"When one member of the Body suffers every part suffers with it." I Cor. 12:26
'I must explain that the Patriarch is currently afflicted with schisms,' interjected the Duke. 'He has been so afflicted for some years….If I had schisms I would not know where to turn. Is there a cure?' Excerpted from "The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs" by Alexander McCall Smith.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At a meeting of the African Anglican Archbishops in Nairobi this past week the message once again sounded forth with clarity and resolve; the American Episcopal Church's apology over the ordination of a homosexual bishop and the acceptance of same sex marriage rites is totally unacceptable to these archbishops.
The meeting dubbed Third Trumpet and chaired by the Nigerian Primate archbishop Peter Akinola saw the CAPA bishops reject the apology by the American Episcopal Church and they will take that message to Ireland later this month where the 38 Primates representing more than 50 million faithful will, for the last time, call on ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold to repent.
"They have only apologized and not repented," said the Most Rev. Bernard Malango, Archbishop of Central Africa. "Apology does not make sense to us, the biblical word is repentance," said Kenya’s Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.
But Presiding Bishop Griswold has said repeatedly he will not back down thus paving the way for possible schism.
It's as though a man committed adultery against his wife, she finds out and he says he feels her pain for what he did without offering any repentance on his part for the actions that caused the pain. And in the case of the Episcopal Church does not promise to stop doing it.
That is precisely the situation the vast majority of the Anglican Communion finds itself in with respect to the Episcopal Church. The ECUSA has committed both spiritual and sexual adultery by passing unbiblical resolutions on sexuality and for its failure to uphold certain basic doctrines of the faith (resolution B001) and wants the rest of the communion to simply accept that fact, or offer a belated 'feel your pain' response without dealing with the underlying bad theology and morality that caused it.
Dr Akinola also took a swipe at the assertion by Southern African Archbishop Ndungane that Africa’s anti-gay stand was at the expense of poverty, HIV/Aids and conflicts. "Poverty is not an issue, human suffering are not an issue at all, they were there before the creation of mankind," he said.
The truth is Ndungane is a lackey of Griswold and the ECUSA. He has an openly homosexual ECUSA priest on his staff working on the AIDS crisis and he takes a lot of money from the American Church. He won't bite the hand that feeds him. It is also significant that he did not turn up in Nairobi.
There can be little doubt now that divisions in the Anglican Communion have hardened as they meet in Dromantine Center near Belfast in three weeks. (VirtueOnline will provide exclusive coverage of this event.)
It will be a major test of the Archbishop of Canterbury's diplomatic skills if he can keep them altogether working from the same Prayer Book or Bible. This now seems almost unlikely perhaps even impossible.
It is also being widely rumored that if there is no resolution to the problems of the communion he himself might resign. We shall see. But clearly one thing is for sure, the Anglican Communion has reached a cross roads and the real power now lies with the African Primates and their leader Archbishop Peter Akinola.
For Griswold this Primatial gathering could be the final trumpet for himself and the American Episcopal Church.
ON THE DOMESTIC FRONT a number of dioceses are roiling over fleeing orthodox Episcopalians, threats from revisionist bishops, lost revenues and much more.
In the DIOCESE OF ALABAMA, every family of Christ the Redeemer congregation in Montgomery walked away from their $6 million dollar property to emerge as Legacy Anglican Church under the Anglican Mission in America. "I did this because we were reaching people who were not going to church, had not been going to church, evangelizing them, standing up and preaching one gospel while the Episcopal Church preaches another gospel," the Rev. Doug McCurry told VirtueOnline. You can read the full story in today's digest.
And in the DIOCESE OF LEXINGTON Bishop Stacy Sauls inhibited four clergy in his diocese and has sent inhibition letters to each telling them that they will be deposed unless they stop ministering without his approval. A fifth priest faces possible restrictions on his ministry. "It appears he wants to stifle orthodoxy in Lexington," said the Rev. David Brannen the former candidate for rector of St. John's in Versailles, now rector of St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Versailles. You can read that story today.
