Sunday, August 31, 2003
Evangelicals poised to take over the Church
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
Evangelicals, dismissed as a vociferous minority by senior liberals during the Jeffrey John affair, are now poised to take over the Church of England.
A new study suggests that, if current trends continue, evangelicals will make up more than half of all Sunday church worshippers in 10 years' time, up from about a third now.
As they grow quickly, Liberals and Anglo-Catholics continue to decline, says Dr Peter Brierley, a former government statistician who heads Christian Research.
Moreover, all but a tiny proportion of the new breed of evangelicals will be theologically conservative, viewing sex outside marriage, including homosexuality, as outlawed by Scripture.
According to the new analysis, they are consolidating their grip on the Church's income, contributing a significant amount of money to church funds.
Also, half of all ordinands training to be the next generation of clergy are attending evangelical colleges.
The combined effect could be to provide the evangelical wing of the Church with an unprecedented power base as long as their numbers are reflected in the membership of the General Synod and the Church's leadership in future years.
Dr Brierley's projections are expected to alarm liberals, who have portrayed them as fringe fundamentalists whose influence is out of proportion to their numbers. His analysis indicates that, based on several national surveys by Christian Research, about 35 per cent of churchgoers in 1998 were evangelicals and that proportion could rise to half by 2010.
Of this, he estimates, just eight per cent will be "broad" or "liberal" evangelicals, who are relaxed over issues such as homosexuality. The remainder will be mainstream or charismatic hard-liners.
Another survey, detailed in this year's Religious Trends handbook, indicates that the total giving of evangelical churches is already about 40 per cent of the Church's national income.
The latest Church statistics show that for 2001 the total income of parishes was £650 million. Evangelical worshippers put an estimated £250 million of that into the collection plate.
Their financial muscle was demonstrated during the crisis over Canon Jeffrey John, the openly homosexual cleric who was forced by evangelical pressure in June to withdraw as the Bishop of Reading.
Many evangelical parishes, which include most of the largest and wealthiest in the country, were planning to withhold a significant proportion of the quotas they pay to central funds if Canon John had been consecrated.
"These figures show that mainstream evangelicals are a larger group than most others already, and they are still growing," said Dr Brierley. "If these trends continue, they could become the largest group in the Church within a decade."
His findings belie comments by liberals like the Dean of Southwark, the Very Rev Colin Slee, who said in July that Canon John had been forced to stand down by a minority who made "a noise out of all proportion to their size".
The Rev Giles Fraser, the vicar of Putney, admitted that liberals could have underestimated the influence of "fundamentalist" evangelicals, and it was worrying for the future of the Church.
"The truth is that they have learned the techniques of marketing, how to sell something," he said. "It's a very simple message. But it's like selling soap powder. I think that way of simplifying and marketing is verging on idolatory - putting God into a box."
Gordon Lynch, a theologian from Birmingham University, said that Dr Brierley's analysis was too simplistic and did not allow for shades of opinion and people's changing views. He conceded, however, that socially conservative evangelicals were becoming a "considerable influence".
"They represent one of the few groups in society where people who are drawn to that kind of social conservatism can actually find a home," said Dr Lynch.
"Perhaps the Conservative Party used to provide a kind of structure for those people, but it seems to do that less and less now. So there is a danger that the Church does drift towards an increasingly conservative position."
Attempt to expel US Anglicans at summit
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
Conservative archbishops are increasingly confident that they can force the expulsion of the American Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion over its liberal line on homosexuality.
In fresh evidence that the battle lines are hardening, evangelical primates yesterday disclosed plans to use an emergency meeting called by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in October to urge the immediate suspension of the Americans.
They will then demand that Dr Williams declare that, if the Episcopal Church fails to reverse its policies on actively homosexual clergy and gay "marriages", it is no longer Anglican.
A number of the conservatives believe that between a third and a half of the primates will back this hardline position, diminishing Dr Williams's chances of brokering a middle way in which both sides could co-exist within the same communion.
Insiders said that the primates' meeting, which is to take place at Lambeth Palace in London, would be a "showdown" which looked increasingly likely to end in a formal split.
