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ECUSA Continues to Walk Apart as Year Ends...Wolfe Bites...Diocesan news...more

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." -- Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the year draws to a close, the Episcopal Church continues to walk apart from the Anglican Communion, ostracized and unrepentant for its immorality in consecrating a non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy.

And its actions have rippled around the communion, promoting admiration from the largely liberal Western provinces but disdain and anger from the vast majority of the Global South primates.

Liberal hatred for orthodox primates bubbled to the surface when the chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, Bishop John C. Paterson of Auckland, New Zealand, issued an apology in Canada for the way the Episcopal Church was treated at Nottingham in being made to withdraw from the council. But that was all a fiction and completely imaginary.

No apology was needed, nor should it have been offered. The two orthodox primates, Peter Akinola (Nigeria) and Bernard Malango (Central Africa), sat silent throughout the presentations, and there was no public protest at the presence of representatives of ECUSA. They were given the floor and made their pitch, handed out a booklet and made to look like they were the victims of fundamentalist Anglicans. Any report of opposition was all nonsense. This reporter was there and saw everything. Griswold had his band of merry gays and lesbians, a pro-gay theologian and sympathetic bishops who made their pitch, and they were treated better than they should have been. They held a press conference and much more. The AAC politicos made ECUSA feel as wanted as they could because the Episcopal Church pays most of their budget. Paterson's apology is a study in liberal agitprop. The orthodox primates left silent and unheard.

It was a bad year all around for the ECUSA, and by all accounts it will only get worse. General Convention 2006 could redefine and shape the church in such a way that it will never be the same again.

If there is one word that describes 2005 for the ECUSA it is the word "realignment." What that means is simply more and more orthodox parishes leaving the Episcopal Church in disgust and shame, as a church that refuses to uphold the doctrine and discipline of the church, rejects the ancient Prayer Book and much more, continuing on its way to decline and humiliation. The alienation from the vast majority of the Anglican Communion also grew and will continue to grow; nothing will stop it in 2006.

The only question is what Archbishop Rowan Williams will do when his back is finally to the wall and he has to face both groups of bishops in Canterbury in 2008!

AROUND THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH things went from bad to worse this past week.

In the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA Charles Bennison, the bishop, said Jesus was a very easy-going man. He wrote in his January 2006 Bishop's Message in the Pennsylvania Episcopalian that "He (Jesus) could wink at sin, forgive from the bottom of his heart, see the big picture of God's redeeming love, move on, and get others to move on, too."

Unless the Bible has been rewritten to Bennison's post-modern specifications, Jesus NEVER winked at sin, never. This was the same bishop who said that Jesus was a sinner who forgave himself and who could not affirm basic doctrines of the Christian faith when called upon to do so by a traditionalist diocesan priest. Bennison is so pro gay that he wrote a Visigoth Rite for any sexual combination that might want it and who is not ashamed of inviting either Jack Spong or V. Gene Robinson to the diocese to advance his revisionist agenda.

But Bennison got his knuckles rapped at the recent diocesan convention when his budget got blown off, along with mandatory giving, and now the diocese faces budget cuts of over $300,000 and a budget tightening program that could see the moth-balling of the newly purchased Wapiti Retreat Center and much more. On January 16 the council will also take a hard look at decreasing the use of unrestricted net assets to $950,000, down from $1.26 million.

In short, the deep thinkers in the diocese don't like seeing the Trust Funds being raided to run the diocese because parishes won't or can't pony up with money to run the diocesan program. All this has sent rumors around the diocese that perhaps Bennison's days are numbered as bishop. Is the Standing Committee ready to ask Bennison to have a little talk with Jesus and then head out the door? If the Standing Committee wants to get rid of Bennison, it will have to deal with the two lawsuits brought by Father David Moyer.

The irony of all this is that if Bennison should be given a pot full of money to get lost, it will be because the diocese doesn't have enough money to run its programs while the Standing Committee turns a blind eye to the sacrilegious and apostate mutterings of the mad bishop who, in his own words "serves and embraces all." The former worthless bishop of New Jersey, Jo Mo Doss, got $1.8 million to get lost; one wonders what Bennison is worth to take a hike.

