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ECUSA: HoB House of Mirrors over Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This week the ECUSA House of Bishops meeting in Navasota, Texas trumpeted an uncertain sound in proposing measures to deal with the crisis in The Episcopal Church. Thoughtful Episcopalians said it was a totally inadequate blast in the face of the current crisis in The Episcopal Church. It touched on symptoms not systemic problems.

Time will tell if what took place at Camp Allen, Texas is the final turn in the road towards open schism or just another milestone marker leading towards an inevitable Episcopal apocalypse.

The House of Bishops offered up a proposal based on the Presiding Bishop’s call for “reconciliation” - a cross between the Scylla of Episcopal Pastoral Care and the Charybdis of Alternative Episcopal Oversight.

The question is, will the Ulyssian monster called ECUSA find safe harbor in what has been drawn up and dubbed, Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO).

Charybdis, you will recall, was turned into a monster by Zeus who made her suck water in and out three times a day, posing a threat to passing ships – and so the question is, is DEPO merely a thin veneer for Episcopal Pastoral Care, and that giant sucking sound you hear, once the word “delegated” is removed, the same old formula that leads to the continuing and ongoing persecution of biblically faithful Episcopalians.

Not all the orthodox bishops turned up. Four bishops did not attend. Five (including Duncan) attending meetings but stayed off site. Some who did go stayed away for most of the meeting, allowing themselves only that much time to talk about the issue that mattered – alternative pastoral care. Some decided to live offsite and not share the community life of the House. They know what reconciliation a la Griswold means. It means staying together till you agree that pansexuality is good and right in the eyes of God. They have no interest in being sucked into his pagan mystic views any more.

A deliberate effort to put Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan into a small group with NH Bishop V. Gene Robinson failed. Duncan would not allow himself to be sequested for a cozy, ‘see I’m normal’, ‘why can’t we all get along’ huddle with the homoerotic bishop. Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman did not even attend, pleading other more personal reasons.

But the stakes were high, very high, and Griswold knew it. The whole Anglican Communion was watching and just prior to the opening, the Presiding Bishop received a letter from Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury telling Griswold to tread carefully or the head he might tread on could be his own, thus making his bruised head a repeat of The Fall, with equally fatal consequences.

But the Presiding Bishop never told the assembled Purple what exactly was in that letter, leading people to speculate that if there was no compromise it would be Griswold himself who would be accountable to Dr. Williams and his fellow Primates and that any effort to ‘hang’ the Ohio five bishops who participated in the confirmation would be met with sharp reprisals from the supreme club of Purple.

As events played out, the five were not punished, and, except for a minor slap on the wrists, they walked away unscathed for their ecclesiastical insolence. The bishops repudiated the “irregular” confirmations of the Bishops in Ohio, but nevertheless declined to proceed with disciplinary action against them.

Interestingly enough while Griswold steadfastly refused to reveal the contents of Williams’ letter to the HOB or media, he had no such scruples in releasing a letter from the PRIMATE OF BRAZIL who castigated one of his own, Recife Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti for attending and participating in the Ohio confirmations.

Bishop Orlando Santos de Oliveira, primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, said in a letter dated March 16 that Cavalcanti had violated the canons of Brazil and promised the matter would be brought before that church’s House of Bishops. The Bishop of Recife will catch hell for his actions, but Griswold catches nothing for officially presiding at the consecration of a homoerotic bishop, after signing a document in London saying he would not.

That letter, released by Griswold to the Anglican Communion News Service sailed around the world, while Williams’ letter to Griswold remains hidden in a vault.

Politics, pansexual misbehavior and double standards go hand in hand with great ease in the ECUSA. The lies, deceit and coercion will continue on uninterrupted.

When I asked a source in Brazil why the new Brazilian Primate would do such a thing, I was told that the Brazilian Church has to give “815 (ECUSA) support because the Brazilian church depends on the ECUSA for money.” So Brazil is never going to bite the hand that feeds it.

