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Episcopal Church Shrinks...ACNA Soars...Duncan Disputes Ownership of Diocese

Words and deeds. John does not mince his words. If how a person behaves contradicts what he says, "he is a liar". To claim to know God and have fellowship with God while we walk in the darkness of disobedience is to lie (1 Jn. 1:6; 2:4). To claim to possess the Father while denying the deity of the Son is to lie (2:22-23). To claim to love God while hating our brothers is also to lie. These are the three black lies of the letter: moral, doctrinal and social. We may insist that we are Christian, but habitual sin, denial of Christ or selfish hatred would expose us as liars. Only holiness, faith and love can prove the truth of our claim to know, possess and love God. --- From "The Letters of John" by John R.W. Stott

The proof of love. If we want to convince Jesus Christ that we love him, there is only one way to do so. It is neither to make protestations of our devotion, nor to work up feelings of affection toward him, nor to sing hymns of personal piety, nor even to give ourselves to the service of humanity. It is to obey his commandments. Jesus demonstrated his love for the Father by his obedience ('I do as the Father has commanded me', Jn. 14:31); we must demonstrate our love for Christ by our obedience. --- From 'The Upper Room Discourse', in "Christ the Liberator", by John Stott and others

Integrated discipleship. There is no more integrating Christian principle than the affirmation 'Jesus Christ is Lord'. It is of the essence of integrated discipleship that we both confess his lordship with our lips and enthrone him as Lord in our hearts. We assume the easy yoke of his teaching authority. We seek to 'take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ' (2 Cor. 10:5). And when Jesus is Lord of our beliefs, opinions, ambitions, standards, values and lifestyle, then we are integrated Christians, since then 'integrity' marks our life. Only when "he" is Lord do *we* become whole. --- From "The Contemporary Christian" by John R.W. Stott.

Pleasing God. Several points may be made in favour of 'pleasing God' as a guiding principle of Christian behaviour. First, it is a radical concept, for it strikes at the roots of our discipleship and challenges the reality of our profession. How can we claim to know and to love God if we do not seek to please him? Disobedience is ruled out. Secondly, it is a flexible principle. It will rescue us from the rigidities of a Christian Pharisaism which tries to reduce morality to a list of do's and don'ts ... Thirdly, this principle is progressive. If our goal is to be perfectly pleasing to God, we shall never be able to claim that we have arrived. ---- From "The Message of Thessalonians" by John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
2/27/2009

In the Episcopal Church, size apparently doesn't matter. As the church shrinks, its cries for inclusivity and diversity grow louder and louder.

The latest figures for Episcopal Church attendance do not augur well. The 77th annual edition of the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, long a highly regarded chronicler of growth and financial trends of religious institutions, records a slight but startling decline in membership of the nation's largest Christian communions. In 2007, The Episcopal Church said it had 2,116,749 baptized members down 1.76 percent. A more accurate reading of TEC, based on Fast Facts from a church source, showed that Average Sunday Attendance, had gone from 765,326 to 727,822 in 2007. While 2008 is not known at this time, nor are the first two months of 2009, it is hard to imagine that the church can still claim 700,000 active members.

A survey in mid 2008, before the economy tanked, revealed that the proportion of parishes in some or serious financial difficulty almost doubled from 2000 to 2005, increasing from 13% to 25% and then remained unchanged for 2008. 26.4% of congregations have average Sunday attendance of less than 35. A majority (62%) of Episcopal parishes and missions report that more than half of their members are age 50 and above. 90% of Episcopal congregations reported having conflicts or disagreements in the last five years. 47% of Episcopal congregations report serious conflict over the ordination of gay priests/bishops. Overall, 63% of Episcopal parishes have at least one full-time paid clergy. Another 25% are served by part-time clergy, priests, or by seminary students. The remainder report having no clergy at all or that they are served by supply or interim priests. 11% of Episcopal congregations report that they have no youth in the church and 58% have 10 or fewer youth among their active members or regular participants. Only 20% of Episcopal congregations have 20 or more youth actively involved.