They fear that the Episcopal Church, which enraged conservatives by confirming Canon Gene Robinson as Anglicanism's first actively homosexual bishop earlier this month, could vote to quit the Communion if suspended.
One leading conservative, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the Primate of the West Indies, said that the Episcopal Church could "choose whether it wishes to remain with us or not" by reversing its decisions.
He said that he would be "very disappointed" if he did not have the support of at least 14 primates out of the total of 38, and he had not yet begun lobbying waverers. Conservative strategists believe the final figure will be 20 or more.
Another conservative, Archbishop Gregory Venables, the Primate of the Southern Cone [in South America], said: "The mind of many is that this is a crisis which cannot be fudged."
The conservative position is expected to be bolstered at a gathering of "global south" primates to be held in Africa a few weeks before the Lambeth Palace meeting.
They are taking as their blueprint Mending the Net, a document prepared by conservative archbishops, which proposed ways to manage crises provoked by parts of the Church introducing controversial unilateral actions.
The document says: "When, in the judgement of at least a significant minority of the primates, these contemplated changes exceed the limits of Anglican diversity, then the meeting should ask the province to refrain from implementing them."
If a "Godly admonition", a rebuke and call for repentance, fails, the erring province could be reduced to observer status at international meetings such as the 10-yearly Lambeth Conference. Expulsion could follow.
Conservative dioceses and parishes within the expelled province could then ally themselves with the bulk of the Communion, which would remain under the aegis of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Previous disagreements have largely been solved by the moral and personal authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury of the time.
The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity
O GOD, who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in shewing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T
August 29, 2003
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott
Growing and Continuing (cont'd.)
487. The integrated Christian
Paul loved to liken the Christian life to a race in the
arena. Notice that to 'run well' in the Christian race is
not just to believe the truth (as if Christianity were
nothing but orthodoxy), nor just to behave well (as if it
were just moral uprightness), but to 'obey the truth',
applying belief to behaviour. Only he who obeys the truth
is an integrated Christian. What he believes and how he
behaves are all of a piece. His creed is expressed in his
conduct; his conduct is derived from his creed.
--From "The Message of Galatians" (The Bible Speaks Today
series: London and Downers Grove: IVP, 1968), p. 135.
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 216, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.
Saturday, August 30, 2003
Polyamorists seek acceptance in Unitarians
By Martin Finucane
the Associated Press
August 23, 2003
BOSTON · No one uttered a word when Harlan White walked into church one day with two women, one on each arm. They were, he says, accepted like any other family in his Unitarian congregation.
"When we walked into the Sunday service -- hand in hand in hand -- no mention was made of it, at least not to us," he said.
Now White and others are hoping that, through Unitarian congregations nationwide, their tiny group can foster greater acceptance for those who practice "polyamory."
Activists define polyamory as "responsible non-monogamy," or the potential for loving more than one person at a time. They say "polys" want honest, intimate, enduring love relationships. They just don't want relationships to be limited to two people.
The Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness, an organization formed three years ago that claims about 72 members across the nation, recently held an informational workshop at the 42nd General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
About 100 people watched as White, a 53-year-old doctor from Seattle whose long gray hair flows onto his shoulders, told of his experiences and talked up polyamory.
"I'm definitely not here to suggest that polyamory is the one true way or a panacea for relationship problems," said White, who is secretary of the organization.
But he said, "Yes, it does work. Yes, it is possible to love more than one person at one time."
Such a workshop wouldn't be held at most other church conferences, but Unitarianism is a different kind of denomination. The association, with 1,101 congregations nationwide, has no doctrine, no hierarchy and no rituals. Congregations are self-governing.
Unitarians believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion.
Valerie White, of Sharon, Mass., president of the group and Harlan White's sister, said she hopes that someday Unitarians will be as welcoming to polyamorists as they have been to gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people.
She envisions poly ministers leading Unitarian congregations.
Conservative activists are critical of the polyamorists.
"I think polyamory is a fancy way of saying, `sleeping around.' For this denomination to even discuss it is an attack on the family. And this type of lifestyle would certainly put children in jeopardy," said Kristin Hansen, a spokeswoman for the Family Research Council in Washington.