“Orlando is not a conservative, but he is also not an active liberal, he is doing his job. Do not expect anything from the Brazilian church more then support of the ECUSA,” said the source.

BUT REACTION TO THE DELEGATED EPISCOPAL PASTORAL OVERSIGHT proposal was swift and negative. The American Anglican Council condemned it as being “inadequate” as did Canon David Roseberry a leader in the AAC who lead the Plano meetings. An orthodox theologian said it was “dead on arrival” and Forward in Faith North America, the Anglo-Catholic wing of ECUSA equally condemned the plan, with FIFNA leader Fr. David Moyer declaring, “we will not accept this. We are committed to Adequate Episcopal Oversight as defined by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We will continue to work with the "Network" to achieve this goal.”

The closest thing to a favorable reaction came from the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes with a fairly tepid response from Bishop Duncan, its moderator, who said the plan for "Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight" will require "tremendous generosity and charity on the part of the bishops and an extraordinary new level of trust on the part of the people and clergy," if it is to work. We shall see.

WHEN THE PRESIDING BISHOP WAS ASKED AT CAMP ALLEN how he was dealing with the issues and pressure of his office, he responded by saying that he coped by working out at a gym, reading a great deal of fiction, and taking frequent trips to his country house in New Hampshire. There was apparently no mention of prayer, Bible study, the Holy Spirit, or anything remotely Christian. Why are we not surprised?

The Rt. Rev. Pierre W. Whalon, who is Bishop in Charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe described the closed-door meetings as having an “undertone of dread” as the discussions [around pastoral care] loomed in the schedule.”

Bishop Charles Jenkins, chairman of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice, had a rough time of it and was under much pressure, Virtuosity learned. He presented a plan for adequate Episcopal oversight, but said there was much pressure against it and, as he said, “the stakes are high.” He had that right.

The AAC analysis following the official news release, seemed to reinforce the notion that Griswold and the HOB’s main focus was to protect the rights (and powers) of the bishops, without giving very much consideration to the rights of orthodox parishes and congregations that need immediate ecclesiastical relief due to their severely damaged or broken relationships with their bishops.

No one consulted with spokespersons of faithful congregations or, apparently, the AAC, which only illustrates the continued arrogance of Griswold and his revisionist bishops who are struggling to maintain the “top-down” power structure.

As one observer noted, “the battle lines are being better defined, and neither side appears willing to compromise. This is a good example of a major paradigm shift when the individuals with the most to lose are the most opposed to any change.”

There would appear to be no middle ground, though the statement from the NACDP Network and Bishop Duncan seemed to hold the most hope for moving forward. Time alone will tell.

I have posted numerous stories in today’s digest dealing with the fallout from the Texas bishops meeting. There will more in the days to come including in depth commentary on that meeting and the DEPO statement.

OHIO CONFIRMATIONS. Virtuosity has learned that the confirmations had the highest security the AAC had ever put on. This writer knew nothing about it till after the event. Said Canon David Anderson, AAC General Secretary; “We caught them absolutely flat footed. We were not even telling our midlevel AAC folks where it was to be, and third level AAC folks didn't even know when. We kept it SO secret because we didn't want “ungodly admonitions" to be given to the six rectors, who would then, if they showed up at all, be presentable for violating an "ungodly admonition." They will attack us at our most vulnerable points, like clergy who just want to be faithful to Christ and pastor a flock in the historic faith.”

Then Anderson said this; “There will be more.”

Now it is very clear that the American Anglican Council is totally geared for a permanent state of war with the ECUSA revisionist powers. First of all they are never going to back down again. They are prepared to fight for every parish in the country that wants Alternative Episcopal Oversight, and they are under no illusions that all the gracious speak that issues forth from the mouth of Frank Griswold is a hot air balloon that someone, one day, will bring down with an ecclesiastical canon.