The overall picture is not comforting. Only one diocese, South Carolina showed any sign of growth. The aggressive Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), headquartered in Pawleys Island, just miles down the road from the Diocese of South Carolina's headquarters in Charleston is making inroads in that part of the country, no doubt to the chagrin of Bishop Mark Lawrence.

WHILE TEC slowly sinks, news comes that the yet to be inaugurated Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is making great strides forward. A story in today's digest shows remarkable strength even before it makes its official debut in June, according to figures revealed by its leaders.

According to a report released by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, some 81,311 people worship at the 693 congregations of the Anglican Church in North America each Sunday. These parishioners and parishes are outside of The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church in Canada. The vast majority are temporarily under the ecclesiastical oversight of six separate orthodox Anglican provinces.

While each jurisdiction is small, as a united body, the Anglican Church in North America, which includes both the U.S. and Canada, has significantly more members than 12 of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces including Bangladesh, Brazil, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Indian Ocean, Japan, Jerusalem & Middle East, Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, Scotland, Southern Cone, and Wales.

It is estimated that at least 100,000 plus Anglicans in North America attend church regularly. What will this picture look like in five years? Certainly in ten years, at the present rate of TEC decline and ACNA growth, ACNA could well rival TEC. Don't laugh. It could happen.

Just how bad are things in TEC? You can read Part III in my continuing series on "Episcopal Dioceses and Parishes Face Worst Financial Crisis since Depression". The story is depressing, but it's the truth. Financially, TEC is hurting and cutting back on many of its "sacred" programs including the much bally-hoed Millennium Development Goals. However, ASSIST News Services reports that, despite the economic downturn, most evangelical parachurch ministries exceeded, met or came very close to their 2008 fourth-quarter contributions goals. According to a recent survey of its members by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), 72 percent of responding organizations reported they exceeded, met or came within 10 percent of their goals. Twenty-eight percent reported they were more than 10 percent below their goals.

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It's official. The Archbishop of Canterbury will attend the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Jamaica. The archbishop is the president of the ACC, one of the four instruments of communion which serves the worldwide family of Anglican/Episcopal Churches. Anglicans are said to be looking forward to the May 2 to 14 Kingston meeting, which will see some 150 delegates representing 164 nations in attendance. Williams will later attend The Episcopal Church's General Convention in Anaheim in June. He won't be staying long in California, just two days, but probably long enough to get an earful about how inclusive TEC is. It will be interesting to see what he has to say to some 10,000 Episcopal conventioneers.

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Will Rogers once quipped that there are two theories to arguing with a woman...neither works.

This would certainly apply to Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop. She is firmly in control of The Episcopal Church even though though the constitution of TEC does not give her that authority. She brooks no opposition. The first thing to note is she is utterly determined to proceed down the road of full inclusion of pansexualists into the Episcopal Church (there will be no discussion of a Covenant at GC2009), and secondly, she will not compromise TEC for the Archbishop of Canterbury and certainly not for Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola. She put her spin on the meeting of Primates in Alexandria recently by saying that she had a most intriguing conversation with an (unnamed) primate who asked how same-sex couples partition "roles."

"He literally asked if one was identified as the wife and one as the husband, and then wanted to know which one promised to obey the other in the marriage ceremony. Several of us explained that marriage in the West is most often understood as a partnership of equals, and has been for some time." So there you have it. The real question is: Where is the basis for a him/him relationship in Scripture to begin with? when all Scripture talks about is him/her.

She then went on to opine that all of us read Scripture through the lenses we have -- our cultural norms, our scientific understanding and our theological understanding of the purpose of marriage. "We also privilege particular parts of Scripture in the way we build our lectionaries." That too is an odd answer. Every Asian and African family that I have ever visited on numerous continents has exactly the same understanding of marriage that I as a westerner have. Cultural differences are grossly overplayed.

But as Will Rogers observed...

