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Lambeth power...African bishops could revolt against Williams...US news...

"The Archbishop of Canterbury does have the power to refuse recognition to the U.S. church and its bishops, which previous archbishops of Canterbury did with Scotland's church for 116 years." A History of the Episcopal Church, by the Rev. Robert Prichard.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is oft said and repeated that the Archbishop of Canterbury has no real power. He is not a pope, and the Primates are not like the Roman Catholic Church's curia. We are a collegial church held loosely together by the creeds, the 39 Articles, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, four instruments of unity, with no one Primate from any one jurisdiction telling another Primate what to do or what he should affirm and believe.

So, the argument goes, when and if the Primates should decide to act against ECUSA's Presiding Bishop, perhaps even Canada's Primate, then it will be largely symbolic, a slap on the wrist action rather than an act of any substance. Dr. Williams will opine that he is virtually powerless to do anything that will substantially change the course of Anglican history that involves substantive discipline. The worst that could happen is a sort of shunning.

Even if world Anglicanism declares that V. Gene Robinson's consecration is invalid and could replace him, and censure those bishops who consecrated him, it will not affect how the Episcopal Church will continue to run itself...even into the ground. Robinson may not be invited to the next Lambeth Conference (Griswold will have retired by then) and a bevy of other revisionist bishops may also not be invited. They may also not care. They will not heed what the communion at large thinks, and they will continue on their revisionist way steamrolling over anyone who gets in their way unhindered.

But what we are learning with each passing day, even as the Lambeth Commission moves on its report, is that the Archbishop of Canterbury is himself seriously compromised on faith and morals, as a result the gay friendly leader may avoid taking any action that excludes anybody.

Historian Robert Bruce Mullin of General Theological Seminary predicts that Williams will try to acknowledge concerns of the majority of Anglican bishops, who believe gay relationships, are forbidden by Scripture, but he will basically do nothing to rock the ship.

Church historian Robert Prichard says, "There is no centralized authority that could remove a bishop or tell any province what to do." So sanctions aimed at Robinson or the Episcopal Church would be unenforceable.

But the truth is this. It may no longer be Griswold, Robinson et al who are in trouble but Williams himself.

Consider the following.

At a time when African bishops are refusing millions of dollars from The Episcopal Church because of this church's General Convention resolutions on same-sex blessings, lack of doctrinal certainty and Robinson's consecration, Dr. Williams was in the US in the Diocese of Connecticut recently picking up a cool half million dollars for his coffers on a speaking engagement! The fund-raiser raised $500,000 for the Anglican Communion Observer to the United Nations. Did anyone notice the contradiction?

The African Church is turning down much needed money causing enormous hardship on their people, while Williams whisks in and out and says he is grateful for the Episcopal Church's generosity.

Then Dr. Williams, the scholar, gives his primatial blessing to a new a radical new translation (read paraphrase) of the Bible which flatly contradicts traditional core Christian beliefs on sex and morality. Titled "Good as New," the new Bible, translated by former Baptist minister John Henson is anything but Good News, and despite the puff which says it is a "new, fresh and adventurous" translation of the Christian scriptures it advocates positions that are horrifying African Anglicans and orthodox Christians of all denominational persuasions. This writer worked for a brief time with the American Bible Society in New York and knows the Good News Bible, Today's English Version which used "dynamic equivalence" as a translation guide. (The main translator was also a Baptist). It has been enormously successful without the need to dumb down or compromise the teachings of Holy Scripture to satisfy the needs of indulgent post-modern generation of kids.

Williams described it is a book of "extraordinary power," but admitted many would be startled by its content. Indeed they are. Perhaps in time we will have the The Queen James Version, The Revised Standards Version and The New American Standards Version? All things in their time.

And then to cap off the week Canon Jeffrey John was installed at St Albans as their new Dean without so much as a peep of disapproval from Dr. Williams. The openly gay canon who felt compelled to withdraw his candidature as Bishop of Reading under pressure from Williams, got one of the most senior roles in the Church of England.

