was filed against Bishop Miller last June. Fourteen lay Episcopalians and two clergy alleged in their complaint to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold that Bishop Miller improperly influenced the diocesan review committee in order to ensure that the complaint against Ms. Englert would result in a presentment, the ecclesiastical equivalent of an indictment by a grand jury. Ms. Englert, who has been inhibited from functioning as a priest pending the outcome of her case, is accused of making inappropriate remarks and disclosures about Grace Church parishioners. This is a major loss to former Newark chancellor Michael Rehill who is defending Englert.

IN A FORMER VOL digest we mentioned that in the DIOCESE OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA The Rev. David H. Miller had been told by Bishop Barry Beisner that he had voluntarily renounced his (priestly) Orders. Not true says his attorney, The rev. Dr. Lu T. Nguyen. He wrote to the bishop saying "be advised that the false statement by Bishop Lamb (former bishop) has hurt Fr. Miller personally and professionally and can also be a violation of his personal rights under California Civil Code §§45 and 46(3). The long and short of it is that the actions of both bishops might be determined libelous and defamatory by a court of law. You can read it all here: http://tinyurl.com/tngc4

ONE Episcopal bishop, Paul Marshall of Bethlehem has written a scathing attack at Rowan Williams, "If the Pope can go to Turkey, Can the ABC go to Texas? In this rip at the ABC, Marshall accuses Williams of not being prepared to personally face his accusers but sends a lot of second string bishops to either speak for him, or to gather information for what he might or might not do. Here is one choice paragraph: "No more messengers; no more cell phone calls to defeat the integrity of this Church's polity. If Rowan really believes what the Lambeth press office says he believes about us, it is past time for him to say it to our faces, and have the goodness to listen to the response of those who have to live with the results of his choices. This would be, I believe, fair play and look very more like the New Testament." You can read it here or in todays digest http://tinyurl.com/vrrwv

DEAR VOL READERS. By the time you receive this digest I will be in Jacksonville, Florida covering the Anglican Mission in America annual winter conference. Please check in daily at the website www.virtueonline.org as stories will be posted there immediately they are written.

PLEASE consider supporting this ministry. Next month I and a colleague will be traveling to Tanzania to cover the Primates meeting there. It will be a make or break time for the Communion. Mrs. Schori will show up as will three orthodox bishops from The Episcopal Church. Already liberal TEC bloggers are moaning about the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury has invited non primates to this meeting. How dare he usurp the Episcopal Church's right to be truly represented by its officially elected leader and not a subset of leaders they argue. Will the African Primates be seated in the same room with her? Will Dr. Williams be forced to play shuttle diplomacy between opposing forces? Will it all simply fall apart? It is VOL's hope that we will get the news and post it to you from Dar es Salaam.

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All Blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

PS. WEBSITE MODERATION: VOL is pleased to add to its staff, as part-time discussion moderator, the Rev. Paul Taylor. Mr. Taylor is an Anglican priest and lawyer and a veteran of the political wars in the Episcopal Church and the Continuing Church. Mr. Taylor will be assisting VOL with moderation of the News comments and the Discussion forums. Our policy regarding appropriate and civil discussion is defined in our Terms of Service which you can find by clicking on FAQ in the top menu. www.virtueonline.org

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