On the Episcopal Church: "It doesn't take a majority to wreak havoc, just a totally committed minority" -- John Becker, orthodox Episcopal Layman.
On homosexuality: "Perhaps there is no sin which so deeply shows the depravity of man as this; none which would so much induce one 'to hang his head, and blush to think himself a man.'" –-Nineteenth-Century Christian Commentator Albert Barnes describing the "shameful sin of Sodom," as condemned by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans.
On the resurrection of the body: The Christian hope is not the immortality of the soul (a shadowy, disembodied existence), but the resurrection of the body (a perfect instrument for the expression of our new life). ---From "The Authentic Jesus" John R. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The question this week that begs for an answer is this: Is it just The Episcopal Church that has lost its way or is the Anglican Communion so severely compromised that a more
radical realignment is needed?
In Dallas at a recent meeting of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN), the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, ACN moderator and convener of Common Cause, said this, "What is needed is a completely new structure. Lambeth is failing, Canterbury is failing, the Anglican Consultative Council is prejudiced in a Western way and the primates are sadly divided north and south. We'll leave and they can take the stuff with them to hell, because that is where they will take it. This is Good Friday and we have to face it." You can read my full analysis of this here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/39zfpw
AROUND the Episcopal Church the actions of revisionist bishops grow more strident, angry and vicious as they come down hard on orthodox priests who want to leave with their properties - properties that neither the diocese nor the national church had a hand in building. In the DIOCESE OF COLORADO, an Ecclesiastical Court of the diocese found the Rev. Don Armstrong, former Episcopal rector of Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs, guilty on all counts of financial misconduct, to no one's surprise. Armstrong had expected it to happen as did the church. Armstrong also expects the bishop to depose him.
"This was no surprise to us and frankly of no interest either--this is just all the Episcopal Church has left, with no theology to debate those of us who have made a case for tradition, they have to resort to kangaroo courts ginned up in the their quickly failing club house," Armstrong told VirtueOnline in an exclusive report. "The charges are bogus. O'Neill spent $1,000,000 with the very people who defended Kobe Bryant on rape charges, and what O'Neill got for that was a fancy report that itself admits it never saw my tax records, and never interviewed me, my staff or the vestry--and yet assumed I didn't pay my taxes and that the parish leadership didn't give my children scholarships for college. "Included in the charges about my discretionary fund misuse, for example, is reimbursement $259.00 for bibles we gave the graduating Seniors--I can see where that would violate Episcopal sensitivities and be thought to be malfeasance." You can read the story here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/24glde
In the DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA, Bishop Peter James Lee made it official and deposed a dozen clergy, thus purging these orthodox priests from diocesan rosters as a blatant act of intimidation. Lee's argument: the specious claim that they "had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church." The clergy members said the move is meaningless, they all belong to CANA and they are fully part of the wider Anglican Communion even if they are no longer with the the Episcopal Church. They have abandoned nothing. You can read that story here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/2tw3s8 Whined Lee, "We must protect and preserve our heritage for future generations."
In the DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES, three Anglican Churches petitioned the California Supreme Court to review their church property dispute. The three churches are St. James Church in Newport Beach, All Saints' Church in Long Beach, and St. David's Church in North Hollywood. In July 2007, the California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, reversed the Orange County Superior Court's prior ruling that the three former Episcopal churches, which ended their affiliation with the national denomination in 2004, did not forfeit their property by changing their affiliation to another Anglican church. This division of the appellate court broke with nearly thirty years of California church property law applying "neutral principles" (i.e., who holds the deed, who bought or donated the property, and whether the local church ever agreed to turn over the property), and instead ruled that denominations can take over local church property by simply passing an internal rule - even if the local church separately incorporated, bought and maintained the property, and never consented to the rule. You can the full story in today's digest.
