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Communion moves towards brink...Griswold...gay marriage...Libs routed...

The split between the Gospel and culture is undoubtedly the drama of our time ("Evangelii Nuntiandi," 20), it is manifest today as a "crisis of meaning" (cf. "Fides et Ratio," 81). Ambiguous moral positions, the distortion of reason by particular interest groups, and the absolutization of the subjective, are just some examples of a perspective of life which fails to seek truth itself and abandons the search for the ultimate goal and meaning of human existence (cf. ibid., 47). Pope Paul VI

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The worldwide Anglican Communion stepped a little closer to the brink of schism this past week when several orthodox Archbishops demanded the expulsion of the Anglican Church of Canada over its affirmation of the "sanctity" of gay relationships.

It was an interesting use of the word "sanctity" with liberal supporters of the amendment claiming that they did not intend the word "sanctity" to have any theological significance. Not true fired back a number of orthodox Anglicans. They argued that, in Church language, sanctity meant blessed, and they weren't buying it.

But what happened was far more than linguistic it was a downright slap in the face at the Global South bishops, the Lambeth (Eames) Commission and the Archbishop of Canterbury who, the previous day had praised the restrained actions of the Canadian church. He miscalculated or spoke too soon. Some 24 hours later the Canadian church back doored an amendment, approved of by a large majority of the Canadian Synod to placate disappointed gay rights activists who approve of homosexual relationships. It was about as sneaky a thing as you could imagine, but should come as no surprise to those of us familiar with the tactics of revisionist gay agit-prop.

When Virtuosity inquired as to whether Lambeth Palace would now issue a repudiation of the Canadian action or a rebuttal of their former statement, I was told no, largely because it is suspected that the deep thinkers in the palace have no problem with what happened in Canada, and why open up yet another can of worms.

But a group of Global South primates reacted with fury to the late amendment that injected new controversy into the resolution. Two Primates, Drexel Gomez (Nassau) and Greg Venables (Southern Cone) said what happened in Canada was worse than one could have imagined, putting homosexual relations on a par with marriage. (There was no collective Primatial disapproval despite a number of media reports).

FRANK GRISWOLD WENT TO THE CANADIAN SYNOD and preached at the installation of the new Canadian Primate Primate-elect Andrew Hutchison. It was vintage Griswold. Herein the gospel according to Frank: "Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there. Thus exclaims Rumi, the Sufi poet and mystic. The field is the "open place" of the psalmist. It is the pasture into which Christ the good shepherd leads his sheep. This field is the force field of the divine love which sustains the universe. We speak a great deal these days about communion. Are we in communion or out of communion? Is our communion real but imperfect, or is it impaired? We speak of communion as if it were a human construction, as if it were something we have the power to bestow or withhold. In so doing we overlook the fact that communion is an expression of God's love: the love with which the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father in what St. Paul calls the "communion of the Holy Spirit."

This is the Griswoldian version of truth; a mixture of Star Wars Gnosticism and mystic paganism stirred in a panentheistic Islamic salad bowl and eaten at leisure while waiting for the Second Coming. And as far as who is in and out of communion, that's easy to answer. Some 22 Primates have said they are out of Communion with Griswold and the Lambeth (Eames) Commission might make it a home run.

Later in the week the ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NIGERIA took a swipe at the actions the Canadian church took condemning what they did in no uncertain terms. "This latest move of the Church of Canada can neither be justified nor supported," the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

THE LATE PRESIDENT'S STATE FUNERAL was held at the Episcopal Church's Washington National Cathedral this week. Across America orthodox Episcopalians found it morally offensive and totally inappropriate because Washington Bishop John Bryson Chane's sexual views were seen as dishonoring to Ronald Reagan's memory. "It not only dishonors the president it also insults those of us who are aware of liberal hatred of everything for which he stood," wrote one Episcopalian.

"President Ronald Reagan was a champion of conservative causes. He was pro-life, he gave moral support and leadership to conservative Christians in Washington. Sadly, his funeral was held at a monument to secular humanism, liberal tyranny and homoerotic marriages, The National Cathedral. The Episcopal Diocese of Washington proudly admits it has been conducting same sex marriages since the 1970s, and routinely has such services at this 'religious institution'." The Gipper would not have approved.