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PITTSBURGH Bishop Robert Duncan has directly responded to the statement to establish a new Episcopal Church diocese in Pittsburgh and he has rejected mediation on the subject. He has written a response to the actions of Calvary Episcopal Church and the Rev. Harold Lewis. As this is going to be a long unfolding legal drama involving millions of dollars worth of properties and bank accounts, VOL will let the players, for the moment, speak for themselves. You can read Bishop Duncan's statement here or in today's digest. http://www.pitanglican.org/news/local/duncanpastoral022709

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The national church at 815 Second Avenue in NYC has a sign up saying "New York Restaurant For Lease." The 1200 s.f. cafe shares space with a 400 s.f. bookstore on the ground floor of the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue (43 St.). The Center is a completely renovated 11-story building. The cafe is completely set up for immediate occupancy including wireless internet. The Center hosts many functions for the United Nations, and there are numerous opportunities for catered affairs. Office Building has no cafeteria other than ground floor cafe. A description of the place says it is a café located between 43rd and 44th street on Second Avenue, just two blocks from Grand Central Station. Several adjacent eateries have enjoyed many years of success on this busy block with continuous pedestrian traffic. Perhaps a Christian coffee shop could open there run by say a CANA operative. Every single Episcopalian would hear the gospel in clear unvarnished terms, all for the price of coffee.

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The DIOCESE OF NEWARK will host a Practicum for Clergy about Civil Unions in that diocese. Sponsored by the Diocesan Civil Union Task Force, they will address the Legal and Pastoral Components of Preparing a Couple for a Civil Union and Discussion about Marriage Equality. You can gain this earthly wisdom on Thursday, March 5th, 2009, 9 AM to 1 PM at St. Agnes, Little Falls, NJ.

The Practicum will address questions such as:

How do I work with the couple to plan and prepare for the Civil Union? What do I need to know to be pastorally sensitive to same-sex couples? What resources are available for working with same-sex couples? What can I do to prepare my congregation for civil unions? What family issues may be unique to same-sex couples? How do I record a civil union in church records? Walk me through paperwork of a civil union? What ifs about Marriage Equality?

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The DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA will have a new assisting bishop in the person of Bishop Rodney R. Michel, the retired suffragan bishop of Long Island. After 10 years of disastrous leadership, a civil trial and a court trial of the now deposed Bishop Charles E. Bennison, Michel will take over April 1 from former Bishop Allan Bartlett. His appointment will be for three years, according to the diocesan Standing Committee. He is liberal to the core and comes from Long Island which is waiting for Bishop Orris Walker to retire. Charles Bennison is still not giving up wanting his job back. He is appealing his deposition sentence.

James Pabarue, Bennison's attorney said that he will take the case to a Court of Appeal, a panel of nine bishops provided for by the national church's canons on discipline. Pabarue is appealing the deposition sentence on three grounds. He cited the statute of limitations, insufficient evidence at trial to convict, and that the punishment was too harsh for the circumstances. According to VOL's sources, Bennison hasn't a prayer of getting his job back. After all, Mrs. Jefferts Schori has already decided his fate. Bennison is history.

On another note, there will be camp this summer, but it won't be at the luxurious Camp Wapiti in Maryland. It will be at the more cost conscious Delaware Episcopal camp, ..."Arrowhead" at a much reduced cost per camper. Camp Wapiti is on the market with Prudential. Anyone with $10 million or more to spare in these economically troubling times can probably negotiate a good deal.

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A Statement from Chair of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND'S COMMITTEE FOR MINORITY ETHNIC ANGLICAN CONCERNS lauds the inauguration of the new American President Barack Obama.

"The election last November of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the USA, culminating in his inauguration today, is a most momentous occasion. His election was a truly redemptive moment and one of pride and aspiration for many people. It was a particularly redemptive moment in terms of the legacy that African Americans have endured for over two centuries - and this was not lost on the President elect, Barack Hussein Obama.