Of course we know that revisionist bishops like Bennison don't "embrace all" at all. He despises successful orthodox parishes that are growing despite his heretical nonsense, because they have a gospel to proclaim which he doesn't. His views and theology, if you can call it that, empty churches because people actually want something to believe in and Bennsion doesn't have anything worth getting out of bed for on a Sunday morning to listen to. By contrast some 20,000 will happily listen to Rick Warren on any given Sunday because he has a message to proclaim and Bennison doesn't. After all, before he became bishop he got tossed out of two parishes, the most recent in Atlanta, because, among other things, he got the records sealed. True to form, such men rise to the level of their own incompetence and wind up becoming bishops. In the words of one theologian these bishops are little more than "kissing Judases."

SO YOU THINK YOU'VE GOT PROBLEMS! Read my interview with the Rev. Jerry Kramer. It is gut-wrenching. The rector of the Church of the Annunciation in the heart of New Orleans has known nothing but anguish and pain since Hurricane Katrina hit 120 days ago. Just to survive he'll need $150,000 in 2006 from the outside to make it. He has gotten nothing from the national church's Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) fund.

Last Sunday he had 61 in the old Annunciation church building, and they sat in the dark. No electricity. "Many of our folks hadn't seen or been inside of what's left since Katrina," he writes.

But typical of the poor, the DIOCESE OF QUINCY and its bishop, Keith Ackerman, sent $12,000 -- amazing for this diocese, which faces serious financial problems after two churches caught fire and were destroyed. Said Kramer: "We are the only seriously affected parish back in business, up and running. We're also the only orthodox parish in New Orleans to begin with. Aside from the politics, folks around the country are seeing that we're serious about Jesus. With pluck we have gotten things done when others can't." The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pa., also sent a substantial contribution to Fr. Kramer.

In the DIOCESE OF KANSAS, the Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe sent out a letter (see today's digest) blasting the Anglican Communion Network and calling it schismatic. The bishop condemned a former priest in his diocese, the Rev. D. O. Smart, for disseminating false news about the ECUSA, and said the letter he sent to senior wardens at 2,200 Episcopal churches located in 20 states was an act of "desperation." Bishop Wolfe inhibited and later deposed Fr.Smart and all of the other clergy from Christ Church, Overland Park, as part of a separation agreement between the Diocese of Kansas and the parish. What the bishop didn't say is that he cut a deal to get $100,000 a year for 10 years from the parish, money he needs to keep his diocese afloat. Furthermore if Fr. Smart wants to write a letter as a former Episcopalian he is free to do so. He is under no ecclesiastical obligation to Wolfe, and Wolfe knows it.

In the DIOCESE OF ROCHESTER, All Saints Church in Irondequoit, N.Y., rejoices in its new life. The Anglican Communion Network is puzzled that the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester has now acknowledged the congregation's new life within the Church of Uganda after the diocese declared it extinct. Is it or is it not a living congregation of the Anglican Communion? The congregation has affiliated with the Church of Uganda, thus keeping it within the Anglican Communion courtesy of Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi.

In declaring All Saints extinct, Bishop Jack McKelvey and the diocesan convention have relinquished their authority over this parish, but the Diocese of Rochester could not change that through any vote of its annual convention. The global reality is that All Saints Church is now a congregation of the 8-million-member Church of Uganda, and finds it a more biblically faithful and supportive environment than the 2.3-million-member Episcopal Church. All Saints Church will continue its ministries and worship at its premises, celebrating Jesus' resurrection.

In the DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM, VirtueOnline reported that Bishop Paul Marshall had not talked about the issues threatening the church, as though somehow they will simply go away and things will be OK. A source told VirtueOnline that, "Vestries and congregations know nothing about what is happening --for example, the Episcopal Church being removed from the ACC and the new gospel, which was the reason we did what we did." Not exactly true, wrote the bishop to VirtueOnline. "I have personally done 12 two-hour gigs around the diocese so that everybody, not just the few elected to convention, could have their say" after hearing his presentation. "How could your source not know that my 2003 convention address commented at length on the General Convention and what we were going to do about the issues it raised? How could he not know that at our 2003 and 2004 conventions there were resolutions debated to reject GC 2003 (he might prefer not to know that they were overwhelmingly defeated)? How could he not know that at each visitation (I do 2 per Sunday) for a year this was the main topic in the open forum time? How could he not know of the lengthy adult series done in each of the regions of the diocese or of the task force that established dialogue in parishes that were having trouble setting it up?" Bishop Marshall said he had done his presentation in other dioceses, and it was published on video by the folks in Atlanta. "Then, of course, there is my book with its two incriminating sermons on the subject." He concludes, "I may well be wrong, but I have not been silent." Thank you bishop, correction so noted.

