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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

An outside viewer looking in on the House of Bishops in Camp Allen, Texas this week might have thought it was something right out of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party...making words mean whatever they wanted them to mean. The meeting of the House of Bishops in Navasota was a study in denial so profound that it will have psychologists and historians shaking their heads in bewilderment and wonderment for years to come.

The "Covenant" and the attendant "Word to the Church" put out by the HOB and the Presiding Bishop is close in tone and spirit to Baghdad Bob (the Iraqi Minister of Propaganda), who was publicly declaring that "all is well" when US forces were within 10 miles of Baghdad.

Such is the stuff of Episcopal fantasies. Behold the following lines:

The Covenant Statement was described as a "reflection of a fresh spirit of mutual forbearance and reconciliation among us" and "the beginning of a new day in our life together."

This, of course, totally ignores what the Global South bishops will have to say about it.

The bishops thought so highly of themselves that one bishop noted their own "resilience and honesty," we were told.

Mark Sisk, bishop of New York, said it was "a direct encounter from the people who represent different dimensions and which provided an opportunity for us to work toward a deeper level of honesty."

There's that "deeper place" place again, made so famous by our pluriform presiding bishop, who also called for a "realignment of energies," whatever the blazes that means. One can only hope that, one day, Frank's force fields will collapse for lack of energy.

From those dissenting bishops like Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan, the bishop of Los Angeles, Jon Bruno, had this to say, "Conflicts that were addressed represented catalysts for positive change." Really.

Bishop Edward Little of Northern Indiana, reflecting on the meeting, said that he "experienced a remarkable generosity of spirit that I had not experienced before in the House." He agreed "that some hopeful bridges have been built." And this is the same bishop that, not a few months ago, was accusing the HOB of being anti-Semitic!

Keep the fantasy alive.

Then of course there was the madcap Bishop of Manchester, England, Nigel McCullough, a liberal of course, who had been hand-picked by the presiding bishop to attend the meeting, who said he "picked up a great sense of the bishops seeing beyond the issue of sexuality to Christ's mission in its broadest sense to which we are all called."

Sex and secular salvation, the ECUSA version of reality, perfect together.

And then there was the call for a "Sabbath space" by Sisk to aid us all in yet more education. He added that the space created by the Covenant Statement will enhance the church's further learning around human sexuality.

Ah yes, Episcopalians educating themselves into stupefaction over sex. Oh God, when will it all end? How many sex-ed courses do we need, how many positions untried, how much more whining do we need from the ECUSA's pansexualists on their pain of un-acceptance by millions of Global South Anglicans, who apparently know less than we do? The arrogance is appalling.

The truth is the HOB meeting may well have signaled the beginning of the end of the Episcopal Church as we know it. The Covenant only delays the inevitable, one bishop told VirtueOnline.

The truth is that the HOB was so divided, though unevenly, that it is hard to see how it can hang together much longer. Tempers flared, bishops traded accusations, Frank Griswold was confronted over the damage he has done pushing homosexuality in the Episcopal Church, and, despite a desperate propaganda drive by the church's spin doctors, the situation was described as "irreconcilable," with a divorce pending when the ECUSA meets at General Convention in 2006.

You could drive Mack trucks through the communiqué, covenant and anything else the HOB has come up with. The notion of a moratorium on consecrating bishops both straight and gay just to appease Vickie Gene Robinson is an appalling display of hubris and must have the Global South bishops shaking their heads in sheer bewilderment at ECUSA's stupidity or the lack of theology behind it. You can read the full stories in today's digest. You can also read what the Archbishop of Canterbury had to say

Interestingly the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote saying he viewed positively the HOB "constructive covenant statement" but a VirtueOnline reader wrote to say that his response to the HOB Covenant had suddenly disappeared from his personal website as of Saturday with a note saying "this page cannot be found". Has the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the covenant by the orthodox produced second thoughts from the world leader? http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/releases/index.html

You can also read what Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan, and AAC leader Canon David Anderson had to say.

OF COURSE the moratorium on consecrating new bishops may also be a way to try and stop the likes of future Moyer consecrations. And what about crossing diocesan lines? WHO will come to the rescue of godly priests like my own, for example, from the marauding ways of bishops like Charles Bennison and Stacy Sauls? Will the Network bishops see in the present chaos an opportunity to ratchet up the ante by crossing diocesan lines and rescuing these orthodox priests? This is their moment. Will they seize it? Do things have to get any worse before they have the courage to act? Or will the orthodox bishops hide behind the statement in the Covenant that they should not cross diocesan lines? Did they put that in the Covenant to give them an excuse? The crisis is not in Dioceses like Pittsburgh, the crisis is in Dioceses like Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Connecticut. What are Duncan et al going to do as the revisionist bishops go forward with their plan to eliminate the orthodox priests and to take over the property of orthodox parishes?

The revisionists keep talking about healing, but this is nonsense. There can be no healing without full confession and repentance as well as obedience to God's revealed will, in His word about human behavior, and that has never been forthcoming. Healing is another illusion. Of course as a gesture of good will Robinson could have removed himself from office during this time. Not a chance.

