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Anglican Communion inches closer towards schism

"Quod ubique, quod semper, quod omnibus creditum est" - What is believed always, everywhere, and by all.

"Non illegitimus carborundum" - Don't let the bastards grind you down.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Anglican Communion inched closer towards schism this week when the Primate of the Communion's largest and most powerful province openly condemned the Anglican Communion Office run by Canon John Peterson, for holding a conference that included Frank Griswold, a bishop who stands in broken communion with some 50 million Anglicans worldwide. One newsmagazine suggested that the Anglican Communion is on a death watch.

The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, speaking from Lagos, turned down an invitation to attend a meeting of church leaders and wrote Peterson saying he was baffled that the ACO continues to act as if ECUSA's [actions] did not really matter.

The Nigerian primate led the opposition from churches in Africa condemning last year's decision by the US Episcopal Church to consecrate Canon Gene Robinson, an avowed homosexual, as Bishop coadjutor of New Hampshire.

"I could not sit down with ECUSA at any meeting of the Global Communion, it would undermine the position of the developing world church leaders who opposed the Robinson's confirmation and have since dropped links with their US colleagues," he wrote.

In the meantime Griswold is permitted to celebrate the Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral on the occasion of his 19th anniversary as a bishop with full compliance of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In September last year, African church leaders warned that if the US bishops did not rescind their decision to recognize Robinson's ministry then "they would have removed themselves from the fellowship of the Communion," the letter recalled.

The Anglican Consultative Committee oversees the running of Anglicanism's central secretariat. They are meeting all week in London. The group comprises a large number of the church's leading bishops, including Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the church, and Frank Griswold, the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church.

What we see here is the high-handed arrogance of Canon John Peterson who believes that he can ride rough shod over the Global South bishops, after being caught red-handed trying to manipulate the Archbishop of Canterbury into believing that the orthodox bishops could be persuaded to come around in documents seen by Birmingham Dean, Dr. Paul Zahl.

There can be little doubt now that the cumulative effect of Peterson's actions, the naivete of Dr. Rowan Williams in not listening to his biggest constituency, and then acting like Frank Griswold can continue to be part of the Primatial club as though nothing has happened, will only lead to a cataclysmic end.

What can the liberals in Lampal (Lambeth Palace) be thinking about? Do they honestly think that it is business as usual, that nothing happened, or if it did, that it was just a blip on the theological radar screen and, given enough time, the rest of the Anglican world will come around to ECUSA's unbiblical sexuality.

They are smoking the wrong peace pipe. It will never happen.

The African giant has awoken, and not only is this giant not prepared to play second fiddle to Western Anglicanism, the giant is not going to put institutional loyalty ahead of the truth of the gospel and the veracity of the faith. That day is done. Church of England Evangelical missionaries converted them more than a century ago and the gospel is deep in their bones. They won't compromise for the sake of their own souls and those of their people. And they don't like Frank Griswold.

Bishop Peter Lee of South Africa put it well when he said, “a little group of American church leaders has bombed the Anglican Communion.”

UNDAUNTED THE LAMBETH COMMISSION MOVES FORWARD into its second stage. The second meeting of the Commission will be June 13th - 18th in Kanuga, USA.

Here they will discuss issues of process in the Anglican Communion, the nature and purposes of communion, (please stay together even if we don't all agree with one another about sex), the obligations of communion, (accept sodomite priests or bishops and if you break the canons you are gone), authority (Scripture please, but don't hold your breath that anyone will suggest that and the Americans will ever practice it anyway), the role of the instruments of unity in preserving fellowship (keep Peterson the biggest hindrance to unity. Ask any bishop in the Global South.)

TRYING TO PATCH UP THINGS BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH, the Bishop of SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, John Lipscomb is taking a sabbatical trip to Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania this April. This is the same bishop who is hosting Frank Griswold as guest preacher at the diocese's 2004 October Diocesan Convention!

