Opening Comments 5-24-2001

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Thu May 24 00:27:00 EDT 2001


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The big news is this.

Representatives from the Colonial Parishes in the Diocese of
Washington, D.C. met recently and plan to meet again, regarding the
situation in Accokeek, MD where the battle is shaping up between Fr.
Sam Edwards, the vestry and parish of St. John's and suffragan Bishop
Jane Dixon.

Reliable sources tell me that these parishes may seek an alternate
Episcopal oversight or failing that an orthodox jurisdiction.

Either way Jane Dixon loses. By her intransigence, dictatorial, high-
handed and in-your-face behavior, she has prompted the very thing she
claimed she wanted to avoid, that is, the departure of Christ Church
and its sister colonial parishes from the Diocese of Washington.
(Interesting, for a woman who but two years ago told Southern Maryland
traditional Anglicans to just "get out.")

Furthermore by bailing herself into a corner, she has no way out, and
she cannot stop the inevitable. She can (and has) hired the best law
firms in Washington, but most of these parishes pre-date the formation
of the diocese and are not beholden to her ecclesiastical authority. As
more details emerge Virtuosity will keep you informed.

AMERICAN ANGLICAN COUNCIL WASHINGTON ASKS DIXON FOR 60 MORE DAYS in an
apparently vain attempt to resolve a conflict over the call of Fr. Sam
Edwards as rector of Christ Church, Accokeek. This is their second
appeal to the bishop. Jane Dixon just doesn't want to hear from these
godly folk.

A press release from a branch of the evangelical wing of ECUSA that
claims some 40 bishops comes at the 11th hour in order to forestall what
appears to be inevitable litigation and an escalation in the conflict.
The AACW is a local independent affiliate of the national organization.

The 60-day limit for Fr. Edwards to act as a priest without a license
expires May 25, and Dixon has said she plans to invade the parish on
May 27. The parish insists Fr. Edwards has been lawfully called and
that Dixon has violated canon by failing to object to his call within
the specific 30-day limit allowed her by canon. The vestry has
indicated her presence is unnecessary and unwelcome.

The AACW warns that an attempt to remove Fr. Edwards could have dire
consequences. "Many [already] believe our reputation as a 'big tent'
church and an intelligent expression of the faith are threatened by
diocesan policies," the statement claims. "The removal of Fr. Edwards
can validate those fears."

AACW's moratorium bid comes with a barb. While noting Dixon has
criticized Fr. Edwards as a threat to unity in the Episcopal Church,
the AACW notes that Dixon and the diocese have gained a reputation for
being "separatist," which the organization defines as "operating
contrary to actions and teaching of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) and
the Anglican Communion."

IN THE DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA where the parish of St. John's
Huntingdon Valley recently left ECUSA and the Diocese of PA, Associated
Press reports that Bishop Charles E. Bennison will fight for the parish
property.

Meg Cave, a spokeswoman for Bennison, said the bishop has always hoped
for a reconciliation and continuing dialogue. "The bishop has never
really wanted them to leave the family, although he respects what
they're doing, if that's what they feel they need to do," she said.

Now, the congregation of more than 300 might have to find a new place
to worship. Cave indicated that the Episcopal Church USA intends to
retain control of the 80-year-old church property.

"There is an historical legacy and a legal legacy to continue the work
of those members, generations ago, who paid for the property and who
expected that ministry of the Episcopal Church would happen on that
property," she said.

There is no indication from Fr. Philip Lyman that he and his
congregation will walk away from the property.

Virtuosity first broke this story and you can read it at:
http://orthodoxanglican.org/virtuosity.

NASHOTAH HOUSE GETS NEW DEAN. It was announced at Trinity Seminary's
graduation on Saturday that the Rev. Dr. Robert S. Munday Dean of
Library and Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Episcopal
School for Ministry (TESM) was elected the new dean of Nashotah, the
Anglo-Catholic Seminary located in Wisconsin.
Munday grew up in a Christian home, and felt called to the ordained
ministry at age 11. While teaching at a Southern Baptist seminary, he
was drawn to the Episcopal liturgy and sacramental ministry, which
complemented the ministry of preaching he had learned to value as a
Baptist. He was led him into the Episcopal Church and in 1986 joined
Trinity's faculty. He was ordained in1989. Since then, he has been
elected three times as a deputy to the Episcopal Church's General
Convention. He has long been committed to pro-life work. Munday is a
past-president of NOEL (the National Organization of Episcopalians for
Life). He is now doing a second doctorate dealing with the classics of
Christian spirituality. He has been married for twenty-five years to
his wife, Chris, and they have one daughter.

AT A FORWARD IN FAITH RALLY IN SARASOTA, FLORIDA recently to which 100
people attended, Fr. David Moyer, FIF/NA president asked the bishop of
Southwest Florida, John Lipscomb specifically if it could be expected
that the House of Bishops would take any action against bishops such as
Bennison or Dixon, he flatly stated No! He also said it was not
conceivable that any other bishops could be consecrated in the
Episcopal Church who did not ordain women, noting that soon there may
only be one or two dioceses with bishops that believe that way.

Fr. Moyer stunned the group with a frank discussion of the particulars
of the crisis he and his colleagues in Pennsylvania are facing with
Bishop Bennison, and the events unfolding involving with call of Fr.
Sam Edwards as rector of Christ Church in Accokeek, MD in the Diocese
of Washington and the illegal refusal of Bp. Dixon to recognize his
call as examples of how the Episcopal Church was falling to fully
include traditional Anglo-Catholics in the church.

Lipscomb expressed his confidence in the movement of the primates'
council, especially the portion of the recently released pastoral
letter from the primates, which called for "sustained pastoral care"
for all in our communion.

The bishop actually did little to convey any confidence that any
solutions to the crises in the Episcopal Church would come through the
House of Bishops.

Jan Spangler, co-convenor stated after the meeting, "Bishop Lipscomb
came to tell us that he really wasn't intimidated by the presence of
Forward in Faith and Fr. Moyer in his diocese, and that he personally
was going to keep the impact of Forward in Faith here at a minimum. I
think that is the only reason he came to this meeting. If he expects us
to go away, he will be disappointed."

Spangler noted that the true purpose of Forward in Faith, especially in
a diocese like Southwest Florida is to work for reform; reform directed
toward the very heart of the Church itself.

DAVID MILLS GOES TO ROME. According to the April/May issue of
Foundations, the Forward in Faith magazine for traditionalist
Episcopalians, David L. Mills, wife Hope and their four children were
received on Holy Saturday into the Roman Catholic Church.

Mills, who lives in Sewickley, PA was onetime editor of The Evangelical
Catholic, is assistant librarian and director of publishing at the
evangelical Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. He is also a widely
respected analyst of Anglicanism. Active in the Evangelical and
Catholic Mission and the Episcopal Synod of America, he more recently
served as an adjunct member of the council of ECM's and ESA's
successor, Forward in Faith/North America.

On behalf of the three organizations, he helped report five General
Conventions between 1988 and 2000. Mills wrote a number of stories for
Virtuosity at the last General Convention in Denver, Colorado.

IN OTHER NEWS...a polygamy story that appeared in the The Anglican
Digest got the editor Canon Fred Barbee into trouble. Apparently he
picked up the story off the Internet, ran it and this got the ire up of
Bishop John  Rucyahana of Shyira, Rwanda.

Terry Mattingly has begun a two-part series on Internet communication
wars and there are a number of other stories for your interest. I close
as usual with a devotional. Following the devotional is a little light
bulb humor.

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue




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