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Delusion must end about ECUSA...No bishop for Tennessee...Bennison faces end...

"In my view, is that it will not be long before the canons will be the only serious link between various bishops and dioceses and, at the national level, we will become a church of Pharisees and Sadducees, arguing over the fine points of the law while failing utterly in our mission to evangelize the world for Christ." The Rt. Rev. John H. MacNaughton, Bishop of West Texas (quoted in The Living Church)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
3/23/2006

Hubris has struck. For a church that was founded as a reformation of corrupt Catholicism, we now have an Episcopal Church that even the Borgia papacy would have found beneath contempt.

Increasingly, VirtueOnline is being told by bishops, clergy and laity fed up with all the duplicity, direction and lies of the revisionists, 'let them ordain a lesbian to the Diocese of California, let them vote ultra-liberal Nevada Bishop Katherine Schori to be the next Presiding Bishop. Let's have no more charade, let's get on with it, let the whole Anglican Communion and the broader Christian world know that there will be no repentance, no change of direction for the Episcopal Church; so let them vote in all the queers, losers and administrative disasters to the highest Episcopal offices and then sit back and watch the church go to hell in a hand basket.' The time for pretense is over.

And then, and only then, will the Archbishop of Canterbury act. Maybe.

The only question now is how long will the delusion continue? How much longer do we "listen", that now much over used over abused word that is designed to do nothing more than delay and stall. How much longer will the deception continue behind fine words and trust funds used to manipulate with an endless supply of checks?

Are our leaders so blind that they do not see the obvious? How long do they think they can go on fooling us? Are we all that stupid? Look at the laity. Most of them know the truth, they know the church is being taken down wrong paths, they can smell it in the air, they hear it in the empty, hollow sermons, and each week they die spiritually just a little bit more. The high sounding words of Frank Griswold are empty of real meaning, 'your truth and my truth' means, in the end, that there is no truth at all, just a jumble of meaningless sentences strung together with a quote or two from the Church Fathers or Sufi Rumi, giving off a vague aura of truth but, like incense, it soon disappears and the emptiness returns.

Look at what happened this past week in the DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE. After 10 hours of voting and 16 ballots the 212 clergy and lay delegates representing 51 congregations in the diocese couldn't agree. None of the four candidates came close to getting the required two-thirds of the clergy and the lay votes to lead the diocese. At the end of the day, the Rev. Canon James B. Magness of the Diocese of Kentucky was the top vote getter among with clergy, with 44 of 85 votes. The Rev. Canon Neal O. Michell of the Diocese of Dallas was tops among lay delegates, getting 71 of 127 lay votes. Now the laity wanted an evangelical bishop and if they were voting alone they would have gotten it in Canon Michell, a leader in his own Diocese of Dallas. In Magness (if he wins) they will get a moderate voice, and in time we know how "moderates" go. Sooner or later they bend to the will of the Presiding Bishop and become liberal and then revisionist. It's only a matter of time. But the laity knew what they wanted even if the clergy flip flopped along in 16 ballots trying to figure out whom. Voting will resume Saturday, March 25th.

THE HOB IS MEETING IN KANUGA this week where the Commission was charged with receiving all of the proposals and resolutions seeking to respond to the Windsor Report and, in particular, to those of its recommendations that are addressed to the Episcopal Church.

They were given an outline of the still-evolving Report, but not the Report itself - for two reasons: a) the bishops' comments on what we heard today will be taken back to the Commission, and it will attempt to incorporate many of these comments into the final version of the Report, and b) the Commission serves both of Houses, and the Commission wisely believes it would not give even a preliminary version of the Report to the bishops prior to the deputies being able to receive it, as well.

The bishops were told that the Report is envisioned to be "about 30 pages" in length, not counting the appendices, and it will reflect both on how we have gotten to where we are, and then propose nine specific Resolutions for the consideration of the General Convention.

One bishop wrote to VirtueOnline saying that the Commission had done a very substantial piece of work. "It has taken its task very seriously, it reflects a deep sensitivity to what has happened throughout the Communion since our last General Convention, and it stretches as far as it believes ECUSA can stretch in the direction requested by the Windsor Report."

The bishop said it was a good deal stronger than he anticipated. "It was applauded by many of our bishops including Bob Duncan, Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network."

Of course, it may be amended, or even rejected, by the General Convention. And, more seriously than that, it may be ignored by some bishops and dioceses. And, even if it is passed by General Convention in substantially its present form, it may not be enough to satisfy many others around the larger Communion.

