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Love and Law...Apb appoints 4 wise men to advise on ECUSA...diocesan news...more

"Love is not the finish of the law (in the sense that it dispenses with it); love is the fulfillment of the law (in the sense that it obeys it). What the New Testament says about the law and love is not 'if you love you can break the law', but 'if you love you will keep it'." --From "Christ the Controversialist" by John R. W. Stott, preacher, evangelist and peripatetic teacher.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was once said by Dr. Louie Crew, the Episcopal Church's leading lay gay activist that David Virtue and VirtueOnline was about law, but he and Integrity and the church's pansexual revisionists were about grace. The thought here is that if God is a doing a new thing, and the current mode of the ECUSA is definitely 'prophetic', anything that hinders the new think is not of God but of "the law". It is interesting that he did not say that VOL was legalistic, but rather that VOL was adhering to an outdated, outmoded (OT) law giving, (especially concerning the Levitical prohibitions on sexual behavior) that has no place in the new, enlightened order of the Episcopal Church. It is hoped, he said, that the coming June General Convention would be an outstanding example of grace at work and that I would witness it and perhaps approve of it.

In his exultant victory speech this past week, the newly elected Bishop of California Mark Andrus had this to say: "Your vote today remains a vote for inclusion and communion -- of gay and lesbian people in their full lives as single or partnered people, of women, of all ethnic minorities, and all people, My commitment to Jesus Christ's own mission of inclusion is resolute. I take this election to be an expression of our common desire to be part of the whole, the Communion and the world, in what may be a new way."

But Anglican preacher/teacher John Stott gives the lie to that kind of thinking. What the New Testament says about the law and love is not 'if you love you can break the law', but 'if you love you will keep it'. ECUSA's pansexualists refuse to keep it and are, in fact, breaking the law and breaking themselves over the law, and therein lies the wrath of God against all unrighteousness.

Now Jesus' preaching of the Kingdom was indeed to include every race, gender, class and more beyond the narrow confines of Jewish particularity, but it was always presaged on the truth that admittance into his kingdom was through repentance and faith and not inclusion for its own sake. The woman caught in adultery was "told to go and sin no more", Zacchaeus volunteered a four-fold repayment program, and a paralytic man dropped through a roof was told his sins were forgiven. ECUSA's pansexualists want none of that; they want inclusion without conversion, diversity without transformation, and therein lies their hell.

The Rev. Bruce Flickinger puts it extremely well when he wrote; "the General Convention of the Episcopal Church will not stop the ongoing blessing of same sex relationships. Even without sanctioning official rites for such purposes, given the mere political problem it is at present to obtain approval for these, the practice of blessing such relationships will go on as they have now for several decades across the Episcopal Church. There will be no effective disciplines put in place to hold accountable bishops or other clergy who perform such blessings. What is worst is that priests will be left to suffer the whims of discipline should their own pro-gay blessing bishop decide out of some political expediency to discipline a particular priest for performing such a blessing, particularly if the result is the action attracts enormously high media coverage. In other words, bishops in the Episcopal Church will be left to act in capricious tyrannical fashion and be left to behave hypocritically and contradictorily and without impunity, just because they are bishops."

The membership of the Episcopal Church will continue to shrink. The mission of the church will less and less entail authentic evangelism, the actual preaching of the gospel and salvation, and the rites and ceremonies of the church will continue to be emptied of their sacramental and spiritual meaning and made more and more devoid of grace as the outward aspects of rites and ceremonies will continue to be elaborate displays of catholic form and appearance but actually deny the power of the authentic sacraments of the one holy catholic and apostolic church the Episcopal Church once, with some legitimacy, could claim hold to being part of.

I strongly urge you to read Fr. Flickinger's article in today's digest or here: http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4000

THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY Dr. Rowan Williams quietly appointed four "wise men" to advise him on the crisis over homosexuality that is threatening to tear the worldwide Anglican Church apart, this past week. They have yet to be named, but the Telegraph newspaper reported that the list will include the liberal Primate of Wales, Archbishop Barry Morgan, and the conservative Primate of Central Africa, Archbishop Bernard Malango. The group will play a pivotal role following next month's General Convention of the US Episcopal Church, the American equivalent of the Church of England's General Synod. Its advice to Dr Williams could determine whether the 77 million-strong Church stays together or shatters. Stay tuned.

The DIOCESE OF CALIFORNIA made it official and elected a heterosexual but pro gay bishop last week. The election of the Rt. Rev. Mark Andrus indicated that some Californian Episcopalians still know the difference between a queen and a bishop. Andrus has been the suffragan bishop of Alabama since 2001. He will be the 8th Bishop of the Diocese of California. The Church's General Convention will be asked to consent to Andrus' election in Columbus, Ohio in June. Andrus is scheduled to be installed on July 22.

The Rev. Canon Barry Beisner was declared Bishop Elect of the DIOCESE OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, on the 4th Ballot this past week. He is said to be liberal and will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, The Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb who had no stomach for orthodoxy. He will also follow the Rt. Rev. Mark Andrus into the Episcopal abyss. He did not return a phone call on where he stands on the central issues besetting the church.

