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Day of Reckoning Draws near for ECUSA...ACC invites gays to talk...ECUSA news...

"To claim the Bible approves homosexuality is equivalent to claiming that Tolstoy's War and Peace is a musical comedy." -Tim Wilkins, President, Cross Ministry

"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the synod leads on to fortune"... (Anonymous Anglican priest)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Day of Reckoning draws closer and the latest word out of Nairobi and the CAPA bishops is that African Anglican provinces will cut links with specific provinces in North America but will not force a split on the communion itself. Another source said that Griswold will once again be invited to repent (he won't) and the failure to exercise a moratorium on gay ordinations and consecrations will mean a permanent suspension of the Presiding Bishop from the communion.

That could also apply to every revisionist ECUSA bishop and a goodly number of Canadian Anglican bishops as well, not just to Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster. There is more wrong with the state of the Anglican Church in Canada than is publicly known. Only about 25 percent of their bishops are orthodox. What is not known is what Rowan Williams will do about the Primate of Brazil and the dogfight that Primate is in with his token orthodox diocese - Recife in Northeast Brazil. We will know more ere long.

But the heat is clearly on to do something, failure of which there will be wholesale departures from the Episcopal Church USA come March, and great will be the melting of the ECUSA ice cap. But one thing is certain, the African Archbishops will present a united front at this month's Primates' meeting, and that is for sure. What we don't know is whether time has run out for the revisionist bishops in ECUSA and Canada, or whether there is another step in the process before that happens.

The Primates said that they were not satisfied with the American Church's expression of regret. "They are apologizing for hurting our feelings, but that's not [the problem]" said Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Nigerian Primate. "By their actions the Episcopal Church has "repudiated the provisions of the Scriptures." Indeed.

THIS WEEK Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office invited two of the Episcopal Churches leading lesbigays to join him in London for yet another round of what passes for "conversation" on how one very small group of pansexualists in the Anglican Communion who choose to live in sexual sin and expect the rest of us to roll over and consent to it. The Rev Susan Russell, Integrity president when she emerged from this mini gabfest whined about the failure of "mutual careful listening" by the orthodox, which of course is a crock. We have "listened" this issue to death for more than 35 years. You can read that story today.

The ACC has shown itself to be totally one-sided on nearly all the issues in the Communion, and that is why Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola has no respect for this group. He has blasted this white boys club. We remember only too well what John Peterson did in manipulating the Primates to serve his uber-boss Frank Griswold when he headed this organization. It is so biased against the orthodox the Global South Primates should petition Rowan Williams to close it down. It will never speak for them.

ON THE ECUSA FRONT LINE at the DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE's 173rd Annual Convention marked a sea-change in the power structure of the diocese was noted. Dean Ken Swanson wrote saying that while ideology played a role at previous conventions, there was always a balance between conservative and liberal positions. "Usually individuals were elected to diocesan offices on the grounds of character, ability and experience regardless of their particular theological or ecclesiological positions. That is no longer the case. The very conservative Tennessee Anglican Council endorsed a list of candidates for every office. Their slate, which seems to have been predicated on how individuals felt about the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, won every election by a margin of nearly two-thirds of those voting. This is a startling reversal, he noted.

Because of a serious decline in stewardship in the diocese, the Diocesan Budget had to be radically slashed. A couple of key elements emerged. Diocesan commitment to ECUSA which should have been $163,000.00 was reduced to $47,000.00. Amendments calling for an increase in giving to ECUSA failed. The second issue was really not ideological, but was still a rejection of the bishop's stated wishes. Bishop Bertram Herlong's vision has been to plant a new congregation every year. There are now seven such "plants". The first two, Good Shepherd in Brentwood and All Saint's in Smyrna, have flourished and are now self-sustaining parishes. The others are all struggling, and still demand significant diocesan support. The 2005 budget called for $30,000.00 to start another new mission.

A call for the Diocese of Tennessee to join the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes was tabled to next year's convention. Bishop Herlong is an orthodox bishop.

In the DIOCESE OF ALABAMA Henry Parsley has fired back at what he calls "inaccurate Internet reporting" saying that there have been absolutely no charges made in this matter by me or by my office regarding the Rector of the Church of the Ascension, the Rev. John Michael Van Dyke.

So what's the truth here? Parsley got ONE complaint from a member of the Church of the Ascension (which has 1600 members) which "forced" the Standing Committee to use Canon IV.10 to address reports of abandonment of communion. Canonically this is directed to the Standing Committee not the Bishop. The Standing Committee was obliged to investigate this and it was for this purpose that they wrote to the Rev. John Michael Van Dyke, said Parsley. "Unfortunately the letter has been referenced out of context. I and others have been working for a number of months to reach a pastoral understanding with the vestry of the Church of the Ascension regarding certain aspects of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. On January 19th we reached such an understanding, which, in the spirit of the Windsor Report, is a witness to our commitment to healing and reconciliation.