But after a year and a half of our NOT responding very adequately the bishop saw this as a positive move forward.

The bishops were also impressed by the now seven candidates seeking for the office of Presiding Bishop, particularly the moderately orthodox nominee from Louisiana, Bishop Charles Edward Jenkins III. A priest who knows him well says this of him: "CEJ has good religion. He voted against Robinson, he will not allow any blessings outside of marriage between man and woman. Period. He's certainly been good to us. Brought us into the Diocese -- knowing what he was getting -- with flack from the left. He has been unwavering in the faith and morals department here in Louisiana. I love and support the man."

So there you have it. If Jenkins should win, it would be a resounding slap in the face at Griswold's legacy, but it is early days.

WHEN New Zealand Bishop Paterson, ACC chairman addressed the International Committee, of the Executive Council in Philadelphia recently, council member Louie Crew pointed out that Bishop Paterson's province was the first in the Anglican Communion to prepare a rite for same-sex unions. Dr. Crew asked Bishop Paterson why his province seems less fearful of discussing sex than many other Anglican provinces.

"It's just that the world is so far from us," Bishop Paterson deadpanned. "Our influence takes a long time to permeate."

"If Americans could learn to play rugby and cricket, many of the problems of the Anglican Communion could be solved," said New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham the Executive Council liaison from the Anglican Church of Canada.

There you have it, the Bible be damned, to hell with theology, reduce it all to rugby and cricket. How fatuous, how utterly fatuous.

Bishop MacNaughton is right. The church is not held together by Scripture, the creeds, baptism or even the Eucharist; we are held together by the canons with the church being run by Pharisees and Sadducees. It may well be time to flee to the hills. Surely judgment is coming on The Episcopal Church, and it will not come as a thief in the night, but in broad daylight, its sins exposed, its core rottenness seen by all.

Look at what is happening in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA! A diocese rotten to the core with a lying, venal, duplicitous bishop who won't resign, a pathetically weak Standing Committee that has known for years that Bennison was up to no good. When they finally act the till is almost empty. Why doesn't someone sue the Standing Committee for failing in their fiduciary duty to keep watch over the books while Bennison took a wild ride to empty the coffers for his own legacy? The Matthews Report shows that the Standing Committee has known since February 26, 2002 that there were problems in the Diocesan financial statements. Read the full report here: http://www.diopastandingcommittee.org/

And so now we have a three ring circus. The Standing Committee has its own website (linked off of the Diocesan website) to counter the spin from Bennison, with their own lawyer. Then there is the new diocesan chancellor Francis Helminiski. Bill Bullitt (former chancellor) is working voluntarily with the new Chancellor on transitional matters but beyond that is contributing to the general diocesan dialogue strictly as an active member of the diocese. Bennison may yet have to retain his own personal lawyer because a diocesan lawyer has a conflict of interest in being the bishop's personal chancellor as well as speak for the diocese, and Concerned Episcopalians have their own website and lawyer Spencer Frank working for them, and it's off to court we go.

What a wonderful example of the church at work, all because a group of people didn't have enough theological sense to know what they were getting when they hired Bennison in the first place. Almost from day one he lied. He promised the 'seven sisters' they could continue with an alternative episcopal oversight arrangement worked out by former Bishop Allen Bartlett and then Bennison reneged on it. The Evangelicals then began to get a taste of Bennison's heavy hand, demanding more and more money to keep his vision of ministry or "our Holy Experiment" as he called it, alive. They also began to get a whiff of his weird theology; Visigoth Rites, the Bible being rewritten to meet changing conditions, allowing Wiccans to function as priests, and a flasher priest goes unpunished, and more. He was dead on arrival with the orthodox. And the liberals and revisionists, his hard core followers who loved all the talk of inclusion and sodomy, finally got the message when they saw the money evaporating under their noses. Trust evaporated. It is now time to pay the piper.

If Bennison's past history is anything to go by they will have to lever him out by cutting off his salary. When he refused to leave his last parish St. Luke's in Atlanta, (he was fired there to) a layman was sent in and told him that his salary would not be paid. He finally got the message. His lackluster future continued at the ultra-liberal, pan-everything Episcopal Divinity School in Massachusetts and now his humiliating end is coming in Philadelphia. This coming Saturday he faces a Special Diocesan Convention where he could hear the bells toll for his end.