In the DIOCESE OF NORTH CAROLINA, Bishop Michael Curry filed a notice of lis pendens in the Warren County (N.C.) Register of Deeds office, attempting to impose a lien on the real property and other assets of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Warrenton. He did this despite the lack of any pending litigation between the parties, but is clearly the first step in an attempted takeover of the parish by the diocese. Things promise to get very ugly over the next few months.

The Rev. Calvin G. Gardner, interim priest of the parish, told VirtueOnline that the mixed-race church, one of three in the area, has been in dispute with the black bishop for two years, when they sought alternative pastoral oversight from Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan following the Robinson consecration and Bishop Curry's promotion of same-sex blessings.

The DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON reported that a secret investigation of a top official by the Disciplinary Review Committee yielded nothing. VirtueOnline wrote in April/May of a complaint filed by Patrick Shaughness with the diocese against three priests, who were involved in what he called their "illegal" excommunication of his wife in April, 2004. The diocese authorized a "confidential" investigation of the conduct of Canon Carol Cole Flanagan in connection with charges stemming

from the April 2004 excommunication of Mrs. Shaughness, a member of a parish vestry, but recently announced that the Review Committee had cleared her of all charges.

ALL ABOUT SCHIMPFKY. Talk about bad bishops turning up in odd places, Richard Schimpfky, the former bishop of the DIOCESE OF EL CAMINO REAL quit his diocese after a divisive struggle after being, among other things, allegedly so grossly incompetent that even the liberals hated him. Now he has turned up in the DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND as bishop in residence at St. George's Church in Flushing, Queens. Schimpfky was such a total disaster in the Diocese of El Camino Real that he managed to reduce his diocese from 30,000 to 12,000 during his tenure, so that even the liberals had no use for him and wanted him gone. Long Island Bishop Orris Walker, about whom the New York Times asked whether he might have AIDS, has allowed him to land in his diocese.

In other news from the DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND, the vestry of St. James, in Elmhurst, Queens, a colonial charter church that holds title to the land and buildings, has notified the bishop that based on its colonial charter it has decided to cease any relationship with him and the Diocese of Long Island. The vestry promptly chiseled off the word "Episcopal" from St. James Church, whose signboard now reads St. James Anglican Church. They are presently obtaining advice from the Anglican Law Institute. The diocese is contesting the decision. However, it would seem to be a case of the black letter law, so that the diocese does not have a leg to stand on.

AND FROM THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH CENTER came word that despite staff commuting delays created by the New York City transit strike, the Episcopal Church Center was open during regular business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily prior to the observance of Christmas and New Year's holidays. This prompted one wag to observe: "Displaying their heroic Mrs. Minniver spirit, in the very teeth of a snarling, ravenous and rapacious transit strike, the Spiritual Nerve Center of North America, 815 Second Avenue, soldiers on." Indeed.

BUT NOT TO BE OUTDONE, The Brothers of the Society of Saint John Evangelist (SSJE) will offer a retreat for gay couples at Emery House in West Newbury, Massachusetts, which is owned by the SSJE. Here is the blurb: BEING GAY, BEING IN LOVE, AND BEING A CHRISTIAN -- a retreat for gay couples. [This is] an opportunity for gay men living in partnerships to explore the meaning of their commitment in the context of gay and Christian cultures. It is being led by someone called Robert L'Esperance for a cool $420 per couple. That's expensive sex. Word on the street is that the best pick-up place for gay men these days in Boston is at the SSJE on Sunday afternoons, where Eucharist and other goodies are offered free of charge. The last couple, who met there, got "married" and then took Eucharist from the hands of Tom Shaw, the bishop.

Carlton Pearson's Church Goes Into Foreclosure. Higher Dimensions Family Church has gone into foreclosure, causing the congregation led by Carlton Pearson to hold Sunday services at an Episcopal church in downtown Tulsa, Okla. Higher Dimensions has experienced a 90 percent decline in membership since Pearson began preaching what he calls his "gospel of inclusion," the Tulsa World reported. The doctrine teaches that all people are saved, even if they don't acknowledge Christ. With only 500 members, down from 5,000 a few years ago, the church has been unable to make mortgage payments on its 30-acre property, which at press time the ministry was trying to sell. The Rev. Stephen McKee, pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church, where Higher Dimensions was to meet for 1 p.m. services for three months beginning in November, said he is comfortable with Pearson's doctrine, World magazine reported. "[I believe] that God became a human being, and if He loved us enough to do that, I have difficulty believing in a God that's going to put my colleagues in hell," McKee said.

