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SCHORI goes after parishes in VA and NY. Lee Nixes Negotiation. Iker wins on WO

'Conservative' evangelicals. The proper use of the word 'conservative', when applied to evangelicals, is that we hold tenaciously to the teaching of Christ and the apostles as given to us in the New Testament, and are determined to 'conserve' the whole biblical faith. This was the apostle's charge to Timothy: 'keep the deposit', conserve it, preserve it, never relax your hold upon it, nor let it drop from your hands.--From 'That Word "Radical"', Church of England Newspaper - John R.W. Stott

The historic Christian faith: At the risk of oversimplification and of the charge of arrogance, I want to argue that the evangelical faith is nothing other than the historic Christian faith. The evangelical Christian is not a deviationist, but a loyalist who seeks by the grace of God to be faithful to the revelation which God has given of himself in Christ and in Scripture. The evangelical faith is not a peculiar or esoteric version of the Christian faith -- it *is* the Christian faith. It is not a recent innovation. The evangelical faith is original, biblical, apostolic Christianity. --From "Make the Truth Known" (Leicester: IVP, 1983)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In his latest book, "America Alone", eminent culture watcher and commentator Mark Steyn, argues that in the new century the West will be confronted by three major crises: declining population, economic stagnation, and a loss of confidence in its leading cultural institutions. "What makes these crises so serious is that they are taking place as the West is faced with a grim challenge from a new direction, a militaristic Islam that he defines as a twenty-first century political project driven by a seventh-century ideology.'" He concludes that the West is unprepared to face this threat which Steyn attributes to the pervasive influence of multiculturalism and a tolerance of Islamic intolerance that has already crippled many countries in Europe.

Mr. Steyn could have written the epitaph of The Episcopal Church and quite possibly Western Christianity itself.

The Episcopal Church, through its new leader Mrs. Jefferts Schori, has nixed the idea that Episcopalians ought to reproduce themselves; the church's money is drying up because increasing numbers of dioceses cannot extract it from dying parishes and orthodox dioceses do not believe in her definition of "mission" with the bulk of the national church's money coming from dead men's trust funds and endowments. Finally, Episcopal leaders have demonstrated a near complete loss of confidence in the faith they purportedly say they uphold. In Arkansas last week Mrs. Schori had this to say at her first consecration about whether she could "affirm" Jesus' statement: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." She does so with caveats. Here is what she said: "I certainly don't disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. But the way it's used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you're not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way - that's certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I'm impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding." Asked about the rest of Christ's declaration: "No man cometh unto to the father but by me," Jefferts Schori continued. "Again in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people's lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus," she said. And you wonder why orthodox Episcopalians are fleeing the church in droves. Her statements convert nobody and nothing. *****

The week began ominously with news from London that Rowan Williams feared a schism in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is on the brink of separation over homosexuality, and the ABC admitted that he fears losing control of the Church. "I fear schism, not because I think it's the worst thing in the world but because, at this particular juncture, it's going to be bad for us. It's going to drive people into recrimination and bitterness." You can read the full story here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/y47mqo

The week ended badly with a report out of Johannesburg that the African Anglican archbishops plan to cold-shoulder Mrs. Schori when she shows up in Tanzania next month. Several African leaders have blasted Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to head the U.S. Episcopal Church, for backing gay clergy and same-sex unions. They have urged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams not to invite her to a global meeting of Anglican primates in Tanzania. You can read the full story here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/y6xzn4

All this points to the fact that Dr Williams could well preside over a make-or-break summit in Africa next month with his fellow primates. He is hoping that a compromise will emerge, allowing conservatives and liberals to co-exist relatively peacefully until a more formal split can be worked out over the next decade.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop faced fresh turmoil in the Church of England following the disclosure that more than 50 gay or lesbian priests have "married" in civil partnership ceremonies.

