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A Stormy Week in the Episcopal Church - by David Virtue

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was another stormy week in the life of The Episcopal Church as the
ship tossed and turned, the timbers of the Communion boat creaked, the
winds showed little sign of calming. The Communion, as one theologian
put it, "has been hit by a tsunami, and we are salvaging what we can and
hoping things have not gone beyond the possibility of repair."

One can but hope.

Another rally drew 3,000 orthodox Episcopalians at what was billed as
Plano East, following the highly successful Dallas meeting last year,
and the troops were once again fired up to hold fast the faith and not
abandon the ECUSA ship, as help was on the way. There was no battle
plan; no strategy was laid out, just a giant pep rally, and a promise of
good things to come. A new strategy will be revealed unto us on January
19-21 when the deep thinkers in the The Network of Anglican Dioceses and
Parishes within the Episcopal Church, (and approved by the Archbishop of
Canterbury) will meet in Plano, Texas. A public statement of major
proportions affecting all the orthodox in the Episcopal Church will be
forthcoming. Conclusion - There must be a realignment in Anglicanism.

In the meantime nothing will really change until two events occur: The
first is the willingness of a substantial number of priests to stand up
to their diocesan bishops and refuse to recognize their sacramental
authority, and secondly that biblically orthodox Diocesan bishops are
willing to enter the Dioceses of revisionist Bishops and perform
sacramental acts without the permission of Bennison et al.

Put another way, nothing will happen unless the orthodox bishops and
priests move from speech to action. D-Day approaches.

IN ANOTHER CONFERENCE with the eerie title, Does the Anglican Communion
have a Future, and attended by Virtuosity in Charleston, SC saw several
hundred conferees listen to an array of theologians attack the subject.
Dr. Chris Seitz, president of the Anglican Communion Institute said that
any talk of a federation must be rejected. "We are a Communion, unlike
the Lutheran World Federation, which consists of independent national
churches. Anglicanism has found its life and mission in a genuine
Communion of accountability and interdependence. Within the US, we have
tried to emphasize this with the language for a network now forming:
Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes."

While the American Anglican Council focused exclusively on The Episcopal
Church's problems, the ACI sought to set the conflict in the larger
context of the Anglican Communion, arguing that splitting up was also
not the answer and sticking together through thick and thin, with the
help of the Holy Spirit was the way to go.

In the midst of their deliberations and papers, the parish of ALL SAINTS
CHURCH, WACCAMAW announced it was pulling out of the DIOCESE OF SOUTH
CAROLINA and the Episcopal Church and aligning itself with the Anglican
Mission in America (AMIA), provoking anguish from the Bishop Ed Salmon
and the parish of St. Philip's where the ACI conference was being held.
They issued a statement, which you can read in today's digest.

The bishop had previously fired the vestry and put in his own forcing a
confrontation and a vote in the parish as to what they should do. It was
a slam dunk for the parish. By an overwhelming vote the All Saints,
parish comprising 507 eligible voters, voted 468 voted to leave with 38
voting no and one abstention.

The Standing Committee promptly urged Salmon to drop the appeal to the
lawsuit, recommend that seat, voice and vote be given to All Saints' at
the upcoming Diocesan Convention, that the Vestry be reinstated and the
parish restored. At this time of writing no one knows what Salmon will
do. He has said if the national church ever voted to legitimize
homosexual behavior he would take the diocese out of ECUSA, but he has
backed down from that position. Uncertainty reigns.

In the meantime the Anglican Mission in America goes from strength to
strength, scooping up plum Episcopal parishes around the country. They
meet in Destin, Florida this Thursday for four days. Virtuosity (who
will be there) was told that more than 1,000 have so far signed up to
attend, significantly more than last year.

BUT THEN THERE WAS ANOTHER UNEXPECTED TURN this week when two orthodox
ECUSA parishes in the DIOCESE OF ATLANTA announced they were seeking
episcopal oversight from the Province of the Southern Cone and its
Primate Greg Venables.

This is a first. To date Episcopal parishes wishing to stay in ECUSA
have sought cover from African Primates, but this time they turned to
the Bishop of Bolivia, Frank Lyons for help. One reason is that one of
the parishes has a large number of Hispanics. One parish split almost
down the middle with the rector staying and more than half the parish
leaving; the other rector announced he was leaving ECUSA over its
bankrupt morality and theology and taking three-quarters of the parish
with him. Needless to say the bishop, one Neil Alexander is not amused.
The financial loss to the diocese will run into the hundreds of
thousands of dollars. You can read those stories in today's digest.

