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APPEASEMENT...NOT.Diocesan News - Pittsburgh, Central NY, Washington, Ohio, more

"But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols." Revelation 2.20 is about the sin of 'tolerance' according to Scott Clark a professor at Westminster Seminary in California. "The greatest threat to orthodoxy in the PCUSA (and TEC) in the early 20th century was not the liberals. They were identifiably wrong. The greatest threat was those who refused to see the liberals and their theology for what they were; another religion. Those who tolerate error do as much damage as the proponents of error in the same way indulgent parents are as blameworthy as naughty children." - Scott Clark

Dear Brothers and Sisters
February 1, 2007

APPEASEMENT. That was the word out of the mouth of Canon Kenneth Kearon secretary general of Anglican Consultative Counsel (ACC) in private discussions with the Archbishop of Canterbury and revealed in a private memo to Dr. Louie Crew, the Episcopal Church's emeritus homosexual, last week.

It was a blast from the past, reminiscent of the former secretary general of the ACC John Peterson who also tried to manipulate, isolate and separate African Primates from each other and from making public statements about the spiritual condition of the TEC and Anglican Communion, all for his American paymasters. He finally got caught out, and now so has Kearon.

Once more we see that ACC working to mollify pacify and placate Global South Primates, especially African archbishops who can't and won't be bought by American money, and who will no longer be silenced by Kearon or anybody else. And they will not be silenced later this month in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the primates will meet. They have a plan and they will stand by it. Mrs. Schori will be tried and found wanting even if she is supported by Bishop Christopher Epting, the only liberal TEC bishop invited to the Primates meeting. The other two bishops, Bob Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and ACN moderator, and D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana and president of the Presiding Bishop's Council of Advice, will tell the Primates that the TEC is irrevocably broken. So on one side you have Schori and Epting. Facing them will be Duncan and MacPherson. Among the primates it's about 50/50 with a slight edge to the orthodox primates. But as half a dozen African Provinces make up 70 to 80 percent of the whole Communion they can call the shots. Will they? Time will tell.

"Listening processes", much favored by liberals to circumvent having to make solid decisions in pre-primate meetings before the Big Event will not change anything, unless liberals can somehow rewrite the agenda that they can control so nothing is said, done or passed. An Anglican Covenant will be discussed and the achievement of the Panel of Reference will come up. In truth the Panel has done little except to agree with Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Iker that he had a case against the TEC's enforcement of women's ordination. The moment the Panel said this, Mrs. Schori promptly made it clear that nobody could or would be permitted to interfere in the affairs of her church. So is Mrs. Schori suddenly going to have a change of heart in Tanzania? Not likely. The Panel still has not come up with a solution to the Diocese of Recife or orthodox congregations in New Westminster. Archbishop Peter Carnley, who heads the panel, is as liberal as the day is long and probably has no interest in working hard for irresolvable cases not in favor of liberals. The Diocese of Lake Malawi is under review, but whatever the Panel decides is irrelevant, Archbishop Bernard Malango told VOL what he will do and not do, and he won't be bullied by any Panel recommendations. The pro-gay British cleric, the Rev. Nick Henderson will never get to be Bishop of Lake Malawi, unless they have found a way for hell to freeze over.

The truth is The Episcopal Church has been repeatedly warned about its stances and inability to repent - a communiqué from Dromantine, a Windsor Report even the Archbishop of Canterbury has told the TEC that its actions have isolated and wounded them, perhaps irreparably. Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has acknowledged that primates are approaching their coming meeting with trepidation. "I think everybody is a little nervous about just what the outcome of that meeting might be," he said in an interview. "There is a drift ... away from the centre, (by) certain provinces within the Communion and they seem to be very well-organized and I wonder what that's all about and what impact that might have on the primates' meeting." But Mrs. Schori, like her predecessor Frank Griswold is a complete revisionist and she will come touting Millennium Development Goals as they way forward for the Communion to work together. However, it is very clear to this writer that that dog won't hunt. You can read the full story about all this and what Archbishop Peter Akinola thinks of it all in today's lead story in the digest.

As one observant priest noted: "If the leaders of the Anglican communion fail to discipline the Episcopal Church not only for "breaking the bonds of affection" but, more importantly, for defying the Word of the living God, then you will see Windsor and Network dioceses begin to crumble as many of the strongest parishes realize that the Communion is toothless and that the Windsor "process" is just that...an endless process leading nowhere...and depart." A "separate structure" for orthodox Anglicans in North America could clearly be in the works.

