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Is it all over for Anglican Communion?..orthodox rectors dumped..money losses up

"The Bible says that two cannot walk together unless they are agreed. The [Windsor] Report rightly observes that if the "call to halt" is ignored "then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart". The Episcopal Church and Diocese of New Westminster are already walking alone on this and if they do not repent and return to the fold, they will find that they are all alone. They will have broken the Anglican Communion." Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Is it all over for the Anglican Communion? That might be one response to a first reading of the Windsor Report. The Windsor Waffle is couched in so much churchly prose that it is not till page 73 "on the care of dissenting groups" that one begins to get to the nub of the issue. And here it is dangerously thin in helping orthodox priests caught in revisionist dioceses.

Two cases in point proved that this week in the Episcopal Church. The Anglo-Catholic priest Fr. Daren Williams at Christ Church, Williamsport, PA whose parish wanted to be a part of Forward in Faith, (a story I reported on last month) was forced to resign by his bishop William Creighton. In one quick pronouncement, the bishop declared Christ Church was "in a pastoral emergency" and took the church away. He's gone.

And in Batavia, New York a young Evangelical priest Simon B. Howson, 38, rector of St. James Episcopal Church was suspended by Bishop J. Michael Garrison the subject of a "variety of complaints from some members of the congregation." Karen Clement, junior warden, said the allegations first came to the attention of the vestry Tuesday. "There's no substantiation to them. There are no faces on these allegations, no names. They're unsubstantiated." Howson increased the church 500 percent in less than a year to over 200, now he's gone.

Some 500 God fearing Episcopalians now have no godly shepherds to lead them. The parishes will now get the bishop's choice. Some 400 or so Episcopalians (20 percent usually stay) will depart these churches in the next few weeks. Is there no eye to pity, no arm to save?

Revisionist bishops now have a new tactic in their armory to rid themselves of godly priests. First they say there is a problem by revealing that they have gotten one or two letters from unnamed persons complaining about the priest. The bishop never gets in touch with the priest. He calls an immediate congregational meeting. He blows up the problem and then uses it as an excuse to get rid of the priest. Both the above parish priests are victims of this tactic.

And what does the Windsor Report have to say to protect these godly priests from marauding revisionist bishops. The answer: Nothing at all.

The report calls on all sides to "effect reconciliation" and then it blasts bishops and primates who cross diocesan boundaries to offer relief for priests like these as though they were more guilty of committing ecclesiastical high treason than bishops like Orris Walker, Charles E. Bennison, Michael Garrison, to name but a few who grind down these orthodox clergy. These same bishops will continue to consecrate openly homoerotic bishops, permit non-celibate gay priests to run parishes and allow same-sex blessings and all the while eviscerate the godly remnant of priests still in their dioceses.

And what happened to DEPO? It was a bad joke from the beginning, but the Windsor Report endorsed it of course. Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight was a "No-Go" from the start writes the Rev. Dr. Sam Pascoe, an evangelical Episcopal priest in Florida. "The Windsor Report sadly trots out this old nag as a potential solution to the oversight (epi-scope) problem with the episcopacy (over-sight). The idea that the diocesan bishop who is creating the problem should be in control of authorizing the solution is ludicrous on it face. Fox-henhouse. Get it?" We do.

And now you will see it begin to happen in dioceses run by so-called moderate bishops. Sooner or later moderates roll into the revisionist camp unless they get converted. They become corporate team players concerned more with the institution and collegiality than with the faith once delivered. We will watch what happens with the new bishop of the Rio Grande - Jeffrey Steenson. Bishops Howard, Wimberly and Lipscomb will make all the right noises, but in the end they will roll over, they always do, and they will, in time, persecute their remnant faithful priests.

For Bishop V. Gene Robinson, around which this report was really written, it was a "miracle" and a "masterful job", he told the Philadelphia INQUIRER. He gets to keep his job without so much as a wrist slap. The careful wording in the report leaves "wiggle-room" to continue blessing same-sex couples, the bishop said. He is, regrettably, right.