Also in the DIOCESE OF LEXINGTON a thriving orthodox parish led by the Rev. Martin Gornik moved to dissolve its ties with the Diocese of Lexington and the national Episcopal Church because the church refuses to repent of its action in consecrating an avowed homosexual to the episcopacy and for blessing same sex unions. Gornik, 48, planted Church of the Apostles said the decision to leave was congregationally driven. The Church of the Apostles split from Episcopal Church, another casualty of the Robinson consecration. This is the second time in a year that members of a local Episcopal parish have severed their ties with the Episcopal Church USA and the Lexington Diocese.
In the DIOCESE OF ALABAMA a Montgomery priest is liable for charges if he doesn't conform to the revisionist bishop, one, Henry Parsley. The rector, John-Michael van Dyke has been threatened by the Standing Committee with charges which they will file under Title IV Canon 10 for abandonment of communion, if he doesn't shape up.
The rector of the 1,600-strong Church of the Ascension was sent a letter signed by Kenneth L. Fields, president of the Standing Committee with the support of the bishop, saying that unless he was willing to sign a statement giving full canonical and financial support to the bishop and renounce a First Promise document van Dyke signed in 1997, he could face charges. If he was found guilty he could be tossed out of his parish and the Episcopal Church. You can read that story.
And in the DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, All Saints Church Waccamaw in Pawleys Island, already the subject of litigation, faced a new round of legal harassment when the Bishop of South Carolina, Ed Salmon filed yet another round of lawsuits against individual members of the church's vestry. The questions here, and as yet unanswered, is why now and whatever happened to making Common Cause among the orthodox, and how does the diocese think this will help the Primates meeting next month in Ireland if they see these divisions among believing Christians.
Is this a case of worship of the institution or the legal strategy of the national chancellor who is putting pressure on Salmon? Is it hubris by the bishop who can’t stand AMIA Bishop Chuck Murphy, the parish priest? Whatever it is, it is a disgrace on the face of orthodox Episcopalians who should be united at a time when the Episcopal Church is coming unglued and the Primates are looking for cohesion among the orthodox in the ECUSA. Just how stupid can the orthodox get? They deserve to lose the whole bloody game playing property games like this. They are no better, on this issue, than the revisionists.
And in the DIOCESE OF NEWARK supporting gay rights may be more important than unity within the worldwide Anglican Communion, Newark Episcopal Bishop John Croneberger told 600 people gathered at the diocese's convention at the Parsippany Hilton last night.
"Speaking plainly," said Croneberger, "it is well past time for us to put a stop to the many attempts to trivialize, marginalize or move to the sidelines the matter of human sexuality, as if it were a distraction. "We need to be steadfast in our commitment to explore, to understand, to bear witness to God's presence and love for all of God's creation, realizing in fact that this work on human sexuality is part of the mission of the church to our suffering and bewildered world." He made no mention of the behavior which is THE issue, not orientation. That the bishop has three gay kids of his own might also be factor influencing his decision according to a Jersey City rector.
And in the DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA they voted to include a new parish at their recent Virginia Council. Bishop Lee could not be present as he was undergoing heart bypass surgery. A VirtueOnline reader wrote to say that Church of the Word's application for parish status, a Truro Episcopal sired granddaughter congregation, brought the true division in the Episcopal Church to the surface.
