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ECUSA Newsman resigns...Akinola rebukes Williams, CofE Evangelicals press case..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Three major events shook the life of the Anglican Communion this week. The first was the announcement that Dan England, Director of Communications for the national Episcopal Church suddenly, and unexpectedly resigned.

There had been no inkling of this. An official statement put out by Pat Mordecai at the church's headquarters said it was for "personal reasons."

Griswold said that "the creative initiatives begun by Dan England during his approximately four years on the staff have been much appreciated and will continue to serve our ongoing communications efforts." His position will go temporarily to Robert Williams a homosexual from California who directs the Episcopal News Service and oversees media relations for the Episcopal Church. He will assume the title of Acting Director of Communications.

But his departure immediately triggered speculation by the American Anglican Council who put out a press release, IS THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH LEADERSHIP IN DISARRAY? "Does Mr. England’s resignation signal an acknowledgement that the approach chosen by ECUSA has proven ineffective, unsuccessful or even a complete failure? Does Mr. England’s resignation indicate that the leadership of ECUSA is questioning its own direction, decisions and leadership? Did he in fact “resign”?

Ironically part of Mr. England's job description was to deal with Internet communication which had gotten away from the revisionist leadership of the Episcopal Church. Griswold had moaned on several occasions about so called Internet communicators that were harming ECUSA's cause. The Presiding Bishop had obliquely attacked Virtuosity for its ability to get the word out about what ECUSA's revisionists are really doing to its faithful orthodox parishes and rectors in America, and clearly England had failed to dent this news ministry.

Is the Episcopal Church leadership actually in serious disarray, and can ECUSA no longer afford to denigrate the voice of the Communion? Is 815 merely shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic? We will know more in time.

An orthodox bishop who agreed to speak to Virtuosity on grounds of anonymity said England, who was a Baptist, was always friendly to the orthodox bishops, and there had been a very definite and growing friction between the official policies post general convention and the communications director. The bishop said that England was more on the conservative side of things and talked about marriage being exclusively between a man and a woman. I am not totally surprised he left, said the bishop.

Attempts to reach England by this writer were unsuccessful.

THE SECOND BOMBSHELL came late Friday night when a two-page letter was faxed to Virtuosity by a Nigerian priest in the US. The letter was a stunning rebuke by Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola of Dr. Rowan Williams over the appointment of yet another white male, and liberal at that, to the Anglican Communion Office in London to replace Canon John Peterson when, according to Akinola, there are any number of qualified Global South persons who would have been better suited for the job, and one who would have better reflected their theological outlook.

Akinola was particularly incensed, accusing the Archbishop of "marginalizing and treating as irrelevant a very large segment of the Anglican Communion."

Now Virtuosity has learned that Canon Kenneth Kearon, Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin who will succeed Canon John L. Peterson as general secretary of the ACC is from the same liberal school when it comes to homosexual behavior. In an interview with BBC in Northern Ireland Canon Kearon said sex had been individualized and commercialized, but the Christian tradition said much about sexuality in relationship that would "resonate with many others". He did not explain what he meant by "many others." Gays perhaps?

Furthermore he did not publicly repudiate homosexual behavior, a failure that could rebound on both him and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Global South Bishops and orthodox bishops of the West have publicly repudiated this behavior both at the 1998 Lambeth Conference and in subsequent primatial statements.

One wonders how long all this can go on for. The deliberate snubbing of the Global South by Williams in this recent appointment; the deliberate effort to put Canon Jeffrey John, an openly gay man into a place of serious leadership in the Church of England; the consecration of a sodomite to the episcopacy in the US, and on and on it goes. There has to be an end to all this? Clearly the Global South and those orthodox remnants in the West are waiting on pins and needles for the Lambeth Commission to deliver itself of a verdict on Western revisionism, and Irish Primate Robin Eames will not be able to charm this one away. A British observer said his sticky fingers were all over the new ACC appointment in London. Why are we not surprised?

