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Two Sexual Resolutions Push TEC Further Way from Anglican Communion

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke out against heresy during the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Anaheim. There is good news and bad news here. The good news is that the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop is not afraid to denounce heresy. The bad news is that evangelicals turn out to be the heretics she is denouncing. --- Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Seminary president

Madam President, if I had a dollar for every person who has come up to me during this convention and said something like, "I don't usually agree with you, but I'm sure glad you're here; we need your voice," I could finance a day at Disneyland. So...you want my voice? Here's my voice: If there was any ambiguity in D025--and I have contended that there is, at some cost to my credibility--then there is absolutely none in this resolution (C056). When we pass it, we will in that moment be undoing every shred of work that this church has done over the last four years in response to the Windsor Report. Time does not permit me to enumerate all the work that will be nullified by this action. We are utterly rejecting Windsor and the hope for life in communion that it represents. On this day my church is covering itself with shame, and I am profoundly sorrowful. What you are about to do, do quickly. ---- Fr. Dan Martins, Northern Indiana

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
7/16/2009

The other shoe dropped yesterday.

Resolutions D025 and C056 are the pair of shoes that will goose step The Episcopal Church right out the door of the worldwide Anglican Communion, at least as a partner that will be recognized by the orthodox Global South.

Permitting men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained to holy orders and then giving them marriage rites to affirm those relationships is just plain blasphemy. It will be viewed as such by the vast majority of the Anglican Communion who are orthodox in faith and morals.

The vote was 2 to 1 for D025 for the ordination of gays and lesbians to all orders of the church, in both the House of Bishops and Deputies and 3 to 1 for same-sex (they call them gender) blessing rites in the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies will vote Friday on C056. I think it fair to say the HOD will not overturn the HOB decision. The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed "regret" when D025 was passed, but we have not heard from him over the passage of C056. Will there be another "regret" letter or something stiffer perhaps?

VOL has learned that Ian Douglas, EDS seminary missiologist and Massachusetts deputy, was on the phone to Canterbury last night telling Williams that B033 had not been overturned, that it was still in effect. TEC has not consecrated any gay bishops since Robinson in 2003.

So there is still wiggle room, apparently. Williams will no doubt use that to try and keep the Communion together. But the Windsor Report has been constantly violated. The Covenant might just as well be put in the shredder for all the good it will do in keeping us altogether.

The move to these ordinations is stirring enormous emotions. Anglicans in Northern Virginia are divided with The Rev. Martyn Minns of Fairfax City, the leader of CANA a group of conservative congregations that broke three years ago from TEC. He has been talking to church leaders who have remained in the fold, but who are struggling with the decision about ordination.

"I think the number of churches leaving could very well change because of this," Minns said. The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, who will become bishop of the Diocese of Virginia on Oct. 1, disagrees. Those inclined to leave the church have done so, Johnston said. "Things are the same now as it was a week ago. Our church's witness is the same now as before."

VOL believes that a third great wave of Episcopalians could well leave The Episcopal Church following these decisions. The first wave was orthodox parishes in liberal and revisionist dioceses. The second wave was four dioceses. A third wave will be orthodox parishes fleeing orthodox dioceses. This is of deep concern to bishops like Bill Love (Albany) and Peter Beckwith (Springfield). I have written about this in today's digest.

*****

Episcopal generosity is beginning to slam shut as the Episcopal till has less and less in it.

The other big news yesterday is that the mission, ministry and infrastructure of TEC will be cut by $23 million. Now you should know that the Presiding Bishop's budget will not be cut. In fact it is being increased. She may need it. She will need to hit the road after GC2009 to sell the new found sexual discoveries of the Episcopal Church to the wider Anglican Communion. She should not however, bother buying a plane ticket to Abuja, Nigeria. There won't be any one to meet her at the airport.

The one notable cut is some $200,000 from the $600,000 TEC gives the Anglican Consultative Council based in London. What does this mean? A fellow scribbler said it would impact work on the Covenant. In fact, it may seriously limit travel that is necessary to work on the Ridley-Cambridge draft. If travel is reduced to meeting once a year, then the Covenant will be dragged out that much longer.

Because of budget cuts, VOL learned today the Human Resources Dept. of The Episcopal Church Center (NY) is issuing pink slips right here in Anaheim. Whole departments are being eliminated at 815 2nd avenue. It is being suggested that the HOD reinstate them as it is seems unseemly to fire people outright at a meeting driven by Episcopal leaders crying "justice for all."

This morning, following the passage of C56, the Presiding Bishop gave an impromptu lecture telling the HOB that there is a lot of misinformation and spin going on out there (presumably Internet writers like VOL). Bishops should be prepared to correct that when they go back to their dioceses. Well, thank God for the Internet, because if there weren't conservative News Services like VOL, you would only get sprinklings of the nonsense going on here from highly agendized and biased blogs, who are up against the full multi-million dollar media machine of the Episcopal Church.

And trust me they are good. They are videoing, writing, and producing The Daily of The Episcopal Life. They are omnipresent. They are also very helpful and seem genuinely glad that a real conservative voice is here. On another note, the Episcopal Life budget is being cut from $9 million to $3 million. The future is clearly in the cyber world of information dissemination.

