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COMMUNIQUE IS DIVIDING COMMUNION...HOB to meet...Diocesan News...more

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was another week that saw the lines drawn more sharply between orthodox and revisionist Anglicans.

The House of Bishops meets shortly in Texas where they will debate a moratorium on same-sex blessings and ordinations asked for in the Windsor Report. This will be a crucial meeting and may determine what will happen when GC2006 comes around.

Based on statements Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has already made, it is doubtful that any change of direction in the Episcopal Church can be expected, and therefore it is now only a matter of time before ECUSA faces full expulsion from the communion.

VirtueOnline has learned that the Rev. Mark Allen McIntosh, Canon Theologian to Griswold will lead the committee charged with producing a theological response to the Anglican Consultative Council's meeting in June; so no official stand will be taken as to whether or not the Episcopal Church will withdraw from the Communion until General Convention meets in June 2006.

There was some talk about whether the ACC would even receive the Americans and Canadians but NZ Primate John Paterson prevailed and said he would hear what they have to say and invited other "voices" as well.

America's orthodox bishops and clergy view the Primates' Meeting as a breakthrough, giving them the moral and ecclesiastical support they need in their struggle against the revisionist hierarchy of the ECUSA. Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network said that the clarity with which the Primates have spoken is breathtaking. "Individual provinces do have the freedom to act as they see fit under their various constitutions, but the exercise of that freedom beyond agreed teaching and practice will imperil their standing and participation in the Communion. Autonomy in communion is defined. Moratoria are called for Communion-wide. The need to turn our global attention to the great social crisis of disease and poverty is reasserted."

But there is some argument over language. The Communiqué talks about "voluntary withdrawal" but the Global South bishops talk about "suspension", and more and more that is the word being used. The idea is one of isolation and shunning, the latter being an interesting Amish word, but it would seem to apply here.

As Griswold has said there is no turning back or repentance for ECUSA, then logically the only way forward is for he and the vast majority of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops to go it alone, either by withdrawing themselves, or by the Global South led by Dr. Rowan Williams pushing them out. We shall see.

And on liberal Episcopal and Anglican websites there is a growing anger which reveals itself in such phrases as, "we don't need the Anglican Communion to tell us what to do, we can go it alone." And well they might.

All the Episcopal Church has to offer now is money, and that is so tainted most of the Global South won't take it anyway; that isolates the ECUSA even further. And as far as theological education goes, no bishop from the Global South is going to touch any textbook that comes out of the US, nor will they send their candidates to the US to study for Holy Orders. That day is also done.

The only remaining mystery is; what are the Global South archbishops going to do with the remnant orthodox in the ECUSA. The Network and its ally the American Anglican Council are the only two players left to deal with, and if Dr. Williams says he will put in place some sort of pastoral oversight, which of course would have to be accepted by the Americans, and there is no guarantee that it would, then it will need to have teeth. One hopes.

But as the lines are becoming more obvious, then revisionist bishops will only dig in their teeth to make sure that fleeing parishes pay dearly for their departure from the Episcopal fold.

The days of burning up time on peripheral matters, or rigging the schedule so your pals can talk about what really doesn't matter, thus crowding out hot button issues, didn't work. Archbishop Akinola said at Newry that the first duty of Christians was to resolve their differences with one another so Rowan Williams was forced to put the Windsor Report at the top of the agenda, thus putting off Griswold's heart felt "cry" for HIV/AIDS sufferers. Griswold was checkmated right there. He had lost the chess game.

Sadly the man most affected by all this has not been Griswold but Rowan Williams himself. He has isolated himself and become the whipping boy, not of the conservatives but liberals and revisionists, and you can read my story about this in today's digest.

IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS about what the Pluriform One thinks get a load of this theobabble "We find ourselves overtaken by a compassion, which because it is of the Spirit and not the result of our effort or imagination, knows no bounds and can enfold all persons and all things."

"It is a compassion which, in the words of St Isaac of Syria, embraces not only humankind but the birds and the beasts, the enemies of truth, those who wish to do us harm and, he adds, 'even the reptiles,' which may be seen as representing those slithery aspects of our own humanity which we are loath to admit to the company of our 'better' selves and therefore often displace on to others as evil."

If you had any doubt that Griswold was a panentheist, pluriform, universalist this should confirm it. He loves to take the odd Church Father right out of context and use it to make the point he wants to make.

BUT AS THE ORTHODOX withdraw from the battlefield we will begin to see the liberals start tearing themselves apart. A case in point is an article by Dr. Harriett Barber. She wrote: To Liberal Episcopal Clergy: "OK, jackasses, I bet you didn't expect this 15 or so years ago when you decided that it was time to teach us, the laity, the proper enlightened views about sexuality." Her views are so strong VirtueOnline cannot post them for fear of the digest being SPAMMED. So here is the link http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2158. Beware strong language.