British Evangelicals were successful in persuading Williams to stand down Dr. John from the Reading candidature, but were unsuccessful this time around. But what is most troubling is that the Anglican Communion has been asking its constituent members not to perform these innovative acts while the Lambeth Commission is debating the issues.

What is the substantive difference in the consecration of V. Gene Robinson and Jeffrey John's appointment - both involve gay men and are in-your-face acts that are deeply troubling to Global South Anglicans?

The appointment made an impact around the world. Bishop Dr. Cyril Okarocha from Nigeria spoke for the Anglican Church in Africa which opposes the appointment of openly homosexual clergy, said: "We are shocked and disappointed with the leaders of the church not reading the handwriting on the wall. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of England have not gotten the message or are they going to let the Anglican Church disintegrate during their time? I hope this is not a step to compensate or apologize to Dr John over the Bishop of Reading appointment."

Ironically it was Bishop Okarocha who was fired by the liberal ACC leader John Peterson when he was evangelism secretary for the Anglican Consultative Council. It's payback time.

Dr Philip Giddings, speaking for Anglican Mainstream, a group established in the St Alban's Diocese as a result of Dr John's appointment is advising parishes to redirect their giving, or review the options available to them if they felt alienated by the decision to appoint Dr John. "The dean is the second position behind the bishop, and Anglicans should take appropriate action if they feel that the diocese is behaving contrary to the teachings of scripture or the Anglican Church."

In the end it might well be the withholding of money in both the Church of England and in the American Episcopal Church that will force both institutions to their knees.

THE LAMBETH COMMISSION REPORT is set for release on October 16.The Archbishop of Canterbury will send the Lambeth Commission report to the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and then release it to the public when the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion is in London, a source has told Virtuosity. A letter from Canon John Peterson head of the Anglican Communion Office says that the Joint Standing Committee will meet to decide how the report will be used in an attempt to get it out of the hands of the Primates into what he hopes will be the more liberal ACC, said the source. Some of the primates are communicating that they do not want the process handed over to the Joint Standing Committee, said another source. It is THEIR process, they argue, and they don't want it spun by Peterson before the Primates have read it and responded to the whole Communion. Last October it was revealed that Peterson attempted to manipulate the agenda of the Primates meeting by nullifying conservative outcome in the battle raging within the Anglican Communion over homosexuality.

In the DIOCESE OF CENTRAL NEW YORK, Virtuosity was told that the comptroller of the diocese told a source that 90 of 97 churches in the diocese are in arrears and the total amount is $100,000!

In the DIOCESE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe has delayed funding "The Network" even though it was approved by the diocese. A letter from Howe to the Diocesan Board wants a delay in sending money marked for "alternative giving" from the Diocese of Central Florida to the NACDP.

In the DIOCESE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE Bishop Gene Robinson failed the first major test of his episcopacy this past week when all but three members of Redeemer congregation voted to secede from the diocese rather than accept his authority as Bishop.

The bishop said he offered the parish 95 per cent of what they were seeking, but he still demanded the right to make an episcopal visit, which is not in the spirit of DEPO, even thought he was prepared to allow them the bishop they sought.

Redeemer’s Senior Warden Jerry DeLemus stated the parish “remained united in principle and action, and was true to the authority of Holy Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ."

The Rochester parish has been a sore spot in Bishop Robinson’s campaign to win over opponents in New Hampshire. The parish vicar, the Rev Donald Wilson, an opponent of his election, was dismissed for opposing then Bishop Douglas Theuner in November. Over the past six months, the congregation witnessed public confrontations between diocesan officials and traditionalists and an exodus of parishioners to other denominations and Episcopal parishes.