THE THIRD BOMBSHELL came this week when the Church of England Evangelical Council made a submission to the Lambeth (Eames) Commission (the full report is in today's digest) detailing a carefully reasoned, closely argued condemnation of recent theological and moral innovations in the US, Canada and the UK.

By acting now the CEEC has adopted a first strike policy, retaliating quickly before the liberals swing into action. This group, like REFORM and others have seen what has happened in the ECUSA by waiting too long, prevaricating and trying to cut deals with revisionists. They know it won't work and so they are getting their oar in first and quickly.

British Evangelicals also have another advantage. They are the largest, most powerful and richest segment of the Church of England and they can withhold money to make their point. And this week Britain's evangelicals intensified their battle over homosexuality by calling on hundreds of parishes to reject the spiritual authority of liberal bishops.

REFORM the conservative evangelical network, announced plans for a national campaign in the statement to its 1,700 members. The group called on parishes to test whether their diocesan bishops held "orthodox" beliefs on homosexuality. If their bishops' views proved unacceptable, they were urged to declare themselves in "impaired communion" and to cap their contributions.

The bottom line is that an apostate church that will not listen to its members voices will eventually hear from their pocketbooks.

The Reform statement warned that the crisis would deepen if the Lambeth Commission failed to avert schism.

IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH USA the beat goes on in various dioceses across the country.

In the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT, the Bishop Andrew Smith, is ratcheting up the pain on half a dozen orthodox parishes that won't fall into line with his revisionist agenda. Conform or get out, he says. You can read that story today. One church, St. Paul's Darien, is one of the ECUSA's church's largest evangelical/charismatic churches. If he blows them off it will be a signal that charismatics have no future in the ECUSA.

It is interesting to note that as ECUSA's revisionist bishops lower the theological standards and accept looser morals they are tightening up by using the church's canons and constitutions to keep their priests in line. Can one imagine for a moment that that is how Jesus would operate?

Increasingly the ECUSA House of Bishops is like the "Top Gun" school for bores. It takes people who have certain natural facilities for pomposity, dresses them in purple, and turns them, by putting them in small groups at general conventions, into weapons of mass narcolepsy.

In the DIOCESE OF SOUTHERN VIRGINIA, the rector and congregation of Grace Episcopal Church, Newport News, left The Episcopal Church. The Rev. R. Bolling "Bo" Bryant, the rector, and the wardens said they now wanted to be under the authority of the Anglican Mission in America. "Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we the Rector and Vestry of Grace Church do resign as the official governing body of this parish and sever our connections with the Episcopal Church USA," they wrote the bishop.

Reached for comment, "Bo" Bryant told Virtuosity that the parting from the diocese and the Bishop, David C. Bane, Jr. was amicable with the bishop declaring, "I want you to know that the people of Grace Church have been incredibly gentle, caring, and compassionate in this difficult process. They realize and fully accept that the physical property belongs to the Diocese of Southern Virginia and are doing everything within their power to insure that there is an orderly transition that reflects the fact that all of us are disciples of Jesus Christ. As difficult as this situation is I ask that you keep Bo and the people of the congregation in your prayer."

The church, all 100 percent, walked out leaving the keys at the front door. They had no endowment. Word has it that a black church group will probably buy the building. Score another loss for revisionism.

In the DIOCESE OF COLORADO a newspaper article provoked a heated debate between an orthodox priest and the head of the Diocesan Standing Committee with charges being traded about the cause for the potential closure of two parishes reported in the secular press. Money and bad theology is at the heart of the problem.

And a lay person in the DIOCESE OF COLORADO, Deb Tenney who is involved with Communion Laity and Clergy of Colorado, A Voice for Orthodox Episcopalians, wrote Virtuosity to say that Bishop Rob O'Neill told her that he would not allow her to purchase ad space in the Episcopalian to publish the short article below on the Communion Laity and Clergy "because he considers us an Episcopal parachurch group such as a pro-life or an environmental group who also would not make the editor's cut. Publishing our article under any circumstances was a precedent he did not want to set. At the last CLC meeting we decided to contact all the orthodox clergy and ask their assistance in passing the word of our existence along to the more remote Episcopal members of our state. Now that need is even more critical."