VOL will be present at this notable event in Tanzania where it is hoped we shall pick up crumbs from the Primatial table to report back to you all.

***** ON THE HOMEFRONT, an Annandale man in Fairfax, Virginia is facing felony vandalism charges for spray-painting "666" and other marks on the doors of the Truro Episcopal Church. Dwight Lawrence Chase was arrested after an investigation into letters he allegedly sent to police led detectives to him. In those letters, Chase apparently claimed he had a right to take possession of the church. He faces up to six months in jail. The vandalism happened shortly after Truro's decision to split from the DIOCESE FO VIRGINIA and The Episcopal Church over a disagreement about the church's stance on homosexuality.

In the DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH Calvary Episcopal Church served a discovery request to Pittsburgh to speed up the disclosure of information it requested from the Diocese of Pittsburgh in connection with a court case meant to enforce a ruling prohibiting the diocese from transferring title or use of real or personal property to any entity outside of the Episcopal Church. But attorneys for the diocese said that all the court did is shorten the time for a response. Bishop Robert Duncan and the diocese have now retained Philadelphia attorney John H. Lewis Jr., and Andrew Fletcher to represent the defendants in that case. On January 31st they served objections to the discovery and are planning a vigorous defense to the action.

At the DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON'S convention last week the following resolution was considered but failed to pass.

RESOLVED, that the One Hundred Twelfth Convention of the Diocese of Washington express its extreme displeasure and firm disapproval of the action of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in issuing an invitation to the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, the principal organizer and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, which network seeks recognition as the "legitimate" expression of the Anglican Communion in the United States, and to the Bishop of Western Louisiana, to attend the meeting of Anglican Primates on February 14 in Tanzania., which invitation lends notorious credibility to the divisive efforts of Bishop Duncan, and diminishes the importance of the presence of our Presiding Bishop; and be it further RESOLVED, that this Diocese calls upon the Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, to form a commission to examine whether continued membership in the Anglican Communion is any longer beneficial to the core task of proclaiming the Gospel in this country.

Could it be that the Episcopal Church wants to leave the Anglican Communion before it is shown the door? AT GC2006 the TEC changed its name from ECUSA to TEC and ran up 16 flags from simpatico dioceses and provinces.

In the DIOCESE OF NEWARK they elected, to no one's surprise, The Rev. Mark Beckwith as their new Episcopal bishop. Here is what he said: "I'm pretty fierce in honoring diversity and the giftedness of everyone." He then said "diversity is the perfection of the universe." Really. Not Jesus, but diversity. TRANSLATION: If you have a narrow, exclusive view of the Christian Faith that demands repentance, faith and amendment of life, don't look to Mr. Beckwith to stand with you. In fact you might find yourself inhibited and deposed. After all Beckwith who is a son of the Diocese of Newark who then sojourned to the diocese of Massachusetts under Tom Shaw the pro-gay bishop of that diocese and then returned as a favored son. You know whereof he stands. To think or believe otherwise, and he would never have made it through the fish net of Louie Crew's inclusive scrutiny. Present at this less than illustrious occasion were of course the usual culprits of diversity and inclusivity - former Newark Bishop Jack Spong, and a whole host of liberal illuminati with Mrs. Schori, the new PB delivering the homily. Mr. Beckwith will be busy closing 30 or more parishes over the next few years, the true legacy of John Spong who ordained an openly gay man to the priesthood in 1989 who then promptly died of AIDS.

The DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA this past week filed suit in various legal jurisdictions regarding real and personal property claims made by 11 congregations where the majority of the membership recently voted to leave The Episcopal Church. The 11 new complaints are seeking court action objecting, as they say, to any transfer of property, citing both Virginia law and the canons of the diocese and the General Convention.

But the Anglican District of Virginia says the actions of the Diocese are a betrayal of trust and in a press release said, "We receive this news as an act of betrayal. We have learned from the media that the Diocese of Virginia has filed civil lawsuits against the clergy and volunteer lay leadership of eleven Virginia churches. These are the same Virginia churches that voted overwhelmingly to sever ties with The Episcopal Church (TEC) and affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a fully recognized branch of the Anglican Communion under the Anglican Church of Nigeria."

