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UNEASY CALM BEFORE STORM..ECUSA news...realignment continues...more

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are in that period known as the calm before the storm. Shortly before a battle breaks out there is a period of uneasy calm. Nothing, outwardly, is happening; each side has staked its position, with a commanding view of the other. The bullets are ready at hand, the rifles clean, the forward positions calculated. In the case of the Anglican Communion, the armies even know the date when the fighting is to be joined.

The Commission is looking specifically at how the Communion is going to be maintained amid differing views and practices among Anglicans. The issues at hand include varied understandings of human sexuality. But the Commission is NOT about the rightness or wrongness of sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage. That was decided at Lambeth '98. The bishops overwhelmingly said it was not. The question now is can we live together with divergent views?

The official reception of the report will be released on October 18 1.30pm GMT; 4:30am Pacific Daylight Time. The venue for the news briefing is tentatively St. Paul's Cathedral, London; confirmation of location will follow. Reporters will be invited to register at 11:30am and given copies of the multi-page report to read on site prior to the briefing. When it is released it will be posted immediately to VIRTUOSITY'S website.

At the time of the report's release, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold III, will be present in London in his capacity as an elected member of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Consultative Council. After the release of the report Griswold will issue a statement, which Virtuosity will post immediately it appears.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey will be in Ireland on the day the Lambeth Commission reports to his successor, Archbishop Rowan Williams. Virtuosity got word from IRISHANGLE.NET that Lord Carey of Clifden will be addressing the Down and Dromore clergy conference to be held in Co. Donegal from 18th-21st October.

While the conference will probably look at other church matters, it is likely that Lord Carey will still have something to say about the Lambeth Commission and when he does it too will be posted to the website.

It is 13 days till the Lambeth/Eames Commission report is made known.

But the beat goes on. Archbishop Williams recently launched the ALPHA course and he gave Alpha bible study courses their most glowing endorsement yet by launching the latest series. Speaking at the launch in Holburn, London, Dr Rowan Williams praised the group for boosting congregations. Alpha is set to launch a new advertising campaign with a £1m budget. But criticism is always plentiful. BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said some claim that Alpha's use of modern marketing techniques aligns it too closely with the world of marketing and commerce. Alpha has received backing from the Anglican Church in the past. In 2001 during its first major marketing push, then Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey described the courses as "superb".

THE FALLOUT FROM THE RECENT HOUSE OF BISHOPS CONTINUES. Virtuosity has received word that the appearance of Bishop James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi in Central Africa was not authorized by his boss Bernard Malango. The Central African Primate had no knowledge that he was going to the HOB. "Tengatenga is not authorized to deviate from the established position of the Central Africa HOB official position," Virtuosity was told.

But at least two of the 132 bishops present were orthodox. Edward Little II from Northern Indiana was there as was Ed Salmon from the Diocese of South Carolina. Little is orthodox but is staying under everyone's radar screen and so far he has offended nobody - a candidate for Presiding Bishop perhaps?

But Bishop Salmon had this to say: "I have spent my life in relationships dealing with serious disagreement. I don't believe we can accomplish anything without meeting face to face. How are they going to know how I and the Network bishops feel if we don't tell them. I have laid my cards on the table and people have listened to me. I think they have no doubts about where I stand on the issues. I told the other Network bishops that I was coming and they asked me to represent them."

But there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth by the revisionist bishops in backroom meetings, a couple of which stated their pain with one going on record saying so. Washington DC bishop John Chane had this to say: "The issue of jurisdictional boundaries was debated intensely at the recent House of Bishops meeting and the House reaffirmed its commitment to the provision for Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight adopted in March of 2004." But DEPO is so suspect no orthodox priest has appealed for it because it is not alternative oversight.

But Virtuosity has learned that intervention by orthodox bishops will continue across the country when the occasion calls for it, and more and more orthodox priests and their parishes are flexing their muscle and are willing to challenge revisionist bishops for their properties.