Frank Griswold, in his statement, twice mentioned the "ministry of reconciliation." He loves the phrase and how it rolls off the tip of his tongue. He was talking up reconciliation even as the twin towers were crashing in New York. He likes the sounds of the words they have a ring of "niceness", as one journalist observed. “It sounds, well, nice. Who could object? And his meaning is clear: "It is time to stop fighting and to be reconciled to me, my way of doing things, and to your new homo-bishop. C-can't we all just get along?"

One Biblical exegete noted that the scriptural phrase Griswold uses comes from II Cor. 5:18. Read in context it means to repent of your sins and be reconciled to God. It also means that the ministry of reconciliation as committed to the Church, in fact to those in apostolic ministry, includes this call from Christ's ambassadors: "Repent from sin." To Griswold it means the very opposite, he wrote.

But everything is upside down in the pluriform world of Griswold. Truth is constantly being turned on its head and what issues forth from his mouth is his own theobabble that baffles Global South bishops, but feeds the itching ears of his fellow revisionist bishops.

AS IF TO REINFORCE THE DECLINE IN LIBERAL ECUSA DIOCESES, pledges are down in SOUTHERN VIRGINIA in 2004 by 24% reports a Virtuosity reader - and this is in a diocese where the Bishop voted against the confirmation of Robinson.

Bishop David Bane has appointed a reconciliation commission headed by the rector of Bruton Parish, the largest Episcopal Church in the diocese. Herman Hollerith, the commission head, is already on record saying that the gay bishop does not threaten his theology, but that he will not perform homosexual blessings during his tenure.

“I seriously doubt that anything will come of this commission because it is, once again, all talk and no action of significance if any. I have an e-mail from Bishop Bane that effectively defines the result because he took strong exception to any and all of my suggestions for action - including an apology for the mess that has been created.” The traditionalists must march ahead without the Church, he writes. But that is the price that has to be paid if the Church is to survive as a Christian entity.

But Bane has come out against President George W. Bush’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. In these discussions it is important to maintain a clear separation between the roles of church and state. “And it is imperative that we not try through the legislative or legal process to short-circuit or pre-judge ongoing conversations about the moral and religious issues involved.” It is this kind of flip flopping that has people screaming into their coffee cups and pulling their hair out.

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST FOR CANADIAN GENERAL SYNOD 2004. The Director and the Council of Anglican Essentials Canada wants prayer against the erosion of biblical authority in the church, especially as General Synod approaches in May. “Our monthly email prayer alerts are urging pray by Anglicans across the nation to get together on the first Friday of the month to pray for the healing and restoration of the Church.” At seasons like this, many of us may say, "What can I do? It all seems so hopeless!" The resounding answer is "Pray with us!" There is still time!

GOOGLE ADS. Many of you have written that you have seen offensive Google ads at my website. First of all there is a disclaimer and secondly, if you see such ads, send the URL to webmaster@virtuosityonline.org. He will all the URL to our block list. Google matches keywords from each page in my digest in order to display ads. So a mention of the word c**ndom use at Sewanee will result in an unfortunate ad pop-up. Thank you for your help.

Correction: In a recent March issue of Virtuosity, we reported that the Rev. Stephen Waller of St. Thomas the Apostle, Dallas Texas "left his kids". That statement was incorrect. Rev. Waller has no children born to or adopted by him. Virtuosity regrets the error and apologizes for the statement.

A reminder. THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION INSTITUTE will hold its Colorado Spring Conference under the banner, ANGLICANISM: HISTORY AND HOPE: The Future of World Anglicanism in North America. April 20-23, 2004. Among the speakers will be Dr. George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Professor Editor Humphrey, The Rev. Dr. John Karania, The Rev. Dr. Robert Prichard, The Rev. Dr. Jeremie Begbie and the Rev. Dr. Ashley Null. You are warmly invited to attend this conference. This writer will be in attendance. You can sign up by writing to: The Anglican Communion Institute, 601 North Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 or you can sign up by going to: www.anglicancommunioninstitute.org – their website.

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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