The truth is nothing has been resolved. The Rev. Van Dyke will not unsign himself from the First Promise agreement and he and the bishop are in for a fight. Now it is becoming the common practice of revisionist bishops who want to oust orthodox rectors to find one or two disgruntled parishioners and use them as an excuse to oust their godly rectors. It happened in Central Pennsylvania and it will happen increasingly across the country. Watch for this tactic to grow in the coming months.

I have said it repeatedly that NOTHING will stop the revisionist steam roller from rolling right over godly men and women who have a gospel to proclaim with souls to save. The Primates MUST ACT to stop this. They must tell Griswold in no uncertain terms that he is allowing, by his silence, the slow evisceration of orthodox priests in the Episcopal Church.

In the DIOCESE OF EASTERN MICHIGAN you can read what the revisionist Bishop Ed Leidel has done to five priests in his diocese. The good news is that all these rectors are now flourishing outside the Episcopal Church. They feel free. The Rev. Steve Dewey, formerly of Grace Episcopal, Lapeer told VirtueOnline, "Initially the feeling was one of great sadness and hurt, now it is one of tremendous excitement. We are moving on with the ministry of the church. We are not taking Episcopalians and making them Anglicans but taking Anglicans and making them Great Commission workers."

Now if you had any doubts about the future of revisionist bishops and their dioceses consider the latest statistics from the DIOCESE OF IOWA, a fairly typical diocese where the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe presides and who voted for V. Gene Robinson's consecration. In 1997 the diocese had 22,882 communicants. By 1999 it had dropped to 9,601 communicants and today it has less than 8,000. Pray tell us where is the spiritual health in the revisionist agenda of the Episcopal Church as it is reflected in this one diocese? The answer of course is none. The Robinson consecration is decimating the ranks of ordinary parishes.

And in the DIOCESE OF LEXINGTON Episcopal Bishop Stacy Sauls has taken the first step toward defrocking three priests and one deacon. Said the bishop, "The gospel imperative is to reconcile."

"Really," said the Rev. David Brannen one of the priests being deposed; "is that reconciliation or retaliation?"

And a parish in the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT has announced a moratorium on all weddings if gays are not allowed to get married in his parish. In a protest against the Episcopal Church's refusal to allow same-sex marriages, the leaders of St. Thomas's Episcopal Church in New Haven says it will perform no marriage ceremonies at all.

This decision was conveyed in a letter from the priest to the 115 families of St. Thomas's Episcopal Church and present what the local media called "a novel challenge to the social and religious barriers to marriage between homosexuals." Oddly enough while the church has adopted the new policy no gay couples have asked to be married there. Only about five heterosexual couples a year seek to be married at St. Thomas's. The Rev. Michael F. Ray, the church's priest, said he would refer those couples to one of a dozen other Episcopal churches in the area. He also said he would ask the couples "to postpone their marriage and stand in solidarity with same-sex couples so they understand what it's like not to have that privilege."

Father Ray said his own daughter, Catherine, a graduate student in Arizona, would forgo a religious ceremony for now. "I am overwhelmed by their expression of support and solidarity," he wrote of the couple, who will proceed with a civil ceremony.

Father Ray did admit that St. Thomas's had lost some families since discussion of a possible moratorium began in November. Parishioners said the conversation about the issue has been bubbling up for at least four years.

Ironically Father Ray, 62, is a divorced father of three who has been in a 17-year relationship with another man. Gosh you don't think that had anything to do with his decision do you? Of course not. Silly me. Connecticut Bishop Andrew D. Smith supported the Robinson consecration said "It's prohibited. We don't go there," but added, "We have to reach some understandings about the ways to support persons in same-sex relationships within the church, and we haven't yet." Of course it hasn't but any fool knows where this is going.

And TIME magazine came out with its 25 top evangelicals of the year with four of them being Episcopalians. The four were the Ahmanson family (2), super rich and generous Episcopalians who attend St. James, Newport Beach in California; Diane Knippers who heads the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a think tank in Washington, DC., and J.I. Packer described by TIME as a Theological Traffic Cop.

What was significant about this list is who were left out. While it included some pretty solid folk like Chuck Colson, Billy Graham (but why Franklin who is a lightweight), Richard John Neuhaus, a Roman Catholic leader and Mark Noll an evangelical intellectual Exemplar, they were for the most part non entities. Who is David Barton "The Lesson Planner"? or Ted Haggard of "Opening Up the Umbrella Group" and some lobbyist called Richard Land, billed as God's Lobbyist. I had no idea He needed one.

