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Orthodox Priests face Revisionist Bishops hatred...Michigan, Olympia, Virginia

The real issue is not just protecting and restoring beleaguered orthodox Anglicanism in North America. It is actually about the integrity of the Global South. The longer there is global indecision, the more this will eventually compromise the biblical clarity and mission of the Global South and its leadership. That is the urgency of 2006 for the Global South. This is their moment to seize the day. (Author unknown).

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One of the truly sad but honorable aspects of orthodox priests caught in revisionist dioceses is that they honestly believe that the men and women in purple they are dealing with are decent people.

It is a fatal error, repeatedly made, because orthodox priests want to act like Christians and believe that their example of humility and grace will be reciprocated by their bishops.

It never happens and, like sheep, they are lead repeatedly, to the slaughter.

Take for example what occurred this week in the DIOCESE OF MICHIGAN. The Rev. Allen Kannapell, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, got thrown out of his church, when the bishop, the Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., told the orthodox rector on Saturday night that he had to vacate his church BEFORE next day's Sunday morning services.

Fr. Kannapell, 36, is a godly young priest who had written nice things about Gibbs, the bishop of Michigan. He wrote at his Web site, "The bshop believes we have a 'valid position,' acknowledges that we, etc., etc. I respect the bishop's position."

But when push came to shove, Gibbs phoned him Friday, told him to be at diocesan headquarters on Saturday, and with lawyers in tow told Kannapell he could not even worship another Sunday at his parish. So Kannapell took 95 percent of the congregation and fled to a local Holiday Inn. (You can read the full story in today's digest.)

In the DIOCESE OF OLYMPIA, the end is near for two parishes, St. Stephen's Church, Oak Harbor. and St. Charles', Poulsbo, a layman wrote VirtueOnline. "We are nearing showdown time with the diocese. Even though Bishop Vincent Warner gave a 'high road' interview on Dec. 5th to The Living Church magazine, on Dec. 7th their chancellor came down on us hard. We are very near them seeking a summary judgment to control our property. We feel to give up the keys to a parish in which the land was donated by a parishioner and the church was built and paid for by the parishioners and for which we have the deed, is wrong. Washington is a Watson Case (diocese wins) state. We intend to win, even in losing, because it is about time national awareness of imposing a trust on the entity that has the assets is profoundly wrong, anytime, anywhere. Trusts are supposed to be granted! Even if we granted same by not complaining since 1979, we nevertheless canceled the trust when we acknowledged ECUSA had left us."

Warner had done a hand-wringing, crozier-breaking act, telling Living Church readers, "I will not be 'forced' into imposing a canonical solution." He did admit that his successor will not necessarily adhere to the same policy. Well, apparently he's not waiting for the next bishop to act.

Fr. Mark Hansen got much the same treatment from Bishop Andrew Smith in the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT. A muddle over sabbatical, a lightning raid on a parish, changed locks, computer break-in, guards at the gate, finally despair and resignation of the priest.

In the DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA, Bishop Peter Lee got downright nasty this week with fleeing Phil Ashey, an orthodox priest (who had made his parish grow significantly), and hauled his credentials as a priest. This got up the ire of Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi and the two bishops got into a bitter exchange of letters.

Basically what happened was this. The Rev. Phil Ashey said he was taking his parish and himself out of the diocese and ECUSA and coming under a Ugandan bishop. But Bishop Lee interpreted that to mean he was renouncing his priesthood. Not so fast, said Fr. Ashey. Then Ugandan Archbishop Orombi weighed in, saying that Fr. Ashey had not renounced his orders, he had only left the ECUSA. You can read the full story on that in today's digest: NEW DARKNESS DESCENDS OVER ECUSA. http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3470

Bishop Lee had positioned himself as a centrist, bear-hugging Robin Eames, the Irish primate and author of the Windsor Report. But when push came to shove Bishop Lee trod on the head of Fr. Ashey, not merely inhibiting and deposing him but trying to make believe he was now no longer a priest. But you cannot un-make a priest unless, as the Roman Catholic Church has "undone," in the case of convicted pedophile priests. Fr. Ashey refused to renounce his orders, only to move them offshore. He had committed no unpardonable offense.

At the upcoming 211th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, "A Diocesan Response to the Windsor Report," one paragraph of Resolution 1 reads as follows:

"Whereas, Bishop Lee has served as a model of civility and generosity and has called us to embrace the concept of mutual submission, which -- according to the New Testament -- means that we voluntarily refrain from actions that hurt our brothers and sisters or create stumbling blocks for others in the life of faith..."