Here is what she wrote: "Virginians are notorious for maintaining good manners and courtesy, even when one declares war on the Union but there was a sense of the nice smiles in clenched jaws. After a very contentious hearing where the outrage spilled over against parishes who had redirected their pledges, but also against the Bishop himself, it was apparent that a public attempt would be made to make Church of the Word a scapegoat. For those who support the actions of General Convention and feel that no apology or repentance should be offered, the presence of a biblical witness like Robin Adams and his congregation in the Diocese of Virginia appeared to be intolerable. One would think that a Spirit-filled congregation might not want to join the Diocese of Virginia. It was their hope that they would march into the center of Diocesan Council, in the midst of nearly 1,000 people, with their guitars, tambourines, other musical instruments and their joy in the Lord and share the love of Christ with everyone in the room. The congregation of Church of the Word gathered out in the hallway of the Reston Hyatt waiting to find out whether the Diocese of Virginia would welcome them as a parish or send them home rejected. Inside the hall angry voices were raised in opposition to their inclusion into the Diocese, questioning their integrity and their conscience. But sisters and brothers from other parishes rose to their defense and it became clear that for most of the delegates, the spewing outrage from some of the delegates was too much. The leaders of the Executive Board, the Committee on Church Status, and the bishops present indicated their support for Church of the Word's application and as the rather hostile President of the Standing Committee stood at a microphone in front of the bishop ready to spew more outrage, the "question was called" and Bishop Jones ended the debate. By voice the Church of the Word was officially made a parish and Robin Adams became the rector. They came, and they came - to thunderous applause that drowned out the rage."
Sometimes the joy of orthodoxy drowns out apostasy.
In the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT, six orthodox rectors are facing an uncertain future with the Bishop Drew Smith. Some of them met with him recently, but the message was clear, 'it's my way or the highway'. DEPO on my terms, pay your dues or else.
FOLLOWING THE PRIMATES meeting in Ireland all hell (or heaven) will break loose and The Episcopal Church could melt like the Arctic ice cap with large chunks of ice (read parishes) falling away into new spiritual and ecclesiastical hands. If and when it happens you will read it here first.
THE SPIN CONTINUES…V. Gene Robinson, 58, told San Francisco Bay Area Episcopalians that he has been on an emotional roller coaster ride since his consecration as bishop 18 months ago. He talked about the last-minute accusations that briefly held up his election, the death threats, the bullet-proof vest he strapped on for his consecration and the secret plan they had devised in case of violence. If bullets rang out that day, he said, he was to be whisked out with three bishops and a photographer. "By the end of the day, if I was still alive, they would have consecrated me as bishop," he told the crowd.
This is nonsense. I was there. There was never any chance of Robinson being shot. We all went through metal detectors, virtually strip searched and more, and my wife Mary, who was with me, was denied entrance to the event and had to sit it out in our car waiting for me.
"The chaos and crisis has only grown deeper with each passing day," said Cynthia Brust, of the conservative American Anglican Council. Robinson still believes in the fiction that church is fine and he is not going to step down from the post, as some have asked. "The plane always shakes the hardest just before it breaks through the sound barrier, and we are about to break through the sound barrier," he said during his speech.
That sound barrier he is hearing might also be the sound of the plane breaking up as the Communion breaks up over his consecration.
AND A LUTHERAN STUDY backs the status quo opposing the ordination of active gays. A major study on human sexuality by the nation's largest Lutheran denomination recommends no change in the church policy that precludes the ordination of gay or lesbian people in same-sex relationships. The study released last week by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also recommends that no official church ceremony be adopted to bless same-gender unions. But on both divisive issues, a landmark task force report suggests discretion be granted to local congregations acting in "good conscience" to "make judgments appropriate to each situation." It also suggests the church refrain from disciplining those congregations who may approve partnered gay or lesbian candidates for ministry, out of respect for "the deep divisions among us."
Shades of ECUSA. And now you know why the ECUSA and ELCA have a concordat, they can't make up their mind about gay sex and when they do finally decide once and for all you can be sure it will be the wrong decision.
THE ANGLICAN MISSION IN AMERICA recently celebrated its Five-Year Anniversary of Singapore Consecrations with the consecrations of the Rev. Charles Murphy, a parish priest in South Carolina and the Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, former Dean of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. The Anglican Mission now numbers over 70 churches, more than half planted as totally new congregations in the last several years.
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