The realignment continues. In the PROVINCE OF BRAZIL a major rupture is under way between the liberal Primate Orlando Santos de Oliveira, and Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti, the orthodox bishop of Recife in the northern part of the country. The Brazilian Primate recently took several parishes in Cavilcanti's diocese away from him without his being properly informed. Robinson is now looking for support from the ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE SOUTHERN CONE and its archbishop Greg Venables. "I am deeply concerned that Robinson wasn't advised of the meeting (if that is the case) and that the meeting was held in his absence," wrote Venables to Virtuosity. Stay tuned.

The DIOCESE OF SINGAPORE is being confronted with the issue of homosexuality with increasing frequency, writes a Virtuosity reader. The Church of our Saviour Website (Diocese of Singapore) is posting resources for concerned Singaporeans on the subject. http://www.coos.org.sg/news/resource/Update_Reflections_Prayer.PDF
"The church is sorely in need of accurate information and understanding on how to handle this complex matter in a manner that speaks the truth in love. In fact, bigger and hidden issues go beyond homosexual practices, and far more sinister," he writes. You can read the chilling testimony of Mark Tan “Singapore: In Spiritual Darkness”. Tan's testimony can be found at this website. http://agora.antioch.com.sg/article.php?story=20030713135147826

In the DIOCESE OF SPRINGFIELD they had their diocesan conference in Normal, Illinois this past weekend. But it was anything but normal. It was a contentious weekend with tears and there was extensive rudeness shown by the Via Media crowd towards the bishop. They wouldn't observe common courtesies, said a number of Virtuosity readers who were in attendance.

But when the dust had settled they voted to continue to affiliate with the Network (NACDP). A resolution to repudiate and disavow actions of the Network was defeated by the clergy.

Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith told Virtuosity, "I am encouraged by it because the
Diocese of Springfield refused to turn its back on the Christian Faith and follow the moral bankruptcy of the national church agenda."

A resolution 04.P (for policy) 6 resolution endorse historic Anglican doctrines and
policies modeled after GC2003 Resolution B001 to affirm certain doctrines of the church, failed to pass however. The clergy overwhelmingly passed it but was defeated in lay orders.

Said Beckwith, "It was important as it shows the direction the church is going in, and the insensitivity of many of the authors of the resolutions. We are obviously more polarized than before. It is clearly something we need to address."

In the DIOCESE OF LONG ISLAND things just go from bad to worse. Bishop Orris Walker's firm, "Changing our world," which managed the cathedral's capital campaign recently concluded its efforts. It was revealed that $90,000 in pledges were withdrawn after Walker discharged the Dean. Also at the cathedral a committee has been formed to begin to plan a farewell to the Dean and his family. "This goes to show how much the Dean was appreciated and the problems Walker has caused," said a parishioner.

The DIOCESE OF ARIZONA will consider a resolution at its convention on October 16th that says the Diocese will do those things necessary to maintain its historic relationship with the Anglican Communion, that it will not do anything, by policy, or actions of its clergy or membership that would put into jeopardy that relationship. The Diocese of Arizona has a liberal direction for 12 years and this resolution will raise the issues to foster discussion, said a Virtuosity reader.

The Rev. William Wilson is not the only person to have left the DIOCESE OF ALABAMA for the Diocese of Bolivia. The Rev. Ernesto M. Obregon has also resigned as Hispanic Missioner for the diocese. He sent a letter to Bishop Parsley informing him that he was giving up his membership in the Episcopal Church and returning his orders to the diocese of his ordination - Bolivia. He will now be under Bishop Frank Lyons.

And in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA, an audit firm says that the Diocese under Bishop Charles E. Bennison did not maintain accurate recorded detailing pledges, assessment and other receivables; did not reconcile to the general ledger, did not monitor past due outstanding balances in a timely manner and did not charge interest on over-due balances.

A copy of the draft report by the firm obtained by Virtuosity, criticizes the way the diocese does its business noting that in 2003 the Diocese received an unrestricted bequest of $162,000 which was deposited into the Diocese's checking account and the management was not informed.

