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LAMBETH: Report Leak Indicates Griswold In Deep Trouble


Special Report

By David W. Virtue

The Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, David Booth Beers, has called a special meeting of all the ECUSA Diocesan Chancellors, and has set the date for October 20 in Orlando, Florida at the World Center Marriott two days after the Lambeth/Eames report is due out in London.

According to an orthodox bishop who spoke to Virtuosity on the grounds of anonymity, Beers will be doing "damage control" for his boss Frank Tracy Griswold. Several sources told Virtuosity that this is the first meeting of all chancellors ever.

"It looks like Griswold is in serious trouble," said the bishop.

Griswold has already seen the report as he will post his response to it immediately after the report is released on October 18 and he has apparently set in motion wheels to prevent wholesale departures from The Episcopal Church.

"He knows it is bad news for him and he wants to get ahead of the orthodox and his revisionist bishops to tighten down the Episcopal Church," said the source.

Clearly Beers has one objective. He will use his position as national chancellor and Griswold's personal attorney to strike fear into diocesan chancellors. What he will say is this. If you don't hold the line on the properties of fleeing priests who think they can take their properties with them, be assured I will come down on you like a ton of bricks and invoke the Dennis Canon and sue you.

His words will strike fear and loathing in the hearts of a dozen or so chancellors from orthodox dioceses, but they will be words of comfort to the vast majority of revisionist bishops and their dioceses who can't wait to use the power of their office to invoke the canons to come down hard on fleeing orthodox priests.

As things now stand, at least three diocesan bishops are in legal combat with fleeing priests, the most notable being in the Diocese of Los Angeles where the prestigious St. James, Newport Beach is willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court of the U.S. to keep their properties from being taken over by Bishop Jon Bruno. This parish has both the numbers and wealthy parishioners willing to support their legal cause to fight and keep the properties.

In the Diocese of Pennsylvania, revisionist Bishop Charles E. Bennison has, so far, been unsuccessful in unseating three orthodox rectors from their parishes.

Beers has made it clear in the past that he will not tolerate any bishop or chancellor that does not fight to keep their properties, and he will use the weight of his relationship with Griswold and the enormous weight and financial resources of the national church to go after them should they succumb.

He will also tell them that he will make funds available to any diocese that does not have the trust funds or endowment available for lawyers to fight parish priests who want to take their parish properties with them.

But there is one thing that not even Beers can do; he cannot stop the hemorrhaging that is going on with fleeing Episcopalians.

According to the latest statistics put out by the Church Pension Group, Episcopalians are fleeing the church by the tens of thousands. The following numbers were released at a meeting of the diocesan administrators in New York recently.

From 2002 - 2003, the Episcopal Church lost an estimated 30,221 members, equivalent to the size of the Diocese of Colorado. In that same year, the ECUSA declined 21,640 in average Sunday attendance. That would be like losing all the worshipping Episcopalians in the dioceses of Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Said a diocesan administrator to Virtuosity, "it's like imagining that the Diocese of Colorado disappeared. Better still imagine that the dioceses of Delaware, Lexington, Fond du Lac, and Springfield were wiped out; or that all the Episcopal Churches in both Ohio and West Texas were to be destroyed and not able to hold worship services on any Sunday."

And the revisionists want to spin it that the Episcopal Church's theological and moral innovations have nothing to do with its numerical decline!

Clearly the meeting called by Beers is an indicator that all will not be well with The Episcopal Church following October 18. It might also be another reason why Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola felt he could come to the U.S. on a rescue mission for Nigerian Anglicans just days before the report is due out. Clearly he has nothing to fear from Griswold, nor it seems from Rowan Williams.

Beers will be meeting his fellow chancellors and he will lay down the law, but you can be sure that at least some of them will be in sympathy with orthodox Episcopalians who want nothing more to do with Frank Griswold and his pluriform gospel and pansexual, revisionist bishops. The only question that remains is how.


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