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LOS ANGELES: Bruno inhibits three priests...Orombi, Griswold weigh in...

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The news takes no vacation. While hoping for a brief break with my wife before the Lambeth/Eames Commission hands down its report, word came out of the DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES that three parishes had upped and left the diocese, the Episcopal Church and linked themselves ecclesiastically with a Bishop in Uganda, ultimately coming under the authority of the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi.

The reasons for their departure were the usual ones - the authority of Scripture, same sex blessings and the consecration of an avowed sodomist to the episcopacy.

The timing could not be worse for Frank Griswold, ECUSA's Presiding Bishop who is doing his best to persuade the Lambeth/Eames Commission that all is well in ECUSA, and that dissent is merely sporadic and inconsequential.

Such is not the case however. One of the three parishes - St. James in Newport Beach has 1,200 members and is one of the largest parishes on the West Coast with several powerful and well-heeled Episcopal families. A second parish, All Saints' has 400 members, making them both wealthy and influential beyond the ordinary run of the mill Episcopal parishes. The Rev. David C. Anderson, former rector of St. James now heads the powerful American Anglican Council that wants to see Griswold toppled from power and replaced with an orthodox ECUSA leader.

Bearing in mind that of the 7,500 parishes in the US, some 3,500 have 37 members or less, the departure of these and other large well-established biblically orthodox parishes cannot be taken lightly. Two other parishes in the diocese are also weighing their options and are waiting the outcome of the Lambeth/Eames Commission.

When Bishop Jon Bruno, the portly liberal bishop of Los Angeles got news of the departing parishes, he blew his stack and fired off letters in all directions, in a rare display of personal whine and thwarted ambition, telling the world that the Episcopal Church is orthodox, and so is he, and why are they doing this to a nice inclusive guy like me.

The truth is, his diocese is riddled with sodomite and lesbian priests who constantly bend his ear, making sure that orthodox rectors never get a serious say in diocesan decision making that would compromise their right to behave as they please.

The other truth is the Episcopal Church is about as orthodox as Jack Spong, and Bruno himself has voted for every sexual innovation in the Episcopal Church at the last two general conventions, putting himself well beyond the pale of orthodoxy and well inside the pit of heterodoxy.

His letter to the diocese is a study in whine, self-pity, straight out self-righteousness, and distortions, and I have examined it at length in today's digest. The part about not letting "the Holy Scriptures be compromised by those who seek to make their literalist and simplistic interpretation the only legitimate one", (about sex, of course), must have Cardinal Ratzinger wincing in Rome, not to mention the vast majority of ECUSA's and the Church of England's Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics.

The pathetic appeal, "why don't they want me at the table" by the Rev. Susan Russell, the diocese's arch-lesbian priest is more whine than anyone should have to read. The answer to her query is obvious even to the most theologically unenlightened. Why would six orthodox clergy (one of which incidentally includes a woman deacon) continue to share a table with an unrepentant, activist lesbian who is incapable of bringing forth either biological or spiritual life? Her good news is Bad News, and someone has to stand up and scream that blasphemy and apostasy will never be tolerated at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, so why continue to sit at table with these people in California, the land of assorted spiritual fruits and nuts, a good many of whom reside in the Diocese of Los Angeles!

While the central issue for these fleeing parishes is theological and moral, the bishop sees it as one of disobedience to his authority, the Episcopal Church and the subversion of the canons and constitutions. For him the issue comes down to property, (never the content of the faith), as it always is with revisionist bishops. So of course it will come as no surprise that he will go to court to try and grab them.

But here he could be in for a big surprise. In one case, St. James, Newport Beach, parish leaders say they have held title to the parish before the Dennis Canon and he hasn't a prayer of getting his hands on it. Furthermore, Virtuosity has been informed that the parishes are prepared to fight all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary, and with the number of parishes fleeing and with more to follow, Bruno will need a bottomless pit of money for legal fees to fight them all. And to double his pain the California State Supreme Court recently held in favor of a local Methodist congregation that broke free from the United Methodist Church, so it will not be a cake walk for the bishop to do a snatch and grab of these parishes. And even if he is successful, he will have zip members in one parish and less than a dozen in each of the other two. At the end of the day that is no victory, unless you believe that God is vitally interested in real estate.

While the national church is spinning that these departures are rare and few and do not represent Frank Griswold's "diverse center", the more than 50 priests and their parishes who have fled to the Anglican Mission in America, with other parishes fleeing to at least three overseas Anglican Primates - the cumulative effect can hardly be missed by Dr. Rowan Williams and the Lambeth Commission.

For anyone to believe that the Episcopal Church is remotely orthodox in faith and morals requires a stretch of the imagination along the lines of believing Hitler invaded Poland to embrace the Jews there as fellow citizens.

It isn't, and now it is up to Dr. William's appointed Commission to say so and to bring the requisite punishment down on the head of Frank Griswold, because if it doesn't, the shift in power might well move to Abuja, Nigeria where Primate Peter Akinola and his CAPA bishops could engage in a power exercise that might, at the end of the day, prove far more fatal to the cohesion of the Anglican Communion.

You can read all the correspondence on this major development in today's digest, including Bruno's letter, two letters from Archbishop Orombi, a letter from Frank Griswold and more.

I am also posting a number of other stories, including an astute article written by the Rev Tad de Bordenave, an Episcopal missiologist and hands on Director of Anglican Frontier Mission on why the revisionists just don't get it.

THE NEXT TIME I WRITE TO YOU it will be from Canada and the ESSENTIALS conference being held in Ottawa. Stay tuned.

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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