THE NBC TELEVISION DRAMA "The Book of Daniel" has a real treat, if you call it that, for people interested in religion, but not necessarily orthodox Christianity. The upcoming drama series is about a married Episcopal priest, Daniel Webster, who is addicted to Vicodin and has a gay Republican son and a drug-dealing 16-year-old daughter. The American Family Association notes that the priest's secretary is a lesbian who is sleeping with his sister-in-law. He also has a 16-year-old adopted son who is sleeping with the bishop's daughter. The writer for the series, Jack Kenny, who describes himself as a very "spiritual" person, is also a practicing homosexual "in recovery from Catholicism" and studying Buddhist beliefs. His main character, Daniel Webster, talks to Jesus, who appears to him every now and then in times of great stress. Kenny says hebelieves believe in Jesus, but not necessarily "all the myth surrounding him." NBC purportedly is launching the series in an effort to recover from a fourth-place finish in recent ratings. "Since Episcopal parishes led by priests such as Daniel Webster are wildly successful, I think they have the making of a hit," wrote Orthodox writer Frederica Mathewes-Green, with a touch of irony. California Episcopal lesbian priest Susan Russell feels sure this will draw people into the Episcopal Church. Writing in Episcopal Life, she said she thought it was "cool" to have the series filmed there.

NARNIA MAKES THE NEWS. The Walt Disney Company says that the Chinese government has approved the release of Disney's hit fantasy film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in China in spring 2006. The film, based on the C.S. Lewis children's book, was released earlier this month in U.S. and international markets and has earned more than $200 million in global ticket sales. Disney recently released "National Treasure" and "The Incredibles" in China, which typically limits foreign film releases to about a dozen each year. "Narnia" tells of four children in World War II London who are sent away to the country to avoid the Blitz. There they discover a wardrobe leading to a magical land inhabited by talking animals and other mythological creatures and ruled by a white witch. The Narnia books are known among Christians as biblical allegory, and the film was largely embraced by U.S. churches.

China has 100 million evangelical Christians but only 70 million card-carrying Communists. None of the Christians have ever heard of Jack Spong, V. Gene Robinson or William Countryman. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.

According to box office receipts, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" has generated the biggest debut ever for a comparable weekend and the second-highest December opening of all time. Only New Line Cinema's "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the final film in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and based on the series written by Lewis' friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, opened higher ($72.6 million). Internationally, "Narnia" opened this weekend in 14 markets and generated an estimated $41 million, bringing the worldwide income to a radiant $107 million to date. Complementing this exceptional U.S. bow was an outstanding international launch that saw "Narnia" capture $41 million from 13 territories (U.K., Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Portugal, and Slovenia) with innumerable industry records being rewritten in its wake. The global launch generated $107, the fifteenth largest global take in industry history. The movie will also be distributed in India which has only two percent Christians. Is revival in the air?

In the DIOCESE OF RECIFE comes news that Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti has been chosen patron of a Baptist Seminary. He also received an award from Freemasonry. Bishop Cavalcanti was chosen the patron of the graduating classes of the National Baptist Theological Seminary of the State of Pernambuco, Brazil. The National Baptists forms the largest charismatic-oriented Baptist denomination in Brazil. Although not affiliated to any initiating society. Bishop Cavalcanti was also chosen the personality of the year 2005, to receive the Merit Freemasonry Award of the State of Pernambuco. The medal and diploma were given to him in a solemn and open session of the Independent Grand Orient of Pernambuco. "in recognition of his exemplary behavior, in words and actions, in relation to the love to his neighbors and dignity of people and relevant services to humanity." On that occasion he delivered a homily titled "The Three Advents"(Luke 2.8-11), in which he said, "All this homage that I am receiving from governmental agencies and from the civil society is extended to the diocese, to Anglicanism, to Evangelicals, and to all Christians who are faithful to the apostolic heritage." No one, it seems, is offering revisionist Brazilian Primate Oliviera an award, unless it is for deposing Bishop Cavalcanti and for trying to toss him out of his diocese.