In the DIOCESE OF EASTERN MICHIGAN they elected The Rev. Steven Todd Ousley, missioner for congregational development and clergy deployment for the Diocese of Eastern Michigan was elected as its bishop coadjutor May 6. Ousley, 44, was elected on the fifth ballot.

VirtueOnline caught up with the bishop-elect in his office and was told that he concurred with the actions of GC2003 to be in continued conversation with all of God's children. "It's about staying at the table for respectful conversation" he told VOL. "The Anglican Communion has a rich history that respects variety." He said he would not oppose a gay or lesbian priest coming into the diocese if the local congregation and the Standing Committee approved it. Clearly there will be no change of course for this diocese. The outgoing Rt. Rev. Edwin M. Leidel Jr., the first bishop of the diocese, was extremely heavy-handed. Last year he deposed Fr. Gene Geromel, SSC, in a mockery of a service to end his ecclesiastical career. His parish, St. Bartholomew's, had long since left the ECUSA. At diocesan headquarters they lit a candle for his requiem and a solemn statement of deposition was read to him. He had been a godly priest for 31 years, no matter, he had to go, and out the door he went. Bishops of seven dioceses promptly granted Fr. Geromel a license to function in their dioceses, and seven suffragan and retired bishops joined in endorsing the letter. We won't know what Ousley will do, but the future does not look god for the remaining orthodox priests in his diocese.

And the DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE failed for a third time to elect a bishop in a long-running search in which a Kentucky priest was a candidate. To date they have cast 36 ballots. The Rev. Jay Magness, who is canon to Kentucky Bishop Ted Gulick, was one of four candidates who failed to get a required two-thirds vote in 25 ballots on Saturday. The diocese is divided over local issues as well as wider denominational controversies over homosexuality, according to officials of the diocese. Bishop Bertram Nelson Herlong, who is retiring, said the search process for his successor would begin again. I was told that the motion to adjourn caught everyone by surprise. It was not debatable, and it passed. I talked to a few people--supporters of mine--and they were feeling pretty dejected, said a candidate. What is happening is that the liberals are splitting the vote three ways thus preventing one of their own or the orthodox Canon Neal Michele from the Diocese of Dallas from getting the job.

SIGNS AND WONDERS! A VOL reader was at a meeting of conservative Anglican priests in the DIOCESE OF CHICAGO last weekend and reported on a fascinating incident that took place with the ultra-liberal Bishop William Persell. A particular orthodox congregation had asked him not to come for an Episcopal visit. But he insisted. On the appointed day, when Persell came to the church, right before the services were due to start, he developed, without warning, a massive nose bleed. Once the nose bleed was stopped, and he tried to get into the pulpit, another one began. And another. And another. Finally Persell had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment. Needless to say, he did not carry out his pastoral visit. The priest and the priest's wife visited with Persell in the ER and prayed with him after the morning's services were concluded.

The priest, who asked that his name not be used, is convinced that this was a sign from God to Persell to abandon his heretical ways. "I agree, as did the other ministers in attendance." Is Persell listening? Persell is retiring early at 62! God is forcing him out through wonders and signs, said the priest.

IF you want to get an insiders look at how a wannabee candidate for Presiding Bishop really behaves, then read what the Rev. Alice C. Linsley has to say about Bishop Stacy Sauls, Bishop of Lexington and his selection of his clergy delegation to General Convention from that diocese. It is a real opener. You can read it here: http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4008 or in today's digest.

IF YOU HAD any doubts about where the ECUSA is heading read the following exchange that took place between a VOL reader, Mr. Otis Page from California and Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton, now Integrity president, in 1999!

Kaeton: "So, from where I sit, it looks to me that a vote to authorize same gender blessings in the church is inevitable. Just a matter of time. We almost elected an open, non celibate gay man as our bishop in this diocese last year. Last month, the same gay man, my dear friend, Gene Robinson, lost the episcopal election in the diocese of Rochester by seven votes. We are blessing same gender relationships. We will have an openly gay or lesbian bishop in the house of bishops -- perhaps even before General Convention 2000 -- but certainly within the next 2-3 years. THEN, we will develop a theology around it. And, we'll learn to live with it. Some may leave. Not many, I suspect. Enough so we can stop arguing about this 'issue' and get on with 'mission' -- which is what God wants us to do and why Jesus came among us." They are behind schedule! But their objectives are clear, wrote Page.

IF you ever wondered how far things can go down the gay Episcopal drain and not get clogged then consider this. There is now a Gay Christian Matchmaking service called GayHarmony.net and ECUSA. GayHarmony.net emerged because of the lack of a meeting place for gay Christians said founder, Justin Cannon (21), who will graduate this May from Earlham College with a minor in Religion and plans to attend the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, an Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, CA, as he pursues priesthood in the Episcopal Church.