And in the DIOCESE OF MASSACHUSETTS same-sex wedding bells rang out for two notable women. Dorothy Austin, 60, an ordained Episcopal priest and associate minister of Harvard's Memorial Church and Diana Eck, 58, professor of comparative religion and head of the Pluralism Project at Harvard who has spent her life exploring what religious diversity means for American democracy tied the knot.

ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT a news item in the latest Scottish Episcopalian for July/August has an advertisement for Affirming Catholicism Scotland's Summer Day Out. Choral Mass--Guest Preacher--Bishop Richard Holloway. T'was he who claimed sodomy between priests ought to be accepted and sadomasochistic sex should be tolerated provided it was consensual. He has also espoused blessings for gay couples wanting to marry.

The clergy of the DIOCESE OF ATHABASCA in northern Alberta met with Archbishop John Clarke on June 25, 2004, to discuss the issues arising out of the recent meeting of General Synod in St. Catherine's, Ontario. They offered the following statement:

"We affirm the desire to offer our homosexual sisters and brothers pastoral care and support. We are deeply concerned about the implications of the decision of General Synod to "affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same sex relationships." This decision will have an impact on our theology and on the life, order and organization of our Church. We are concerned that the decision is actually a statement of belief and not just a pastoral practice.

We, as clergy of the Anglican Church of Canada, desire to remain in full communion with the worldwide Anglican Communion and intend to maintain those relationships. We wish to act in unity and so uphold the Archbishop's directive delivered in his Charge to the Diocesan Synod of October, 2003, that "no clergy of the Diocese may bless or perform the marriage of same-sex couples."

The CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA (CNI) recently deposed two bishops and the CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA dumped its Primate, the Most Rev. K. J. Samuel after the three men joined in consecrating a Pentecostal minister as a bishop. I met Samuel on several occasions. He was a good and godly Primate who vigorously defended Scripture and took to task Western primates who capitulated to homosexual behavior. It's ironic when you think about. A godly Primate is replaced while Frank Griswold ECUSA's Presiding Bishop is applauded by the majority of his church's bishops for consecrating an openly homoerotic bishop in V. Gene Robinson. But getting rid of Samuel could have implications for the Lambeth Commission that is studying structural and relational issues in the Anglican Communion. CNI Archbishop James Terom is a member.

And if you doubted the sodomy steamroller rolling right over the churches consider this. A SWEDISH PASTOR was sentenced to one month's jail for offending homosexuals. A news report out of Stockholm said a Swedish court sentenced a pastor belonging to the Pentecostal movement in Sweden, Ake Green, to a month in prison, under a law against incitement, after he was found guilty of having offended homosexuals in a sermon. Soren Andersson, the president of the Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights (RFSL), said on hearing the sentence that religious freedom could never be used as a reason to offend people. "Therefore," he told journalists, "I cannot regard the sentence as an act of interference with freedom of religion." During a sermon in 2003, Green described homosexuality as "abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumour in
the body of society". CANADA has similar laws on the books can the US be far behind?

But on a positive note The PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH USA rejected a gay-ordination plan to ordain gay clergy and lay officers. At their annual convention they voted 259-255 to forbid the ordination of gay clergy. This will remain binding on the church, including on the regional bodies, known as presbyteries. Conservative Presbyterians had warned that a vote for gay ordination at the denomination's national meeting could cause the largest split in the church since the Civil War, when slavery split the church into Northern and Southern factions. Opponents of the proposal said a network of 1,300 congregations with 450,000 members was poised to break away. The network, called the Confessing Church Movement, holds as a central doctrine the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

More than once, I've heard a saying to the effect: "Conservatives find it hard to stay united because they believe in so much; liberals find it easier to stay united because they believe in so little."

IN TODAY'S DIGEST you can read a commentary piece on how revisionists are using or misusing language to get their way in the Episcopal Church. A leading ECUS strategist says the Episcopal Church is sicker than you think and a Reformed Episcopal Bishop rips revisionists ECUSA bishops for abandoning the faith once delivered.

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