The next day in a brazen act of ecclesiastical disobedience Chane performed a same-sex blessing for one of the country's top homosexual rights advocates and his partner while protesters stood outside St. George's Episcopal Church in Glenn Dale holding crosses swathed in black fabric. (You can read two stories about that in today's digest).

A little known historical footnote about Chane is that when he was the pastor at St. Paul's Cathedral in Erie, PA. he performed a same-sex blessing service. He was in Erie from 1975-1987, long before the church approved sodomite rites.

An observer at the wedding said Michael Hopkins broke down while saying his vows - the two men joined hands and promised each other "faith, hope and love" in "mutuality of body and spirit". Then the two men and Chane hugged and then the two grooms kissed each other. A reception featured lavender table cloths and purple orchids but not two grooms atop a cake. The "blessing of the covenant" the bishop pronounced was actually the Sursum Corda.

Former Episcopal evangelist Lee Buck wrote to Chane and gave him an earful. "Pagans are defaming and scandalizing the words founds in our sacred pages. You sir, are not a Christian and the Episcopal Church is no longer a Christian Church...the day is coming when you will meet the Master face to face and He will say to you, 'I never knew you'!" OUCH.

ACROSS THE NATION in one Episcopal diocese and parish after another the lines are being drawn as orthodox parishes and revisionist diocesan bishops fight for control over who owns what and how much orthodox priests and parishes should pay to stay, or keep bishops away, often times waiting for the heavy hammer of inhibition to fall.

IN THE DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND, the cathedral Dean James J. Cardone was fired on Friday by Bishop Orris Walker after he walked uninvited into the Vestry meeting of the Cathedral of the Incarnation at Garden City. He allegedly accused the Dean of racism, said a reliable source. The source reported that when the bishop was asked if he was bringing somebody in, he said no and that he did not care if the Cathedral fell down. Cardone's "sin" seems to have been the reinstatement of Rite I twice a month at the request of the congregation. I called the diocese and they said the bishop had sent out a letter explaining his actions. I was told I would be FAXED a copy, but it never came.

IN THE DIOCESE OF ALBANY liberal forces were routed on the weekend at their diocesan convention. An overwhelming number of clergy and laity voted to join the Anglican Communion Network. Out of more than 120 clergy who attended the convention, almost 80 percent voted to join, according to Canon Kay Hotaling, spokeswoman for the diocese. Among the 100 or so lay members, about 60 percent voted to join the network.

Bishop Dan Herzog reaffirmed his commitment to the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ. He also announced his differences with the direction of the Presiding Bishop and the revisionist majority of the House of Bishops was taking and made a strong stand for the Network. The Via Media group and all their liberal apparatiks were roundly defeated by comfortable majorities, and they were blown off trying to table the resolution. The orthodox forces were organized, and they enjoyed a clean sweep.

And in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA Charles E. Bennison paid an unwanted visit to the biblically orthodox Church of the Good Samaritan causing more pain by talking more rubbish than it is humanly possible for a bishop to talk. While down the road at the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Rosemont, PA, Central African Archbishop Bernard Malango paid a very much anticipated and wanted call on Fr. David Moyer and gave him his apostolic blessing. Bennison has been trying to unseat Moyer for years but to no avail.

But Bennison is in serious legal trouble on two other fronts. Legal bills for the Diocese from lawsuits by Fr. Moyer have begun to pile up. Bennison tried to get the insurance company for the Diocese to pay the fees. However, in a letter to Chandler Joyner of the Diocese, the insurance company pointed out that there is no coverage for an "intentional, malicious and fraudulent scheme". Now, the insurance company has sued both Bennison and the Diocese, asking the Montgomery County Court to declare that the company has no obligation to pay legal fees or to indemnify the Diocese or Bennison if the jury awards damages to Father Moyer.

But that's not all Bennison's woes.

DIOCESAN WHISTLEBLOWER. Virtuosity has been given a copy of a 7-page letter to Bishop Bennison with copies shown to the Chair of Diocesan Council/the President of the Standing Committee/the Chair of the Finance and Property Committee. The author of the letter, Joseph A. Suprenuk describes himself as a former Diocesan employee; a CPA; and an MBA in Finance & Accounting. The subjects of the letter are: "Wasteful Spending"; "Ineffective Financial Management"; and "The Intentional Withholding of Pertinent Financial Information from Certain Decision-Making Bodies". The author of the letter has refused to consent to the publication of the letter. Virtuosity spoke to Glenn Matis the president of the Standing Committee and asked for comments. Matis promised to call back but never did.

