Opening Comments 11-20-2001

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Tue Nov 20 00:51:58 EST 2001


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The actions of Delaware Bishop Wayne Parker Wright to allow, even urge
his priests to bless same-sex couples, and calling it a "ministry" is
drawing fire from orthodox ECUSA bishops.

The latest bishop to take Wright to task urging him to "turn back from
schism" is the evangelical catholic BISHOP OF PITTSBURGH, Robert
Duncan. Duncan is moving up as one of the most serious and outspoken of
the evangelical and orthodox bishops in ECUSA. He takes serious
theological issue with the Bishop of Delaware for even suggesting these
so called "marriages" have any biblical, historical or liturgical
validity. Not even the state recognizes these unions. The truth is, no
good will come from these acts, which outrage Third World Anglican
bishops and violate both the spirit and intention of the Lambeth
resolution on sexuality. One wonders how much longer, Southern Cone
bishops and those in Africa will tolerate ECUSA's bishops who continue
to do these in-your-face acts and snub the mind of the Primates, most
of whom are thoroughly Evangelical in theology.

Duncan, who is the Bishops chair for the American Anglican Council,
(AAC) a caucus of Evangelical bishops who are doing their best to keep
ECUSA on the theological straight and narrow, also want to tell Frank
and his liberal pals that tolerance of sin has its limits. We await the
resolution from the AAC bishops announcing they are autocephalous and
that Griswold and his revisionist bishops are persona non grata in
their dioceses. The BISHOP OF BETHLEHEM, Paul Marshall, Duncan's next-
door neighbor, has already taken that step. Will other bishops follow
him?

In another move, Duncan came to the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA and
performed an ordination at the orthodox parish of Church of the Good
Shepherd in Rosemont, PA recently. He ordained Deacon Garrin Dickinson
as the new curate at Good Shepherd. He got the nod from Charles
Bennison to come so it was not a rebellious act. What all this says is
that Duncan is willing to step up to the plate and take risks. He even
took issue with one of his own priests, a liberal, black rector Harold
Lewis (he is a candidate for Bishop of Washington) over the Rwanda
consecrations and he [Duncan] understands why the AMIA exists, even
though he stays firmly within the Episcopal fold. He retains a strong
friendship with Bishop John Rodgers, now an AMIA bishop who lives in
his diocese, and he will allow him to perform sacramentally in the
diocese. In many ways Duncan practices more inclusivity than Frank
Griswold who seems bent on alienating the Anglo-Catholics and
Evangelicals.

Duncan got an earful from Griswold when both men clashed over the
meaning of a Year of Jubilee for ECUSA and sexuality issues. Duncan has
never forgotten how thin-skinned Griswold can be when confronted by a
bishop who believes in the authority of Scripture.

In an allied issue Virtuosity has learned that the $146,000 the
Province of Rwanda needed to provide theological education and training
to that Province is almost in hand and will be forwarded to Archbishop
Kolini by AMIA leaders. Trinity Wall Street denied them this money
because of Archbishop Kolini's support of the Anglican Mission in
America.

Down at St. John's, Christ Church, Accokeek, Md. the ham and oyster
dinner went off well despite efforts by people in the DIOCESE OF
WASHINGTON purportedly trying to sabotage it.

The Firehouse said they couldn't use the kitchen to cook the hams.
Members of the church affiliated with Dixon and who work the Firehouse
said there were cockroaches in the kitchen and they closed the kitchen
down. Hams were cooked in private homes. "If this is unity, this is the
worst week for persecution we have ever had," said Wes Courtney, a
vestryman. "Five different churches helped us at the dinner, three were
Episcopal, two non Episcopal, so we came out ahead. But every hindrance
was put in our way."

Courtney said the dinner raised more than $5000.00 for the parish and
to help Fr. Sam Edwards in whatever future he has.

The evangelical Fr. Steve Arpee has accepted the vestry's call as
interim, despite the fact that the bishop, Jane Dixon called him in and
said he didn't have the necessary spiritual gifts to run the parish.
This is called pouring salt in an open wound, and coming from a bishop
who has all the tenderness and compassion of a rottweiler on the loose.
Retired Maryland Bishop Ted Eastman, turned up last Sunday again and
while he allowed Arpee to officiate, Eastman preached. It was a loves,
hugs and 'why can't we all just get along' sermon that fell as flat as
a three day old pancake, by all accounts.

The work of the parish will continue while the appeal of the district
court decision is pending and, depending upon the grant of a stay by
the district court or the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.  According to
Chuck Nalls canon lawyer for the parish and vestry a grant of the stay
would return matters to the status quo ante, with Fr. Edwards returning
pending the outcome of the appeal.

It is now obvious that the diocese's interest in the property was
certainly evident as of May 15th when the Suffragan Bishop attempted a
"settlement" based on property concessions.  This is, unfortunately,
the Church as practiced in the Diocese of Washington and a number of
other Dioceses.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: At it's regular meeting on November 19th, 2001, the
Standing Committee of The Diocese of Fort Worth received the report of
the church attorney regarding the charges against The Rev'd Sam Edwards
and will formulate a response in writing by December 17, 2001.

Signed: The Very Rev. William Crary, Jr.
              President, Standing Committee
              Diocese of Fort Worth

In a personal note to me from the bishop, Iker writes: "I have spoken
with Sam on several occasions since the Judge's decision.  Much remains
uncertain about his future, in that the decision has been appealed.  We hope
it is overturned. I have offered financial support and the possibility of a
position to him."