Wrote a reader: "One cannot help but laugh at the queer irony and glaring incongruity between the resolution's paragraph describing Peter James Lee and his actions with regard to the Reverend Phil Ashey." More blind denial.

Also heard from inside the diocese comes word that Falls Church has taken Bishop Lee aside for the past two months as prescribed in the early church, "when a brother sins, two or three of you need to take him aside..." and they are preparing to denounce him for being apostate.

AND THIS, dear readers, is where and why Global South intervention is so necessary and vital. With the unraveling of the ECUSA, these overseas bishops and archbishops will be called on increasingly to come to these shores because they are being requested to do so by orthodox priests. Revisionist bishops keep blaming the messengers, they just don't get it.

The DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE recently announced its nominees for bishop, and the three finalists the committee chose are Canon F. Brian Cox IV, rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, Calif.; Canon James B. Magness, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Kentucky; Canon Neal O. Michell, canon missioner for strategic development in the Diocese of Dallas.

Outgoing Bishop Bertram Herlong is orthodox, and all three candidates are to some degree or another orthodox, with Michell being the strongest and most orthodox of the three. The Diocese of Dallas, from whence he hails, is thoroughly orthodox under Bishop James Stanton. He has had several parishes, he told VirtueOnline, and has nearly doubled or trebled each one under his leadership. Cox, on the other hand, is well known for his reconciliation skills, has a small congregation of 80 that has not grown much over the years, and hails from the liberal Diocese of Los Angeles and Bishop J. Jon Bruno. Cox is conservative, but he has not gone the route of St. James Newport Beach and other parishes that have fled from the presence of liberal bishop Bruno. Magness is the weakest theologically of the three candidates, even though he holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which is a very conservative non-denominational seminary based in Massachusetts. He hails from the ultra-liberal Diocese of Kentucky and revisionist Bishop Ted Gulick. He did not return a phone call to his office. He is best remembered by conservatives in the diocese from when they gathered to discuss problems in the Episcopal Church and they picked Calvin Presbyterian Church in Louisville to meet. Ellis Brust, the chief operating officer of the American Anglican Council, wasn't welcomed at any of the parishes in Kentucky's largest city when he went visiting because conservative rectors feared incurring the wrath of Gulick if they opened their doors to him, Brust said at the time. Jay Magness, the bishop's principal assistant, said nobody's being pressured. Clergy are free to host or attend AAC events, he said. And if you believe that, you believe Spong is orthodox.

CONCERNED EPISCOPALIANS in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA are putting the pressure on Bishop Charles Bennison in a series of meetings being held around the diocese. The intent and hope of this effort is to present into the "official" record, at the next council meeting (1/12/06), the concerns and corresponding proposed initiatives which the CE, and others, believe will begin a process to address the various concerns [in the diocese] which have been for too long gone unaddressed, they say.

They want Bennison's "Holy Experiment" to widen to "broaden the discussion" to include and focus attention on those concerns which are systemic in nature. (i.e. leadership, direction and vision). "While it is clear the financial issues are deep and disturbing, arguably there needs to be some discussion with regard to broader issues which are overshadowed by the money woes of the diocese." Indeed.

Is the noose tightening around the neck of Charles E. Bennison? At the last Diocesan Convention his budget was torn up, mandatory giving was defeated, and it was a bitter blow to the revisionist bishop when a coalition of clergy and lay delegates to the diocese sent a clear message that Bennison's leadership had failed, trust had been lost, diocesan finances were a mess, and Camp Wapiti was viewed by many as a financial albatross around the diocese's neck. Complaints were lodged of unrestrained spending yielding few results and mounting legal fees over unresolved litigation. The delegates rejected a $4.8 million diocesan budget program and forced the issue of funding daily operations back into the lap of the diocesan council. They also rejected diocesan use of unrestricted net assets (UNA) in the budget. There is also cyber chatter that the chancellor might be dumped.

The DIOCESE OF NEWARK is looking for a bishop. They have begun taking nominations for candidates to replace retiring Bishop Jack Croneberger. You'll love this line: "It is exciting to consider persons who might lead us as bishop at this time," said committee co-chair Dr. Louie Crew, the Episcopal Church's founding homosexual. "The Diocese of Newark is poised for dynamic renewal and significant new service. Our next bishop will have a great opportunity to serve with us." One wonders how deep the denial he and the diocese are living in. At least 40 parishes are on the brink of closing, and it's not because the train doesn?t stop at their local station; Spong's revisionism, Robinson's consecration, and the plethora of gay and lesbian rectors has parents running for the hills. Don?t look for anyone remotely orthodox to even apply for the job. Perhaps the sodomite Rev. Michael Hopkins will toss his hat in the ring. He comes with perfect credentials as a leader of Integrity and a refugee from the Diocese of Washington, where he had a parish in Bishop Chane's diocese.

