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Bishops Say 'No' to Talks with TEC Leaders.Schori ripped for attacking Schofield

"[Ted] Haggard may have to struggle with homosexual impulses all his life, just as all of us have to struggle with various sinful impulses. Nobody gets an exemption from the struggle, not even when the sinful desires persist. That is why Jesus called his followers to take up their cross, deny themselves, and lose their lives. At the points when we fail to live up to the moral commands of God that we rightly proclaim, the fault lies with our behavior, not with the commands of God." -- Rev. Dr. Robert Gagnon, Associate Professor, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

The Unity of the Church. What kind of Christianity?

"In my own conviction, the visible unity of the church (in each region or country) is both biblically right and practically desirable, and we should be actively seeking it. At the same time, we should ask ourselves a simple but searching question. If we are to meet the enemies of Christ with a united Christian front, with what kind of Christianity are we going to face them? The only weapon with which the opponents of the gospel can be overthrown is the gospel itself. It would be a tragedy if, in our desire for their overthrow, the only effective weapon in our armoury were to drop from our hands. United Christianity which is not true Christianity will not gain the victory over non-Christian forces, but will itself succumb to them." --From "Christ the Controversialist" John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The week started with the Archbishop making an historic visit to see the Pope, but he got an earful, in private, over the ordination of women and gay priests. But in the spirit of collegiality he and the pope did sign a common declaration at a meeting in the Vatican. They renewed their historic commitment to the goal of "full visible communion in the truth of Christ" and they agreed that both churches will begin a new phase of ecumenism, one which "goes beyond theological dialogue," according to a joint statement.

That statement suggested that both Archbishop Williams and Pope Benedict want to expand the ecumenical relationship and move beyond theological differences. While they studiously avoided mentioning such problematic issues as the doctrine of papal infallibility or the ordination of women and ordaining openly homosexual persons into apostolic orders, the statement acknowledged that there remained "serious obstacles" to closer ties between their churches, a blunt reference to Vatican disapproval of gay bishops, women priests and blessings of same-sex unions in the Anglican church. They urged continued dialogue to address those issues and said they were a matter of "urgency." The Holy Father spoke of them as issues "of vital importance to the preaching of the Gospel in its integrity."

But all this did not stop the British press from having a field day with this, with Damian Thompson of The Telegraph saying that Williams's first official encounter with the Pope was a sad affair: he had to lean close to John Paul II in order to decipher his whispers. On being asked how the meeting had gone, he replied: "Well, I won't see him again."

As for Williams, more and more commentators are arguing that he is not the same man who met John Paul II three years ago. In the words of one Church source, "He is so weakened." This led to further speculation that Williams might resign after Lambeth 2008 and pass the mantle to his probable successor, Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York. "We do not know whether Dr Sentamu wants the post, but the chances are that he will be offered it, and sooner rather than later," wrote Thompson.

All this lead to an explosion of Internet gossip and bloggers arguing not if, but when, Williams will step down - a decade before he is required to. The notion was first floated on Ship of Fools, a theological internet chat site, by someone calling himself "Spawn", who turned out to be none other than Andrew Carey, son of the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey's son. The "Anglican blogosphere" lit up like New Year's Eve in Times Square. VOL pulled it altogether and you can read it here: "Those Back Stabbing Brits": http://tinyurl.com/uyoe3

But the Archbishop of Canterbury also gave some thoughtful lectures which you can also read in today's digest. Click here http://tinyurl.com/yype9m for his lecture on "Secularism, faith and freedom." His lecture, "Benedict and the Future of Europe" can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/y3p2pg

But the week also included yet another blast from The Episcopal Church's liberals who apparently feel totally threatened by the church's orthodox wing calling for Alternative Primatial Oversight that they wrote to Dr. Rowan Williams asking him to reject all requests for APO.

Five retired bishops and more than 135 plus leaders of The Episcopal church's liberal elite calling themselves the steering committee of The Consultation, a consortium that includes Integrity, Episcopal Urban Caucus, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Episcopal Women's Caucus, the Union of Black Episcopalians and several other organizations clearly don't want to see the balkanization of the TEC continue and hope he won't meet their demands. Their basic argument is that there is no provision in the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church for the Archbishop of Canterbury to exercise jurisdiction in this Province, the letter says. "In The Episcopal Church, the General Convention has sole authority to amend the Constitution and Canons, including the formation of dioceses and the assignment of dioceses to provinces within The Episcopal Church."