As part of its 30 anniversary commemorations the Diocese of Recife - Brazil started three new congregations this month: New Jerusalem Mission, in Santa Luzia town and Mangabeira Mission, in João Pessoa City, both in the State of Paraiba were inaugurated recently by Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti. On that occasion the bishop performed confirmations in the Pro-Cathedral of the Resurrection and in St. Stephens' Mission in a rural area, among peasants of the Federal Program of Land Reform. On May 13th he will consecrate the new building and do confirmations at the new Hope Mission, Jaboatão dos Guararapes city, State of Pernambuco, according to the Rev Estevão Chiappetta, Press Secretary for International Relations for the diocese.

IN OXFORD, ENGLAND a key advisor to the Bishop of Oxford denied a string of child pornography offences when he appeared before a Crown Court judge last Friday.

The Rev. Richard Thomas faces 17 counts of making indecent photographs of a child and three counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child in June last year.

The grey-haired 55-year-old was charged in November last year after police were alleged to have found images on the hard-drive of his computer.

Dressed in a blue shirt, grey and blue stripped tie and a light green jacket, the father-of-two listened intently during the brief hearing at Oxford Crown Court.

Thomas, who was suspended from his post as a director of communications for the diocese of Oxford, spoke only to confirm his name and deny all of the charges.

Mr. Recorder Persaud released Thomas of Eason Drive, Abingdon, Oxon., on bail and ordered him to re-appear at the court for a trial on a date yet to be set. Source INS News Agency.

VOL first broke this story in November 2005 and you can read it here: http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/article.php?storyid=3352

In the DIOCESE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA the 125-year-old church in Chemainus' on Vancouver Island - St. Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church has been granted a reprieve from closure until June 2007. According to newspaper reports while Anglican churches on Vancouver Island hope for divine intervention to spare them from closure or amalgamation, St. Michael and All Angels Church in Chemainus had already had a partial answer to its prayers. The diocese agreed we need more time," Rev. Lyn Oldale said. In March a report compiled by the Diocesan Ministry Resource Team on the future of the Anglican church on Vancouver Island was released. Of the 54 churches on the Island, the report recommended the closure of five, including Chemainus, Lake Cowichan's St. Christopher/St. Aidan and Crofton's All Saints. The report also recommended the amalgamation of 10 others and the relocation of one.

St. Alban's a parish church in Victoria, BC was vandalized recently with most of the damage being done to the sanctuary area of the church -- the raised dais that holds the carved oak altar. The embroidered altar cloth and brass candlesticks were cast onto the floor, amid the shattered glass from the light above. The ceremonial cross also was knocked down, along with collection plates, and a pool of what appeared to be vomit was left to one side of the altar. Cigarette butts and liquor bottles were scattered throughout, and a large knife was left on a counter in an adjacent room. The communion wine -- which, Rev. Edwin Taylor emphasized, had not been consecrated -- was taken from the altar. Some appears to have been consumed, but several bottles were left in a garbage bucket in the church's garden.

The media and the Rev. Taylor, a priest at the church for the past 20 years, said he doesn't think the church was specifically targeted. He said the vandalism appears to be the action of someone who is disturbed and who has animosity or unresolved feelings toward the church. Report from the Times Colonist.

BUT the real story here is not vandals, wrote a VOL reader. "It was Satanists," he wrote. "Canadian political correctness makes it unacceptable to tag Satanists for this incident. After all, aren't Satanists, witches, and Wiccans just another religious group like Anglicans and Baptists? So Satanic attacks on churches here can now fly under the radar. Nice, eh?"

A WAG wrote to VOL this week and said a deck chair on the Titanic is going for $110,000. "My idea is to hang on to ECUSA memorabilia it could be worth big bucks when the ship sinks," he said.

IN TODAY'S DIGEST, the president and Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry the Rev. Dr. Paul Zahl became the target of lesbian Episcopal wrath when he spoke up and likened the election of a homosexual bishop in the Diocese of California to "a terrorist bomb, which is timed to destroy a peace process."

There are a number of fine AS EYE SEE IT articles in today's digest including one from Canon Gary L'Hommedieu. I urge you to read it.

CORRECTION: The Rev. Neil G. Lebhar of the newly formed Redeemer Anglican Church in Jacksonville, Florida wrote to say that his church has never sued Florida Bishop John Howard. They were simply responding to Howard's lawsuit against them. "We never sued the diocese, or even threatened to do so. We simply responded by letter to Bishop Howard's lawyer's letter threatening us with a suit. We are opposed to Christians suing, except as a necessary form of response to a suit." VOL apologizes for the error.

WE ARE FIVE WEEKS from General Convention and we are still working towards our goal of raising $25,000 to cover expenses for the convention and travel to Africa later. We are slowly but surely reaching our goal. To bring you all the news is a 7-day a week operation. VOL never closes. We post stories daily, sometimes hourly to the website and a weekly digest brings it altogether for thousands of readers.

Your donation makes it possible for those in countries who can't afford it to get the news they would not otherwise get in the formal Episcopal press. VOL is the alternative Anglican news service that brings you the news you won't read about anywhere else, in hard print or on various orthodox Blogs. They simply can't cover the ground like VOL.

So please be generous and think about all you will get as we cover General Convention hour by hour, day by day with stories posted to the website: www.virtueonline.org with digests cut every two days. We will leave no stone unturned as you enter the no spin zone with us.

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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