For the world's orthodox Anglican believers though it is nothing short of The Great Betrayal. The hope that at last justice would be done, that relief would be on its way for beleaguered orthodox parishes and dioceses did not come true. It was betrayal of the worst kind. Robert Duncan Bishop of Pittsburgh and NETWORK leader said the report lacked both teeth and timetable as to the means of resolving the deep crisis that has come upon our communion. "These deficiencies were extraordinarily concerning."

From Vancouver Island to Long Island, from Alaska to Texas pansexual revisionist bishops will continue their destruction of orthodox priests at an even greater steamroller pace, driving out, or, at a minimum, making life totally unbearable for any orthodox priest who stands in their way, the bishops knowing they are safe from any public opprobrium for their behavior.

But the Windsor Report cannot excuse orthodox ECUSA bishops from doing the duty imposed on them as the successors of the Apostles: They must comfort the afflicted (the orthodox priests and parishes under attack) and afflict the comfortable (the revisionist bishops). The original bishops were crucified or fed to the lions. The current bishops can at least cross diocesan lines.

TAC Archbishop put it well when he said: "In creating an Anglican gulag, an invisible and nameless group who cannot in conscience accept Anglicanism's abandonment of Catholic order and sacramental practise over the past thirty years, the Report owes more to Stalin than to Christ. Those who are already under persecution-- the priests being expelled from their parishes (or already expelled) and the people driven from their parishes--find absolutely nothing in this Report - not even an awareness that they exist. It is an invitation to further marginalisation for those still within the Anglican Communion, and a fierce rejection for the Continuing Churches who exist beyond its borders."

Avenues of hope are closing fast. The CAPA bishops meet at the end of the month in Lagos and if they do not act it will be all over for the orthodox faithful in the Episcopal Church and Canada. Talk is cheap; the Anglican Communion needs action and needs it now especially for North American Episcopalians. The Primates meeting next February might be too late; certainly one can expect nothing of substance from the ECUSA House of Bishops. It will be another feel-your-pain statement like that delivered by Frank Griswold in London but no solid repentance for actions committed or help for the faithful.

Is this is the way the Episcopal Church ends,
Is this is the way the Anglican Communion ends,
Not with a bang but a whimper.

AROUND THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH things just go from bad to worse.

The DIOCESE OF SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Bishop David A. Bane got a wake up call this week when an article appeared in the local news screaming, "Episcopal diocese is 'adrift'.''

"Distressingly bad leadership by its top bishop, “major ineptitude” in financial management and a near-total absence of accountability are crippling the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, according to an internal review that includes 66 recommendations for change. In an unanimous report issued last week, an internal committee described a diocese that is “adrift and leaderless,” “floundering in all areas” and torn by hostility between Bishop David C. Bane Jr. and his deputy, Suffragan Bishop Carol J. Gallagher. “This diocese has fallen in the last six years from being one of the most sought out, healthy dioceses for clergy to join, to presently being perceived as one of the most unhealthy, dysfunctional dioceses in the country,” the report states.

Bane has become, in the paraphrased words of Gilbert and Sullivan, "the very model of a modern liberal bishop" - no theology, no morality, no leadership abilities, no financial accountability, no gospel just pluriformity. There's a shoeshine job waiting for him at Penn Station. Bane is only just a shade worse than Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison who faces charges of fraud and more.

In the DIOCESE OF OLYMPIA this week two Puget Sound area churches fled the Episcopal Church and aligned with the worldwide Anglican Communion. St. Stephen's Church in Oak Harbor, Washington, a biblically orthodox church since its founding in 1954, and St. Charles Church in Poulsbo, Washington, a biblically orthodox church incorporated in 1980, affirmed their membership in the Anglican Communion and will no longer be affiliated with the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) or the Diocese of Olympia. Both parishes will come under the Episcopal care of the Anglican Province of Brazil in the Diocese of Recife, which is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

One priest asked Bishop Warner that St. Stephen' be allowed to continue to worship and serve from its own church buildings which parishioners have paid for and maintained for 50 years. I asked him to look into his heart and ask himself what the Lord would have him do, said the Rev. Harlacher.