Make no mistake about it, the ECUSA is taking and will continue to take a horrendous hit from which it is unlikely to recover. The revisionist bishops' only trump card at this point is, "I will take your church away from you if you don't acquiesce to my demands to support revisionism." But the revisionists should know by now that they cannot bribe anyone who values their soul with property - they are looking past this temporal existence to something far greater. Indeed.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL, TV miniseries where conservative Christian groups have condemned the depiction of Jesus as blasphemous, accusing the writers of portraying Christ as tolerant of sin in talks with the priest, is not being aired on at least two stations.

The two television stations NBC affiliates KARK in Little Rock, Ark., and WTWO in Terre Haute, Ind., are refusing to broadcast the new NBC series about an Episcopal priest who abuses painkillers, has a gay son, a promiscuous straight son, a daughter who deals marijuana, and a wife who drinks too much, saying sensitivity to viewers led them not to air "The Book of Daniel."

And the DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON, in an effort to push this TV series, is now sponsoring a blog site www.blogofdaniel.com eulogizing this genuinely trashy series. And if that isn't enough, read this, taken from the webpage: "Coming soon, the story of the attack on the Episcopal Church, and the secular right wing foundations that fund it." AH yes, blame non existent Episcopal fundamentalists, or the Ahmanson Foundation for exercising its right to fund whomever, as if left wing foundations never did the same.

In the DIOCESE OF MARYLAND where the revisionist bishops of that diocese, Robert Ihloff and John Rabb, allegedly ousted a new orthodox Anglican congregation which had, in December, given birth at a Presbyterian Church and found no room in the inn, got rapped by this writer for their actions. "It looked like a case of raw naked power being played out against one small growing orthodox Anglican parish that dared to stand against the monolithic revisionist ECUSA," I wrote.

Well a layman in the DIOCESE OF CHICAGO wrote VirtueOnline saying the same thing happened to a new church plant in that diocese. "We launched an orthodox Anglican Church last fall, in a room at the First United Church of Rogers Park. When we started taking off, ECUSA Bishop William Persell pressured the pastor into making life difficult for us -- so we had to leave the space. This seems to be ECUSA's strategy." Indeed it does.

In the DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND, Bishop Orris Walker is doing his part to influence African dioceses to ECUSA's pansexual agenda. In his recent diocesan address he said, "We are supporting the work of Dr. Jennie Cooley in West Africa. During her visit I hope you will engage her in conversation so that she can share her experiences in this vital ministry of healing." But then Walker let this slip, betraying his true feelings about orthodox African Primates. "In Nigeria, we are still attempting to deepen our relationship with the people of the Diocese of Oji River. IN SPITE OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF NIGERIA, I believe God?s will, will prevail and brothers and sisters will be able to share in the meaning of our common journey." Clearly there is no love lost between him and Archbishop Akinola. Really.

Then Walker said this: "In some parts of the church, there are individuals who talk of the great anxiety they experience about the future of the church and indeed about the church in the affairs of the world. Might I suggest that if we practice the Holy Habits adopted by the General Convention and our own Convention last year, we will be better able to equip ourselves to meet the challenge of the moment. Holy Habits, HOLY HABITS?.in the Diocese of Long Island! This is the same bishop who tried to get a priest who "married" a boy from Brazil in a scandal that rocked the diocese and found its way into PENTHOUSE magazine reinstated. And what about Walker himself? The NY Times alleges he has AIDS. If he has, what got him that disease? Walker's pathological hatred of orthodoxy is so well-known in his diocese that most orthodox priests have fled and the few that remain stay under his radar screen. This writer has been invited to speak at one such parish in February. They are risking a lot just having me in their parish.

Walker did admit there was strain in their (diocesan) relationship with some in the Church in the Caribbean. "This strain was caused by decisions made at our last General Convention. In order to avoid the destruction of our relationship, it is essential that we all exercise personal diplomacy towards those who disagree with us. In families, we learn to live with disagreements and still remain family; such is the challenge before the church." Caribbean Anglicans are, for the most part, Anglo-Catholics. They don't buy into ECUSA's pansexuality.