AS IF TO PUT THE FEAR OF MONEY LOSSES the Communion will face if ECUSA is asked to leave, Mr. N. Kurt Barnes put out the Budget for the Anglican Communion Office. In 2003: $576,000. In 2004 it was $577,849

The budget of $47.4 million for 2005 includes: Block grants to Overseas Partnerships and Covenants $4.8 million (which includes a grant of $601,000 to the Anglican Communion Office). 2 The Anglican & Global Relations budget is $3.0 million (including grants to various provincial secretariats, support of missionaries working overseas, etc.) 3. The Archbishop of Canterbury asked and we agreed to provide space and indirect support to the Anglican Observer to the UN 4. Expenditures by various other programs benefit the wider Anglican Communion (e.g., Afro Anglican Conference; Caribbean Anglican Consultation; Anglican Indigenous Network; UN Conf. on the Status of Women; Anglican Peace and Justice Network, etc.)

I have news for the money boys. None of these things have anything to do with gospel proclamation; they are the failed legacy of a bankrupt liberalism. Do you think that Archbishop Akinola needs one penny of ECUSA's money to double his Province from 18 million to 36 million in the next three years?

Sure some poor will be hurt, but that is nothing compared to upholding the veracity of the gospel.

AND WITHIN ECUSA THIS WEEK the craziness just continued. A source in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA said that it was announced at the Bucks Deanery recently that the canons would be strictly enforced with respect to parochial reports, assessments, giving etc. When asked the reason for the crack down the Bishop said he needed a freer hand in lawsuits and that traditional laxity in these areas interfered with the Bennison's ability to sue and defend against lawsuits. It was also announced that the Diocese is operating under a $750,000 deficit, this in the face of legal fees of $75,000 this year, plus more than $300,000 last year, plus the newly authorized property grabs against Rosemont and Wynnewood and "brother" Charles has his hands full and his pockets growing emptier.

The real question is what and how soon will Rowan Williams commission come galloping in to provide episcopal oversight for these orthodox parishes who are feeling the pain of marauding bishops like Bennison?

But in the DIOCESE OF EASTERN KANSAS there was some good news. The largest parish in the diocese, which surprise, surprise is evangelical, is getting out and keeping its properties in a deal cut with the bishop. You can read the story by clicking here http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2178 or in today's digest.

And in the DIOCESE OF SOUTHERN VIRGINIA, Suffragan Bishop Joy Gallagher gets a pay out to get lost. The odd thing here is that it is Bishop David Bane who is in trouble and so far he gets to stay. The Diocese had asked Griswold to intervene, but in an odd move, she gets the heave ho not him. Go figure.

And in the DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES, the three churches facing ouster by Bishop J. Jon Bruno have been told to get mediation for their property disputes. You can read that here: http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2176.

PITTSBURGH BISHOP ROBERT DUNCAN TOLD THE NETWORK bishops this week that "The choice in many ways is between a church captured by its culture and a worldwide Christian Communion." Indeed. But Frank Griswold doesn't believe that. He believes he is on a mission from God, a prophetic voice crying in the secular wilderness, "prepare ye the way for Spong".

FORWARD IN FAITH NA has a new president and it is QUINCY BISHOP KEITH ACKERMAN. One cannot think of a nicer, more orthodox, godly bishop to be running the Anglo-Catholic remnant. Truly a man after God's own heart. He replaces Fr. David Moyer who became a bishop in the Traditional Anglican Communion.

I WAS IN THE DIOCESE OF MISSOURI this past week for a series of speaking engagements with two AMIA parishes. It was exciting to see 200 former Episcopalians worshipping, liberated from their former bondage. While there I met with 15 potential ordinands from this group who plan full time ministry. They have already started one congregation under the watchful eye of Fr. Paul Walter and another is planned for St. Charles later this year. Six new parishes are planned for next year. The liberal diocese just doesn't get it. If you have a gospel they will come. No gospel and you have a beautiful shell, fine robes and no people.

I AM POSTING A NUMBER OF STORIES from around the Anglican globe. Please feel free to get the rest of the story at the website: www.virtueonline.org.

ANNOUNCEMENT. It is my sad duty to announce that Mr. Tom Davis, 72, chairman of the board of VirtueOnline suffered a heart attack and died early Monday morning at his home. His wife Linda was with him. I had spoken to him by phone from St. Louis the night he died and we had agreed to have lunch this week. Tom was a life long Episcopalian who came into a deeper faith in later years while living in Long Island, New York. He loved the church and hated seeing what was happening to it. He was an avid promoter of ALPHA and loved supporting mission work. He loved this ministry and poured out his time, money and prayers to make it happen. I shall miss a dear friend, colleague and prayer partner. May light perpetual shine upon him. Please keep his wife, daughters and grandchild in your prayers.

All Blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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Thank you.

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