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ECUSA avoids hard words of Scripture, Gomez responds to Eames, diocesan reports

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A Virtuosity reader noted that the reading for Sunday using the ECUSA website, is a lesson for us all. The second reading/lesson stands out being the last few lines in the Bible. The reading is Rev. 22:12-14/; 16-17 & 20. Missing are verses 15, 18, and 19. Here is what ECUSA has taken out: “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood…I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from the book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life, and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

The Episcopal Church qualifies on all counts.

Recent Virtuosity digests have demonstrated how some dioceses are succumbing to the practice of magic arts, many more practice out and out falsehood with regard to the ‘faith once delivered’ and on sexuality issues, and Bishop Charles E. Bennison (PA) has said publicly that the church wrote the bible and can therefore rewrite it. This week he announced that he was making a forced, unwanted visitation on his largest parish, an orthodox one of 1,500 souls, defying his own House of Bishops resolution on Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight. (You can read that story in today’s digest.)

Sexual immorality (lesbitransgay) runs rampant throughout almost every diocese; the ECUSA openly supports the murder of babies by supporting abortion on demand; the focus on homosexuality is completely idolatrous and the practice of falsehood by the Presiding Bishop in his dealings with the Primates clearly qualifies for the Apostle John’s condemnation.

It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Episcopal Church is hell bent on its own destruction, and the Primates and Bishops of the Global South have already sounded its death knell, and if all goes as planned and Griswold does not repent, they will excommunicate him and all those who hold strange doctrines and who live not according to God’s Word written. They will also have no hesitation in crossing jurisdictional lines and adding Michael Ingham of Vancouver to the list of those to be tossed out of the Communion.

NOW THERE IS SOME CONFUSION ABOUT THE TIMING OF THE PRIMATES admonition to Griswold and the completion of the Lambeth (Eames) Commission. Allow me to clarify.

The Lambeth Commission will finish its work sometime in late October, 2004. AT that time the Primates will start the clock ticking on Frank Tracy Griswold. Sometime in January 2005 the balloon will go up for the Episcopal Church and the Presiding Bishop.

BUT CONSERVATIVE UNREST erupted this week with the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, challenging Archbishop Robin Eames, the chair of the Commission set up to hold the Communion together, to apply the same censure to liberals as conservatives. In a sign of increasing tension at the heart of the Commission, Archbishop Gomez wrote a letter to the Irish Primate expressing his disappointment that Archbishop Eames is treating the conservatives harshly even unfairly, while saying nothing about pressures liberals and revisionists apply not only to his commission but to orthodox bishops, pushing them to conform to the new religion. (You can read his letter.)

ALL THE WHILE this is happening Frank Griswold was spinning his “diverse center” mantra to the graduates of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest this week, invoking the Holy Ghost while making himself out to be the church’s hero while factions to the right and factions to the left fight all around him. He, the noble Griswold holds aloft the torch of the illusory middle if only all sides could see it. The ECUSA Presiding Bishop warned 26 graduating seminarians that they are about to enter the wilderness, invoking the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert after fleeing Egypt. What he didn’t tell them was that he was responsible for the spiritual wilderness they were now entering.

AND KEEPING THE PRESSURE ON, ONE OF THE AKRON FIVE BISHOPS, The Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison (SC ret.) wrote the President of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice May 20, saying that the central issue is one of the substance of the ‘faith once delivered’ not personality issues or the Church’s canons and that he would not meet with Charles E. Jenkins unless all five bishops would be willing to participate in an “open meeting” with the Council of Advice. You can read that story today.

In the DIOCESE OF ALBANY Bishop Dan Herzog clarified his position about all things Episcopal. He wrote in the May issue of the Albany Episcopalian that he will personally resign his office rather than take the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. The orthodox bishop says he believes the Anglican Communion Network offers a means of retaining committed Episcopal parishes in our church. “Both David Bena [Suffragan Bishop] and I intend to uphold our obligations regarding the patrimony of the church. Thus anyone or any group is free to leave the Episcopal Church. But its assets, properties, endowments and buildings remain.” You can read the full story today.

AND IN THE DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON things get wackier and wackier. A conservative Episcopal group protested a same-sex "wedding" that took place in the rural community of St. Andrews-Leonardtown in St. Mary's County, Maryland. This happens to be the parish of one Paula Halliday the rector. Now her husband, also a rector, just got the heave-ho for adultery a week earlier and sent back to the UK, and she decides to allow a same-sex wedding to take place in her parish. Well, apparently it got too much for her and she went off the deep end and Bishop John Chane announced that they hauled Halliday off to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. They still allowed the blessing. A salty Virtuosity reader noted; “perhaps the whole vestry ought to check in.” And to cap the craziness it was revealed on the website of St. George's Episcopal Church in Maryland that Chane will "bless" the ECUSA’s leading sodomite priest Michael Hopkins and his partner's relationship on June 12 with California lesbian the Rev. Susan Russell preaching.

