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ECUSA: Phony Frank's Reconciliation Redux


News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

SPOKANE, WA (9/27/2004)--As the Episcopal Church roils towards discipline and worse, Frank Griswold, the Presiding Bishop called his House of Bishops together this week at the historic and luxurious Davenport Hotel to continue their much ballyhooed work on the theme of reconciliation.

The only fantasy bigger than this topic of discussion, and the assemblage of purple to consider it, might be George Lucas's Star Wars or possibly Lord of the Rings. The 132 bishops, their wives and spouses have holed up in suites at a minimum cost of $200.00 per day excluding meals and plane fares for a total cost in excess of $1 million to discuss "reconciliation and global awareness" even as the ECUSA plunges in ecumenical esteem wondering still if she will have a place at the Anglican Communion table by the end of next month.

It's a bit like ordering a 10-course dinner with fine wines and champagne all around, the captain signaling that all is well with a wave and a salute, as the good ship ECUSA tilts to port, while the band plays on.

Reconciliation has become Griswold's raison d'etre and theme even as 22 Primates have declared themselves in either impaired or broken communion with him and a report soon to be released might suspend his membership altogether in the primatial club and discipline, at a minimum, some 60 bishops who participated in a homoerotic consecration that has outraged the entire Anglican Communion and most of the greater Christian world.

I am told that none of the Network (NACDP) bishops have bothered to go. The phony game of reconciliation is no longer on their agenda for the month of September, perhaps forever. One bishop, Frank Gray Assistant Bishop of Virginia wrote and said he would not attend as he swore to "guard the faith", clearly implying that his fellow bishops could not. And Gray is no overt lover of the AAC or the Network.

The international guest list for this fantasy gabfest reads like a Who's Who of Anglican Mafia families. First on is "Don" the Most Rev. Orlando Santos de Oliveira, primate of Brazil and bishop of Southern Brazil. Now Brazil is the most liberal province in the central region of America and an ECUSA plant, weaned from the ECUSA bosom in 1991 from godfather Ed "no outcasts" Browning - hence its liberal ethos and theology. They are pro-sodomite to the core, except for one holdout, the Diocese of Recife whose orthodox bishop Robinson Cavilcanti got a rude awakening this past week when "The Don" Oliveira stripped him of a number of parishes in his diocese and placed them under a liberal bishop.

That's a bit like Frank Griswold coming into the Diocese of Fort Worth and telling Bishop Jack Iker that he was taking the one or two liberal parishes from his diocese and giving them to the liberal Bishop of Texas, Don Wimberly. While anything is possible these days in ECUSA I am not sure that even Griswold would stoop that low.

So "Don" Oliveira gets an invite but Southern Cone Primate Greg Venables does not, hardly a surprise there.

The second "esteemed international" figure is the new Primate of Mexico, one Carlos Touche-Porter, presiding bishop of La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico & bishop of Mexico.

Touche-Porter is new to the job. The last archbishop, Samuel Espinoza-Venegas and one of his fellow bishops German Martinez-Marquez both absconded with millions of ECUSA dollars and were never heard from again. Mexico has a been a sinkhole for millions of ECUSA dollars over the years courtesy of 815, ECUSA's national headquarters, where dispensing money to malleable provinces goes hand in hand with no one asking for any accountability. The Mexican Church ran away with the farm.

Over the years American missionaries have told Virtuosity horror stories of a closed seminary, churches, and a high-handed arrogance that saw real estate deals, high living and fancy cars for family members and much more. As far as one can discern, from their website, there are five dioceses but no discernible parishes. At the very most they can claim a handful of missions and three preaching stations.

It's a bit like the Bishop of Navajoland, Steven Plummer whose entire diocese consists of 388 members, (down from 556 in 1996), being invited to give a lecture on church growth. T'was Plummer who sodomized his underage nephew and got a mere rap on the knuckles from Ed "The Inclusive" Browning.

And the final "esteemed international" figure is the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, bishop of Southern Malawi in Central Africa. Now this gentleman is on the board of the orthodox organization, Ekklesia and it has come as a bit of shock to Canon Bill Atwood. Bishop Tengatenga's primate is Archbishop Bernard Malango of Central Africa and inquiries are being made as to whether this bishop got permission from Malango to attend the ECUSA HOB, especially as Malango is out of communion with Griswold.

Another international guest is Bishop Jonathan Flack, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome (ACR). ACR has played an integral part in the dialogue between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches since its founding 36 years ago. Flack told the bishops and spouses that while this "is not an easy time to be an ecumenist," there are exciting times ahead and that the Anglican Centre exists to serve as a place of dialogue, study and hospitality for all Anglicans.

That's an understatement. The Roman Catholic Church has ended all ARCIC talks with Griswold and won't even be seen in the same room with him because of Robinson's consecration. This is spin of the highest order.