THE POPE'S 2005 Christmas greetings echoed St. Augustine. In a handwritten message, the pope wrote in Latin, "Expergiscere, homo: quia pro te Deus factus est homo" -- Awaken, o man, because God has become man for you. The passage chosen by the Pope comes from Sermon 185, "In Natali Domini" (On the Nativity of the Lord) of the bishop of Hippo (354-430). The image chosen for the Holy Father's Christmas card is the "Adoration of the Magi" painted by an unknown artist. The painting is kept in the St. Lawrence Chapel in the Vatican.

VIRTUEONLINE was privileged recently to preview a new movie, "End of the Spear". To many Christians, it's known as the Jim Elliot story, when in 1956, five young missionaries -- Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Ed McCully -- were killed when they "dared to make contact" (as the movie publicity puts it) with the Waodani (known at the time as the Auca), an isolated and extremely violent tribe in the Amazon. At the invitation of Dayumae (a female member of the tribe), the widow of one of the men (Elisabeth Elliot) and the sister of another (Rachel Saint) subsequently visited the tribe. The five men were murdered. The story was popularized when Elisabeth Elliot published "Through Gates of Splendor," followed by "Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot" and "The Journals of Jim Elliot." Quite naturally, this centered the focus on Jim Elliot. In "End of the Spear," the filmmakers have chosen to follow the tale from the points of view of Nate Saint's son, Steve, and a character named Mincayani. The movie's Mincayani character (whose name means "Mincaye and the people") combines several people and stories into one character for the purposes of telling the greater story. This story is coming to a movie theater near you in January. While the film is not explicitly Christian in the same way as T"he Passion of the Christ" was, Every Tribe Entertainment, the company that produced the film, said it created a "motion picture experience that affirm life and inspire hope for a broad international audience through true stories presented in highest quality on film." In creating "End of the Spear," it seems to have caught on to the direction the wind is blowing in the world of filmmaking. "The End of the Spear" has a planned release in 1,200 theaters on January 20.

HUMAN RIGHTS OF CHRISTIANS IN PALESTINIAN SOCIETY. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs writer Justus Reid Weiner writes: "On the heels of the Gaza disengagement, which was intended to empower the Palestinian Authority to improve the lives of its people, few journalists have reported on the acutely trying times facing the Christians residing in areas 'governed' by the Palestinian Authority." In an article "Teach Them to Hate: The Use of Palestinian Children - A Legal and Political Analysis" Professor Weiner, scholar in residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, provides an in-depth look into the nearly uninterrupted persecution of Christians throughout the decade since the Oslo peace process began.

Living amidst a xenophobic Muslim population plagued by endemic violence bordering on anarchy, the Christians have shrunk to less than 1.7 percent of the population in the Palestinian areas. "Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad, while those who remain do so as a beleaguered and dwindling minority," Weiner said.

Their plight is, in part, attributable to the adoption of Muslim religious law (Sharia) in the Constitution of the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, Weiner says, "the Christians have been abandoned by their religious leaders who, instead of protecting them, have chosen to curry favor with the Palestinian leadership." Professor Weiner's book reveals and analyzes why this persecution -- largely ignored by the international community, the media, and even the human rights organizations -- has metastasized to the extent that it threatens the very existence of this 2000-year-old community.

ECSTASY AND INTIMACY: "When the Holy Spirit Meets the Human Spirit," (paperback) by Edith M. Humphrey. When contemporary Americans, even Christian ones, go looking for "spirituality," they look to Eastern religious traditions, New Age fads, and the self-help section of their local bookstore. They look almost anywhere, in fact, but to orthodox Christianity. In "Ecstasy and Intimacy," Edith Humphrey sets out to counter this trend by helping the reader rediscover the spiritual riches of the Christian tradition -- Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox.

As Humphrey reveals, Christian spirituality takes its cue from the Trinity, from the ecstasy ("going out" of oneself) and intimacy (profound closeness with another) marking the relations between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; it is within God's own ecstatic actions and intimate love -- seen particularly in the Incarnation -- that human ecstasy and intimacy are meant to take shape.