IN IRELAND they elected a new Primate, following the retirement announcement of Archbishop Robin Eames. The newly-elected Archbishop of Armagh, Alan Harper is viewed by many Irish media commentators as the leading compromise candidate for the post of Archbishop of Armagh. Bishop Harper is perceived to be liberal on a number of social issues. Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster in September 2003, Harper affirmed permanent homosexual relationships: "if a relationship between homosexual males is creative of love as well as being permanent and lifelong I don't think that I am able to say that it is intrinsically disordered." You can read the full story here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/ymu5ec

IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH this week Virginian Bishop Peter James Lee announced that he would not renew the 30-day standstill agreement with the clergy and members of congregations who voted to leave the Episcopal Church to associate with the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the Bishop of Virginia, Peter James Lee, thus paving the way to massive litigation in the courts to seize the properties from the orthodox priests and their congregations. You can read that here or in today's digest as well. http://tinyurl.com/vyr2n The rector of Falls Church, the Rev. John Yates and Dr. Os Guinness, sociologist and culture watcher wrote a brilliant piece, "Why we Left The Episcopal Church" which you can read here or in today's digest. The priest and a scholar tell why. http://tinyurl.com/yj3z29

In the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA they held a special diocesan convention which revealed a diocese in financial free fall. You can read that here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/ykuw7q VOL later learned that a Maryland Legislator is questioning the Diocese of Pa. Wapiti Land Deal in his state and believes the actions of the diocese are "unconscionable" in what they doing to homeowners, taxpayers and the State of Maryland. You can read that here: http://tinyurl.com/ym536f

In the DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH there was some truly good news for Bishop Jack Iker, when he learned that the Archbishop of Canterbury's Panel of reference ruled that Women's Ordination should not be forced down orthodox diocese's throats. The problem flowed from the canons, passed in 1974, permitting the ordination of women to the priesthood and to the episcopate. They were originally permissive, that is, no bishop was obliged to ordain a woman. The canons were later amended in 1997 by adding the words, "No-one shall be denied access to the ordination process nor postulancy, candidacy or ordination in any parish or diocese of this church on account of his or her sex." This additional wording made the canon mandatory. http://tinyurl.com/yad3ts

But the ink was barely dry on the Panel's statement when Integrity, the official LGBT (or GLBT) organization rose up in righteous indignation and expressed its dismay at the panel's decision. The Rev. Susan Russell, President raged "Who's Next?" and then said "this confirms what Integrity has long maintained--that scapegoating of gay and lesbian vocations and relationships is part of a wider agenda of discrimination and is antithetical to the Gospel message of Jesus. We believe that excluding a percentage of the baptized from a percentage of the sacraments based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, misses the mark of God's will for God's church. Therefore we do not accept discrimination as a valid theological position; rather we name it as sin."

As far as I know there has never been a recorded "attack" on any woman in the church for being a woman, and no homosexual has ever stepped forward and filed charges against an orthodox priest or bishop for assault. What is going on of course is that orthodox priests are being hounded out of the church by revisionist bishops bent on turning the TEC into a Unitarian association pushing MDG's.

In Syracuse, in the DIOCESE OF CENTRAL NEW YORK, The Episcopal Church attempted to intervene in Diocesan Lawsuit. Pursuing her now famous doctrine of Peace and Shalom, Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori and her attorneys served legal papers asking the New York State Supreme Court to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit seeking to seize St. Andrews Church in Syracuse. "How do peace and shalom fit into suing local parishes around the country, said Syracuse attorney, Raymond J. Dague to VirtueOnline. To this writer's knowledge this is the first time a Presiding Bishop has deliberately intervened in an ongoing lawsuit between a diocese and parish. Not even Frank Griswold stooped that low. Mrs. Schori

The move comes six months after the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York filed a lawsuit against St. Andrews to take the property from parishioners in that congregation who have worshipped there since 1903. To date, St. Andrews and its priest, Fr. Robert Hackendorf, have successfully resisted the attempt by the diocese to take the parish through legal action, when action was first taken by the diocese in July 2006 and again in September. Now the whole thing has been ratcheted up a notch with the interference of the national church. http://tinyurl.com/vgqml

In the DIOCESE OF SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA, Bishop Neff Powell tried to spin the departure of Holy Spirit Church. But his history is flawed, says the Rev. Quigg Lawrence. Bishop Powell did offer his public support and "condolences" to the Virginia bishops who are wrestling with fleeing parishes. Powell said that talking to bishops around the U.S. whose congregations have fled the TEC, that "in every single case the clergy led the move to leave." .... http://tinyurl.com/y3ps3o

SEWANEE ALUMNI SURVEY: Things must be so bad at the university with faculty morale over the Gang of 18's anti-Christian debacle and with poor fundraising from rich alumni over the name change that the brain trust at Sewanee is once again hiring consultants to come to the rescue with a survey that will be ignored if the responders tells them the truth, a VOL reader and Sewanee Alumnus wrote to VirtueOnline. The University of the South has engaged Stamats, Inc., a research and consulting firm, to poll University alumni on a variety of important issues. The results of this survey will help provide better communication, better programming, and better service to Sewanee alumni. Or they will figure out that the Episcopal Church's only university does not uphold the faith once delivered and put their money elsewhere.