IN YET ANOTHER MOVE TO UNDERMINE THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE of bishops and to diminish the authority of the Primates, Walker announced at the diocesan convention that a Pan-Anglican Conference would take place in early 2007 in Cape Town, South Africa. It is slated for all orders of ministry and will focus on the mission and ministry of the whole church. "In the recent past there has been so much talk of division and separation that many felt that we had lost sight of the mission that is clearly before us ? a mission that requires the unity of all of God?s people with God and with one another," he said.

Now the players in this drama are all liberals and include the Primate of Southern Africa, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, and the only solidly liberal province in Africa. Other players include John Chane, Bishop of Washington, (revisionist); James Cooper, the Rector of Trinity Church, Wall Street, (the richest church in the world and liberal) and among the five Canons invited is the devious and orthodox hating former Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council John Peterson, now a canon at Washington National Cathedral. He did his best, when ACC head, to spin the Anglican Communion Office for his American paymasters.

There is not one single orthodox person involved in this event.

It's ironic that it is being held in 2007 - just one year after GC2006 and before the bishops meet in Canterbury in 2008. Peterson once said that it was his wish that the bishops never be allowed to vote as a bloc again and that the clergy and laity be mixed in to dilute the orthodox vote. This has not happened.

This meeting was to have run concurrently with the Primates in Cape Town in 2008, but lack of money killed it. The Lambeth Conference was then moved back Canterbury by Dr. Rowan Williams, and it will be bishops only by invitation.

Canon Gregory Cameron, ACC deputy general secretary, has distanced the ACC from this event saying his office will only offer "advice and suggestions" because he doesn't want to show his liberal colors too much and he has to focus on Lambeth 2008. Furthermore there are still funding problems. Odds are that ECUSA will fund this event to keep the liberal flag waving.

Among the other canons involved is the Rev. Canon George W. Brandt, Jr., rector of St. Michael?s, New York City; (liberal) and the Rev Canon Harold T. Lewis, Rector of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh; and a real thorn in the flesh to orthodox bishop Robert Duncan. The Rev. Canon Frederick Boyd Williams, rector of the Church of the Intercession, New York City; and Canon Diane M. Porter, deputy for Episcopal administration in the Diocese of Long Island and Walker's lackey.

The 2007 Cape Town congress would be only the fourth Communion-wide Assembly of lay and ordained leaders. The last one was held in Toronto in 1963, 43 years ago!

Mercifully funding constraints has been the problem in these gabfests and hopefully will continue to be the case. Lambeth 2008 is allegedly $3 million short.

IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND this past week, a senior clergyman tied the knot with his long-term partner. The Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral Canon Jeremy Davies "wed" boyfriend of 18 years, opera singer Simon McEnery, in a ceremony at Trafalgar House outside Salisbury in Wiltshire watched by 120 friends and family. The celebrations were attended by Salisbury's Bishop, the Rt Rev David Stancliffe, and Dean, the Very Rev June Osborne and coincided with Canon Davies' 60th birthday. "This was a civil partnership ceremony and there was no religious involvement," a Salisbury diocese spokesman said. "It followed exactly the legal requirements and the guidelines of the Church of England." Bishop David and The Very Rev. Osborne did not attend the partnership service itself, which was conducted by the civil partnership registrar for Wiltshire, but joined the festivities afterwards. You can see from this why Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola decided to cut off his relationship

IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT, the DVD and Streaming Video "Choose this Day" is a must see. You can go to the website www.virtueonline.org and click on the banner ad and pick it up for a mere $7.00. It is must viewing by all Episcopalians. Invite your friends over to watch it, buy a copy for your Episcopal friends and give it to them. This is one way to reach the "diverse center" with a clear statement of where the Episcopal Church has been and is going. Buy it.

The next time I write to you all I will be at the AMiA conference in Birmingham, Alabama. Go to the website daily for stories as I post them.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS. I am frequently asked to speak on the state of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. If you are
interested in having me speak in February and beyond please feel free to drop me a note at david@virtueonline.org.

MANY of you prayed for Bolivian Bishop Frank Lyons. I can report that he is recovering nicely and his wife Shawnee reports he will be back at his desk very soon. Thank you for your prayers.

Please consider a tax deductible gift to this ministry. It is the ONLY through your gifts that this ministry stays afloat. I am deeply appreciative the many gifts during December, they are making it possible for me to write, travel, support an expanding Web site that needs daily attention, employ a small part-time staff and so much more. You can send donations to:

VIRTUEONLINE
1236 Waterford Rd.,
West Chester, PA 19380

OR you can make a donation at the Web site using PAYPAL. www.virtueonline.org

All Blessings,

David W. Virtue, D.D.

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