In the DIOCESE OF MASSACHUSETTS, St. Paul's Anglican Church in Attleboro settled a lawsuit with the diocese over money and can now grow in peace to love and serve the Lord at a new location. You can read that story here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/3746uk
All this proves that the national church is using a nationwide litigation campaign to intimidate the faithful orthodox remnant. Church officials say they are simply trying to protect their patrimony, which begs the question, whose church is it anyway?
In the DIOCESE OF NEW JERSEY things are getting so desperate that St. John's Episcopal Church in Elizabeth has had to sell off its Tiffany windows. According to a liberal Episcopal blogger, thousands of jobs have been lost in Elizabeth, N.J. Now even churches are desperately trying to survive economic adversity. St. John's is responding by trying to sell off one of their most prized possessions: their stained glass windows. You can follow the story here: http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/programs/2007/08/04/a_church_in_need.html
However, according to official NJ Statistics, the City of Elizabeth is the economic engine for the state of New Jersey, leading the way as a hub for transportation, shipping, industrial and retail opportunities. Businesses interested in coming to the City will find a solid network of public and private partners in place, ready to assist with any needs. One such partner is the Elizabeth Development Company, designed to serve as a "one stop" shopping center for businesses.
Perhaps the real problem with aging liberal Episcopal churches is that have no gospel to proclaim which is why they are selling their assets. No gospel, no people, certain death. Sell the assets.
This past week saw a new development we have not seen before - orthodox Episcopal theologians fighting among themselves. In a most unseemly display of "he said", "he said" the group fought over whether flight or fight was the order of the day. The war of words broke out on the Internet among the theologians as to whether dwindling conservative Episcopalians should stay or leave as they face inhibition and worse. They could not agree. Only one theologian, Dr. Stephen Noll said it was time to flee the apostate Episcopal Church. He wrote in an open letter to Anglican Communion Network bishops and Common Cause Partners, "The time has come for full and final separation between those in TEC who hold a false gospel and those who hold fast the truth revealed in Holy Scripture and the evangelical and catholic faith of the Church. I find it hard not to conclude that any bishop who still hopes for reform and revival from within the current structure is in a state of denial." He went on to say, "There is no hope and a future for any diocese or parish that remains connected to TEC. The Mark Lawrence [wannabe Bishop of South Carolina] case and various abuses of the canons should make this clear. This is a spiritual fact: TEC is terminally ill and the cancer will eventually spread to every part of the body." You can read what all the players said including Noll, the Rev. Dr. Philip Turner and the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner who takes a contra position, in today's digest.
Just when you thought you couldn't get enough of the antics going on in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA, Wikipedia editors suspended Barbara Alton, Bishop Charles Bennison's personal assistant, from posting to the online encyclopedia. They accused her of vandalism, for the third time, because she keeps trying to delete information about Bennison's cover-up of his brother's sexual abuse. Wikipedia editors had enough and deleted her account. You can read that story here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/32uptd
Yet another bishop scooted off to Rome this week. BISHOP CLARENCE POPE, the former Bishop of Ft. Worth made his third pilgrimage back to Rome. You can read that story here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/38boyn
The Rt. Rev. Dan Herzog, former Bishop of Albany, recently crossed the Tiber to return home to the bosom of Rome. Are we seeing the beginnings of an epidemic of bishops and priests looking to cross the Tiber? Not necessarily, but clearly dissent is in the air. We will see a lot more moves by former Episcopal bishops in all directions before the great realignment of the Episcopal Church ends.
In YUMA, ARIZONA the parish of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church is on the march. The Episcopal diocese might be a desert wasteland but not this parish, a VOL reader reports. The parish has called its first rector, the Rev. Josh Acton who will begin his duties on September 1. He comes from St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX. He is also the former executive director of the Center for Christian Healing, a diocesan Ministry he founded in 2004. He has served parishes in Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Diego. He comes to Yuma with a love of the desert; he and his wife grew up in the California Desert. Christ the Redeemer had its first service on February 4, 2007, and has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since.