In the DIOCESE OF MICHIGAN, the bishop there, one Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. must rank as one of the truly brain dead of liberal bishops of the Episcopal Church. This past week a billboard went up less than a mile from St. John's, an orthodox parish in Detroit on I-75 north, as a part of a slick ad campaign derived from the graphically interesting but theologically awful flashplay intro on the diocesan website www.edomi.org. The billboard read; "My God is Mother" and "I am an Episcopalian" with a picture of a woman reading a bible, and the diocesan website address. Outraged by its appearance and content, Fr. Steven J. Kelly, SSC, rector of St. John's contacted diocesan headquarters and complained bitterly to the bishop. God is NOT mother! he told the bishop. A number of priests objected to the billboard, and so the bishop and his staff decided, on reflection to tear it down. Wrote Fr. Kelly, "the billboard is coming down ASAP as per Bishop Gibbs request to his communications director." You can read the full story in today's digest.

In the DIOCESE OF FLORIDA, Bishop John Howard has threatened The Rev. Neil G. Lebhar of Redeemer Anglican Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Last week the vestry received a letter from the Diocese's attorney, requesting that they "arrange for the transfer of the real and personal property in the possession of the Church of the Redeemer to an authorized representative of the Diocese." The vestry was told by their diocesan lawyer to "seek prompt judicial intervention for the possession of the property" if they do not do so. The vestry members are also threatened personally with having to cover the diocesan "costs and attorneys fees." In response, the vestry agreed that it is one of their primary responsibilities to provide for a place of worship for Redeemer. Therefore they intend that we remain at our present location. They continue to hope that the Bishop will choose negotiation over litigation despite the letter.

In the DIOCESE OF SPRINGFIELD, the Primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Greg Venables told diocesan leaders to a recent 10-day retreat not to give up hope for the renewal of the Episcopal Church. "You cannot dismantle scripture and then on Sunday proclaim it is the 'Word of the Lord'," Archbishop Venables said. He urged the diocese not to surrender to the spirit of the age. The coalition of Anglican Communion primates from the Global South were well aware of the situation in the Episcopal Church and would not "abandon" their supporters, Archbishop Venables said. However, General Convention would be a time of choosing, echoing Nigerian Primate Archbishop Peter Akinola's words at the November "Hope and a Future" conference in Pittsburgh.

FRANK AND THE QUESTIONNAIRE. Presiding Bishop is none too happy about an "anonymous questionnaire" that VirtueOnline floated a few weeks ago. He wrote: "Because several of you have inquired about an anonymous questionnaire that was sent to bishops with a covering note from George Carey I thought it might be well to share with you my own thoughts on the matter. I have just written to George telling him that I am suspicious of anything that is anonymous and that the questions themselves lead me to believe the intention of those who have asked him to circulate the questionnaire is far from benign. I also told him that though I am sure he was well intentioned, I can only believe the questionnaire will be used to sow division among us at precisely the moment when the majority of you are seeking a common ground across a wide spectrum of theological perspectives. I look forward to our being together in Kanuga and the focusing of our best energies upon the larger mission of reconciliation which our world so desperately needs."

You are dead wrong presiding bishop. The seeds of division were sown by you nearly nine years ago when you took over and started taking The Episcopal Church down the rocky road of sodomite acceptance. As a result The Episcopal Church has been asked to "walk apart" from the vast bulk of the Anglican Communion; we have also been blown off by the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches. Please don't blame Dr. Carey or a simple questionnaire for the horrible mistakes and direction you have taken the church.

IN A DESPERATE BID to increase ECUSA membership, the national church is blowing, initially, a cool $100,000 on a pilot television ad debut targeting Gen-X women. The ad shows the Rev. Paige Blair, 35, speaking frankly in a new 30-second ad inviting television viewers to visit the Episcopal Church. "We live in very complicated times. There's war, poverty, famine ... We build more jails and fewer schools and there's never enough money to pay the bills. For me, church provides some solace and perspectives that help me understand, reconcile and forgive. I don't think church gets everything right," Blair says, over scenes of her walking her dogs and gardening. "We are only human." So, no mention of the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ, just an endless array of issues about which the Episcopal Church with all its resolutions at General Conventions can do little or nothing. Blair is rector of St. George's Church in York Harbor, Maine -- a post she has held since 2000.