A reporter at a press conference asked how the church was going to reach out to youth, who are supposed to be the future of the church. Inclusion doesn't seem to be working as youth have left the church in droves., San Diego Bishop James Mathes opined that he has a 17-year old delegate to therefore it is all going to work out. Will the pattern reverse itself, asked the reporter? Bishops and clergy opined that they did not have crystal balls to see the future.

Truth is there is neither an influx of youth or gays coming into the church to fill the ranks in coming years. With seminary education so costly, arriving at a parish with seminary debt and a high figure salary needed to pay the bills, one wonders if seminarians have much of a future. Small parishes cannot sustain such persons. Fully one third of all parishes are now being run by non-stipendiary priests. That figure will only increase.

Another group that has failed to heed the call of inclusivity is America's homosexuals. It was thought, and many bishops here still believe it, that homosexuals will now flood the church because of the passage of D025 and C056. If that's the case, why haven't they appeared in the six years since Gene Robinson was consecrated bishop in 2003. The truth is, it hasn't happened and never will.

TEC wants to send out missionaries, but they are not sure about how to fund them. Should it come from the national budget or diocesan budgets? The real problem concerns what message missionaries are supposed to proclaim. Apparently, their model is a missionary named Laurens Stanley who was invited, politely of course, to leave the Sudan for her views that offended those godly Anglicans and has now wound up in Haiti, a liberal Episcopal plant.

Even though Jefferts Schori said a Covenant would not be voted on at GC2009, dioceses are being asked to "consider the Anglican Covenant proposed draft as a document to inform their understanding of and commitment to our common life in the Anglican Communion." This is based on an amended Resolution D020 from the House of Deputies.

Proposed by the Rev. Dan Martins of Northern Indiana, the original resolution called for a structured approach to reconsideration of the Anglican Covenant, including one which called for The Episcopal Church to "make a provisional commitment to abide by the terms of the Anglican Covenant proposed in the most recent text of the Covenant Design Group... and "that the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies appoint a special task force to determine what constitutional and/or canonical measures may be necessary in order to make a permanent commitment to the covenant."

The future of the proposed covenant remains highly open to question at the international level. The Anglican Consultative Council in May called for the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a new Covenant Design Group committee to rewrite the fourth section which called for accountability for those Anglican churches which might sign on to the Covenant, but then behave in a way seen as unilateral by other provinces. This section was problematic to a majority of the senior leadership of The Episcopal Church.

A VOL reader writes to us on health care in TEC, "Mr. Virtue. As a lay employee of the Episcopal Church, I would be curious to find out if the Bishops that marched for Disney have health insurance for the lay employees in their dioceses. As a lay employee, when I heard they were marching for Disney workers who will have to pay $500 a month to cover their families, I was shocked. To cover my family I was told I would have to pay $1,500. Where was the parade/protest for the lay employees of the church? Oh, must not have been a good photo opportunity to take on an issue like that. For obvious reasons, I can't give my name and contact info even though I wish I could. There is a caste system in the Episcopal Church. Ordained were to be set apart, not above, but they didn't seem to read that part to closely."

Summing up what happened this week, Fr. Sam Edwards, a former Episcopal priest put it rather succinctly: "Make no mistake: It is hard not to imagine that the final goal of the proponents of homosexual "marriage" is not the expansion of marriage but its destruction, and that the final goal of the proponents of women's ordination is not the expansion of the priesthood but its destruction. The final goal of the proponents of the contraceptive/abortive culture is not the improvement and management of the human race, but its destruction, courtesy of Ms. Ragsdale. The final goal of the proponents of Prayer Book revision was not the application of the Prayer Book tradition, but its destruction."

I have posted a full digest of stories from General Convention and reports from England on the Church of England's reaction to the actions of TEC. Posted also are several fine columnists including the Wetzels and a number of others. They are all well worth reading. They fill out the picture about what is taking place here.

*****

In other news, St. James, Newport Beach won a round in the courts. An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled that St. James Anglican Church can continue its five-year legal battle with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles over the ownership of the church building in Newport Beach. The diocese lost the two motions it brought in an attempt to end the case and force the St. James congregation off of the property that fell into contention after St. James left the Episcopal Church in 2004 because of theological differences about homosexuality. "Basically the court is saying they have a right to their day in court," said attorney Eric Sohlgren, who represents St. James.

*****

VOL has been favorably quoted by the secular press. Both the New York Times and USA Today have featured VOL in its pages. I have done a number of radio interviews with prominent radio shows on the state of The Episcopal Church. Traffic to VOL's website www.virtueonline.org is up 30%, according to my web master. For the latest breaking news you can go to www.virtueonline.org

VOL's team of reporters has done brilliantly bringing the news to you, often on an hourly basis. Both Fr. Michael Heidt and Mary Ann Mueller have worked long and tirelessly to bring you the news.

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In Christ,

David

BREAKING NEWS: Minority Bishops issue "Anaheim Report" http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=10853

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