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Tectonic shake in Anglicanism...ACI issues demand for ECUSA discipline...

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A tectonic shaking of the Anglican plates took place this week when the announcement was made of a major alliance of six groups in the Anglican tradition.

Working under the banner of the Anglican Communion Network the half dozen groups representing some 200,000 Anglican made "common cause" for a united, missionary and orthodox Anglicanism in North America.

The groups, all based in the U.S. have come under the chairmanship of the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, ACN Moderator. In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, leaders of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), the Anglican Mission in America (AMIA), Forward in Faith North American (FiFNA), the Anglican Province in America (APA) and the American Anglican Council (AAC) pledged “to make common cause for the gospel of Jesus Christ and common cause for a united, missionary and orthodox Anglicanism in North America.”

In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury they said "the divisions are scandalous and we recognize that we must do everything we can to bring them to an end."

"Our intention is to take such additional steps as will help all observers to recognize that a new day is dawning among us."

It was stunning and brilliant move, and while not entirely unexpected, it comes at a time when the 17-person Lambeth Commission is meeting at Kanuga, NC, within a day of the commission's meeting with Frank Griswold ECUSA's Presiding Bishop.

It doesn't take a lot of reading between the lines to see what is going on, unless you are suffering from early dementia.

Orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans are finally coming together across both jurisdictional and denominational lines to break the Episcopal Church's morally bankrupt and theologically revisionist grip, and to do so they are slowly burying old hatchets, sowing up old wounds to make, as their document says, "common cause."

The question on most peoples' lips is this. Are they starting a new North American Anglican Church? The answer says Bishop Duncan is a resounding no. Neither this new alliance nor the Anglican Communion Network have any intention of saying farewell to the ECUSA, but it is equally clear that the status quo can no longer be maintained and that what has been going on for months in meetings around the country (which Virtuosity has attended and recorded) is a new paradigm that differs markedly from what happened at the 1979 St. Louis Convention.

Rather than continual fragmentation, there is a new coming together of Anglicans from different denominations and across jurisdictional lines, which, for the first time includes those orthodox within the Episcopal Church.

This week FORWARD IN FAITH NORTH AMERICA will hold their Sixteenth Annual Assembly in Bedford, Texas, in St Vincent’s Cathedral. Present will be Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) the largest of the continuing Anglican groups. You can be sure he will be brought up to speed. Should he decide to join with his 500,000 members worldwide, it would give the overall movement more than 700,000, which is only about 100,000 short of the number of practicing Episcopalians on any given Sunday in the US.

In Colorado this week the ANGLICAN COMMUNION INSTITUTE, the Episcopal Church's foremost orthodox think tank issued a strong statement calling on the Lambeth Commission to discipline the American branch of the Anglican Communion because of its flagrant actions at GC2003 in ordaining an openly homosexual priest to the episcopacy and for passing a resolution affirming same-sex blessings.

The Institute prepared a 50-page document, which builds on two earlier documents, True Union in the Body? and Claiming our Anglican Identity, and makes the case in strong theological language for the Episcopal Church to be disciplined.

The document argues that the concrete ‘facts on the ground’ declare the Anglican Communion to be in imminent danger of disintegration and while such facts are unpalatable, the time has passed when we can deny them. "There is every sign that without some form of discipline and some guarding of our common theological and moral boundaries, there will be no true union in the body of the Church, which will instead become incoherent and fly apart: truly, no discipline, no Communion."

But still the rebellious acts of revisionist bishops continue.

In the DIOCESE OF VERMONT the Episcopal bishop there one Thomas Clark Ely proposed a new rite for civil unions arguing for a three-year trial period. In a move that is likely to further inflame tensions in the global Anglican Communion, the Episcopal bishop of Vermont introduced two new rites, very similar to the liturgy for Episcopal weddings, for priests to use while presiding at civil unions of gays and lesbians.

Episcopal priests in Vermont have already been quietly solemnizing and blessing civil unions for four years, since the state legalized them for same-sex couples. But in introducing standardized rites -- a symbolically significant step in a highly liturgical church -- the Vermont diocese is signaling it fully endorses same-sex relationships.

AND IN THE DIOCESE OF NEW YORK where Virtuosity exposed the fund raising plans of Bishop Catherine Roskam for clergy wives in Uganda, a move that was roundly rejected by the Primate Henry Orombi, Virtuosity has learned that since Roskam was made "area bishop" by Richard Grein, some 2/3rds of all the congregations in her upstate "area" have lost members and can no longer afford to hire full-time priests. Only priests who affirm their loyalty to her are appointed priests-in-charge, and -- whether gay or not -- they don't attract new members to the congregations.

And just to show you how bizarre things are in this diocese, Virtuosity has learned that Richard Grein, the former bishop married his lover and it is alleged that Mark Sisk the present bishop refused to give his consent, so apparently Grein got it from Frank Griswold.

And in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA another traditionalist priest told Bishop Charles Bennison not to bother coming and if he did he would get an adverse reception. The Rev. Larry Snyder of St. Luke's, Newtown wrote a letter to Bennison which he also sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury asking that he not make an episcopal visit on June 20 because it will cause "deep and unnecessary spiritual distress." Bennison said he will go anyway.