BUT FINANCIAL LOSSES TO REVISIONIST DIOCESE are increasing at a rapid
pace. Following my story on one parish in America's heartland, I got a
note from a parishioner in an ultraliberal parish in Annapolis, MD. In
"Tieline," the parish newsletter for St. Anne's, pledges for 2004 are
only $500,000 against a goal of $800,000 and last year's numbers of
$710,000. So it's not just affecting orthodox parishes who leave and
take their people, it is going on in revisionist parishes where, it was
thought, the dyke would hold. Not so. VIRTUOSITY has repeatedly said
that Episcopalians are far more conservative than their liberal priests
and revisionist bishops. And now these bishops will learn a bitter hard
truth - no money, no mission. We will see more and more parishes being
reduced to mission status and, over time, many closing their doors. It
IS only a matter of time. Oh see what Vickie Gene hath wrought...and the
"fun" has only just begun.

BUT NOT TO BE OUTDONE REVISIONISTS ARE CLAWING THEIR way up diocesan
ladders looking to take over the reigns of power wherever they can in
order to push their sodomite agenda.

In the orthodox DIOCESE OF THE RIO GRANDE where the biblically orthodox
bishop Terence Kelshaw has announced plans to retire, the process of
replacing him, and the politics have already started.

The rector of an Albuquerque church obtained the confidential mailing
list of the Diocesan newspaper, and did a mailing under the "Via Media"
label (the new tactic of revisionists to position themselves in the
middle). As a result Kelshaw wrote every member in every parish a letter
explaining what had happened, telling them in no uncertain terms that
the "Via Media" mailing was not official and not from the diocese. The
revisionists will stop at nothing to get power even as the ship sinks.

And in the DIOCESE OF NORTH DAKOTA, recently vacated by the godly Bishop
Andy Fairfield the revisionists are trying to wedge one of their people
in their as well. But voters in that diocese will now have six
candidates instead of five to choose from when they select a new bishop
next month, angering the liberal selection committee who had stacked it
with five liberals. Three clergy and three lay persons nominated the
Rev. Henry Thompson III of Coraopolis, Pa., through a petition process.
He joins five others picked by a selection committee. None of the five
candidates had directly expressed their views on the recent confirmation
of the openly gay New Hampshire bishop.

And in the DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH, Bishop Robert Duncan withdrew a
measure that would have left each church in the Episcopal Diocese of
Pittsburgh in control of its own property and buildings in a rift over
the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. The resolution
introduced by Bishop Robert Duncan, leader of the diocese, prompted a
lawsuit by a revisionist Episcopal parish in Pittsburgh against Duncan
and the diocese's board of trustees to prevent the transfer of any
church property. A headline in a local newspaper screamed: "Attorneys
withdraw Episcopal land-grab resolution." You can read that story today.

And in the DIOCESE OF WESTERN NEW YORK, the Bishop there, Michael
Garrison told an orthodox congregation to go pound sand, declaring, "you
have your opinion, you will not change mine". These were the words
spoken repeatedly by the revisionist Garrison as he "visited" St.
Bartholomew's in Tonawanda, NY. on January 8th. It was a bitter cold
snowy evening when members of all ages (from babies in arms to those in
their late 80's) filled the sanctuary for a scheduled meeting to tell
the Bishop of their concerns regarding his vote in favor of the
consecration of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. St.
Bartholomew's, a godly parish of over 1100 members, with a godly rector
has long been known as a faithful congregation who both know and love
Holy Scripture. You can read what that vicious bishop said to these
people?then he demanded more money from them. You can read that story
today as well...and weep.

HARVEST U.S.A. is a ministry to a hurt and sexually broken world.
HARVEST has been ministering to men and women afflicted by pornography,
same sex attraction, and other forms of sexual brokenness. There are
countless, wonderful witnesses to the healing power of Christ for those
who have been healed from their sexual problems and are now living in
the light of Christ. If you live in or near Philadelphia and would like
to attend a luncheon and hear about this ministry then call 610 944-4040
at Church of the Good Samaritan, Paoli, PA. Luncheon is set for
Thursday, January 22 at 12 noon.

I AM POSTING A NUMBER OF STORIES including an exclusive interview with
the Primate of the West Indies, Drexel Gomez who publicly blasted Frank
Griswold, ECUSA's presiding bishop, calling him "duplicitous". There are
a number of stories coming out of the ACI conference in Charleston.

WEBSITE. Most of you are aware of the new VIRTUOSITY website that can be
accessed at www.virtuosityonline.org. New stories are posted daily.
Register for a user account on the website and you can configure it to
be notified when news stories are posted. Up to 30 people are visiting
the website at any given time. More than 2,000 people are visiting the
website every day.

VIRTUOSITY depends totally on the support of its readers for this vital
news service. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to
VIRTUOSITY you may do so in one of two ways. The first is through PAYPAL
at the website: www.virtuosityonline.org or by snail mail: David W.
Virtue, VIRTUOSITY 1236 Waterford Rd West Chester, PA 19380. Thank you
for your support.

All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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