The letter goes to great length "reminding" Archbishop Williams twice of the historical background in the Anglican Communion's discussions of human sexuality and the Windsor Report. They concluded the letter says that "granting any of these requests would pose a grave danger to the Anglican Communion." So far Williams has given no indication what he will do. You can read their letter here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/tbag6. At this time of going to cyber press no active bishop had signed the document.

But THE issue that has prompted the greatest outcry and most outrage this week is Mrs. Schori's letter to the Bishop of San Joaquin. The Internet air has been thick with anger at her letter, with many seeing it has another noose-tightening action by an uber-revisionist bishop.

Here is what one irate priest from California wrote:

To: The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts-Shori
The Episcopal Church
815 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10017

Dear Dr. Jefferts-Shori:

Last week, you publicly accused the Bishop of San Joaquin of "violence." While such rhetoric might befit an inexperienced, eager lawyer or a huckster politician, you are now the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Such an accusation delivered from the public face of the Episcopal Church is not only reckless but also offensive, especially to those of us resident in the Diocese of San Joaquin. Is this the "shalom" that you so fervently preached about at the National Cathedral earlier this month?

Your public apology to the Diocese of San Joaquin and our bishop would go a long way toward easing our minds about the future treatment that we can expect from the Episcopal Church leadership as we consider whether it makes sense to continue our walk with you.

In Christ,

The Rev. Gordon M. Kamai
Rector Christ Church
Oakhurst, California

KEEPING up the pressure, two orthodox bishops declined an invitation to a second summit meeting this past week. The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, and the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, declined a request from the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, Bishop of Virginia, to attend a second Summit Meeting of bishops requesting Alternate Primatial Oversight with the Presiding Bishop and two co-conveners, Bishop Lee and the Rt. Rev. John Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida.

In fact, none of the bishops of those dioceses that have requested APO will be attending.

In a letter made available to VOL, Bishop Iker enumerated the reasons for the decision in a reply he sent to Bishop Lee on Tuesday, Nov. 21, on behalf of Bishop Duncan and himself.

"We believe the situation has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks with threats of lawsuits against bishops appealing for APO and of declaring "vacant sees." We note that we are now tagged as "problem dioceses" and that we will continue to be monitored by the property task force headed by Bishop Sauls. We also note that this task force is going to cultivate relationships with persons in our dioceses who oppose the position taken by our diocesan conventions. Such posturing is meant to intimidate us and does not promote dialogue and conversation about the matters before us. I have been advised that legal counsel should accompany me to any future meetings with representatives from 815 or the General Convention." You can read the full letter here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/y6fa8x

A VOL reader wrote to say that he was informed by a member of the Secretariat that the National Catholic CURSILLO Movement has decided not to renew the Episcopal Cursillo license. No reason was given at the meeting and no one knows just what that all means. Obviously the Episcopal Church will have to come up with a new name. "This is another blow for the Episcopal Church and I would be willing it is over the direction the new Episcopal Church is taking."

RE: TENTH PROVINCE. The notion of a 10th internal ECUSA province is "not in play" a priest in the know wrote and told VOL this week. "We're talking about separation from ECUSA into a new American jurisdictional structure for all the orthodox Anglicans inside and outside ECUSA who are ready to move into it," he wrote. So it looks more like a 39th Province is what is being sought not a Tenth Province. Time will tell.

And from the DIOCESE OF DALLAS comes this word. The diocese is seriously unraveling, writes a priest. "Clergy morale is low. About eight churches are working for their exits...and are at various stages of packing their bags."

And the DIOCESE OF CALIFORNIA adopted legislation dissenting from B033 and reaffirming the full inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Persons into the Life of the Church at their recent convention. They said that GC2006's resolution was "inconsistent with Title III, Canon 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and Canons for the Government of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and our baptismal covenant to love and respect the dignity of every human being."