"It is totally right that there was joy inside the tears of many for the whole of the United States. But the moment also gave the world a new iconography - a first family that is not defined by any one ethnic group. This is a symbol of immense significance to millions of people, not just in America but across the world.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury has used the term 'Kairos Time'. This is truly a 'Kairos Time' when we urge the Church to begin to nurture a leadership that can engage and function at all levels within it - across all ethnicities - but this must be done intentionally. This affects us as individuals, locally, nationally and internationally through the Anglican Communion. All could reflect on their key aspirations concerning Hope and Transformation in Christ but we call on the Church of England to renew its commitment tangibly to minority ethnic people. This is what Obama's Presidential Campaign was all about, but it is unfinished business in the Church. Can we ever have "business as usual" in our Church again?

"God Bless America and our own nation as well."

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Church highlights Darwin's "forgotten" parish work. A new page paying tribute to the "forgotten" church work of Charles Darwin in his local parish of Downe, Kent, has been published on the Church of England's website, at www.cofe.anglican.org/darwin/downe.html, to illustrate, once again, how science and the work of the Church can combine.

The page "'Darwin at Downe"' is one of a number of pages on the website celebrating the naturalist's significant scientific progress, marking the bicentenary of his birth, and anticipating the 150th anniversary of the publication Darwin's ground-breaking text, "On the Origin of Species", in November.

It lists how Darwin supervised church and school finances, founded a Friendly Club and served as its treasurer for 30 years, ran the local Coal and Clothing Fund savings club for 21 years, and built up a close friendship with parish priest Rev. John Brodie Innes - who once wrote, "I never saw a word in his writings which was an attack on Religion. He follows his own course as a Naturalist and leaves Moses to take care of himself."

The new page concludes that, whilst Darwin lost his own personal Christian faith, he did not become anti-church or anti-religious, and his valuable contributions to the world extended beyond his scientific writings into the local parish in which he lived and served for 40 years.

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The ANGLICAN MISSION IN AMERICA is starting a new congregation in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The Rev. Rick Leone is going to pastor a new parish there. "The goal of the Anglican Mission is to reach the 130 million unchurched Americans, so we are in the process of reaching out to the unchurched here in Fort Wayne and offering an orthodox expression of Anglicanism," says Leone, 48, who also serves an Anglican congregation in Huntington.

"The Episcopal Church has gone off in a direction that is - how should I say it? - more liberal. We are not. We are more orthodox and doctrinally based and believe in the authority of the Scriptures." Bishop Edward Little, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, says the Mission is one of several entities embracing people, congregations and dioceses that have chosen to leave the Episcopal fold. He says no traditionalist congregations have sought to leave the diocese, which does not permit same-sex unions and ordination of sexually active gay and lesbian clergy.

"There is no separatist energy within the diocese," he says. "There are certainly people who are concerned about what is happening nationally in the Episcopal Church, but I think there is a genuine and widespread commitment to being within the church and being a witness rather than leaving."

The Rev. Daniel Martins, pastor of St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Warsaw, called Little a centrist bishop who has widespread support. Leone said the Huntington church he serves was founded by a group of evangelical Christians and their pastor. Leone's background is Roman Catholic. He and his wife, Diane, a Mexican-American and a former Catholic, have three daughters and three sons.

The AMIA recently announced a new initiative designed to plant well over 100 new churches over the next 10 years on the West Coast. Launched in early January, Churches for the Sake of Others is led by The Rev. Dr. Todd Hunter and creates a church planting movement. This movement is designed to develop churches and leaders committed to beginning new congregations located primarily, but not exclusively, on the west coast. These churches will emphasize multiplication as each congregation plants daughter churches at the rate of at least two every five years.

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OTTAWA - The Canadian Council for Refugees is demanding the federal government give sanctuary to five detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay who do not face charges but could be in danger if returned home. The Anglican Diocese of Montreal is sponsoring Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian alleged to have conspired with Al Qaeda, and viewed as one of the reasons Canada could move slowly on this file. "Immigration officials have the authority to reject sponsorship applications from individuals who threaten our national security or who are involved with terrorist groups," Alykhan Velshi, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, wrote in an email.