And down the road at St. Paul's in Oaks, PA the Rev. Dan Olsen also gave Bennison the cold shoulder when he turned up to perform eucharistically. Only 8 showed up to the service.

And then Bishop Robert Duncan of the DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH came a calling and baptized his grandson at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont this Sunday which cocked a snoot at Bennison one more time. And Virtuosity learned this week that Bennison almost got the heave ho when the Diocesan Standing Committee met. A vote on Bennison's competency was raised and the bishop kept his job by ONE vote, so sources told Virtuosity.

And the EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE ECUSA reports partner rights are human rights. In response to Ohio's recently enacted Defense of Marriage Act and a proposed amendment to the Ohio State Constitution, which would deny rights and benefits to domestic partners, the Executive Council resolved to send a letter of objection to Governor Bob Taft of Ohio, the mayors and directors of the visitor and convention bureaus of Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, and to the media. The 2006 General Convention is scheduled to be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.

The letter states the position of the Episcopal Church as expressed by its General Convention, emphasizing that "domestic partner rights are basic human rights."

SO what this says is that fornication is no longer fornication and is acceptable. Homosexual behavior is acceptable, having a transsexual deacon is okay, the odd cross dresser won't bother the Bishop of Long Island either, but adultery is still a no no...even for those who repent. You will still get the heave ho, just ask the Bishop of Massachusetts, Tom Shaw. Is this a great church or what?

And the ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY broke his silence on same-sex marriage at a fund-raiser in the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT this week. In his first public comments on the same-sex marriage controversy that has divided the Anglican Church, Williams expressed solidarity this week with the American Episcopal Church. But he stopped short of taking sides in the divisive issue.

"I'm well aware of the crossroads at which we stand," Williams said to an audience of more than 400 people during a fund-raiser at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.

Williams said he wanted to make two points about the controversy: First, he said, "the present difficulties would feel a lot more difficult were it not for the immense love and generosity shown to me by (the American Episcopal Church)."

INTERPRETATION: They give me a lot of money and I am not going to bite the hand that feeds me. The banquet raised between $400,000 and $500,000. That's not small potatoes and definitely worth the compromise. "Silver and gold have I none", said St. Peter. "I need all the greenbacks you can give me," says St. Lefty of Lambeth.

AND FROM THE SUBLIME TO THE RIDICULOUS the Archbishop of Canterbury may star in The Simpsons. Dr. Williams would look "very seriously" at an invitation to appear on the animated comedy. The Sunday Times reported the show's producers were poised to invite the head of the Church of England on to the animated show. Dr Williams has admitted he is a big fan of the show. Dr Williams has previously publicly announced his support for the show, and its accident-prone star, Homer Simpson.

Bishop Terence Kelshaw, DIOCESE OF THE RIO GRANDE is slowly on the mend reports his wife Hazel. "The bishop is walking some and talking lots, reading the newspaper, and has improved considerably in the last two days." Please continue praying for the bishop. Canon Jeffrey Steenson his right hand man will visit him this week.

And if you had any doubt about how ISLAM feels about Anglicans who don't believe in the Deity of Christ, read this from one Islamic website sent to Virtuosity this week: "We, Muslims are not the only ones who believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is mortal and not a god so that means we deny the trinity...Even in the modern age there are churches in Asia, in Africa, the Unitarian church, the Jehovah's witnesses, and EVEN THE MAJORITY OF TODAY'S ANGLICAN BISHOPS do not worship Jesus (peace be upon him) as one in three, as what has been reported by the "Daily News" 25/6/84 under the heading "Shock survey of Anglican Bishops."

AND FROM CANADA comes this. The latest statistics from Stats. Can. reports that there are only 1 (one) percent of Canadians are reportedly gay and 0.7 percent bisexual. So why is the Anglican Church of Canada trying to put itself out of business for such a small minority of morally conflicted people? Therapy is a lot cheaper and with the gospel in hand these folk could change and the church might just grow. Don't count on it though.

And in allied news, an Associated Press report says Lesbian researchers confront an array of health problems. Even without a specific crisis as grave as the AIDS epidemic, the diagnosis is sobering: compared to heterosexual women, lesbians appear to have higher rates of smoking, obesity and alcohol use. Often lacking health insurance or wary of unsympathetic doctors, they also may be less likely to undergo routine medical exams that could identify cancer and other problems at early stages.

And a CHURCH OF ENGLAND writer notes that the CofE is slowly being staffed by "masculine women and feminine men." You can read the full report in today's digest, along with stories about all the aforementioned news in brief.

A Virtuosity reader gently chastised this writer over a comment I made about the Bishop of Rhode Island, Geralyn wolf in a recent digest. "Rather than saying 'The liberal bishop Geralyn Wolf was not amused', it would have been more accurate to say that Bishop Wolf is one of the more supportive and understanding liberal bishops of the conservative cause. Duly noted.

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