A VOL reader, the Rev. Fred-Munro Ferguson, SSC made an interesting historical observation in the many discussions on the connection between the issue of the ORDINATION OF WOMEN and the promotion of the HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA in TEC. He said, "From 1974 to 1980 I served as personal secretary to the Right Rev. Wilbur E. Hogg, VI Bishop of Albany. When he returned from the General Convention (his first as a Bishop) which 'approved' the ordination of women, he told me of the tremendous pressure placed upon the House of Bishops to allow this innovation, pressure to which he did not yield. The pressure favoring the ordination of women came from three principal sources, Bishop Hogg stated. They were (1) NOW (National Organization of Women, (2) Integrity and Louis Crew and (3) various feminist groups within the Roman Catholic Church. In the conversations between NOW and Integrity, the women promised the homosexual group that, if they (Integrity) would actively and fully support the ordination of women, the women, in turn would actively and fully support Integrity's agenda. We have lived to see the fulfillment of that promise. TEC is fulfilling a conspiracy now more than thirty years in the making. And what about the Port St. Lucie Resolutions? It certainly diminishes the claim of the House of Bishops to omniscience, certainly in any eternal sense. Perhaps this is a sign of hope. Might it be that thirty years from now General Convention and the House of Bishops will work just as hard to reverse the actions of the same bodies during these early years of the 21st century? Of course, this assumes that the GC and the HoB are still in existence thirty years from now."
At the recent SPANISH MISSIONS gabfest funded by Trinity Episcopal Church Wall Street there were five African Archbishops present. They were West Africa, Southern Africa, Congo, Central Africa and Burundi. Only one - Southern Africa is an outright liberal; the rest are orthodox. This is a typical example of how money can buy, at least temporarily, the loyalty of faithful men.
From the DIOCESE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE comes this word from a VOL reader who attended St. James Church in Keene, NH last week. "As you know, Gene Robinson endorsed Barack Obama in the press on August 2. He stated it was 'as a private citizen'. I happened to be visiting friends in NH and I attended St. James Church on Sunday, Aug 5. The 'sermon' for the day was the reading of Robinson's letter that he had written to the clergy explaining why he endorsed Obama. The Rev. Peter Coffin, the rector, made it very clear that if Gene thought Obama was the right candidate, then we should seriously consider that choice! Now this is interesting for a number of reasons. Endorsing candidates from the pulpit can get you into trouble with the authorities. Witness what happened at All Saints' Pasadena last year, a pro-homosexual liberal church that endorses all things liberal and publicly condemned some of Bush's policies. They were hauled up and their non-profit status was called into question. Now just think what would happen if a conservative bishop endorsed Mitt the Mormon, we would never hear the end of it."
IN CANADA this past week, Edmonton Bishop Victoria Matthews announced she was resigning, saying "God is now calling me in a different direction." Matthews, who was elected in 1993 as the first female bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, said in a pastoral letter that her resignation is effective November 30. "Some will wonder if I have health concerns, and others will ask if I am angry at the Anglican Church. The answer to both questions is 'no'," said Matthews in the letter. "I am well and I love our church. I am an Anglican and hope to always minister in accordance with the grace and mercy of Christ our Saviour." She says she is saying yes to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and following God's will. The odd thing is that she isn't saying WHERE or IF she is still an Anglican and where God's will is taking her!
This year, she was again nominated for the office of primate and was a close second in the voting at General Synod 2007 in Winnipeg. Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Nova Scotia was elected on the fifth ballot. She is not an overt liberal, but more of an Affirming Catholic in style and substance. A knowledgeable insider says that Matthews has come under the gun a lot for her stand (or waffle) on the same-sex issue. "Here in Canada this issue is going to bury bishops before it's over. I think Matthews just doesn't want to handle the heat anymore. I think she knows she should have won the brass ring, but her last minute waffle on same-sex buried her, and Hiltz benefited. Matthews' supporters had already popped the cork on the Champaign bottle in anticipation of a win. Her win was a given -- a sure thing, as we say on the racetrack. When the votes were in, Hiltz was the winner. Why? Because a lot of heavy lobbying was done by the gay/ lesbian mafia before the final vote was taken. Old Victoria was hung out to dry. AND SHE KNOWS IT!"