Bishop Bullen Dolli of the Diocese of Lui in Southern Sudan was introduced by Bishop Wayne Smith of Missouri. (This bishop is persecuting a godly evangelical rector in his own diocese we should not forget.) Dolli gave a brief but sobering account of life in Southern Sudan where, he recounted, they have been at war for 20 years. "Children grow in war, live in war and die in war," he said. The bishop, himself, has escaped being killed by bombs 22 times and his cathedral was "razed to the ground" by one. He thanked the Episcopal Church for its support and prayers over the past years.

Retired bishop Claude Payne of Texas introduced the new president of the Church Pension Group, Dennis Sullivan, who thanked the bishops for the opportunity to get to know them face to face. "I am pleased to report the Church Pension Fund remains in excellent financial shape, well secured and well reserved," he said.

Of course. The House of Bishops has no theology and even lower morals, and they use canons to persecute the faithful, but please make sure that there is plenty of money in the Pension Fund to give hefty pensions to retired revisionist bishops who wouldn't believe in Jesus if they saw him rise from the dead.

Two speakers were there to work with the bishops as they continue to ask themselves how they can be agents of reconciliation. Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and author of Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation. These are all code words to embrace pansexuality. And to cap off the liberal spin Richard Rodriguez, essayist and author of the book Brown: the Last Discovery of America, offered his presentation. Rodriguez, it should be noted, is gay and a lapsed Catholic.

Then it was time for Frank to speak. Here is what he said: "[This is] a challenging season in which the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion find themselves. Let us take out of play the unproductive charges that the masses on both sides hurl at each other... The Lord's threshing floor is not yet winnowed, there is bound to be chaff among us both -- let us pray only, and take steps, that together we may be His wheat."

"Let us take out of play the unproductive charges that the masses on both sides hurl at each other," cried he! Well who the blazes started this war in the first place? It wasn't the orthodox, they just keep saying the same old thing; same old Prayer Book, same old Prayers, same old sermons, same old liturgy. It was Frank and his boys that began the innovations and now they want to broker these innovations into the communion as acceptable and they wonder why no one wants them around any longer!

Griswold said that he hopes the bishops will be "given new lenses over the next days in the hope of discovering the mind of Christ more fully."

And what 'new lenses' might those be and do they come with pink shades perhaps? And how much more of the "mind of Christ" is there to be discovered when His mind has been fully made up on sexuality and has never been changed in 2,000 years! Frank and his revisionist pals have some new prophetic word for us all perhaps?

In a news conference following the opening session and Eucharist, Griswold said that the "Anglican tradition has been about difference held together within a context of common prayer." The bishops, he said, "represent that diversity of opinion and breadth. They are rooted and grounded in what we've just done 10 minutes ago: namely, worship. Our differences are real, but also our fellowship, our affection for one another, our relationships is equally real and will carry us forward."

This is pure theobabble. The communion is held together with a common set of doctrines, a body of uncompromising truth. Do you think that Bob Duncan or Jack Iker or Keith Ackerman or FitzSimons Allison would worship with these apostate men and women? They have a far healthier view of the wrath of God than to endanger their own souls.

Frank's notion of "reconciliation" is as phony as the professed Anglo-Catholicism he told the Nigerians that he was, once upon a time.

Griswold's "global awareness" also took a serious hit last week. Representatives of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network announced in Jerusalem their intention to recommend that their church consider divesting itself from Israel. Effectively this means declaring a boycott of firms who do business with Israel, thereby applying economic pressure in addition to moral censure. The APJN delegation deplored, at the conclusion of a 10-day visit, Israel's "worse than draconian" measures against the Palestinians. The delegates met with Yasser Arafat but stressed that they balanced this visit by conferring with an Israeli as well... Azmi Bishara.

So "global awareness" means Arafat good, Ariel bad. UN resolutions good, American use of power bad. Islam good, Christianity bad if it doesn't roll over and kiss the Koran. Revisionist bishops in ECUSA good, orthodox bishops bad. Pansexuality good, heterosexuality...only if you really MUST, but don't forget to add Vickie and Mark as two normal gay guys.

This is Frank's vaunted pluriformity playing itself out. And you wonder the Global South has about as much respect for ECUSA as they have for spitballs.

If Griswold thinks he can persuade the rest of the Communion of his "orthodoxy" by this last ditch attempt to influence the Lambeth/Eames Commission and the Archbishop of Canterbury, he really doesn't get it.

It is repentance not reconciliation the majority of Primates want, and if it is not forthcoming then Griswold's future as a leader is over, and he and his fellow revisionist bishops will be isolated and cut off from the Anglican mainstream; then you will truly hear the howls of outrage, but the howls will be lost in the winter wind.


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