And the Bishop of the DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM, Paul Marshall (along with a number of unnamed ECUSA bishops) has invited the bishops in Swaziland and Kajo Kejin and those foreign bishops who have the gravest doubts about the Episcopal Church to pay the ECUSA an extended visit, "to worship with us, to get to know how we believe and think before pronouncing further judgments. Should that invitation fail to be sent by the entire House of Bishops, a number of us are prepared to issue it on our own," said Marshall.

It is highly doubtful they will come to be schmoozed by a bunch of revisionist ECUSA bishops unless money is involved. The whole African continent with the exception of Southern Africa is solidly orthodox and they are slowly uniting behind the Nigerian Primate who daily receives more support from his African friends.

These ECUSA bishops just don't get it. The bishop of Swaziland was the one who was very complimentary of ECUSA after the convention. The plan by Marshall is to bring over the one bishop who is sympathetic to ECUSA in a conservative province and make him see the "light".

AND FROM SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA comes this from Bishop Frank Neff Powell. "We have 57 congregations in the Diocese. Twenty of our churches increased their pledges for 2004. Twelve churches have kept their pledges at the same level as 2003. Twenty-four have decreased their pledges. The total dollars pledged from congregations to the Diocese for 2004 has declined 11%. Overall, the Diocese has experienced a 9% decline in income. The largest part of the decline is due to the economy, not to dissenters' response to the actions of General Convention. We have had to borrow from the endowments to balance our Diocesan budget for 2004."

THE RIGHT REV. V. GENE ROBINSON will formally assume leadership of the Diocese of New Hampshire as the ninth bishop on Sunday. He takes over from the Right Rev. Douglas Theuner. It should be noted that Robinson's election has been condemned by half of the world's Anglican provinces, it is hardly a roaring start.

From a reader who knows Robinson comes this. "Mr. Robinson's given name is "Gene", or rather "Vicki Gene", not "Eugene." His parents were expecting a girl, and had settled on "Vicki Jean". The birth was extraordinarily difficult, and his mother was "out of it" for some time thereafter. When nurses asked his father for the name they'd chosen, and he told them, the nurses pointed out that "Jean" was a girl's name, so it was changed to "Gene". I know this because he was a classmate of mine at The General Theological Seminary (1973). He took a year out 'to find himself', then reentered, and graduated with my class. He was exposed to the pro-homosexual (occult-derived) teachings of Prof. Johnson while there," said the source.

Vicki Gene will appear on 60 Minutes this coming Sunday, Mar. 7. The spin is "look at me I'm just like you and everybody else so what's the big deal." VGR will admit he goes to a gay bar in New York City when he hits the Big Apple.

BISHOP ROBINSON, AND HIS PARTNER, AND BISHOP GRISWOLD all had to wear bullet-proof vests during his consecration service for fear of attack from Christian extremists. Really. To get into the ice rink you had to pass through a metal detector and be patted down by Police and all bags and laptops searched. I know I was there. Furthermore there has never been a threat to any of these gentlemen. Following Robinson's acceptance at General Convention last year an orthodox African bishop was assaulted in London, a Church janitor was beaten up in the US, and an Episcopal Church was burned down. The Left love to play the role of injured victim even while they are doing their best to bury the Church's orthodox.

AND FROM THE SATIRICAL ICONOCLAST COMES THIS (London)-In his homily yesterday during a memorial service for Palestinian suicide bombers, the Right Reverend Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, denounced Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" as being "overtly pro-Christian."

"This film is going to have a devastating effect on Anglicanism worldwide," said Reverend Williams. "Impressionable persons may be unduly influenced and actually begin attending church. And it would be a great tragedy if the Church had to divert its precious resources away from protesting against capitalism and democracy and use them instead for religious purposes." The Archbishop became angry at this point and interjected," I didn't enter the ministry to promote the so-called Gospel of someone who allegedly lived 2000 years ago. I became a priest in order to empower gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, heathens and persons with a fondness for sheep!"