The only question that remains is how long will the Standing Committee go along with the revisionist Bennison. In truth even the liberals don't trust him any more as they don't know what he will do to them when the money, already drying up, does not flow freely to their dying parishes.

IN THE DIOCESE OF NEW JERSEY, Virtuosity has learned that the Rev. Kristin Krieger, a deacon at the Episcopal Church in Wenonah, NJ, and lesbian partner to the Rev. Mantelle Bradley is pregnant. "Mother Mantelle" as she is known, recently gave birth to a child and now her lesbian partner has conceived. Both are heavily into youth ministries for the diocese. This is hardly a role model for parents desperate for their children to stay on the straight and narrow.

AND IN THE DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM AN ECUMENICAL GAY welcoming service was held to which the revisionist Bethlehem Bishop Paul V. Marshall lent his
blessing and his words. The Allentown Morning Call newspaper reported that at the ''All Together Now'' (ATN) meeting Marshall spoke on the theme, ''The Gay Faithful, Equal before God.'' The combined choir members from the Lehigh Valley Gay Men's Chorus and choir members from various other organizations participated. Pastors from a number of denominations participated using a worship liturgy developed jointly by all represented denominations. Refreshments included gallons of fruit juice.

IN THE DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA, the Rev. Vinnie Lainson of Trinity Episcopal Church, Manassas Virginia asked, "If you don't give and you don't allow any bishops from the diocese to come and visit, are you still an Episcopal Church?"

Wrong set of questions – and the fact that these questions can be seen as foundational says everything about the state of the church.

Here are some of the right questions:

“If you disbelieve the Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, are you still an Episcopal Church; or, to put it another way, are you still a Church at all?”

The question that begs to be asked is: “Do we place our identity as the Episcopal Church above that of belonging to the same Church that can be traced historically from the time of Jesus Christ, which the Episcopal “Church”? Can this be sustained with any level of intellectual and moral honesty?

At the UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH AT SEWANEE a senior member of the faculty of the School of Theology has petitioned the University of the South to give an honorary degree to Gene Robinson. Don Armentrout -- a Lutheran pastor and a complete revisionist -- has written to Dr. Cunningham and the committee in charge of honorary
degrees, pointing out that, since Robinson is a graduate of the university, he should be given an honorary degree. There seems to be some internal debate on the committee because, while Robinson is a graduate of the college, he's not a graduate of the seminary ... alums of Sewanee who are elected to the episcopate are customarily given honorary
degrees, but the internal debate now seems to hinge on whether that applies to the seminary alone or if it also applies to alums of the college. It sounds as though there hasn't been a distinction made in the past. Armentrout and a few others on the faculty are pushing this. A source tells Virtuosity that some of the more orthodox faculty and students say that, if Robinson is given an honorary degree, they simply won't attend. Are protests and boycotts next?

In the DIOCESE OF COLORADO an orthodox priest took a major swing at his revisionist Bishop Robert O'Neill over allowing a lesbian to do a shack-up ceremony in a parish. You can read his hard-hitting letter in today's digest.

The Church of The Holy Spirit in Tulsa, DIOCESE OF OKLAHOMA has voted to join the Network of Confessing Churches. The Resolution passed unanimously in the vestry and passed 119-4 in a vote of the congregation. Bishop Moody is planning a visit to this church. It'll be interesting to see how much arm-twisting he does.

And in the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT, St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford Conn. is now giving Holy Communion to pets. The New Oxford Review reports, "That's one way to minimize membership losses in the shrinking Episcopal Church. It can only be given on the tongue, so there is a traditional aspect here. We imagine the priest or priestess must be very agile so as not to get bitten. There are fewer condemnations of bestiality in the Bible than of homosexuality. If the Episcopalians can swallow homosexuality, bestiality has to be a cinch. Yes we can see it now. Fido and Forklift Florence inside a sumptuous Episcopal Church. What a cute couple!"

