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OH CANADA...liberal Apb elected Primate...reaction strong...ECUSA bad news

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

ST. CATHARINES, ONT--The Anglican Church of Canada voted to elect a new Primate this week and the choice could not have been worse for the orthodox in the church and the signal it sends to the Primates of the Global South.

On the fourth ballot they elected a bi-lingual revisionist from the Diocese of Montreal, Archbishop Andrew S. Hutchison, 65, a bishop who has already allowed a same-sex blessing when he was chaplain to the Canadian Armed Forces. He beat out the Evangelical Ronald C. Ferris, 58, Bishop of Algoma, a decision they will come to regret.

If the Episcopal Church had elected the moderately evangelical Southern Ohio Bishop Herbert Thompson (he lost by three votes) in 1999 to Frank Griswold, the whole course of ecclesiastical church history would have been different.

It was clear the Canadians wanted a middle way to the right of Hutchison but couldn't find it, Had Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Edmonton, been a contender she would have won. She is in hospital facing surgery for breast cancer.

The vote for Hutchison was a vote for a continuation of, if not an acceleration of, the policies of former Primate Michael Peers. An insider with knowledge of the history of Canadian Anglicanism believes that within a few days Hutchison will reach out to the orthodox of the church in a gesture of good will.

It will inevitably be seen as too little late. With a nod to the orthodox in the church, Hutchison said, in his acceptance speech that he would strive for unity, citing our Lord's words that we all may be one so that the world may believe. "More energy needs to be directed but we must ask what our purpose is? I shall use my every ounce of energy to increase and build the unity of this church so that the world may believe, so that people across this land look to us and see how these Christians love one another."

Few orthodox believe it.

Chris Hawley a spokesman for the orthodox movement Essentials Canada said he was disappointed by the result, but said that he believed that the job of the Primate is to bring both sides together. "We want to give him the opportunity to connect with orthodox people. The onus is on him to do so. We can't prejudge anyone, he needs a chance. The orthodox want to be heard in the councils of the church." Essentials would have preferred to see Ferris win."

BUT SAME SEX BLESSINGS DOMINATED this Synod and will continue to do so in the days and months ahead. But the church got a warning from, Canon Gregory Cameron, a senior officer at the London-based Anglican Communion Office and close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In unusually blunt language he told the Canadian General Synod that worldwide Anglicanism could disintegrate if it paved the way to homosexual "marriages" this week by affirming same sex unions. However Canadian Anglicans did not take kindly to what they saw as outside interference. When I pressed Cameron later as to who sent him, he said it was deal cut between the acting Canadian Primate David Crawley and the Lambeth Commission chairman, Robin Eames. His rebuke, albeit couched in diplomatic language, sent a clear signal that if the Canadians voted in any way for same-sex blessings they would suffer the same ostracism as Frank Griswold, ECUSA's presiding Bishop is experiencing with the Global South. Canada's acting Primate, Archbishop David Crawley, said the Church should have complete independence in its decision-making.

In his speech he talked about provincial autonomy. "The four instruments of unity have no juridical authority, only consultative and moral authority," he said. The Lambeth (Eames) Commission will issue a report in October which could effectively isolate the liberal West and bring about a schism that could have lasting repercussions. We should not decry their [CAPA bishops] motives, said Cameron. "This is no game playing.

On both sides people are acting out of profound convictions that this is what God calls them to." One Canadian diocese, New Westminster, has already approved a rite for same-sex blessings. You can read a number of stories relating to the Synod in today's digest.

In one of the debates, Terry Buckle, Bishop of the Yukon read a moving letter from ex-gays who have left the lifestyle but who feel the church was not hearing their voice. You could almost feel the anger by the gay community. But not to be outdone, Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster says he will continue to allow same-sex unions even if the Anglican Church of Canada's highest governing body fails to pass a contentious motion authorizing dioceses to permit them.

Who said liberal tyranny and belligerence was not alive and well. To round off this Synod, the Canadian Church has invited Frank Griswold to come and be the guest speaker. Pluriformity and inclusion to the end, even as the orthodox are being marginalized and excluded. By the time you receive this digest the third and final debate on same-sex blessings will have been completed and I will post a separate digest with the results.

IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH USA, events go from bad to worse around the country. Revisionist bishops are tightening the screws on orthodox parishes and their priests, ratcheting up fear, anguish and loathing wherever they descend.