Jasmine Walston, 46, of Louisville, Ky., vice president of the organization, said practitioners of polyamory worry about alienating their families and discrimination on the job, in housing and in the courts.
Asked if she thought polyamory was wrong, Walston said: "It's wrong for some people. It's right for other people. ... I don't believe the Bible prohibits multiple loving relationships. I haven't found that anywhere in the Bible."
Friday, August 29, 2003
STATEMENT OF THE BISHOPS OF
THE PROVINCE OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH
IN SOUTH EAST ASIA
ON THE CONFIRMATION OF
THE REVD CANON DR GENE ROBINSON
AS BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
BY THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS OF
THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
13TH AUGUST 2003
It is with grave concern and deep sadness that, we in the Province of the
Anglican Church in South East Asia received the news of the confirmation by
the House of Bishops of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United State
of America (ECUSA) of the election of the Revd Canon Dr Gene Robinson as
Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. This is the first known practising
homosexual person to be elected Bishop in the Church of God, in spite of the
sincere godly counsel and advice made by many, not least the Archbishop of
Canterbury himself and many Primates of the Provinces of the Communion.
It is most disheartening that the House of Bishops of the ECUSA, though
knowing the gravity of the matter, did not deem it necessary to seriously
seek and consult the wider body of the Communion. While the principle of
autonomous local governance in provincial and diocesan life and mission is
well understood and respected, the issue at hand is clearly more than
“local” in nature in an absolute independent sense. We surmise that the
ECUSA was fully conscious that their act of endorsing the said election of
Gene Robinson could in all probability result in severely impairing and
causing irreparable damage in communion. Notwithstanding that, the ECUSA
sadly and appallingly went ahead to test this resolve in its callous process
The said confirmation therefore seriously raises the question of ECUSA’s
genuine commitment to our corporate responsibility as members of the church
catholic to uphold and promote only the Apostolic Faith and Order inherited.
A natural, holistic and consistent reading of the Scriptures clearly show
that it is against the practice of homosexuality. In the context of
orthodox and classical Christianity, the canonical authority of the
Scriptures is taken to be recognised and received by the community of faith
and not subject to majority, culturally relevant or even theological voting.
This act of the ECUSA cannot but be seen as arrogant, with total disregard
and contempt for the sacramental unity of the Communion. This is especially
so when seen in light of the following:
(a) the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality of 1997;
(b) the overwhelming endorsement of Resolution I.10 of the Lambeth
Conference in 1998;
(c) the unanimous endorsement of all the Anglican Primates present,
including that of the ECUSA, of the Pastoral Letter issued at the end of
their recent meeting in May 2003 in Brazil against approving liturgy for
same sex union;
(d) the considered withdrawal of the Revd Canon Dr Jeffrey John of his
appointment as the Suffragan Bishop of Oxford only this last month for the
welfare and unity of the Communion.
It is further hurtful, even insulting, when certain Bishops in the ECUSA, as
well as some Primates in other Provinces, frivolously espouse the view that
the issue at stake in the said endorsement is not so serious as to warrant a
breakdown or schism in communion relationship. There appears to be a
misplaced confidence that this grievous matter will simply tide over in due
course given the Anglican genius in holding contradictions together.
As such, we believe that consistency, integrity and honour, premised on our
conviction of the Spirit-inspired, and tradition-tested interpretation of
the, biblical and Apostolic faith and life, requires us to honestly and
courageously accept that by this said act of endorsement, the ECUSA has
initiated and caused a real breach in communion. The ECUSA should therefore
honourably exclude itself from continuing in sacramental communion with the
rest of the Communion. We realize that this is painful both to us and to
While we share deep grief and pain, we also give thanks to the Lord for the
courage and faithfulness of those who voted against the said election in the
various Houses of the recent Convention of the ECUSA in order to keep faith
with the Communion by upholding the sacramental unity and witness of the
One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We shall continue to be in full
communion with them and other faithful Christians in the ECUSA by affirming
them in their courageous witness to the truth and grace of the faith once
delivered. We shall do all that is appropriate and necessary to support
them in their ecclesiastical life and mission within the USA.