Back in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA (read Transylvania where the ghoulish Bennison resides) the Rev. Greg Brewer, rector of the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli wrote a letter to the revisionist bishop telling him that his visit was a rip roaring failure. The figures declared it. The total attendance for three services was 131 of which 50 were ringers, leaving 81 from a congregation that regularly sees more than 750 at four services.

Brewer was irenic enough. He wrote the bishop, "You see truth as fluid, changing in its definition and its application from generation to generation, and culture to culture. We see truth as fixed and not fluid, expressed definitely in the life and witness of Jesus, the Son of God." That's telling him. Brewer also said the bishop's visit was "painful" and "difficult". It's hard to hang out with heretics. Bennison was not offered coffee. Most of the congregation thought Brewer handled it all very graciously.

ROBINSON INVITED TO LUTHERAN CONSECRATION

It was reported in Kairos News that homoerotic Episcopal NH Bishop Gene Robinson was a participant in an ELCA Lutheran ordination service, recently. This report was based upon the report of an eye-witness. However, ELCA New England Bishop Payne says that although Robinson was invited, he did not attend, nor--according to the NE Bishop--would he have taken an active part in the service had he been there.

ECUSA'S AD CAMPAIGN GETS UNDERWAY. A national ad campaign to help create awareness of the Episcopal Church took its first public step last week as Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold indicated his support in a letter sent to diocesan bishops June 2. "I affirm this initiative, and I think that it comes at the right time for our church," Griswold said. "As we continue to engage the mission energies in our church, the campaign is a bold step towards reaching out to a broader audience." The idea of a campaign was born from the strategy group of the 20/20 movement, a goal that General Convention adopted in July 2000 to contribute to the growth and vitality of the church and its congregations. The group, which recognized that advertising is a key part of the conversation, especially among "next generations," saw advertising as an opportunity "to raise Episcopalians' perceptions of themselves and lead to intentional welcoming training among churches." Forget everything you know about the ECUSA. What comes to mind when you hear the words "Episcopal Church?" Exactly. Old money. Pew rents. Phillips Brooks. Caviar and an '82 Mouton Rothschild whilst watching polo. People who use words like "whilst." Sipping sherry after the fox hunt. 22 Primates hold love-in for ECUSA. Not exactly the sorts of images which appeal to the great unwashed.

One wag wrote, "What the Episcopal Church needs is a new, fresh, contemporary, human name so that the masses will not be scared away. I like to be constructive here every so often so I've come up with a few suggestions that the Episcopal Church is welcome to use. This is an old one: I Can't Believe It's Not Roman Catholicism! Piskiemania 2004! TGI Griswold's; McChristianity; Gene Robinson's Episcopalooza. You get the idea.
EXTREME ANGLICANISM!! IT'LL BLOW YOU AWAYYYYY!!

And the PR campaign cost to make the ECUSA more lesbitransgay (with occasional straights) friendly...a mere $750,000!

And in the DIOCESE OF WESTERN NEW things go from bad to worse. The Dean of the cathedral, Allen Farabee got terminated this past week. He was running it into the ground. You can read that story.

A recent meeting of EPISCOPAL COMMUNICATORS at Kanuga focused on "listening" a much favored word by ECUSA's liberal elite. Behind these words is the idea of keeping an open mind, presumably indefinitely, with the greater sin being to close it on anything substantial. God forbid. By keeping an open mind one can, presumably, allow anything to go in and out at random without stopping on the way to find out if it is true or not. You can read my full report today.

The outgoing president of the SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION Rev. Jack Graham told the media recently, when asked about the Episcopal Church's consecration of an openly homosexual bishop what the orthodox in ECUSA should do replied, "I pray that Bible-believing Episcopalians can either change their church or divide it and move on." The outgoing SBC leader also hopes that his own denomination will consider changing its name to reflect the "national and international presence of Southern Baptists."

AND if you thought it was just the ECUSA that was having problems over same-sex marriages then consider what 500 members of First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, CT did recently. They voted to leave the UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST last week after years of growing discord over differences in theological beliefs and social issues. The decision to break away returns First Church to its status for much of its 369-year history: an independent Congregational church. First Church is the largest UCC church in New England and its leaders have criticized what they say is the denomination's embrace of same-sex marriage, acceptance of homosexuality and teachings that do not conform to their view of the Bible.