I was in Buffalo/Niagara, NY this week in the DIOCESE OF WESTERN NEW YORK and met with a dozen clergy who are feeling the pain from their revisionist bishop J. Michael Garrison who voted for Gene Robinson's election. I was given a letter by Garrison to his clergy, (dated May 26) in which he said that if they wanted DEPO they would have to cough up the full amount of their pledge based on "fair share". If they failed to meet their financial obligation they would be reduced to being a "dependent" parish. Furthermore if DEPO was allowed he would not surrender jurisdiction and he viewed the DEPO bishop as an "Assistant Bishop of Western New York." He said that he as the diocesan bishop will still make a visitation once every three years. These godly men are looking to the Global Primates for help, and their prayer is that they will, in time, be rescued. They are also open to a visitation from the 'Akron Five' bishops.

In the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA, Bishop Charles E. Bennison is on the rampage ratcheting up the pain and anger on the largest parish in his diocese, the 1,500-strong Evangelical Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli. In an earlier letter the bishop said he would come to the 9am service, but then decide to come when, after reading the vestry's letter to the congregation the vestry were encouraging parishioners to attend other services. It was then that Bennison decide to attend three out of the four services for a "full sacramental visit". The rector Greg Brewer along with his warden, Jeff Moretzsohn visited with the bishop and told him that his visit would promote nothing but "anger and anguish" among the parishioners and asked him to send Bishop Clarence Coleridge his assisting bishop. He won't. He has dug his heels in. The three rectors will not take communion from him because as the Prayer Book says "we are to be in love and charity with our neighbors. How can they receive communion from him when they have been treated so shamefully?" asked Brewer.

They have appealed to the diocesan Standing Committee and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams to intervene. We invite you to send an E-mail to the Archbishop at this e-mail address: herman.browne@lampal.c-of-e.org.uk. Word has it that there is unhappiness all over the diocese because the bishop is being so high handed even among liberals. They will learn that tyranny can sometimes go both ways.

At the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, PA, Archbishop Bernard Malango, PRIMATE OF CENTRAL AFRICA will make an appearance on Sunday, and he hasn't asked for Bennison's approval.

The PA bishop is hopping mad, so sources tell Virtuosity. Bennison has been trying to oust the Anglo-Catholic priest from his parish for more than two years, but the bishop faces two lawsuits, one for intentional infliction of emotional distress and for fraud and bad faith about the "deposition". Fr. David Moyer, however, is firmly under the ecclesiastical authority of the African Primate.

And in the DIOCESE OF MICHIGAN Virtuosity has received a financial report that shows the diocese will be down nearly $256,000 for the year. For the first four months of 2004 they were down a cool $50,000. The diocesan apportionment is $2.2 million but the commitment is only $1.6 million. The figures will continue to decline as the impact of the Robinson's consecration takes deeper hold on the diocese and as orthodox parishes refuse to fund the revisionist agenda of Bishop Wendell N. Gibbs.

THE AMERICAN ANGLICAN COUNCIL has blasted the actions of two ECUSA revisionist bishops for blessing same-sex unions. "We are deeply saddened that two ECUSA bishops have defied the Primates plea for restraint," they wrote. Bishop Jon Bruno, Diocese of Los Angeles, recently presided over the same sex ceremony of the Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd, poet laureate of LA, and his long-time "partner". Bishop John Chane has announced plans to preside at the same sex blessing of former President of Integrity Michael Hopkins and his "partner" June 12, 2004. "The fact that these bishops not only authorized, but also chose to preside at the "blessings," of such high profile individuals is particularly significant. Are the bishops sending a message to the Primates?" What other interpretation is there.

And in the DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND, Bishop Orris Walker has written a letter to all his priests saying he will provide forums for "increasing the inclusion of homosexual persons in The Episcopal Church." He has asked the Mercer School of Theology to organize them. He wants a panel of liberal priests to provide information regarding the Church's full inclusion of openly gay and lesbian persons in its life, sacraments and ordained ministry." That is not in the spirit of the Lambeth resolution, and it just further isolates the ECUSA from the global Anglican body.