Bishop Vincent Warner, Episcopal Bishop of Olympia, Washington was none to happy to hear the news and said he wept when he heard it. When it comes to property ownership the tears will quickly become crocodile. If he should roll over and let them have their properties he'll get a nasty phone call from David Booth Beers, Frank Griswold's legal hatchet man. Watch for lawsuits here.

And in the DIOCESE OF MISSOURI a St. Louis County Associate Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of the Diocese in its suit against the former rector Paul Walter and wardens of the Church of the Good Shepherd, a parish of the Episcopal Church located in Town & Country, Missouri.

Judge Mary B. Schroeder ruled in a decision dated October 12 that Paul Walter, the deposed rector, and members of the vestry at Good Shepherd acted outside the scope of their corporate authority when they petitioned the court in February to amend the parish's charter to so as to allow dissidents at the parish to remove the parish and its property from the diocese. This is a win for Bishop George Wayne Smith but it is a hollow victory as Walter will take 90 percent of the congregation and start anew. This man is a firebrand evangelical and he already has plans in the works to spread the gospel throughout the whole of St. Louis with new start up congregations. This story has only just begun. You don't keep a good man down for long and Bishop Smith has lost solid dues paying Episcopalians and hundreds of thousands of dollars of income and has to pay the upkeep for a new priest. Judge Schroeder ordered Walter and his followers to vacate the church property, but did not set a deadline.

In the DIOCESE OF THE RIO GRANDE, the new Bishop Jeffrey Steenson said on his election win, "I will endeavor to hold this diocese together, as divorce is not an appropriate path for any Christian family. We are in a very difficult situation in the Episcopal Church, where there are beliefs that cannot be synthesized or reconciled. But Christ offers us a way forward, with charity and a deep respect for one another, hopeful that God will change hearts and bring deeper unity to his church in ways we cannot presently see." We'll see how that 'charity' plays out with the Via Media and the orthodox at each others' throats in his diocese.

In the DIOCESE OF WYOMING a Virtuosity subscriber wrote the following. "The Diocese of Wyoming stands (for now) as a great example of what a sneaky revisionist bishop can do to destroy the orthodox. Bishop Bruce Caldwell came here all full of promise and glad handing then set about getting rid of every orthodox priest in the state. I'm one of the 30,000 that has left the ECUSA. This whole revisionist garbage makes me sick. I now call myself a former Episcopalian."

The DIOCESE OF SAN JOAQUIN held their diocesan convention recently and passed several items of particular note. Property ownership interests relative to the real and personal property of the Diocese, its churches, congregations, and institutions shall not be imputed to any party other than the Bishop as a Corporation Sole (including a trust, express or implied) or sold without the express written consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Diocese. The Convention also approved a $1.4 Million budget. In response to the 2005 National Church asking of $215,000, the Diocese, for the second year in a row, is sending $0.


In The DIOCESE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE latest budget figures indicate they are expecting severe shortfalls in revenues from churches in 2005. What on earth could be the reason? Could it be the fact that they consecrated Robinson thus alienating a large percentage of their congregants? Put it down to the economy stupid. However the diocese is actually budgeting an increase in giving for the upcoming year. An interesting item in the budget is a line item for Parishes, Emergencies and Contingencies. For 2005, the amount is expected to be almost $190,000!

The DIOCESE OF ATLANTA's receipts from parish giving is down 6.1% at the mid way point in 2004. This amount reflects the amount committed to by each parish.

The DIOCESE OF SOUTHEAST FLORIDA is down over $200,000. The Diocese is running way behind in assessments for the first 8 months of 2004. They are already down over $200k, or 11.6% of their budgeted goal. To make matters worse, the budgeted amount has been adjusted down 13% from the original budget. If one calculates the actual loss of revenue based on the original budget, they are over 23% in the hole.

In the DIOCESE OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA as their weekend diocesan convention looms the 2005 budget (pg 46) would seem to be on stable ground. Closer inspection, however, shows some disturbing trends. Although parish apportionments are budgeted to increase by over $101k, the uncollectible apportionments are expected to be over $93k. The reason? Parishes are withholding funds. The diocese is also planning to tap into over $105,000 in restricted funds to help make ends meet.

