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Canonical Fundamentalists and more

An Episcopalian friend expressed her puzzlement that the Episcopal Church can so cavalierly jettison doctrines while taking such a firm stand on questions of funding and authority. Paul Marshall of Freedom House came up with a possible answer in a statement by Karl Marx in his preface to the first volume of Das Kapital: “The English Established Church will more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39th of its income.” But we know that Marx got everything wrong. Well, almost everything.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is now very apparent that ECUSA's revisionist clergy and bishops have one thing in common. While they no longer accept the authority of Holy Scripture, no longer abide by the creeds and councils, and are not willing to stand for Biblical morality, there is one thing they do share - they believe in the Canons and Constitutions of The Episcopal Church USA. In short, when it comes to the discipline of orthodox priests they are CANONICAL FUNDAMENTALISTS.

You can go to bed with whomever - gay, lesbian, transgendered or BI-sexual, but how you can have a committed relationship in the latter defies the human imagination. But if you say you are THINKING of leaving ECUSA as the parish in Versailles Kentucky did recently, or you actually do leave, or threaten to withhold funds, the diocesan bishop will behave like a prison guard with a baseball bat. If the inmates want to have sex with whomever, go ahead, but if you dare criticize the prison you are in, then your knee caps will be broken and maybe you'll get solitary confinement, in ECUSA's case excommunication awaits you.

That's the bottom line, you can go no lower.

A vignette of this was seen in the DIOCESE OF ROCHESTER this week. The Bishop Jack McKelvey demonstrated even more egregious behavior. The initial meeting of the Friendship, NY group attempted to worship as they believe with an ordained Anglican priest who now practices as a Lutheran pastor, using the 1928 BCP. This fearless group comprising one woman, her mother, and her two children, suddenly found themselves threatening the very foundations of the diocese. As they met they got a visitation from the diocesan bishop who said, "There is a church on every corner in this town. Why don't you go to one of them if you don't like the Episcopal Church?"

There you have it. McKelvey comes out in sub-zero temperatures to beat up on two women and two kids. You gotta wonder. Joe Stalin would have heartily approved, except he would have taken the four out and shot them. The bishop tells them to go pound sand in another church. You see they were a threat to the established order.

And then there's Bishop Michael Garrison of the DIOCESE OF WESTERN NEW YORK who told the orthodox folk at St. Bartholomew's in Tonowanda, "that's your opinion…I have mine." Hand over your money or else. In a carbon copy of what happened there, the bishop repeated his statement to parishioners at St. Michael and All Angels in Buffalo, NY. The Bishop said, almost verbatim, the same things to us, wrote the rector the Rev. Dr. Roger Grist. "This, however, was before we decided to redirect almost $16,000 of our diocesan pledge to orthodox ministries and mission. I'm afraid Bishop Garrison looks at our protest as solely an attempt to punish the diocese, and not, as it was intended, to say we cannot fund unbiblical teaching and those who teach it. He sent us a rather threatening letter letting us know that if we don't come up with the full "fair share" (we are canonically required only to pay what we pledge to the diocese not what they determine we should pledge) he will declare us delinquent and could recommend to the Diocesan Council that we would be declared a dependant parish.

Well VIRTUOSITY got a hold of that letter and you can read what Garrison wrote. It's not just Canonical Fundamentalism it is Financial Fundamentalism as well. The revisionists need orthodox money to keep THEIR agenda alive. Without it their whole house of cards would collapse. Feed the Moloch or you will die.

Dr. Grist wrote Virtuosity, "as you can see the battle lines are being drawn and the time is fast approaching for a decision to be made regarding our future in the Episcopal Church."

And then VIRTUOSITY learned this week that the BISHOP OF OKLAHOMA, Robert M. Moody stripped the saintly retired Bishop William Cox (of Tulsa) of his episcopal functions. Bishop Cox has been too outspoken about the craziness of general convention. His "sin" was trying to get unhappy church folk together to keep them in the church, wrote another retired bishop in the area. He was planning a Saturday night Mass for disaffected Episcopalians, and Moody shut down the operation. He called in the rector of the parish where the services were to be held and told him to uninvite Cox.

Once more we see the heavy hand of revisionist bishops who demand absolute obedience. It's my way or the highway.