In related news, the Right reverend Percy Bigglesworth, Bishop Co-Adjutor for the Diocese of Provincetown and Fire Island, denounced Gibson's film for having no clearly identifiable gay or lesbian characters and for showing Mary Magdalene's former profession as sex worker in a negative light.

FROM THE AAC COMES THIS WORD…two more dioceses voted to associate with the new Network. The Dioceses of San Joaquin (California) and Springfield (Illinois) have formally associated with the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, commonly known as the Anglican Communion Network. San Joaquin and Springfield join the Dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Rio Grande (Texas and Arizona), and Central Florida in associating with the Network.

At the Network’s Organizing Convocation, held January 19-20, 2004, bishops and representatives from twelve dioceses voted to approve the Charter for the Network (to read the Charter, please go to www.americananglican.org). Dioceses have sought final ratification by their respective legislative bodies, as appropriate.

ON THE PASSION. True Christians cannot emerge from this movie any more anti-Semitic than they emerged from Shindler's List as anti-German. The Passion is about the sins of all of us, we all nailed him to the cross, Shindler's List is about the Nazis.

PRIESTLY VULNERABILITY. In re-directing their offerings away from 815, one thing that needs remembering is that if congregations begin taking action to separate themselves from ECUSA or a revisionist diocese, the first vulnerability has nothing to do with the property - it is their clergy's vulnerability to a direct attack on their ability to pay bills and put food on the table and send their kids to school, and maybe even a roof over their heads.

This is especially acute for mission clergy, who can be fired at the momentary whim of their diocesan.

One thing orthodox laity can do, he writes, is put aside funds and set up a local charitable account "for the relief of clergy in distress". Care should have to be taken to avoid tax hassles for the priest (don't give him money unless the diocese takes money away). Care should also be taken to keep the money out of the hands of the diocese.

NEWS ITEM. Complete sexual freedom. That was the dream promoted by feminists. The dream has cost America dearly. Several reports released last week -- by Advocates for Youth and the Alan Guttmacher Institute -- conclude that half of all young Americans will get a sexually transmitted disease by age 25. And the Episcopal Church promotes sex outside of marriage with a 'no consequences' attitude that simply appalls faithful believers.

WORD ABOUT THE UPCOMING MEETING OF THIRTEEN REVISIONIST organizations meeting in Atlanta is that it is gong to be held behind closed doors. No press will be allowed in. Another example of where revisionism breeds paranoia.

ON THE PLUS SIDE the Traditional Anglican Communion worldwide is yanking in 15,000 souls per month according to Archbishop William Falk. This is going on principally in southern Africa, and some other places "south of the equator," according to the new TAC Primate John Hepworth who gave a report at their bishop's meeting in Orlando last month.

AND THEN THERE IS THE STORY ABOUT A MARRIED VICAR in England who was suspended after he posted a 'naked photograph' of himself on the Internet and invited women to contact him for sex. In typical British understatement the bishop of Chelmsford the Rt. Rev. John Gladwin said Bob Locke vicar of Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex or is it Burning-at-the-Crotch was suspended for "unsettling allegations". Unsettling indeed. He's suspended with full pay. No word on how many women took up his offer.

TODAY'S STORIES feature some of the Episcopal Church's finest writers. Fleming Rutledge, Dr. Guy Lytle, Dr. Robert Sanders and more. There are also Virtuosity's regular columnists Mike McManus, Terry Mattingly and Uwe Siemon-Netto who senses the start of a spiritual revival. It is a veritable feast for the mind, heart and soul. Read and enjoy.

AND PLEASE SUPPORT VIRTUOSITY. Income has been thin of late, and the stress of long hours and late nights is taking its toll. New medications not covered by my major medical are putting a strain on my already thin resources. Please be generous and make a donation through PAYPAL at my website or send a check by snail mail to VIRTUOSITY, 1236 Waterford Rd., West Chester, PA 19380. Thank you and God bless.

David W. Virtue DD

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