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If you think problems of sexuality are confined to The Episcopal Church you would be wrong.

This week, three PRESBYTERIAN churches in Indiana have been granted dismissal from their denomination. Citing concerns over the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s liberal direction, the three churches will be leaving to join the smaller and more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church. David Henderson, pastor of Covenant and also part of the leadership for New Wineskins Association of Churches - a network of churches discontent with the PC(USA) - explained that there is concern the denomination is accepting a wider range of theological positions that local leadership doesn't agree with.

"There was also disagreement over what it meant to be faithful to Jesus' teaching in certain areas of ethics, such as in the area of sexuality," Henderson explained, according to the local newspaper. The dismissal agreement with the Presbytery of Wabash Valley includes a payment of $975,000 by the three churches and a transfer of ownership by the presbytery of each church's property, the Journal and Courier reports.

The nation's largest LUTHERAN (ELCA) denomination will consider allowing individual congregations to choose whether to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, an attempt to avoid the sort of infighting that has threatened to tear other churches apart.

A task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommended that course in a long-awaited report on ministry standards. The panel, however, said the church needs to clarify a number of questions before overhauling its gay clergy policy.

The report, issued at the same time as a broader church social statement on human sexuality, seeks balance on an issue dividing many Protestant churches. Both documents will be considered in August in Minneapolis at the biannual convention of the 4.7-million member denomination.

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The DIOCESE OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN elected a lay Buddhist trained Episcopal clergyman as bishop at a Special Diocesan Convention on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at St. Stephen's Church, Escanaba. Thew Forrester was elected on the first ballot and satisfying the Diocesan Constitution and canons, received 88% of the delegate votes and 91% of the congregational votes. He takes over following the death of Bishop Jim Kelsey in an automobile accident in June 2007. VOL looked at this appointment and you can read what we revealed about this terrible appointment. However it was worse even than we imagined.

The Very Rev. Kevin Martin, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and a Deputy to General Convention, blasted the process of this appointment and said the experimental way of calling a Bishop had no basis in the canons. "What troubled me was that the leaders there had asked Standing Committees and Bishops to consent to an election. They had not asked for permission to do some other process."

He wrote to the Presiding Bishop pointing out that the Diocesan Standing Committee had consented to an "Election", not an appointment, and "I spoke up on the House of Bishops and Deputies Listserv. I made it clear in both my letter and in my post that I was not objecting...to the process. I was objecting to the person because of his Buddhist training. Even then, I had little concern about the person. I have known clergy who have received Buddhist Meditation training and did not consider this in and of itself a concern.

My concern remained the process. What troubled Martin was three-fold. "First, the dissenters in Northern Michigan have informed me that their only real alternative is to just leave the Church. Second, the Church will be pushed further by its most extreme members in silencing any true moderate voices.

Lastly, it is one more sign to me that the Church, made up of a thoughtful middle of caring and gracious centrist folks who honor our rules and procedures as a way of honoring a truly embracive and inclusive community, has sadly become something else."You can read his blast in today's digest. What all this says of course is that Jefferts Schori will distort or misuse the canons to suit her ends, even if it means allowing a trained Buddhist to run a diocese.

As Will Rogers said...

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The "macho" pursuit of success at any cost triggered the global financial crisis, according to ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU. Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent for "The Telegraph" reports the former head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid, claimed companies had done "extraordinary things" to please shareholders and avoid failure. He said this was a distortion of what God wanted for the world, and that eventually good people will triumph and "the truth will out". Tutu pointed out that dictators and tyrants "bite the dust quite ignominiously" ultimately, and that the people who are most admired worldwide are those who strive for peace and justice. In a rare appearance in Britain, the 77-year-old told a meeting of the British Council, "You want to think, too, about what is currently happening with the so­-called 'economic meltdown', discovering that so many were flying very close to the wind, because you know different. "On the whole I think we have distorted what God would want to see happen in God's world. With this meltdown, we have exalted the principle of success - success at any cost - for the worst thing to happen to any human being in our culture is to fail."