We, the Bishops, on behalf of the clergy and people of the Province of
Anglican Church in South East Asia, resolve to strengthen our pastoral care
with biblical sensitivity to those who are facing genuine struggles in human
sexuality. We submit ourselves to God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit
for renewal and strength to truly help those who are in such struggles so
that by the grace of God, they are enabled to experience real freedom and
fulfillment which can only be found in Christ alone.
It is our sincere prayer that the ECUSA will even at this late stage
seriously reconsider to amend and reverse their decision of endorsement for
the welfare of the sacramental union and mission of the Communion thereby
making it possible to begin the restoration of our full fellowship
The Most Rev. Datuk Yong Ping Chung – Bishop of Sabah, Primate SEA
The Rt. Rev. Datuk Made Katib – Bishop of Kuching
The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Chew – Bishop of Singapore
The Rt. Rev. Tan Sri Dr. Lim Cheng Ean – Bishop of West Malaysia
The Rt. Rev. Yong Cheng Fah – Asst. Bishop of Sabah
The Rt. Rev. Bolly Lapok – Asst. Bishop of Kuching
The Rt. Rev. Moses Ponniah – Asst. Bishop of West Malaysia
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
KENYAN BISHOP SPEAKS OUT ABOUT HIS ATTACK
By John Donnelly
The attack on a Kenya bishop by two pro-gay clergy further deepened
antagonism between pro-homosexual Anglicans and the Anglican Church of
Kenya. On August 7, Bishop Simon Oketch was visiting London as a
guest speaker at a missionary conference, when he was accosted by two
pro-gay English/Anglican clergy.
Bishop Oketch is a former principal of a theological college, and now
leads the Diocese of Manseno North of the Anglican Church of Kenya. He
was in transit to the conference, when two English clergy men started
arguing and shouting at him on the sidewalk outside the conference
Dennis Lumiti of the East Africa Standard (Nairobi) reports that "the
confrontation began with a heated argument over the appointment "of
Gene Robinson "as the first openly acknowledged gay bishop in the
Anglican Communion, "and almost resulted in an exchange of blows before
members of the public came to Oketch's rescue."
This hostile and abusive outburst was met by Bishop Oketch's reasoned
and courteous response. In a note to this author, he says, " I only
made clear my stand and that of the Anglican Church in Kenya. I told
them that my stand is that we are not going to be forced to bend to the
tune of those who have lost test of the word of God. And I told them
what Jesus told his disciples about the salt and the light MATT. 5:13-
17 and that really hurt them most."
As reports of this incident spread through the news in Kenya, local
religious leadership responded with outrage. The Rt. Rev. Kogo of the
Anglican Church of Kenya condemned the attack upon Bishop Oketch,
saying, "Let them know that the Anglican community in Kenya and Africa
share Bishop Oketch's stand on the issue. Gays and lesbians will not
be allowed to head the church because such practices are unchristian."
Other Anglican leaders expressed shock and dismay at the treatment of a
church leader, who was a guest in England.
An Anglican deacon from Kenya, visiting the United states, reacted to
this incident with sharp indignation. Upon being informed of the
insult to the bishop, he responded by saying ,"In attacking him, they
attacked us all."
A visiting American evangelist condemned the attack at a major
religious conference being held in Nairobi. The Rev. Edward Henderson
of Study, Observe and Teach, of North Dallas, said that "people of God
are not expected to handle their differences that way."
"Our ministries in the United States have already taken their stand and
we say "No" to homosexuals taking up positions as prelates, or any
other posts in the lower cleric cadres in the church," added Henderson.
In a message to bible-believing Episcopalians in the US, Bishop Oketch
offers his encouragement and support, saying, "We are praying for you
people and we are together. We can't accept the Bible to be bent."
The Rev. John Donnelly is a priest in the Diocese of Newark
Temptation and trial
T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T
August 26, 2003
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott
Growing and Continuing (cont'd.)