The people who should have been on this list include John R. W. Stott probably the greatest Evangelical Anglican of the last century whose books, over 50, and international globe trotter as preacher and teacher, has made his name synonymous with evangelicalism. Columnist David Brooks even wrote an article about him for the New York Times recently. Or what about George Gallup, who headed, till recently, the most significant pollster organization in America. He is through and through evangelical and Episcopalian, a gentleman and a man of God. And why wasn't Os Guinness on this list. He is, without peer, the brainiest and brightest Evangelical in America today. He is the author of more than 20 books including "The American Hour". "Time For Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype and Spin", "God in the Dark", and Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think, and is also a speaker of international renown. Born in China and educated in England, he is a graduate of Oxford University with a Ph.D. in the social sciences. I am reviewing his latest book UNSPEAKABLE on the subject of moral evil.

There are also a pantheon of lesser evangelicals who could have been included including David Aikman former TIME magazine correspondent who heads a Christian journalist organization called GEGRAPHA and author of books on China and the church and Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Lord George Carey an evangelical who lead the Anglican Communion for 11 years. Canon Michael Green is England's top Anglican evangelist both as teacher and practitioner, author of 20 books and more. To have lightweights like Knippers, Hybels and the LaHayes only discredits Evangelicals. I suppose we should be grateful TIME didn't include Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

A note I wrote on the All Saints' situation on Pawleys Island, SC between Bishop Ed Salmon of the DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA and the Anglican Mission in America prompted a call from him. To balance what I wrote last time I will give you the gist of our conversation which he said could be distributed. The bishop is not being pushed by David Booth Beers, the Episcopal church's national attorney to hold the AMIA feet to the flames on this legal situation. The bishop was not aware of the lawsuit being filed...he did not file it, it was filed by some of the dissidents (or original) members of All Saints. The bishop said the congregation is the primary mover not himself and the action goes back to what the AMIA did in 2004 and attempted to change the 1902 charter and remove all references to the diocese. The lawsuit was started by the trustees. Salmon: "We gave the property back to them. We didn't want to do anything. We are waiting for The Supreme Court to decide. If we let itstand the other side will prevail, therefore no change. The charter is theirs, and gives them our tax number. If you don't challenge by their behavior they will prevail. We want a settlement. Salmon said that every parish owns its own properties; the Diocese does not own any church property. "We don't hold a single deed to the parish properties." He said the dissidents asked for the chapel for our people, but were told no. He said the dissidents don't want to give the cemetery to the outlanders. There are 64 acres involved. "The 1902 charter needs to be settled." Salmon told VirtueOnline that the law suits were a "witness against the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not making any charges, there are no theological disagreements. It is a tragedy what is going on. It is wrong. I want it ended," he said.

And in the DIOCESE OF SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA a heated debate on gay issues arose this past week. The council refused to adopt a resolution that accepts the Windsor Report, which is critical of the Episcopal Church (USA). The debate was passionate and delegates were deeply divided over the issue In an emotional speech following the defeat of a resolution of which he was a principal author, Carter Brothers stood up to say "I am embarrassed by this council," and indicated he was reconsidering his church membership. While most of his fellow traditionalist Episcopalians weren't prepared to go that far, many were clearly frustrated by the council's refusal to adopt a resolution they saw as attempting to bridge the differences between themselves and the more liberal members of the church.

So now we have not only the Robinson's consecration dividing the church but the Windsor Report itself. How long will it be before the whole church implodes? Is anybody listening out there?

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT IS CLIMBING DOWN on a religious hatred bill writes Ruth Gledhill and Nicola Woolcock of the London Times.

A broad based coalition of journalists, senior lawyers, MPs, peers, human rights groups, civil liberties organizations, religious organizations, secularists and actors, amongst others, co-coordinated by the Barnabas Fund feared that far from achieving this laudable aim the law will instead effectively end up banning all legitimate criticism of religion and religious practices."

The Government will rename the offence "hatred against persons on racial or religious grounds" to make clear that it is not religious jokes, beliefs or ideas that are being targeted. Opponents of the legislation dismissed the change as no more than a "slight improvement", alleging that it would still imperil the country's tradition of free speech.

The Barnabas Fund, through its leader Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo issued a briefing pack for all MPs warning of the dangers to free speech posed by proposed new laws banning incitement to religious hatred.

I have posted a number of stories today including an extensive article on a bill before the Virginia Senate that could have profound effects on the Dennis Canon if it passes.

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