Fascism with a smiley, revisionist face.

Here is what she wrote that the bishop wouldn't allow to be published:

"The Episcopal Church is known for its divergent and tolerant views; however, the decisions of General Convention 2003 have pushed liberal theology too far to the left for thousands of Colorado Episcopalians. Those who wholeheartedly embrace the traditional practice of our faith as handed down from Scripture and the church fathers and as outlined in the Book of Common Prayer and its Thirty-nine Articles have taken a stand against the current liberal trends to discount Scripture and endorse same sex relationships. Here in Colorado, the orthodox presence is organized as Communion Laity and Clergy of Colorado. It was formed by Episcopalians from across Colorado who felt called to be the voice for orthodox believers. Its mission is to encourage orthodox Episcopalians and support orthodox ministry and leadership in this diocese.

It is important to note the focus of the Communion Laity and Clergy is not to be against any group; but rather, it is to stand firm in the faith as understood by the vast majority of the Anglican Communion and other Christians around the world.

The Communion Laity and Clergy accomplishes this mission by focusing on five areas: Communication, Education, Leadership, Fellowship, and most of all, Prayer. Since forming at the end of last year, the Communion Laity and Clergy has sponsored a conference at Christ Church Denver in February. There is now regional leadership in place in these areas: Denver/Central; Ft Collins/ North; South; Mountain; and Western Slope. As this regional concept matures, there will be numerous opportunities for fellowship and encouragement, for orthodox education, and for worship.

The Communion Laity and Clergy has developed an email list serve to provide news and state updates on the committee's work to its subscribers. If you would like to be included, please contact Fr. Eric Zolner at ezolner@adelphia.net.

And in the DIOCESE OF CENTRAL GULF COAST, a book written by the Rev. Dr. David McDowell-Fleming outlines why a diocese can get into trouble. His book The Deconstruction of a Diocese, How Defensive Responses and Controlling Personal
Agendas lay the Groundwork for a Schism in the Church, is an excellent read.

The Episcopal Church's official homosexual organization Integrity is hopping mad these days. Their financial support of $30,000 to the Uganda chapter has gone. Integrity-Uganda is no more. The Ugandans saw the light and gave the whole operation over to the new archbishop who will have nothing to do with sodomy. Integrity lost a small bundle.

And from the DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE, the Rt. Rev. Bert Herlong writes in the Jul/Aug 2004 issue of the Cross and Crozier that it is not news to anyone that there continues to be significant fallout and disruption in the Episcopal Church from the actions of the 74th General Convention. "Laity and clergy are continuing to react in ways that demonstrate their dissatisfaction. Then, of course, there is an equal and opposite reaction by those who disagree with them, contributing to the continuing unrest." You can read his full statement today.

This writer has had occasion to bump into Bishop Herlong at two recent events and I can assure you this bishop is made of the right stuff. He is tough and unyielding in dealing with revisionists in his diocese. He could teach some of the fence sitters a lesson. He brushes off threats of a presentment. "Let em try," he says. "I'm ready".

Making their way across the African continent looking for love and understanding are three Episcopalians including two bishops, John Lipscomb of the DIOCESE OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Ted Daniels, Assistant Bishop of the DIOCESE OF TEXAS and Titus Pressler Dean of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest.

They say they have no agenda; they are just out there promoting "conversation," "listening" and "being vulnerable", the liberal trinity of ECUSA's Vain Hopes. These are all favorite buzzwords of men with little or no theology or understanding of what the Africans really believe in and won't compromise on. Oh God, how much more of this rubbish do we have to listen too or put up with? They are wasting their time and our money. They could stay at home and read Virtuosity for free to know what the Africans believe and think, and they could send the plane fare to Africa to fight AIDS.