He concluded, "I've noticed that when churchmen want to skip out or find a convenient reason for changing horses in mid-stream, they invoke the Spirit of God as the EXIT DOOR."
ON A FORGIVING NOTE, THE Church of Uganda Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi has urged the Acholi people of Northern Uganda to forgive the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers for the crimes committed against them. "When you forgive, there will be freedom in your hearts other than remaining a prisoner. You begin to know what paradise, peace and freedom are," Orombi told displaced persons at Omiya-Anyima camp in Kitgum district on July 28 according to a report in Kampala's New Vision newspaper.
The conflict in Northern Uganda began soon after the then-National Resistance Army (NRA) of former President Museveni took power in 1986. Remnants of the previous government's forces fled into northern Uganda and southern Sudan and formed the Ugandan People's Democratic Army (UPDA). Several splinter groups emerged out of the UPDA and the story of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) began. The LRA's grim trademark has been the abduction and forced subscription of children.
Orombi said the insurgency had impacted negatively on the displaced persons. "You are familiar with nakedness in the north like Jesus who was naked on the Holy Cross where he was humiliated and exposed. Are we not humiliated? Are our girls not raped, children abducted and killed? Jesus was crucified between two thieves. People in the north are lonely like Jesus," he said. "Where is the love the late Archbishop Janan Luwum preached?" Orombi, who was flanked by Kitgum Bishop Benjamin Ojwang and retired Kitgum Bishop McLeod Baker Ochola, was on a five-day visit to the district.
IN AUSTRALIA, a brouhaha has erupted over who owns the Forward in Faith name. A group calling itself "Forward in Faith International (Australasia) Inc." has claimed support from FIF/NA, but it is using the "Forward in Faith" name without the approval of the international FIF movement, writes the Rev. Canon Warren Tanghe, Vice-President of Forward in Faith North America. Resolutions passed by Forward in Faith North America have tried to correct that, he said. You can check their website: www.forwardinfaith.com
THE BISHOP OF RECIFE, the Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavilcanti ordained two priests on July 27 in Gainesville, Florida recently. According to the Rev. Michael La Cagnina, Cavalcanti was the Celebrant in what can only be described as an exceptionally unique service. This service of ordination is believed to have been the first ordination of the Anglican Communion to be conducted in the city of Gainesville. There were ecumenical overtones to the service as it was held in the premises of the Vineyard Church, a non-denominational fellowship that purchased the church building from the Methodist Church and offered the use of the building to the congregation of Servants of Christ Anglican Church, which is a church in the Diocese of Southern Nyanza of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Africa. The unity of Orthodox Anglicans was revealed in the fact that there were numerous dioceses in the worldwide Anglican Communion represented by both laity and clergy (including dioceses in the Provinces of the Southern Cone and Nigeria) as well as from orthodox clergy and laity who remain in The Episcopal Church (TEC) but who are committed to the faith once delivered to the saints, as opposed to the revisionist doctrines that are being espoused by TEC.
The Reverend Henry Morris from St. Charles Parish, Poulsbo, Washington, was ordained as a priest and will work closely with St. Charles Parish as it plans the formation of a new congregation in the state of Washington. The Reverend Michael La Cagnina will be the Minister in Charge of the Anglican Church Mission of Christ's Church in High Springs, Florida. Over 30 clergy, vested in white robes and red stoles, participated in the procession. The Reverend Christopher Leighton, rector of St. Paul's Church, Darien, Connecticut preached with the Rev. Jim McCaslin, Dean of the Anglican Alliance of North Florida also participating.
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