"And so, people have done extraordinary things in order for their bottom line, to please their shareholders, and we have lent in this morass, where the Law of the Jungle has seemed to prevail: survival of the fittest, and the devil takes the hindmost. "God says, 'No, please, no. That way is the way to self­-destruction. No, I have made you for family. I have made you for togetherness. I have made you for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing.'"

*****

The diocesan board of CENTRAL FLORIDA unanimously approved a resolution to dissociate itself from The Episcopal Church's affiliation with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, recently. According to the wording of the approved resolution, notice of the dissociation is to be forwarded to the next meeting of the annual convention with a recommendation that convention endorse formal dissociation from the RCRC for the diocese.

The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church approved membership in the RCRC on behalf of The Episcopal Church in January 2006. Other dioceses have already taken steps to dissociate from the RCRC. An explanation accompanying the approved resolution states that the "Episcopalians hold varying political positions on the morality, legality and necessity of abortion and it is therefore improper that this diocese, by virtue of an action of The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, be deemed a member of a political lobbying group whose goal is to promote abortion upon demand, for any reason and at any time."

The resolution also noted that the aims of the RCRC conflict with previous resolutions approved by General Convention. "While the RCRC works for abortion rights in any and all circumstances, The Episcopal Church teaches that moral discernment, on matters related to abortion is essential," the approved resolution notes. "Resolution A054 adopted by the 1994 General Convention states: 'We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience.'"

*****

The CHURCH OF ENGLAND wants to put a green stamp on Lent as part of its plan to shrink the country's carbon footprint campaign. A 2009 Lent initiative has sought advice from a banking boss, the latest eco-technology in a country church, lifestyle pledges in the North East and a cut-carbon-not-chocolate challenge from church and government leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rowan Williams is also supporting the fast which is calling for a cut in personal carbon use over the 40 days.

*****

The Anglican Archbishop of SUDAN has called on the UK and US to help catch Ugandan rebel, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader, Joseph Kony. Daniel Deng said he believes Kony is hiding in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan. LRA attacks have increased since forces from Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo launched an assault on him in December. The archbishop told the BBC that Mr Kony's capture appeared beyond the abilities of the governments of the region. Central Africa has already suffered 20 years of terror inflicted by the LRA.

*****

The head of a London-based Russian television station plans to counter a recent atheist poster campaign on London buses by funding even larger placards proclaiming the existence of God. Public transport is becoming a popular vehicle worldwide for the devout faithful and atheists to proclaim their beliefs. Non-believers, seeking to proclaim their atheism on Toronto buses, failed to do so on Zurich's public transport system due to local regulations. "People like me are naturally guarded when they see atheist drives like this, since we know what atheism did to Russia, almost destroying our country's essence," Alexander Korobko, director of the "Russian Hour" satellite channel, told Ecumenical News International. (Ecumenical News International)

*****

POPE BENEDICT to visit Britain next year. The first ever state visit by a Pope to Britain could take place as soon as next year, "The Times" reports. The logistics of a visit to Britain by Pope Benedict XVI are being discussed after Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who advises the Queen on state visits, raised the possibility at a meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican. The Prime Minister, son of a Church of Scotland minister, told Pope Benedict XVI he would be welcomed by millions as was his predecessor Pope John Paul II in 1982. But that visit was a pastoral visit in which the Pope, because of sensitivities around the Falklands War, met the Queen, but did not visit Downing Street or meet the Prime Minister. If the Holy See intimates that a visit is on, "The Times" has learned that it will be upgraded to a State visit and a formal invitation issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and signed by the Queen.

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A source told VOL that he has heard that there are three names at the top of the list for BISHOP OF LONG ISLAND. They are the Rev. Ronald Abrams, The Very Rev. Peter Eaton and Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano. "Everyone is waiting for our current bishop (Orris Walker) to go," he wrote.