Their explanation: Title III, Canon 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and Canons for the Government of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America requires that "[n]o person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons...". So there you have it. The Diocese of California can go against the will of GC2006 but watch out if you are orthodox and vote against anything GC2006 votes for and Mrs. Schori will come down on you like a ton of red bricks. Consistency is clearly the hobgoblin of small minds.

"The effect, if not purpose, of B033 is to subvert Title III, Canon 1, Section 2 of the Canons by encouraging and authorizing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the selection and consecration of new bishops. As a consequence, it also diminishes the 2003 consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire and undercuts years of forward progress that the Episcopal Church and this Diocese have made in securing the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons into the life of the Church." So there you have it.

In his first address, their new bishop Marc Andrus suggested that "a joyful life of dancing with God is perhaps the best form of evangelism." There's a new twist on things. One suspects it is the flip side of the Frank Griswold's New Age, The Circle Dance of Dispossession that got him going. No altar calls were recorded.

THE DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES' newspaper announced a nationwide convention of the so-called Episcopal Majority-- a lay organization which claims to represent the majority of Episcopalians and which claims that the majority of Episcopalians support the position taken by the last convention regarding sexuality. A VOL reader wrote to say that Bishop Jon Bruno and his friends apparently think that George Orwell's 1984, was meant to be an instruction manual. "Peace is war and the minority of leftist radicals is the majority of moderates in the church, according to Bruno. They portray themselves as moderates when, in fact, their agenda is the complete leftwing agenda. They think that telling us they are sorry that we are such radical rightwing jerks as to think that the traditional definition of marriage, the traditional definition of Christianity-- are deserving of some preservation, constitutes being moderate. This group is, apparently, for the most part, university chaplains, so they may not realize how radical they are. They are also vicious and nasty.

And in the DIOCESE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE as a sign of the Episcopal Times, the historic Bethlehem Chapel is on the chopping block. The stone chapel, built as a memorial to a young mother who died from consumption, and given to the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in 1930, will soon be sold and deconsecrated. Wrote a VOL reader, "this is not surprising, since it was only used for "bigwig" weddings. V. Gene Robinson desperately needs money."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison now claims a divine right to rule. Bennison told the religion editor of Philadelphia Evening Bulletin newspaper that he continues his fight to retain his position in the face of fierce public criticism because he believes he was "elevated to be bishop and truly asked to do the work by God. I have a responsibility to have the diocese for my successor in as strong a position as possible. The diocese is not in a position for someone else to deal with the problems now." Translation: I am not a sociopath, I am a divinely appointed sociopath.

A RALLY protesting the Gay Pride event in Jerusalem as a "defilement" of the Holy City was held in front of the Episcopal Church Center and the Israeli Consulate in midtown Manhattan several weeks ago. Second Avenue was lined with young Orthodox Jewish boys and their fathers, led by speakers using bullhorns, chanting slogans in Yiddish--which sounds a great deal like German, wrote Louie Crew, the Episcopal Church's First Sodomite. He reported on the HOB/D listserv that emotions were clearly high and several 815 staffers reported felt "trapped" and reluctant to leave the building for the evening until the rally was over.

IN advance of December 1, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is encouraging parishioners and clergy to unite behind the ONE Episcopalian Campaign to fight HIV/AIDS globally. "Words, words, words won't help us in our fight against the pandemic. Now is the time for action," she said. Mrs. Schori would like to see lots of money thrown into the pot to save those infected with HIV/AIDS, but makes no mention of the behavior that caused it.

NOW if you thought that spiritual lunacy resided solely in the U.S. think again. At St. Hilda's by the Sea Anglican Church in the Diocese of New Westminster they are holding lectures on Convergence, Quantum Consciousness. I suppose that is why they call it the Sunshine Coast. You are invited to "A Living Invitation to All to Connect with the Divine spacer": Here you will experience a consciousness-raising experience through film, speakers and, of course, non-judgmental and inclusive community discussion and celebration. Topics include issues of a metaphysical/global activist nature and...who knows? Past topics have included Crop Circles, What the Bleep Do We Know? multicultural/multifaith solstice celebration, a vibrational toning concert, and grassroots worker action. Inspiring atmosphere of fellowship and community. Lunacy, it seems, is not only in the dioceses of Newark and Pennsylvania, it's also our kissing cousins to the north. The season kicks off with a repeat performance of one of the most popular events of 2005 - David Hickey's Crystal Bowl toning concert. Enough said.