And from the DIOCESE OF OKLAHOMA comes this. St. James Anglican in Oklahoma City is now a parish of the Province of Argentine, under Abp Gregory Venables. Their deacon and vestry met with him in Dallas recently. "We are also officially affiliated with the ACN as of this week. We are probably going to be buying our own church building (a former Assembly of God facility) in the near future. Every time this parish has run up against a problem, a few prayers later the answer has arrived, said Deacon Caswell.

The FINANCIAL REACTION to Robinson's consecration has been far worse than liberals feared; it is the greatest diversion of funds in Episcopal history. Donations to the national church are going south. Virginia, the largest diocese, has cut $1 million to date, Connecticut in liberal New England, $500,000. The dioceses of Texas (Houston) and Dallas have sent nothing. West Texas (local) will send less than $200,000 of a once-projected $750,000. There will be more over time.

But financial problems have spilled over into THE ANGLICAN DIGEST. They have a deficit of $113,000, according to South Carolina Bishop Ed Salmon. But a priest is challenging the veracity of that story and has asked for an audited financial statement. "You're not going to get it," said Tom Walker, General Manager in a letter to the priest.
"I will not supply you with any financial information...I have no doubt that our next audit will result in the same finding that the others have." QED

THREE TROPICAL THREATS did not put a damper on the kickoff rally for the AAC Chapter in Southwest Florida. The rally theme "Our Anglican future, are we prepared" drew 150 persons to St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Largo, Florida despite adverse conditions. Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. John Lipscomb spoke openly about his recent endorsement of a letter (drawing the line) sent to the Lambeth Commission by other bishops and clergy, and those associated with the Anglican Communion Institute which called for a suspension of ECUSA, pending repentance and reconciliation, and providing a fixed period of two years within which it must be accomplished. The Bishop noted his prayers remained for unity and he emphasized his determination to remain faithful to the Orthodox expression of Anglicanism and in communion with the See of Canterbury. He recalled that he was one of the original twenty Bishops who stood in objection at General Convention, and he participated in the drafting the Theological Charter of the Anglican Communion Network. He urged that the participants not to focus only on sexuality issues as the current situation were much more involved than that.

Dr. Michael Howell, national AAC Board member and resident of St. Petersburg, Florida noted that the issues were not really about sexuality as much as about theology and the development of a new religion by EUCSA in order to support the actions taken in last summer's General Convention. "This is about scriptural truths and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a Christian faith or a new non-Christian Religion", he said. Dr. Howell noted that already the face of Anglicanism in the United States had changed, with offshore Bishops continuing in a Missionary effort to accept congregations to accommodate persons leaving ECUSA, most recently notably by the Archbishop of Uganda receiving three congregations from the Diocese of Los Angeles.

Laywoman Sarah Hey of Greenville, SC. challenged people to start thinking proactively. In presenting her "Baker's Dozen" she noted areas where each layperson can be involved and make a difference in their own parishes.

FORWARD IN FAITH has set out its solution to problem of women bishops. The traditionalist organization for Anglicans unable in conscience to accept the ordination of women as priests or bishops will launch a wide-ranging Report on the ordination of women as bishops. Published by Canterbury Press & Forward in Faith under the title Consecrated Women? it not only examines all the theological issues involved, but also all the legal consequences of ordaining women as bishops. It will also offer to the Church of England an equitable solution to all the problems which will inevitably arise when women are ordained as bishops. Consecrated Women? Women Bishops: the Forward in Faith response Edited by Jonathan Baker. Published: 8th October, 2004 by Canterbury Press & Forward in Faith Price: £12.99 ISBN: 1 85311509 6