In Fairfield, in the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT the Anglican Mission in America is making inroads into that diocese. According to the AMIA website, there are now 200 people attending a new AMIA church plant - The Church of the Apostles. Apparently they are siphoning off parishioners from Episcopal Trinity and St. Michaels in Fairfield CT where average Sunday attendance (ASA) went from 60 to 20 and St Timothy Church, Fairfield, ASA went from 160 to 90 when this AMIA mission started. The Church gather in a new school auditorium to hear the scriptures powerfully preached, to receive communion, and to celebrate the confirmation of a dozen young people into Christian maturity. "The Lord is doing this," affirmed Bishop Thad Barnum.

Wrote a VOL reader: "I think there are a lot of people who would like to leave the Episcopal Church, and will leave once a critical mass of people can be found, but are not prepared to fight with the people who want to stay, and as the early days of this mission show, will only leave once there is a critical mass to move to. The end result is people are enthusiastic about mission once again, and each of these missions seems to spawn new missions.

CEILING COLLAPSE. While watching the news on WCVB Channel 5 in Boston, a VOL reader wrote to say that a small church that meets at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge had its ceiling collapse during services. No one was hurt apparently. But it did lead one wag to observe that the sky might just be falling in on the liberals...literally. The city of Cambridge Inspectional Services Department is investigating the accident.

BISHOP V. GENE ROBINSON must be feeling the pain these days. A number of Anglican clergymen associated with the Anglican Church in America (ACA), the American Province of the global Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), recently gathered to ordain a new Priest in Rochester, NH.

The Most Rev. George D. Langberg ordained the Rev. Deacon Michael P. Sclafani to the Sacred Priesthood at Trinity Anglican Church in Rochester, NH. Bishop Langberg was assisted by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Brian R. Marsh, Bishop Suffragan, and Priests and Deacons from as far north as Maine, and as far south as New York. There were over 130 witnesses. Fr. Sclafani was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate in Concord, NH on July 9, 2005. Fr. Sclafani will continue serving All Saints Anglican Church in Concord, and St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Church in Conway, NH.

The ACA has congregations in Concord, NH, Amherst, NH; Rochester, NH; Holderness, NH; Salem, NH; and in Conway, NH. Bishop Langberg is President of the ACA House of Bishops as well as Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the Northeast (DNE), which includes all of New England and NY. There are twenty four parishes and missions in the DNE, nine of which are located in NH. Heartburn for Vicki Gene.

In the DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA the heat is being turned up on the Rev. Mark Lawrence as to whether or not he will get consents to be consecrated bishop. One Blog has done some initial tallying of Consents (Lawrence needs 56) to be the next bishop. To date he has gotten 17 yes and six no. The six who have withheld their consent are: Los Angeles, Olympia, Western Michigan, Nevada, Bethlehem, Eastern Michigan and Kansas. 51 bishops are needed. Ten have said yes none have said no. According to one person consents have stalled. But the folks in SC are optimistic that consents will definitely be received. Consents or not they will go ahead with the consecration anyway. Mrs. Schori will not be invited.

THE Archbishop of Canterbury announced the members of the Covenant Design Group (for Lambeth 2008) that he has appointed in response to a request of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates' Meeting and of the Anglican Consultative Council. The group will meet under the chairmanship of the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, and includes experts in canon law, the nature and mission of the church and ecumenical relations from around the Communion. In addition to a small core group, Williams is also appointing a wider circle of corresponding members, who will be assisting the Group's work.

The Group will hold its first meeting in Nassau, the Bahamas, in mid-January 2007, and present an interim report to the Primates Meeting and Joint Standing Committee when they meet in February in Tanzania.

The members of the Covenant Design Group are:

The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, West Indies The Rev. Victor Atta-Baffoe, West Africa The Most Rev. Dr. John Chew, South East Asia Sriyanganie Fernando, Ceylon The Rev. Dr. Kathy Grieb, USA The Rt Rev. Santosh Marray, Indian Ocean The Most Rev. John Neill, Ireland The Rev. Canon Andrew Norman, Archbishop of Canterbury's representative Chancellor Rubie Nottage, West Indies, Consultant The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, USA Nomfundo Walaza, Southern Africa The Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, Anglican Communion Office, Secretary

About third of this group are solidly orthodox: Gomez, Atta-Baffoe, Chew, Radner. Revisionists include Cameron, Walaza, Neill, Grieb. The rest are unknown and will swing with the majority.