And then there's the plaintive cry of an orthodox layman who wrote to Henry Parsley, the BISHOP OF ALABAMA (who would love to succeed Frank Griswold as the next PB) saying, "in today's newspaper you condemned the Plano meeting as "clearly divisive," saying, "We do not need 'a church within a church'." I'm afraid I don't understand. You do recognize that it is our National Church that has broken communion with three-quarters of the world's Anglicans? You do understand that it is our National Church that has brought great grief to the Archbishop and other Primates? Can you at least acknowledge the good faith of the orthodox who are trying to heal that wound? The Anglican Communion is no longer "one in hope and doctrine," but shouldn't you refrain from disparaging those who seek to restore us to "one in charity"?

And out in the DIOCESE OF NORTH DAKOTA, two orthodox priests suddenly found themselves stripped of their voting rights to elect the next Bishop there. The revisionists are trying every sleazy tactic they can to broker in a revisionist to succeed the godly Andy Fairfield. You can read that story today.

BUT ALL IS NOT WELL ON THE LEFT. The episcopalfreespeech@yahoogroups.com, which is a clearing-house for revisionist laity, and clergy who don't want to reveal their names are visibly worried. Here is what one clergyperson wrote: "But don't you see - that is the 'rub' - Canterbury had his representative at Plano and supposedly took part in the meeting - the Network was Canterbury's idea and we know that the other Primates have been putting great pressure on the ABC since the end of GC03 - we very well could find ourselves alone!"

Someone's getting the message.

ON PROPERTY ISSUES. Here is a zinger of a line delivered by Bishop John Ruchyana of Rwanda at the recent AMIA conference in Destin, Florida. When asked if intervention by the Anglican Primates would enable Episcopalians to keep their property, he sighed in sad disgust and thought for a moment. Then he replied, “We Africans are acting to save your souls. It is as if we have saved you from a burning house only to have you ask us to run back in and save your furniture. Are you ready to follow Jesus or not?” Whoa.

And in other Church News from the PROVINCE OF UGANDA, the new Primate was enthroned this week and you can read his sermon in today's digest. ECUSA could learn a thing or two from these godly Anglicans, but it won't of course. Frank Griswold is still reeling from being uninvited to the consecration, and is holed up at 815 2nd Avenue in NY reading Psalm139 to console himself with. "Surely the darkness will hide me…" It has.

EPISCOPALIANS FOR TRADITIONAL FAITH (ETF) wants an orthodox bishop. Following the divisive events of General Convention 2003 and the subsequent outcry from dioceses and provinces throughout the global Anglican Communion, The Eames Commission was formed by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, to examine the state of the global Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) is a part. The first meeting of the Eames Commission is Feb. 9. The commission's report is due in October. The commission is seeking comments from all in the Anglican Communion. Please take the time to go to its website: http://eames.anglican-mainstream.net/ and register your opinion. You also might want to contact the Archbishop of Canterbury and commission members individually.

Please include in your messages to the commission a request that the Archbishop of Canterbury oversee the election of a godly, traditional, orthodox Presiding Bishop of ECUSA (whether through resignation of Frank Griswold -- much to be desired after his repeated arrogant actions and statements against Church, country, and the entire Anglican Communion -- or after his term of office expires) and that the Book of Common Prayer, 1928 Edition, be reinstated as the official liturgy of the Episcopal Church, as it is entirely based upon holy scripture and upholds the faith, order, and tradition of the Church.

WHO WILL BE THE 26th PRESIDING BISHOP asks Louie Crew? Well, of the 85 possible candidates in all categories ranging from diocesan to suffragan bishops who could serve for six years, there are only six orthodox bishops: Keith Ackerman (Quincy), Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh), Neil Jacobus (Fond du Lac), John Lipscombe (Southwest Florida) and Jim Stanton (Dallas)…and not a single one has a prayer of winning.

Crew, Integrity, Claiming the Blessing and every other pro-sodomite, pansexual group in ECUSA's pantheon of bizarre behaviors will make sure of that. Stay tuned.

PRACTICING MUSLIMS OUTPACING ANGLICANS IN BRITAIN. Attendance at Britain's mosques has outstripped the number of regular worshippers in the Church of England for the first time, the Sunday Times reported.

Government and academic data show that 930,000 Muslims attend a place of worship at least weekly, compared with 916,000 Anglicans. Catholic churchgoers number 1.5 million, said Peter Brierley, executive director of the Christian Research Association.

The results of the 2001 census, released last year, have been supplemented by surveys to give the first reliable assessment of worshipping Muslims. The census recorded 1.59 million Muslims but academics believe the true figure is at least 1.8 million.