"Ecstasy and Intimacy" spreads a banquet from the great spiritual writers of the past -- such luminaries as St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, Julian of Norwich, St. Teresa of Avila, the Wesley brothers, Thomas Merton and Alexander Schmemann. Humphrey's elegant prose, embroidered with stories and images from her own life, leads the reader into a deeper understanding of the ecstasy and intimacy inherent in a Trinitarian spirituality. The book is sold by Amazon.com. If you order this book from Amazon I would be grateful if you would go to my Web site and order it: www.virtueonline.org.

THE MERE ANGLICANISM inaugural Conference is barely three weeks away, and VirtueOnline again urges people to attend. The time: January 19-21, 2006, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19 and ending at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Place: The Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston, South Carolina. For more information and to sign up go to: www.mereanglicanism.com. The conference will also feature "Interactions" panel discussions, "Connections" groups [for Track II participants], and wonderful worship opportunities. Os Guinness's lecture title is "Third Mission to the West: Opportunities & Challenges in Winning Back our Civilization". Stephen Noll's lecture title is "Global Anglicanism: A Blueprint".

BROKEBACK BISHOPS! In Jackson, Wyoming, a pre-screening forum for the film "Brokeback Mountain", the story of two gay cowboys who got married, is being promoted by an Episcopal parish. The movie, which promotes sodomy and adultery, will be played at St. John's Episcopal Church. Director Ang Lee, producer James Schamus, author Annie Proulx, and actor Heath Ledger are scheduled to attend. The forum will provide a time for people with ties to Wyoming to speak about their experiences. Presumably those are gay experiences. When this first came out in book form, it found a place at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Texas bringing the wrath of high rolling donors down on their heads. The story spilled off the pages into the school's boardrooms and onto religious message boards, dividing parents in the tight-knit community and ultimately leading to the school's returning a $3 million gift to one of its biggest donors. "Brokeback Mountain" was reading material in a 12th-grade English class and caused a stir. My story on this got more than 10,000 hits at the Web site. Now it will all start up again. The ECUSA never learns, apparently.

CONVOCATION FOR ANGLICANS IN NORTH AMERICA. The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has now provided a place of worship that is Spirit-filled, liturgical, and evangelical, with emphasis on the balanced meal from the Word of God, for the people in the South, and north side of Chicago. Mount Zion Anglican Church (There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer) will hold its first Sunday service on January 8, 2006. The Venue for service: The Institute of Cultural Affairs 4750 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60640. Time: 9:00 a.m. For more information call:

A second CANA church in Chicago can be found at: All Saints Anglican Church 18001 94th Ave. Tinley Park, IL 60477. Time: 1.00 p.m. For more information call the Rev. Olugbenga A. Olajide, missioner for the Chicagoland area, at 708-946-6215

RUSSIAN PATRIARCHATE suspends relations with Church of Sweden. The Moscow Patriarchate has suspended relations with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden after it decided to establish an official ceremony on blessing homosexual couples. "We have received with great disappointment and grief the news that not only does the Lutheran Church of Sweden not oppose so-called homosexual marriages, but has even ruled to establish an official blessing ceremony," the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement at a session in Moscow on Tuesday. The members of the Synod believe that the Church of Sweden's decision contradicts the Biblical concept of family and marriage, "and the testimonies of the Holy Writing leave us no doubt that homosexuality is considered a sin and 'confusion'," the statement says. "The Christian Church has always regarded a marriage between a man and a woman as one of the sacraments, because it is the union which gives birth to a new life," the statement says. Clearly another wake-up call for the Episcopal Church. Is anyone listening at national headquarters?

IN A RECENT STORY on a traditionalist parish leaving the DIOCESE OF SAN DIEGO and the ECUSA for the Anglican Province in America (APA) in Alpine, Calif., mention was made of a Fr. Pannitti's checkered marital past. Right after the story came out, APA Presiding Bishop Walter Grundorf wrote to VirtueOnline saying that the priest had been formally inhibited and his license revoked and he could no longer function as a priest until matters had cleared up.

MERRIAM WEBSTER ONLINE reports that of the top ten words looked up online in 2005, THE NUMBER ONE word queried is INTEGRITY. Given the state of willful theological confusion within the Episcopal Church, the all-too-obvious hijacking of the word for the "gay positive" agenda, and the general decline in the healthy society's moral spine, is it any wonder that this word would be the one most heavily queried? One might conclude that this revelation by Merriam Webster is very telling, indeed.

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All Blessings,

David W. Virtue, D.D.

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