AND A VIRTUOSITY NUMBERS CRUNCHER came up with this little item. The 74% of bishops who voted for Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman's GC Resolution B001 affirming basic doctrines of the faith voted AGAINST Robinson. 92% of those who voted against B001, voted for Robinson. The correlation is plain to see--orthodoxy produces orthopraxis and vice versa. Why are we not surprised.

According to the current issue of "First Things", no one is to be ordained in the Church of Sweden unless he (or she) supports the ordination of women. In response, the presiding bishop of the Lutheran Church in Kenya has indicated his willingness "on the basis of emergency legitimacy set forth in the Lutheran Confessions" to ordain men in Sweden who object to WO. "As Lutherans," he says, "we must recognize that this kind of calling comes from the Head of the Church himself. Who dares disobey him?"

The Kenyan bishop is quoted as referring to WO as "this Gnostic novelty [that] is obviously claiming, not only autocracy in the church, but tyranny, since it cannot tolerate even minimal coexistence with classical Christianity."

And in Honolulu this week the American Psychological Association's Council of Representatives backed gay marriage. The nation's largest association of psychologists made its support official at the first day of the group's annual convention in Waikiki. The council also expressed opposition to discrimination against lesbian and gay parents. It also found same-sex and heterosexual couples remarkably similar, and parenting effectiveness and children's psychological well-being unrelated to parental sexual orientation.

The positions, drawn up by the APA Working Group on Same-Sex Families and Relationships, are meant to guide psychologists in the public debate over civil marriage for same-sex couples.

But an orthodox Episcopal psychiatrist in South Carolina retorted that the American Psychiatric Association has not stooped that low. He wrote Virtuosity to say that the
American Psychiatric Association has never said homosexuality is good or right. "The only official thing they ever did on homosexuality was to say they were not going to consider it a medical issue, and I agree with them. Homosexuality is like adultery - it's a wrongful behavior; neither homosexuality nor adultery is a disease, and if a person is drawn to either of those behaviors, I doubt a doctor is the best place to seek help from." QED.

AND A STUDY ON SEXUALITY is scheduled to come to a vote at the 2005 churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). My Lutheran friends tell me that the revisionists have been watching carefully the Episcopalian crack-up and want to avoid the alienation of a couple of million members from the much larger ELCA. So the idea is being floated that a vote would be unnecessarily “divisive,” that love requires that “we live with our differences.” Over time, after a few thousand same-sex blessings (which may by then be legally recognized as marriages) and a few hundred ordinations of practicing gays and lesbians (at first tolerated as “exceptions”), the Lutheran tradition will be de facto transformed from legalism to grace, and all without the inconvenient difficulties of formal deliberation, debate, and decision. The strategy might very well work. Never underestimate the power of antinomianism veiled in the language of love. When truth is trimmed to accommodate togetherness, the quality of togetherness is admittedly thinned, but the good thing is that nobody is excluded. Except, of course, those who thought the point was to be together in truth. The churchwide assembly is still a year away. It is enough time to effectively label those who want a vote for fidelity as the party of “divisiveness.”

AND THOUSANDS WITNESSED THE OPENING OF THE THE CATHEDRAL IN RWANDA this week. The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame were among thousands of Anglican faithful who attended the official opening and blessing of John the Baptist Cathedral in Ruhengeri, Rwanda. The colorful event was presided over by the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini, and the Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. John Rucyahana. An altar call made during the service saw 1,080 people accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. The President congratulated the new believers and praised the Episcopal Church of Rwanda for its role in peace building and economic development.

Kolini told the gathering that the word of God would bring healing to the nation. He said love was the greatest virtue and that it had the power to transform any society.

Rucyahana, who was singled out for praise by the President, pledged to continue working for the good of all the people in the diocese.

BANGLADESH FLOOD APPEAL

Two-thirds of Bangladesh is under water in one of the worst episodes of flooding in recent years. Assistance is urgently needed. Gifts may be channeled through Barnabas Fund (project 04-513) and will be forwarded to our Christian partners in Bangladesh for distribution to provide relief and aid for Christians affected by the disaster.
http://www.barnabasfund.org/donations.htm

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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