IN CASE you were wondering what is going on in at least one of our liberal seminaries read this. A new pilot training program at CHURCH DIVINITY SCHOOL OF THE PACIFIC (CDSP) will train allies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the faith community context, according to a new press release distributed by the seminary in Berkeley, Calif. "With the current focus on sexuality in the Anglican Communion, this training is especially critical for allies in the Episcopal Church context," said Karen Johanns. "Many people would say they are okay with LGBT persons being in their faith community, but being trained as an ally equips a person with skills to go from 'okay with' to 'in partnership with.' It's a significant difference in behavior and knowledge. Colleges and universities have been conducting training for straight allies for years, and the community of faith is lagging behind in promoting ally skill-building. This has been a spirit-filled opportunity to integrate the theology we study in our courses with actual practice in ministry."

And you wonder why African Anglicans won't let their seminarians train in the U.S. This is why.

IN ANOTHER SEMINARY MOVE, SEWANEE GETS DIVERSIFIED. The faculty and staff of Sewanee University are sponsoring a Diversity Week in April to include the African-American Alliance, Gay-Straight Alliance, Woman's Center, and Organization for Cross-Cultural Understanding. Each organization will be hosting a day dealing with a different type of diversity on the Sewanee campus. These will include race, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and ethnicity. So, gay sex is no longer sin, it is just another alternative sexuality and you wonder why orthodox parishes are leaving the Episcopal Church.

AND AN ARTICLE IN THE JANUARY ISSUE OF VANITY FAIR magazine titled "A Private School Affair" documents how one of America's most prestigious boarding schools, St. Paul's has been hit by scandal after scandal over the past few years; financial improprieties, the ouster of its highly paid rector, a hazing investigation, a drowning in its new, $24 million fitness center, and allegations of sexual abuse by revered teachers. And oh yes, the Episcopal academy was run by Bishop Craig Anderson who was accused of using the rector's discretionary fund - which is supposed to be reserved for school expenses--to pay for personal ones, including his membership in a yacht club in Maine. This was the same bishop who when he was dean of General Theological Seminary in New York began officially to permit same-sex cohabitation in the resident halls.

AKINOLA IN AMERICA. The Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA) will gather together in Chicago later this week with the Most Rev'd. Dr. Peter J. Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Several hundred persons are expected to show up, following which the archbishop will meet with Common Cause folk and visit Christ the King Anglican Church. No word on what the Episcopal Bishop of Chicago, William D. Persell thinks about all this, but there is nothing he can do except whine about crossing diocesan lines, which Akinola will dutifully ignore.

PITY DR. WILLIAMS. This week he caught it in the neck from gays who called him "spineless" because he wouldn't come out affirming homosexuality in a recent Guardian newspaper interview. Just add another group who are beating up on the Archbishop. Forward in Faith are none to happy over the possibility of women bishops, the Evangelicals are upset over Civil Partnerships and the Church of England continues to reel with declining membership and more.

IN UGANDA Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi opened a five-day intercessors' conference in Entebbe calling on Ugandans to put their faith in God if the country is to attain lasting peace. "Other means of attaining peace have proved inadequate. Put your faith in the creator in order to attain lasting peace," Orombi said. The conference drew about 1,000 born-again participants from 13 countries. It is part of the Intercessors for Africa, a Christian network involved in praying for nations with a view of seeing Africa, its people and its institutions fit into the plan of God for current times. Orombi said Uganda was becoming increasingly peaceful but secular effort alone was not enough.

GREAT LAKES ANGLICAN NETWORK. About 80 church leaders from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Canada are expected to gather near Toledo, Ohio on May 4-5 for the inaugural meeting of The Great Lakes Anglican Network. The Network co-chaired by Rev. Roger Ames, rector of St. Luke's, Akron, OH (Bolivia) and Rev. Doc Loomis, rector of Holy Trinity, Hudson, OH (AMiA) is an affinity-based group of church leaders who are exploring a common path in mission based on the unifying elements expressed in the formation of Common Cause. Attendees will include leadership from congregations affiliated with Uganda, Kenya, Bolivia, the CEC, Forward in Faith, The Anglican Mission, The Anglican Church in Canada, and ECUSA. Several new missions and unaffiliated works will also be represented. Bishop John Rodgers and Anglican Mission CEO Rev. Paul Briggs will be among the larger church leadership attending. For more information or to attend the Great Lakes Anglican Network event go to: http://www.hudsonanglican.com/hoan/HOAN.html or call Doc Loomis @ 330.342.0429

WELCOME TO VIRTUEONLINE. Please take a moment to visit our website at www.virtueonline.org the Anglican Communion's largest most widely read Online News Service with two million readers in 45 countries. You will find some 77 stories in six categories rotating on a daily basis. You might want to buy your books from Amazon.Com at my website and check out the archives and various links.

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