From the DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA the final budget for 2004 as adopted by Council totaled $3,892,380. This was $859,369 less than last year’s initial budget of $4,751,749. However, last year’s final budget was reduced by $257,554 after General Convention. The budget reduction from 2003 to 2004 is largely the result of a 19 percent drop in parish giving to the Diocese. “Understanding that the budget was to be balanced with available funds, the Budget Committee made some hard decisions on support of programs,” said diocesan Treasurer Michael Kerr.

Fuzzy math in the DIOCESE OF MAINE? The proposed 2005 budget in the Diocese of Maine is down on that of 2003. Actual receipts from congregations are down about 5%. So what's the solution? Raise the budget! And how will they do that? It's really quite simple - raise your pledge!

And in the DIOCESE OF ARKANSAS It seems Arkansas is in a bit of a bind. According to the Arkansas Episcopalian (pg.6) congregational commitments are down over 8%. This is reflected in their 2004 budget. As of September, their receipts from congregations are down an additional 3.6%. It seems they have had to tap into seven restricted funds to the tune of almost $50,000 in order to keep things running.

And in the DIOCESE OF IOWA the proposed congregational budgeted pledges for 2005 are down 7% over 2004 in that diocese. Although the overall receipts are budgeted to be up approximately $134,000 they are buoyed by $200,000 from something called the McClure Mission Venture.

The DIOCESE OF COLORADO will see a slide. A recent report in the Rocky Mountain News says that the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is expecting a $500,000 giving shortfall. Considering their proposed budget for next year is only $1.6 million, this is a massive chunk. A July article in the Rocky Mountain News suggests that the figure represents more than a quarter of the diocesan budget and may force the closure of two growing church plants.

In the midst of the collective freefall organizers of something called "Going Forward Together," a three-day event to take place both in Dallas and Atlanta, plans to provide numerous examples of some of the most vibrant ministry taking place today in Episcopal congregations across the nation. This FANTASY FORUM will include Bishop Mark Dyer a Lambeth Commission member. Will they include evangelicals who actually know how to make churches grow? Not on your life. And as Dyer was on the Windsor Report commission you now know why it was such a slam dunk against orthodox hopes in ECUSA. For a really good laugh (or cry) they say the conference is "designed to promote health and unity in the Episcopal Church." Perhaps they should invite Fr Williams and Rev. Howson to give lectures on "unity" from revisionist bishops.

ANGLICAN RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT. Many of you have asked how to support this organization. Here are the details. More information is also available by contacting ARD directly at 100 Matsonford Road, Suite 130, Five Radnor Corporate Center, Radnor, PA 19087. Tel: 610-647-1943. Dr. Kerk Burbank, a man with a long history of involvement in global south development, is the Executive Director of ARD. Tax deductable gifts for ARD may be sent directly to: ARD, 905 Oliver Building, 535 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

VIRTUOSITY WEBSITE. This week the demand for news, reads and 'hits' at the website blew our bandwidth and we had to move to a new Webserver. You were directed to it with ease thanks to Mr. Robert Turner. Thousands are going to the website daily. Today's stories continue to revolve around the Windsor Report. I am only posting the best of the best. The rest you can find at the website. You can access them by going to the LIBRARY link on the front page. Please read the first story for more information, more stories and automatic click through links, and word on a future name change for Virtuosity and more.

Please consider supporting VIRTUOSITY if you have not done so. This writer travels the world to get the best stories about how the 'faith once delivered' is being lived through Anglican eyes. It is not all bad. A lot of it is very good, and when we get past the Windsor Report I shall report some of these stories for you.

We are going through deep and dark waters. It is depressing for this writer to write day after day about the horror show that is the ECUSA and the Anglican Communion but it must be done for history, our children and, above all, for the sake of the gospel. We will win if we do not lose heart. We must not faint in this 11th hour. We fight on...for, in the words of the hymnwriter, "soon the night of mourning will be the morn of song." Please support this vital ministry.

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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