"Contrary to statements issued by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, we have filed no lawsuits. Our only action has been to record our parish votes in December and January for the public record."

While Lee said he tried to avoid going to court, he said he is no longer "convinced that such an outcome is possible." He also believes going to court at this time is not "dishonorable."

IRD Anglican Action Director Ralph Webb commented, "It is tragic to see that the diocese has so quickly concluded that it cannot negotiate with the Virginia parishes. The diocese is using the term 'abandoned' with certain canonical connotations in an attempt to bolster its case against the parishes. But who has done the abandoning here? "It must not be forgotten that many faithful and even lifelong Episcopalians voted for the parishes' departures. They did this out of a strong conviction that the Episcopal Church has abandoned the Anglican Communion.

IN another move Virginia elected the Very Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, rector of All Saints', Tupelo, Miss., as Bishop Coadjutor to succeed the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee on the third ballot. Bishop-elect Johnston is the president of the standing committee in the Diocese of Mississippi and is dean of the diocesan convocation. He is said to be conservative but a company man and is unlikely to reverse anything Bishop Lee has started in legally going after 11 parishes that have left the Diocese and TEC.

In the DIOCESE OF OHIO came news that The Rochester Anglican Community and Grace Chapel hosted Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi at the Rochester Covenant Church. Grace Chapel meets here, very small and very low key, a source told VOL. "We announced the dinner and speech in the paper in a very open way. One of the Local rectors, The Rev. Douglas Sparks showed up looking like he was on a hunting expedition. He went directly to the Archbishop, in front of most of the company, introduced himself, and informed the archbishop that he was an agent for the Bishop of Ohio (Mark Hollingsworth). He produced a letter from his coat telling the Archbishop that it had been faxed and something of what it said. He turned, greeted the Covenant minister, who invited him to stay, and left abruptly. Whatever happened to "may I speak to you in private, sir?" I would like to say I was shocked, surprised or even humiliated. I would like to say that, but nothing shocks me any longer. In his talk the Kenyan Archbishop handled this with great humor. His comment was: "I get a lot of letters of all sorts. He waved the envelope and everyone laughed."

In the DIOCESE OF NORTHWEST TEXAS, Bishop Wallis Ohl got more bad news this week. VOL received a letter forwarded from a parishioner that makes it appear that Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Midland's vestry has voted to leave the TEC. "They are starting a 40-day of prayer period before the congregation votes. If they leave, the Diocese of Northwest Texas will be in serious financial straits. Good Shepherd in San Angelo has gone now Holy Trinity in Midland could be out the door."

Here is the letter: "I just thought you would all like to know about the happenings at the Church Dad and I were married in - Holy Trinity and where we worshiped for 13 years until we left two years ago. Their Vestry voted unanimously to leave the Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Communion like we did at St. Nicholas. Now they are going to have 40 days of "discernment" in which the entire parish prays before they put it to a vote and see if a majority of the fellowship will support it. Please pray for that church. It was the first Episcopal Church established in Midland. We did not think they would have the courage to do it and there are a lot of people over there confused and hurting. Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them, that they will be given the gift of discernment and that they will understand what "Standing on the Word" and "in the Word" really means."

In the DIOCESE OF WESTERN MICHIGAN: A For Sale sign is likely going up for the Western Michigan Cathedral. The TLC reports that a recently released feasibility study indicated there was little support for a $3.5 million capital campaign to keep the Cathedral of Christ the King in the Diocese of Western Michigan, and it may be sold later this year unless some benefactor(s) intervenes to preserve its future. The decision will be made at the March meeting of the diocesan executive council.

The cathedral, built as founder Bishop Charles E. Bennison, Sr., noted, on "the main street of the Midwest" (Interstate 94), had housed the central offices of the diocese and a congregation since 1969. The diocese rented the space from the cathedral corporation, a subsidiary of the diocese, which subsidized the upkeep and operation of the building. The small Cathedral Parish of Christ the King also paid rent, but it was not sufficient to support the building.

VOL noted about a year ago at this possibility, now apparently it is coming true.