DROMANTINE and what took place there among the Primates also surfaced at the HOB meeting, with charges traded that Duncan interfered with the outcome. Griswold tore into Duncan, Duncan responded, and Robinson, in so many words, called Duncan a liar. Now who said there was peace and harmony in Camp Allen? That might be the biggest lie of all.

A number of orthodox bishops have responded to this covenant, and you can read what they say at the website www.virtueonline.org under the AS EYE SEE IT section. But from the intellectual center and powerhouse of the evangelical movement within the ECUSA comes a devastating critique of the Covenant. You can read what the ANGLICAN COMMUNION INSTITUTE has to say in today's digest. The essence of their argument is that "The covenant reveals that, having walked apart, the House of Bishops has now agreed to stop walking as symbolized in its "solution" to the requested moratorium, it has simply ground to a halt as an episcopal house..." You can read more of their arguments and articles at: http://www.anglicancommunioninstitute.org/articles/bishopscovenantaci.htm. Among their brainy boys is the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner and Professor Chris Seitz.

The HOUSE OF BISHOPS called on the U.S. Senate to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against rampaging oil drillers recently and invoked a Scripture from the Book of Job. But a wise student of Scripture pointed out that the Scripture quoted in support of ecological justice (a practice which I fully support), cited the Alaska refuge as sacred, and an anchor in a changing world, but paid no attention to Scripture in regard to other issues, like condemning Africans as ignorant and primitive when they oppose change in regard to views on sexuality. Now the quote from Job, "listen to the earth, and it will teach you" (Job 12:8) is actually a misquote, one reader pointed out. The scripture actually says listen to the plants of the earth (not to the earth directly). Wrote the source, "This tactic of rewriting scripture to suit one's agenda is more what I would expect to find in the Unitarian church."

And from the DIOCESE OF WESTERN NEW YORK comes this from a VirtueOnline reader. At the installation of the new vicar at St. Michael & All Angels, a once thriving parish now shrunk to nothing following the departure of the orthodox rector the Rev. Roger Grist, the church secretary was chatting with the organist afterward, a certain Mr. Ward. He informed her that he and another man were now a couple, and that Bishop J. Michael Garrison was delighted, and had blessed their relationship. "What is so terrible is that the organist's wife is still alive, and in a nursing home with advanced Alzheimer's," said the source.

And in the DIOCESE OF ARIZONA, the Rev. Keith Andrews, the rector of St. James' Church, Tempe, who was till recently rector of a thriving and the biggest and fastest-growing (evangelical) ECUSA parish in the Phoenix metropolitan area, had a fast one pulled on him by Bishop Kirk Steven Smith, the revisionist bishop of that diocese. The church also has a church-plant/daughter congregation operating in "Ahwatukee" another suburb of Phoenix.

The sneaky bishop wrote and mailed a letter to the church following a church meeting with the church's vestry concerns over the church's revisionist theology. The bishop had communicated a desire for the parish to remain in ECUSA, but also promised Andrews at a clergy retreat in Prescott that there would be an amicable separation, if this became necessary.

Instead of allowing his letter and the response at the meeting to be made public by the church, the bishop elected to mail his letter to their members. The bishop also decided to appoint another priest in charge of St. James. Who knows how all this will play it, but it is just one more indication of how revisionist bishops act and respond to the orthodox in their dioceses. There is no gospel in these men and women, just power plays. Wouldn't it be great if a group of orthodox bishops intervened and offered protection for this godly priest and his parishes?

And in the DIOCESE OF TEXAS, the bishop, Don Wimberly, wrote a letter to the clergy of his diocese saying he has relieved the Rt. Rev. Theodore Daniels from service as his assistant bishop. Wimberly wrote that "for a number of reasons [Daniels' firing] I believe [the reasons] should s' remain confidential." Do we smell a cover-up here? Come on, Don, tell us what is really going on. If it's so bad why hasn't the Title IV Review Committee been informed and charges made through proper channels? An orthodox priest in the diocese said Daniels once excoriated the orthodox in the Diocese of Texas two councils ago in a pathetic excuse for a sermon. "I walked out in disgust. Many of us did," he wrote. So if it is not about theology then what's left, inquiring minds want to know. No cover-up will be permitted by VirtueOnline. Now, if it had been an orthodox bishop, we would have had the charges screamed all over the universe with shouts of glee from the village (ECUSA) sodomites. VirtueOnline will keep you posted as we learn more.

AND IN YET ANOTHER OUTRAGE, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, allowed a controversial Muslim service to take place in its Synod House on March 18. This got the ire up of orthodox Muslims, incensed that a woman would lead prayers before a mixed-sex congregation that a bomb threat was made to the police. Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, led Friday prayers, or Jum'ah, for between 80 and 100 people, saying. "We will no longer accept the back door. This single act is symbolic of the possibilities within Islam." New York police had to step in to the Upper West side church to prevent Islamist activists from disturbing the service.

So this is how it is: An Episcopal cathedral will allow radical feminist Islamic women to put on a show of their own, but if you were an orthodox priest who wanted to preach the gospel, what are your chances? Don't bother asking the dean.