RELIGION SCHOLARS TOUT GAY THEOLOGY. The American Academy of Religion is holding its annual meeting in San Antonio November 20-23, 2004. Here are a few titles from the "Gay Men's Issues in Religion Group" whose theme this year is "Power and Submission, Pain and Pleasure: The Religious Dynamics of Sadomasochism": (1)"Ecstatic Communion: The Spiritual Dimensions of Leathersexuality". (2)"S/M Rituals in Gay Men's Leather Communities: Initiation, Power Exchange, and Subversion" (3)“You Seduced Me, You Overpowered Me, and You Prevailed”: Religious Experience and Homoerotic Sadomasochism in Jeremiah (4)"Choice, Shame, and Power in the Construction of Sadomasochistic Theologies" (5)"Oh, Daddy! God, Dominance/Submission, and Christian Sacramentality and Spirituality" (6)"Rend(er)ing God's Flesh: The Body of Christ, Spectacles of Pain, and Trajectories of Desire". Organized in 1909 for professors and scholars of Biblical Studies, the AAR now has over 8,000 members who teach in some 1,500 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools in North America and abroad. One can imagine the place will be filled with Episcopal homoerotic luminaries looking for more substantiation for their behavior. Who knows 815 or Integrity might send its own representative especially for the lecture "S/M Rituals in Gay Men's Leather Communities: Initiation, Power Exchange, and Subversion." Bring me back a whip boys!

And a CHURCH OF ENGLAND senior bishop forecasts a violent backlash over a ban on fox hunting. The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Rev Michael Langrish, said ministers had underestimated the depth of alienation felt by much of the rural population. "I fear an overspill of anger into non-peaceful protest which will be a real danger for public order. I think it is serious," the bishop said. So a major bruhaha over fox hunting but nothing on sodomy breaking up the communion. Where is this bishop's priorities pray tell?

And in an off-Broadway show Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu moved from the pulpit to the stage blasting the U.S. government's handling of Guantanamo Bay detainees. The retired South African prelate and Nobel laureate appeared Saturday night at a tiny theatre in Lower Manhattan, playing a judge in Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom. The play portrays the plight of British detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Standing onstage before a scene resembling holding pens at the detention camp, Tutu said he chose to appear in the play to highlight concerns about the treatment of the prisoners. "I hope this will help to put this particular issue in the public arena unambiguously so (the American) people can say, 'Is this what we want to support?' " Tutu told reporters before the play began. Tutu compared the Pentagon's treatment of the Guantanamo prisoners to that of blacks under the racist apartheid regime. "They are using the same kind of methods used under apartheid. For me, it's deja vu," he said.

THE ANGLICAN WAY IN CRISIS Faith, Worship, Polity and Order for Episcopalians will hold a Study Day at St. Stephen's Church St. Stephen’s Church, 5049 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, Mississippi 39232 (601) 992-4317, e-mail: firstmartyr@bellsouth.neton October 23 for concerned churchmen both outside and inside the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. It will be led by The Rev'd Dr. Louis R. Tarsitano of Savannah, GA, and The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon of the Prayer Book Society of the U.S.A.

Western Christianity is in moral and doctrinal turmoil, and the Anglican churches are no exception. The Anglican Way of being a Christian is in crisis, and this Conference will examine the causes of that crisis, the true nature of the historic Anglican witness, and the spiritual disciplines needed to survive and overcome the presenting problems of the day. More than a Conference just for Anglicans and Episcopalians, this study day is open to all our Christian friends, whether they desire a better understanding of the predicament of their Anglican neighbors or are seeking greater insight into their own situation as Christians living in this troubled world.

You can sign up by going to:

For other writings of these two men visit:

Please make advance reservations for Saturday’s lunch at $10.00 per person.

ASTOUNDING BENEFIT OF BELIEVING IN HELL. Countries whose citizens believe in hell are not only less corrupt, but also more prosperous. That's the word from economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, who were trying to figure out why some nations are so much richer than others. In addition to looking at productivity and investment factors, they examined some unconventional ideas to explain differences in national prosperity, reports Reuters. It turned out that belief in hell was very telling. In the United States, 71 percent of the population believes in hell. Perhaps it's no coincidence that it also has the world's highest per capita income.

And finally from Louie Crew, the Episcopal Church's leading sodomite comes this: "Last week on short notice I found that I could fly with Ernest on a working trip to Israel. One of the perqs of being married to a flight attendant is the spousal travel rate." I think now I've heard it all.

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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