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SEWANEE SUFFERS. With a loss of nearly 22.5% in income within the first six months of the current fiscal year, Sewanee is on par with comparable institutions. Comprised of financial donations, the endowment is carefully invested in an attempt to rise with inflation rates and generate income. However, despite the 22.5 % market value decrease, University Treasurer Jerry Forster feels it can be managed in the short term. In avoiding losses to fraud or Madoff schemes, Foster said that Sewanee's endowment "dodged a bullet," but admits that there is "nowhere to hide." Although diverse, all but cash and US Treasury investments experienced losses. Sewanee investments in stocks and bonds will remain as they are, where they are. Though Forster doubts they will be necessary, cash reserves are available to help Sewanee through this economic crisis.

VIRGINIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY faces $1 Million budget cut. The board of trustees of the Virginia Theological Seminary has ordered the largest Episcopal seminary to cut $1 million from its budget. The seminary draws 67 percent of its operating income from its endowment, and has had the value of its portfolio decline 36 percent, from $144 million to $97 million. The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president, has been asked by the board to produce a restructuring plan in time for the next meeting of the board's executive committee on March 11. Some immediate steps to cut personnel costs include the suspension of faculty and staff , and early retirement for seminary employees. Likely additional steps include plans to revive focus on the school's annual fund and other legacy gifts, according to a seminary news release.

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The ARCHBISHOP OF BURUNDI, The Most Rev. Ntahoturi Bujumbura says he supports the Anglican Church of Canada's opposition to cross-border interventions. According to a press report from Toronto, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has thanked his Burundian counterpart, Archbishop Ntahoturi, for his church's stance against cross-border interventions, notwithstanding its opposition to more liberal views on homosexuality in some churches in Canada. "I am very grateful for the position that the Anglican Church of Burundi has taken," said Archbishop Hiltz who met with Archbishop Ntahoturi during the course of his solidarity visit hosted by the diocese of Bujumbura Feb. 12 to 15. "We value our relationship with Burundi and it's part of the reason why there are young people in our delegation; we would like a building and renewal of relationship."

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"A Moral Test for Maryland Legislators", screamed an article in the "Washington Post". The Right Rev. John Bryson Chane (Washington) and The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton (Maryland) have written a letter to the Maryland General Assembly hoping that legislators will decide against the death penalty in Maryland. Not doing so would represent an enormous moral failure for the state and for civil society, they say.

"The Episcopal Church has carefully studied the application of the death penalty in many states. In every case, it has concluded that the death penalty is unjust and ineffective. It is immoral to any who are seriously committed to the ethics of Jesus, who continually forbade violence as a means to solve problems caused by evil. It is unjust because of the hugely disproportionate number of poor and black defendants who receive the death sentence. It is a sad truth that many who are wealthy in our society are able to "buy" their way out of being executed by the state. When it comes to the death penalty, true justice comes with a price tag: "Justice paid is justice won." It is ineffective in that it has never been shown to deter the commission of violent crime, nor has it lowered the murder rate in any state that regularly executes its most violent criminals."

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ALL IS FORGIVEN FRANK. The Bishop of the DIOCESE OF FLORIDA John Howard has invited former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold to hold a Lenten Retreat. This is the same Frank Griswold who was denied participation in the consecration of Howard because of his heretical stance. Apparently, all is forgiven. No word on whether Griswold will be sent to a motel or stay in Howard's Million Dollar mansion that the Diocese has paid for.

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There are no easy answers as to how to reach the next generation for Christ. But this video is worth watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sLQiPEO3TY

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VIRTUEONLINE remains the leader in Anglican news for orthodox Anglicans. We are in the process of making major changes to our website that will include an educational dimension for our Global South brothers and sisters. This initiative comes with the blessing of a number of archbishops in the Global South. I hope you will consider a donation to make this possible.

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Thank you for your support.

All Blessings,

David

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