FOR THOSE looking for an orthodox parish in Chicago, St. Andrew's Church will start meeting on Saturday April 9 at 2:00 pm at 18001 94th Avenue, Tinley Park, IL 60477. The Rev. Olugbenga Olajide is the rector. His authority comes straight from the primate of Nigeria, the Most. Rev. Peter Akinola and his Convocation of the Church of Nigeria in America.

ACROSS THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION the polarization continues. The Africans have banned western education for their priests. They will no longer send them to North American seminaries. Now this gives institutions like the Christian University in Uganda and St. Paul's in Kenya, not to mention fine institutions in Nigeria, the opportunity to train their own. After all, who would want to send a candidate for ministry to the ultra-feminist, any orifice, (pansexual), proto-Marxist institution like The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass? A year into that place and you would lose your faith forever, or worse, come out a Unitarian.

In the PROVINCE OF NIGERIA their primate, Peter Akinola, says his church will not commence the ordination of women, but the issue may be revisited in the future.

WELL WELL WELL, the Canadians are hopping mad. The Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, a standing committee of the ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA, is recommending to the governing body of the Canadian church -- the Council of General Synod (COGS) --that when they meet in May to determine Canada's response to the primates' communiqué that its elected members attend and participate in the June 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham in June.

The polite language goes like this: "We believe that the request to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council is an inappropriate action at this time." Now that flies in the face of what they were asked to do at Dromantine, and that is to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council except to explain their actions in allowing same-sex blessings. We can't wait to see how the primates will respond to this when they find out.

And on that note, the Primate of SOUTHEAST ASIA, the Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung, came out with a statement this week saying that the ECUSA and Canadians were "suspended" -- his word. In a pastoral letter to his clergy the primate cited "severe impairment and fractured relationships in the Anglican Communion." You can read his full statement here today. When VirtueOnline used the word "suspension" to explain what happened at Dromantine I got raked over the coals for it, but the truth is, that is exactly how the vast majority of the Global South archbishops see it. It was not "voluntary withdrawal" in their minds.

And in the CHURCH OF ENGLAND another evangelical bishop has rolled over to the gay agenda. Bishop John Gladwin, who recently moved from Guildford to Chelmsford, the second largest diocese on England, was once a solid evangelical. Educated at Cranmer Hall, he was part of the CICCU -- the evangelical student movement on campus. OUTRAGE!, the C of E's gay outers, disrupted a service, which started the bishop on a dialogue with gays and lesbians. He fell off the evangelical wagon. Ambition got him, said a source. He loves being in the House of Lords -- all that bonhomie. The sell-out used to be 30 pieces of silver; clearly the price has gone up. He recently attacked evangelicals for trying to censor his opinions. Probably the most fallen of the lot on the current C of E bench is John Saxbee, bishop of Lincoln, a once vigorous evangelical. Now he has commissioned the Church of England's first official service to recognize gay couples and cohabiting heterosexuals. Oh, how they fall.

IN CANADA in what is likely to be the largest gathering of orthodox Canadian Anglicans in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Essentials Canada, will play host to the "Open Door" Conference in Toronto, Ontario beginning Thursday, June 16, 2005 at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto. This historic meeting of Canadian Anglicans will be concerned for the recovery of orthodoxy within their church. Congress presenters will include Anglican leaders from across Canada who will be joined by primates and other key representatives of the worldwide Anglican Communion to discuss and identify the critical issues and choices facing the Anglican Communion at this moment in history. VirtueOnline will be there to cover the event. You can apply here. http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/readarticle.php?article_id=26

THE WYNNEWOOD INSTITUTE, an organization based near Philadelphia, will host the celebrated English writer and philosopher Roger Scruton to lectures at The Villanova Conference Center, 601 Country Line Rd., Radnor, April 12th, on how America and Western Civilization can best defend itself against current pressures not only from without and also from within. The evening's presentation will be titled "The Defense of the West: How to Begin."

CORRECTION AND UPDATE: In my last digest on the exit of the Rev. Mark Hansen from his parish in Connecticut, Mark asked me to file the following clarifying note:

My Dear Members of St. John's:

"It is with deep regret that I now share in writing what I announced in Church two Sundays ago: that April 10 must be my last Sunday as your priest, at least in terms of directly providing for your pastoral care and leadership in worship. After that, I will officially be on sabbatical, and will plan to play an appropriate role in ensuring that everything is in place for you to find a new priest who will uphold classical Anglican biblical values with strength, conviction, and courage, as I have tried my best to do.

"St. John's stands poised to be a significant player in the realignment of the Anglican Communion. While only God knows exactly what shape that will take, I am confident that we are on the right side of history at this crucial juncture. The fact that we are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the other five of the 'Connecticut Six' (for that is how we are known around the world) is a huge asset; the recent communiqué of the Global Primates gives us further cause for confidence. But the most important thing is that we clearly have a Biblical mandate for doing what we are doing, and that is our greatest source of assurance."

VIRTUEONLINE'S WEBSITE is updated daily with new stories. Please take a moment to go to www.virtueonline.org and see those stories not posted to the digest. More than 5.3 million have gone to the Web site to keep up with the latest that is going on in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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All Blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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