BEXLEY HALL, one of the 11 seminaries of the Episcopal church is in trouble. The latest issue of "The Bexley Cross" says it is consolidating (another word for slowly going out of business). Dean John Kevern says that Bexley is moving its central operation from Rochester, NY to Ohio because (and you'll love this) "the area is characterized by persistent economic decline, depopulation AND THE GROWTH OF RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM. You can really blame the latter. Of course the Dean is filled with "enthusiasm" at the new step, but then if you are staring at the abyss one might as well be optimistic as fatalistic.

But at NASHOTAH HOUSE in Wisconsin a source tells Virtuosity that the place is "booming!" They have 34 new applicants for the fall term, 30 of them will actually matriculate. They will essentially be at capacity this fall for the first time in years, and they have had to remodel at least one of their dormitories as a result. They are contemplating how they will deal with increases in faculty as well. At TESM the story is much the same. A spokesman said that in the last two years Trinity has experienced a record number of applications and enrollments. According to statistics reported to ECUSA by the 11 Episcopal seminaries, Trinity is the largest in total enrollment. "We anticipate the class entering this fall will again be record setting in number so students," said the spokesman. The question for both these schools is finding dioceses that will have these graduates. Revisionist bishops don't want them as they have a tendency to make churches grow by preaching the gospel and defying inclusion which is a 'no no' for the majority of The Purple Ones who have no faith left to talk about.

And in the DIOCESE OF COLORADO, Bishop Robert J. O'Neill is taking it on the chin for his handling of the Rev. Bonnie Spencer's "marriage" to her lesbian lover. Theologian/rector the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner accuses the bishop of not acting in his capacity and disciplining her. "You have stated publicly that the "events" of Bonnie Spencer's and Catherine Anderson's same-sex "commitment" ceremony in the Church of the Good Shepherd "do not constitute a violation of the Canons". Not so says the rector. "I believe that a significant line has been crossed by your refusal to see this matter as touching upon the basic governing structures of our church (including the canons). The shape of Bonnie's ceremony is clearly one that takes its place within the context of a pseudo-marriage." You can read the full letter in today's digest.

On the bright side, The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) had its largest shipment of books to a new seminary in Africa ever. In conjunction with SPCK/England, and General Theological Seminary in NYC they sent over 10,000 books, 6500 of which came from SPCK.

The DIOCESE OF THE NORTHERN ARGENTINA of the Province of the Southern Cone will elect a new bishop suffragan on June 3. Six candidates have been chosen from among the three major tribal groups living in the Formosa region. Four candidates come from the Wichi peoples, one from the Toba and one from the Chorote. The election is due to the retirement of Bishop Mario Marino, who has served as bishop for almost 30 years, himself Wichi. There is little doubt an orthodox person will be chosen. There are seventy churches in this area.

AND THIS FROM ENGLAND. The Church gives the 23rd Psalm a makeover. In a new version published by the Church of England, the words: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil" are replaced by: "Even if a full-scale violent confrontation breaks out I will not be afraid, Lord." The new version shares with the traditional one the opening line "The Lord is my shepherd", but the psalmist goes on: "He lets me see a country of justice and peace and directs me towards this land" and that His "shepherd's power and love protect me" - instead of "thy rod and thy staff they comfort me". The 23rd Psalm, rewritten by Pastor KameetC, of Namibia, is included in the book Pocket Prayers for Justice and Peace, which has been compiled by the charity Christian Aid and will be published in October by Church House Publishing, the Church's books division. A Church House spokesman said: "It is not the Church's new official version of the 23rd Psalm. All the prayers are focused on issues such as debt, the developing world and fair trade. "The publishers hope people will take a fresh look at some of these issues." He said the King James Version of the psalm "stands for all time and will still be used in churches".

I AM POSTING A NUMBER OF STORIES FOR YOUR EDUCATION and enlightenment including some testimonies of a personal nature that I think will interest you. The next time I write to you will be from the PLANO-WEST meeting in California later this week. Please keep me in your prayers.

WELCOME TO VIRTUOSITY. If you are a first time reader please go to the website www.virtuosityonline.org to read past digests and search the ARCHIVES and participate in the multiple chat rooms. Iron sharpens iron and it is good to test yourself against those with whom you may disagree. PLEASE CONSIDER


New stories are posted daily to the website. If you want to stay completely current then go to www.virtuosityonline.org and scan through the categories that interest you. The dates will show how current the story is.

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