Calling this a Design Team smacks a bit like an Ikea Furniture Catalogue. We have already had hints about how this will work:

1. No resolutions will be passed. (Never again will the liberals allow a resolution like 1:10 to come to the floor for a vote).
2. Concentrate on putting everyone in small groups. This will dissolve anger and absolutes by putting Mrs. Schori and Akinola in the same small group. Small groups was a favorite tactic of Frank Griswold.
3. Muzzle Akinola.
4. Make sure that the Africans are dispersed into groups where they are not the majority voice.
5. Allow no public discussion about sodomy or same-sex unions.
6. Concentrate on Mission - The Africans will talk about gospel conversion; Mrs. Schori will talk about MDGs. No one will agree. They will not have holy communion together and everyone will go home unhappy.
7. The Africans lead by Akinola will then announce the Anglican Communion as we know it is dead. Maybe.

CONTINUING JURISDICTIONS continue to nip at the heels of The Episcopal Church.

Statistics indicate that there are more than five million independent Anglicans around the world. Most are evangelical and many Anglo-Catholic.

THE Metropolitan Archbishop of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Chile has joined the Anglican Independent Communion. The Archbishop of the church, The Most Rev'd Dr Patricio Viveros Robles has been appointed Archbishop Primate of the new AIC Province of Southern South America, with responsibility for Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Peru. We welcome Archbishop Patricio, his bishops, clergy, parishes and people to the Communion

THE Anglican Mission in America will host its annual Winter Conference January 17-20, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel and Conference Center, Jacksonville, Florida. VOL has learned that some six Anglican Primates will be there including two retired Primates of the Anglican Communion. I will be there to cover this conference and post stories daily to the website: www.virtueonline.org. If you need still need to sign up, go here: cbrust@anglicanmissioninamerica.org

Speakers include Mission Chairman, the Rt. Rev. Chuck Murphy, Dr. J. I. Packer, Canon Michael Green, Becky Pippert, the Rev. Jack Deere, Andy Piercy and Greg Bunch to name but a few. Some 1200 participants are expected to attend. The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) is a missionary movement of the Anglican Province of Rwanda formed in 2000 and charged with building an alliance of congregations committed to gathering, planting and serving dynamic Anglican churches in North America.

The TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION (TAC) announced through its primate the Most Rev. John Hepworth that there were new recent appointments to the College. According to Australian based Primate they now have bishops in Bangalore, India, also in bishops in Amritsar, Rockes Sandhu, and a new Bishop of Delhi, James Lal. "India plans to fill the remaining vacant dioceses in the coming year, and I have as yet seen only a tiny segment of that vast continuation of Anglican Church in India," writes Hepworth. Hepworth also welcomed Bishop Brian Marsh, Assistant to George Langberg in North Eastern USA, and Fr. Daren Williams will be appointed Bishop of the Diocese of the West in the US. "In Australia we have had the consecration of David Robarts as Bishop of the Southern Apostolic District, and of Harry Entwistle as Bishop of the Western Apostolic District. They have been made in collaboration with Forward in Faith Australia. In the meantime, we welcome these men, one of whom is a former Dean of Perth, and the other a former Archdeacon of Perth." Hepworth said that two priests Craig Botterill and Carl Reid will become bishops in Canada at the end of January. A new TAC Directory, including contact details for every country will be published in late January. Hepworth says his College is undergoing both generational change and an infusion of new dynamism and experience.

IF YOU ARE a new reader, welcome to VIRTUEONLINE. VOL's website www.virtueonline.org with some 100 active stories can be viewed with a single click. Stories are added and changed daily. Please feel free to purchase your books from Amazon.com at VOL's website. Amazon will reward VOL with a few pennies for every purchase you make.

VOL wants to thank all its readers who made a contribution to the ministry of Fr. Jerry Kramer. Nearly $20,000 was raised in less than two weeks. Please support him. There is probably no ministry quite like it in the Episcopal Church. He is a solidly orthodox brother with a wonderful bishop working in difficult circumstances in New Orleans, but he has started a mission in the Lower Ninth Ward and he will shortly start a Hispanic ministry and he needs your help. You can make your contributions by clicking on this website: www.annunciationinexile.homestead.com Thank you.

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