Bennison, Sr. is the father of Charles E. Bennison of PA who also has a penchant for spending millions of dollars on useless projects. Bennison (the son) has squandered millions on Camp Wapiti in Maryland while the diocese heads into financial free fall with closing parishes and more. Bennison's brother, a priest in California was recently fired for sexual offenses he committed against a 14-year old girl. PA bishop Bennison faces ecclesiastical presentment charges and is now facing a civil jury trial.

In the DIOCESE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, Bishop John W. Howe told his flock that he would be fully Windsor compliant and his diocese will stay in ECUSA. He painted a rosy picture of his diocese at their recent convention telling delegates that the diocese was once again on a sound financial footing after some bad investment advice and the diocese had opened two new parishes.

MRS. SCHORI WILL BE IN CUBA before heading out the door to Tanzania. The local leadership of the Episcopal Church of Cuba will welcome her to take her seat on its Metropolitan Council February 1 in Havana, and to address its annual Synod meeting February 2-4 in Cardenas. She also plans to visit the ecumenical seminary, Seminario Evangelico de Teologico, in Matanzas on February 3. "I am eager to learn firsthand about the mission and ministry that is carried out so faithfully in local contexts, notably with excellence in literacy and social services." But as one wag observed, perhaps she is in Cuba to give The Great Dictator the Last Rites. Clearly there's an MDG for everybody.

The MERE ANGLICANISM conference held recently in Charleston, SC was well attended. Canon Gary L'Hommedieu was there representing VOL and you can read two stories he wrote about that annual event.

IN THE UK a huge debate is in progress over legislation on adoption by gay couples. Catholic leaders in England and Wales say its teaching prevented its agencies placing children with homosexuals and they will close if bound by the rules. Dr. Rowan Williams said the rights of conscience cannot be subject to laws and The Church of England is backing the Catholic Church in its bid to be exempt from laws on adoption by gay couples. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the prime minister saying the "rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well-meaning". The Equality Act, due to come into effect in England, Wales and Scotland in April, outlaws discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexual orientation. But the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, told the BBC if society takes the view it does not discriminate against homosexuals, people could not be given exclusions on grounds of religion.

A NEW ZEALAND (Auckland) Bishop Richard Randerson has gone into print to clarify his agnosticism. An article he authored "Common Ground" (9 January 2007, NZ Herald, http://www.duomo.ac.nz/acnz/?p=208 ) sparked a forest-fire of concern. That article included the following: "In terms of the existence of such a being, an atheist is construed as a non-believer, an agnostic as one who feels it cannot be proved one way or the other. By that measure, I regard myself as an agnostic." That a bishop of a Christian church should claim publicly to be any kind of agnostic, proved to be a catalyst for wide-spread debate, see: http://www.duomo.ac.nz/acnz/?cat=13 Clearly some NZ bishops have a lot in common with certain American Episcopal bishops. And you wonder why the Western Anglican church is dying and the Global South Anglican church is growing by leaps and bounds! Can you imagine a Nigerian bishop making such a statement? Indeed not.

The Auckland assisting bishop is on record saying that there are different interpretations of the Scriptures and that we need to be tolerant and inclusive of a diverse range of views of the Bible and a variety of lifestyle expressions. But as one wag noted, "Perhaps +Richard's tolerance only applies to some interpretations of the Bible, and not to interpretations, or criticism, of his statements?"

FINALLY, the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey will speak at Duke University Feb. 7 and he will address Anglican, Episcopal churches heritage and future amid threats of schism.

In a telephone interview with Jonathan Goldstein of Duke University, Carey said the current tumult in the Anglican Communion, which includes threats of schism, stems from the decision of the Episcopal Church in 2003 to ordain an openly gay man as bishop.

"I want to emphasize that I am not going to go back over that and spend a lot of time on it," he said. "I'm much more interested in forward thinking and saying, 'This is a reality; we've got to live with realities; no one wants to lose the American church from the Anglican Communion, so what do we need to do to carry on walking together?'"

Professor Jo Bailey Wells, director of the Divinity School's Anglican Episcopal House of Studies, said she invited Carey with the hope that "his speaking would provide an opportunity and a focus for unity, even where there is disagreement."

VIRTUEONLINE welcomes new readers to today's digest. Please take a moment to go to the website: www.virtueonline.org and see the more than 100 stories posted on the front page, review the many links and forums for participation. We welcome your thoughts on the numerous stories posted there.

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