In other news out of the diocese, Robert Stowe England reveals a plot
to Make Accokeek Another St. Paul's, Brockton, Mass. The Diocese of
Washington has a complicated plot to  eventually drive the current
vestry and most of the congregation out of its parish and to replace it
with a vestry and congregation that is willing to go along with the
diocese's revisionist agenda, according to a member of the group in the
parish that supports Acting Bishop Dixon. You can read his and other
stories today.

If you want added evidence that liberalism is in serious trouble, news
out of the NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES is that they are so deeply in
hock they are cutting staff and payroll by one-third in order to
balance their 2002 budget. All this while evangelical churches of all
denominational persuasion continue to grow and thrive across the US
even in ECUSA. One has to wonder why the spent forces of ecumenical-
liberal dialogue haven't gotten the message. No gospel, no Good News,
no salvation, no hope. Their day is done, an ecumenical burial please.

Now VIRTUOSITY has learned that the new parish mentioned in the last
digest that had started in the DIOCESE OF CHICAGO has in fact failed.

Bishop Purcell announced at the Diocesan Convention last week that the
new church start would be closed. Statistically the diocesan journal
reports that the average attendance for a Sunday is approximately
16,000.  Three churches account for almost 10% of that:  St. John's
Naperville, St. Mark's Glen Ellyn, and St. Mark's Geneva. All are
conservative with a Scriptural focus.

One person who attended some of their first meetings said they preached
a very lukewarm theology based on "community" and varying routes to
God. "I got into some heated debates with some of the clergy
referencing their teachings," said the source. "Using Scriptural
passages as my defense, they basically told me 'Get Lost!'" The Mission
did reference that the original plans were established by (then
Diocesan) Bishop Frank Griswold, and they were receiving funding
through some kind of Griswold project. There goes the First Church of
Frank Flexible.

A Virtuosity subscriber writes to say that St. Hugh of Lincoln, a small
Hispanic congregation in Elgin, IL was just given parish status at the
same time that the above mission started (and later died).  St. Hugh of
Lincoln is an Orthodox, evangelical parish and the first one in years
in the Chicago Diocese.  It is also a parish that successfully used
ALPHA. "We are growing", he writes, "because we are evangelical and
have a priest whose message is founded on the Word of God!  We are so
grateful for our parish and our priest.  The only churches that are
growing in the diocese are those that are evangelical," he writes.
Another wrote to say that William Beasley was closely linked to Frank
Griswold years ago, but they fell out over the homosexuality issue.  He
became rector of a break away group from Church of the Resurrection in
"West Chicago".

In a rather surprising piece of news Virtuosity has learned that the
Assistant Bishop of Chicago,  the Rt. Rev. Victor Scantlebury, has been
quite orthodox on the homosexuality issue.  He cites Genesis, "male and
female made He them."  He says God has not given a third option!
Really. That information must truly stick in the craw of Frank "I was
here" Griswold. A memo please to all the HOB, "No Third Option" or
hopefully a resolution for the next General Convention.

In more upbeat news, the Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon is taking on new
responsibilities at the behest of his Bishop Ed Salmon DIOCESE OF SOUTH
CAROLINA. He will be the new editor of The Anglican Digest replacing
the Rev. Fred Barbee. In addition Harmon will also be the new editor
for the diocesan newspaper, the Jubilate Deo. He will also be Bishop
Salmon's diocesan communications director. He is currently theologian
in residence and senior associate rector of St. Paul's Church in
Summerville, SC. Quite a job description.

AND GLEANED FROM THE LONDON TIMES DIARY

The Archbishop of Canterbury made a cautious lunge at the press
recently, opining that it had "hammered ... very unfairly" bishops who
allegedly make extravagant use of money received through the collection
plate. To underline the point, Kenneth Stevenson, the Bishop of
Portsmouth, spoke of "the public mythology" of episcopal opulence,
adding: "Most of us live in what one might call elegant poverty." It
was, presumably, someone else's chauffeur-driven car into which he then
clambered before speeding away.

"All good wishes for a Merry Ramadan!"

The following is an excerpt from an Ecumenical News International
release, describing efforts being made by church "leaders" in various
countries and at the WCC to "reach out" to their Muslim neighbors with
Ramadan greetings. The Dutch Council of Churches has posted some
greetings on a Website in several languages.

In France - which has an estimated Muslim population of 4 million - the
French Protestant Federation addressed a message to Muslim compatriots,
comparing Ramadan with the Christian season of Advent as "a privileged
moments of encounter with God". Sounds like a perfect Griswoldian
statement along with hope that the Episcopal Church would, according to
Frank, get rid of its "fixedities" about sex, a neologism made up by
Griswold himself. I suppose this falls into the category that if you
are going to have a new religion you need a new language to support it.
Of course.

Finally, the Southern Cone has a new Archbishop and Primate following
the retirement of  the Rt. Rev. Maurice Sinclair. He's being replaced
by The Right Reverend Gregory Venables who was elected and installed on
Nov. 7 as the fourth presiding bishop of the seven dioceses that form
the Province of the Southern Cone of America of the Anglican Communion.
I am delighted to add that Primate Venables is a Virtuosity subscriber
and occasional contributor. Our congratulations to him.

Sinclair was one of the boldest and most outspoken of the Primates, and
co-author of Way of Faithfulness, a report on the controversies in the
Anglican Church, and he made waves at Kanuga by not signing on to the
Statement produced on that occasion by the Primates.

Now I want to apologize for the cyber mess many of you received in last
week's digest. I sent a long story by ATTACHMENT that the ISP could not
handle. The fault was entirely mine. I am reposting the story from
Australia today in two parts.

A warm welcome to new Virtuosity readers. If you would like to read
past digests you may do so by going to
http://www.orthodoxanglican.org/virtuosity. Virtuosity is read by more
than 80,000 readers in 36 countries.

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All Blessings,

David W. Virtue




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