And in the DIOCESE OF NORTH CAROLINA the diocesan retreat, The Summit is to close. According to Council minutes of March 25, The Summit is running out of cash and at this time it does not appear that the Diocese has the means to supply it. Blame it on the conservatives who no longer want to fund Bishop Michael Curry's pansexual religion.
The diocesan balance sheet total showed only $303,594, with a warning that due to a number of factors, it would stand at less than $50,000 by the end of this year. There are a couple of offers to purchase The Summit with one from the Assemblies of God. Guess they must have figured out who Jesus REALLY is and the Kingdom he proclaims. Bishop Curry is still figuring it out apparently.

Bishop John W. Howe of CENTRAL FLORIDA took a swing at Bishop Jon Bruno, DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES this week for participating in the "marriage" of poet and spiritual gadfly Malcolm Boyd, 80 to his 51-year old lover. He told him in no uncertain terms that it hurts ECUSA and "saddens me" and "I oppose what you have done." It also makes ECUSA look bad abroad. One wonders at this point if the revisionists even care any more what the Global South thinks.

DIOCESE OF RIO GRANDE BISHOP TERENCE KELSHAW was hospitalized in Canada this week after collapsing on a plane. He was placed in the ICU at the Health Science Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland. The main health concern for the Bishop right now is the pneumonia in his lungs. He is on strong I/V antibiotics to help fight the pneumonia and infections. He is on a ventilator that is assisting his breathing, allowing his lungs to rest while they heal. His temperature is fine and his blood work looks good, said his wife. Progress is slow but we are optimistic on his recovery, she said. PRAY FOR THIS GODLY BISHOP.

And this just in, ECUSA's Executive Council yesterday elected the most revisionist bishop of Canada, Michael Ingham of New Westminster as the new Anglican Church of Canada liaison to the Episcopal Church. That is probably the single most outrageous act the ECUSA could have done in the face of the Global South bishops, many of whom have publicly declared themselves out of communion with the Canadian bishop.

ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE, the Province of Aotearoa which includes New
Zealand got themselves a new Primate - a Maori - and he says he has a vision of a world without homosexuality. Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, 75, is the controversial replacement for Archbishop John Paterson, who has headed New Zealand's largest church for seven years. In his first big interview he told the Weekend Herald he believed that homosexuality was unnatural and not morally right. "And that's not quoting scripture either ... I'm just basing it on my human - I'spose I should be basing it on scripture also, but I'm basing it on human accepted norms." is wrong.
UNNATURAL! Whatever next!

After the liberal John Paterson this is a welcome change. Does this mean that the whole country will go orthodox? Not necessarily. Only the DIOCESE OF NELSON under Derek Eaton is orthodox in NZ, but at least the head of the church seems to have his head on straight. Now if only the Australians would elect Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen to be the next Primate, replacing Peter Carnley in that country, it would be a clean sweep for the Antipodes.

But the ANGLICAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA is not without current woes. The Archbishop of Adelaide Ian George resigned this week over a cover-up of a pedophile sex scandal. It never pays to hide sin, it has a way of coming back to bite you.

And in the CHURCH OF ENGLAND, the clergy of the DIOCESE OF ST. ALBAN'S are preparing to rumble over the appointment of Jeffrey John to be the next Dean of the cathedral. This problem is not going away, and the evangelicals know the power of money, or the withholding of it, and they will do precisely that to prevent his appointment. His appointment as dean might be a sop to the job of not getting the bishopric of Reading, but the Evangelicals see no difference.

Over 70 clergy and laity along with 17 others said that the Bishop's action has caused a breakdown of trust and divided the Diocese impinging upon the desire of the Bishop to be seen as a focus of unity. They may seek alternative Episcopal oversight, redirect monies and more.

If you are looking for a new website with a different perspective on the news go to http://getreligion.typepad.com/getreligion/2004/02/what_were_doing.html. Two friends of mine Terry Mattingly and Doug LeBlanc have started this blog. Mattingly writes: "Day after day, millions of Americans who frequent pews see ghosts when they pick up their newspapers or turn on television news. They read stories that are important to their lives, yet they seem to catch fleeting glimpses of other characters or other plots between the lines. There seem to be other ideas or influences hiding there. But that doesn't mean they aren't there.www.getreligion.com will give you more...try it."

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