ACROSS the Atlantic came word that British Airways backed down over a cross ban by one of its employees following an avalanche of criticism. Airline chief Willie Walsh ordered a rethink of the rule that barred check-in worker Nadia Eweida from wearing a tiny cross at work, but only after the airline had faced four days of angry condemnation from an overwhelming alliance of Cabinet ministers, 100 MPs, 20 Church of England bishops and, finally, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Rowan Williams called its stance 'deeply offensive' and threatened to sell the Church of England's £6.6million holding of BA shares. That did it. BA saw the light!

MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL. Police in Malawi arrested two Anglican church members in connection with the death of the Rev. Rodney Hunter, 72, who was an assistant priest for All Saints Anglican Cathedral of the Lake Malawi Diocese. Interim results of the inquiry indicate, however, that he might have died of food poisoning said Laban Makalani, a police spokesperson from Nkhotakota in central Malawi.

A friend of Hunter's, the Rev. Denis Kayamba, said some high profile figures in the church have been implicated in the priest's death. Kayamba was first to go public with speculation that Hunter might have been poisoned and now he says he is receiving anonymous calls threatening his life.

Some people close to Hunter say he may have been poisoned by people angered over his stance against the installation of Briton Nicholas Henderson as Bishop of Lake Malawi diocese to replace the late Peter Nyanja. Henderson was elected bishop of the Diocese of Lake Malawi in July 2005, but the local church's court of confirmation rejected his appointment because of his involvement with a group seen as supporting homosexual clergy.

The police spokesperson identified one suspect as Bernard Mlota, who may have played a role in the death of Hunter, the former Librarian of Pusey House in Oxford, who has lived in Africa since 1965 and who also had taught theology at the University of Malawi.

But a source close to the scene wrote VOL with this note: "I just would like to inform you that Canon Hunter, a close friend of Fr. Dennis Kayamba, who was an Assistant Priest at the Cathedral died after being poisoned. He was found in his house on Saturday morning on 11th November dead in his bedroom with black vomit all over his body. You may wish to know that Canon Hunter together with Fr. Dennis Kayamba are the ones who moved to reject Nicholas Henderson in the Diocese of Lake Malawi as the next bishop. Rumor is high that Hunter was poisoned because of his stance against Henderson and it is speculated that Henderson supporters are behind this and may have used his cook to do this. We have lost one of our pillars on our side and our battles will still go on for the truth."

The DIOCESE OF SAN JOAQUIN will meet this weekend in Fresno, California to consider its future. They could make ecclesiastical history.

If, as it is thought, the Diocese of San Joaquin determines, through the following amendments to the Constitution and with appropriate consultation (eg. Archbishop of Canterbury/Primates of the Anglican Communion) to transfer all relationships and communion from ECUSA to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone at this Special Convention, it will be the first time in the history of The Episcopal Church that a diocese could secede from The Episcopal Church. This is of such historic moment VirtueOnline believes it is important to be there. It will be an historic occasion and VOL will record it all for you. VOL will also obtain an exclusive interview with Bishop John-David Schofield following the convention.

Bishop Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh) as Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network wrote to all Episcopalians after he had been in consultation with the leading Primates of the Global South and said this: "As the Clergy and People of the Diocese of San Joaquin face into your Annual Convention of 2006, I want you to know that the whole Network is praying for you. Stay the course. You are doing important work in establishing that the diocese is the fundamental unit of the catholic church. While you are engaged in a "first reading" and therefore not actually bringing any change for the moment, your determination makes clear your commitment to the Gospel above erring councils and positions. You will be poised to make the changes by a second reading if that proves God's call."

VOL will put out a special digest to mark the occasion.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK on the Dennis Canon. "Thousands are abandoning properties rather than abandoning their faith."

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