AND IN THE DIOCESE OF UTAH, the Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, announced she will sanction a same-sex blessing in her diocese. Ms Irish is a former Mormon who was never rebaptized. The bishop is currently reviewing three rituals to be offered to couples for use in their ceremonies. Have they been written by Huey, Moe and Curly perhaps? Of course they could ask Charles Bennison the Bishop of PA for his Visigoth Rite to use.

AND IN THE DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND a Virtuosity reader wrote to say that on the campus of Stony Brook University where their annual Strawberry Festival and Diversity Day (April 28) was held that the Protestant chaplain at this university, Brother Clarke Berge, SSF used the occasion to propagandize for gay marriage. “Wearing a stole, he conducted fake ceremonies on the Academic Mall,” said the source. Berge is a member of the Mount Sinai Friary that has been associated with a number of abuses in the past. Virtuosity has reported on the activities of this friary before. It was the same friary that saw a young man James Allen sodomized who later committed suicide.

AND IN THE DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM things are heating up between the Bishop there one Paul Marshall and orthodox rector William Ilgenfritz. Virtuosity reported a series of letters between the two men. Well now things are moving to a higher and hotter level.

And in OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, a break-away group from St. James Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City left to form St. James Anglican Church, fed up with that diocese and the national church’s stand on sexuality issues. On Tuesday of last week, more than 150 parishioners (most of this small congregation) met on neutral ground and voted to say "adios" to St. James. Earlier, most of the altar guild, vestry and lay readers had resigned. Wrote a Virtuosity reader, “The priest is not traditional at all. This group is going to begin holding services this coming Sunday in a Baptist Church across the street. This generous congregation is letting the ‘mavericks’ have free use of its chapel.” Some of the lay leaders have been involved in the Oklahoma Anglican (AAC) group.

AND A STATEMENT from the Board of Trustees of EPISCOPAL DIVINITY SCHOOL says they pledge their support to the EDS faculty in immediately undertaking the task of preparing a strategy for actively supporting a change to the Canons of the Episcopal Church to either permit the marriage of same sex couples or to remove the Episcopal Church from the position of being agents of the state in performing any marriages.

So what do they do meantime? “St. John’s Chapel will not be available for opposite-sex, Episcopal marriages until further notice," huffed the board. No queer marriages and no straight ones either apparently. Gore the ox and feel the pain. Heaven forbid the church should allow heterosexuals to marry, they just might populate the earth and fill the church.

IN CANADA the synod of the Canadian Anglican Church will meet this coming week in St. Catherine’s, Ontario under the banner, "Behold I make all things new." One can only hope. The numbers for Canadian Anglicans looks bad and getting worse. But they are about to elect a new primate and an evangelical has a good shot at the top slot. You can read a story about that today.

One thing is clear. No matter who the new primate is, the Canadian Church will still be wracked with pain. For all the shouting Church House does about "obeying" church order, very few of the bishops in this nation will pay much attention. Only 25 percent are orthodox. The two issues same-sex blessings and a new Primate will dominate the news. Virtuosity will be there to record it all.

And in another round of nuttiness an Anglican priest and Canada’s best known journalist Tom Harpur has written a book, The Pagan Christ, saying Christianity is the greatest myth ever told. Harpur admits he's sticking his neck out for proffering that someone named Jesus never walked this Earth. He says that most of the miracles and wonders ascribed to him in the New Testament never happened. I think he and Spong must be colluding. I knew Harpur when he was the Religion Editor of the Toronto Star and I was the Religion of the Vancouver PROVINCE newspaper in the mid 70s. Tom was slowly going off the rails then, now the whole train has fallen off the tracks.

Melodie Woerman in the "Plenteous Harvest" Vol 90, #5 May 2004 - The Official Newspaper of the EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF KANSAS reports that the diocesan treasurer, Doug Anning estimates a shortfall of $200,000 to $300,000 representing a 15-22% of the 2004 budget [estimated at $1,363,636]. In 2003 the diocese was $110,000 short in parish payments. This particular shortfall was made up by cutting expenses $60,000 and an additional $70,000 investment income. Such investment income currently makes up 4% of the diocese's income. Further budget cuts will be hard due to substantial cuts in recent years. Christ Church, Overland Park, the largest parish in the diocese, reduced its payments by almost 90% to protest the election of a gay man as an Episcopalian bishop.

AND IN THE UK THE SUSPENSION OF HOLY TRINITY LYONSDOWN'S anger and quota to the Diocese of St. Alban’s over the Jeffrey John appointment continues to grow. Located in North London the parish will now withhold its entire £33,600 (about $50,000). One correction it is Holy Trinity Lyonsdown not Lyonswood as reported in a previous digest. The rector is going to be on the hot seat with the bishop over this withholding and a legal storm is brewing.

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