REAL MISSION, HOWEVER, IS GOING ON IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. The Rev. Dan Klooster, Executive Director Gateway Mission Training Center El Paso, Texas, CSA runs the Gateway Mission Training Center in El Paso near the Mexican border.

He wrote Virtuosity: "On January 6 Bishop Terence Kelshaw, Diocese of the Rio Grande gave title of the defunct St Anne's parish property in downtown El Paso to the mission. With this gift we now have an appropriate site for our downtown campus/urban ministry center and for our larger conference center campus on El Paso's east side. With these properties in place we are now separated only by money from having a cutting edge immersion based mission training center that will rival anything else being done anywhere in the world! We are already seeing hundreds in our programs with minimal staff and no facilities- I can only imagine what God will do here as the facilities and resources come on line." You won't see this story in Episcopal Life.

"The day after the diocese gave us the property we were contacted by a local office furniture distributor offering us a 1300 sq. ft warehouse full of furniture (much of it still in its shipping crates). It was easily enough to furnish the office space in the St Anne's property! God is proving so faithful that I am beginning to look forward to seeing how he will provide the $250,000.00 to complete the renovations. I know he plans to do it- otherwise why give us the furniture to move into the renovated space?"

Writes Klooster: "I think it is interesting/ironic that while New York (ECUSA's national headquarters) is leading us away from the faith, El Paso is moving forward with the biggest thing in Episcopal missions in the last 20 years!

¡Viva la Frontera! ¡Viva la Fe! !Jesu Cristo vive! ¡Gloria a Dios! en Cristo, he writes.

FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED CHURCHMAN DIRECTORY. Many of you have written to me asking for orthodox parishes you want to attend now that you are leaving the Episcopal Church. I am floating a Directory from the Fellowship of Concerned Churchman today. Check the state and diocese you are in and something will pop up. You might also want to check what orthodox Episcopal Churches still remain in your area, and what, if any, AMIA parish is nearby. The American Anglican Council will tell you about orthodox parishes in ECUSA and the AMIA headquarters in Pawleys Island will let you know where one of theirs can be located.

IN TODAY'S STORIES, you can read the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner's response to Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison on staying in the ECUSA and his historical perspective. This article is not for the faint of heart. Then you can read what two Primates, Archbishops Kolini (Rwanda) and Yong Ping Chung (Southeast Asia) have to say to Dr. Radner. We are wading in deep waters here. Next week you can read what Bishop Allison says back to Dr. Radner. These are profound issues and they are not to be taken lightly.

You can read an interview I did with the Primate of Rwanda, The Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini and there is also the sermon of the new Primate of Uganda and much more.

IN A STORY I WROTE ABOUT THE CONTINUERS I INADVERTENTLY made reference to their lack of evangelistic zeal even though they have faithfully maintained the faith once delivered. My comments had to do with what is gong on in the US and not overseas. The Traditional Anglican communion (TAC), for example, has a large and growing influence in many parts of the world. My apologies for this oversight.

CORRECTION: In my last digest I said that Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe and his wife had joined the AAC. He wrote to say that neither he nor Karen Howe has "joined" the AAC. Both asked to receive the e-mailings from the local AAC scribe.
In my opening comments I mentioned St. Matthias Episcopal, Athens, as being in Georgia, but the supporting article identifies it as in Texas. It is Texas.

AND THEN FOR A LITTLE LEVITY there's the following. The Diocese of Pennsylvania proudly announces the following workshops: Bishop Charles E Bennison will lead one on the "Unconscious Systems of Congregations" [You have to be unconscious to go] and then there's the ever popular "What the Closet Feels Like" [oh God please stay there]. Perhaps Frank Griswold will hold his own seminar on "The Unconscious Systems of Bishops"…. Its bound to be a draw card for revisionist bishops like Garrison, Bennison, Swing and Chane et al who have been theologically unconscious for years.

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS MINISTRY. Virtuosity needs your support. January is a low month for donations. Without your support Virtuosity would not and could not exist. There is no news service in the Anglican Communion that brings you the news in a more timely, accurate way as Virtuosity does. There are two ways you can help. You can make a donation through PAYPAL at the website, or you can send a check by snail mail to VIRTUOSITY, 1236 Waterford Road, West Chester, PA 19380. Please be generous. Thank you.

All Blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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