484. Temptation and trial
Although temptations are to be resisted, trials are to be
welcomed (Jas. 1:2). The Greek word for 'temptation' and
'trial' is the same, but the meaning is different. A
temptation is an enticement to sin which arises from
within. A trial is a testing of faith which comes from
some external circumstance such as persecution. The value
of such trials is that they develop Christian character and
'produce steadfastness' (1:3-4).
--From "Men with a Message" (London: Longmans, 1954), p.
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 215, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.
'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind
by Quintin Morrow
One of the more poignant scenes in Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear is
the gouging out of the eyes of the faithful but befuddled Gloucester in
Act III. This mutilation cannot but occur as the old man refuses to see
the unimpeachable loyalty of his legitimate son Edgar and the scheming
machinations of his bastard son Edmund. As Gloucester smells his way to
Dover 'he learns too late that there is no man so blind as he who
refuses to see'.
It has been said that numbers do not lie. Try these numbers on for
size. In Year of Our Lord 2001 the Episcopal Church reported average
Sunday attendance at 853,000. Do not bother doing the math. In a nation
of 280 million people that works out to less than one-third of one
percent of the population. Accompanying this troubling statistic from
the national church came this admonition (with strained aplomb): 'There
is tremendous opportunity for the Episcopal Church beyond one-third of
one percent.' I should think so. And then there is this statistic. The
average age of an Episcopalian is 57.9, while the average age of the
general United States population is 36.4.
What is interesting (and indeed, would be humorous if not so pathetic)
to watch is how the corporate, institutional structures of the Church,
and those who head them, continue carrying on as if little had changed
since the nineteenth century. What is plain to everyone else, including
the little old lady sitting in an increasingly empty sanctuary, is
apparently not so to her revisionist rector, her ever-smiling but
hopelessly heterodox diocesan bishop, or the chairperson of the
Standing Liturgical Commission.
This delusion is not naïve ignorance but willful blindness. For while
attendance and giving decline, ministries end for lack of interest, and
parish churches are sold off and turned into bars and libraries, the
'movers and shakers' at 815 Second Avenue, New York, New York continue
obfuscating, centralizing their political power, homogenizing the
Faith, busying themselves in frenetic but finally meaningless
activities, and persecuting dissenters.
How did we get here from there? The question is one I hear quite
regularly from confused parishioners. The Episcopal Church in the
United States is the closest thing this country has ever had to a state
church, and it once boasted a membership which included America's
presidents, congressman and senators, academics and poets. Today, the
Episcopal Church is a by-word to unchurched Americans, and is a scandal
to genuine believers in other churches. As any historian will tell you,
causation is always complex, but it seems to me that there are three
clear and certain reasons for the decline (and coming demise) of the
Firstly, one must acknowledge the subversion and capitulation of the
seminaries. Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has
the dubious honour of a lesbian priest and a witch on the tenured
faculty, as well as of awarding a Master of Divinity degree without a
single Scripture course (but with classes in gay and environmental
theology, of course). EDS is the most notorious example, but all the
rest - perhaps excluding two, one Anglo-Catholic and the other
Evangelical - are in varying degrees of heterodoxy just behind it.
Christianity is a religion founded and dependent upon an unchanging
deposit of divine revelation. This revelation is found primarily in a
book, the Holy Bible, and secondarily on the councils of the Church
which exegeted and synthesized the teachings of that book. Any
particular branch of the Christian Church which begins to call the
source, integrity, and authority of its founding charter into question,
trains its priests to do so, and instructs those same priests to teach
the faithful in the pews to do so, is doomed.
Secondly, one must blame the institutionalizing of the hermeneutic of
liberation. This process began in the turbulent 1960s with clergy co-
opting the activism of the youth culture and its opposition to
America's involvement in the Vietnam War. Now, it is impossible to have
any discussion with the libs without some reference to liberating an
oppressed minority. The revisionist gospel is as boring as plainsong,
forever on one note (Gender justice! Sexual justice! Economic justice!
It is also an exclusively imminent gospel. There is no concept of
redemption, heaven or of a transcendent deity. Everything is about the
here and now, and the Church's mission, as they see it, is to
enfranchise the poor, euthanize the elderly, abort the unborn, liberate
the homosexual and save the whales. This activist hermeneutic has truly
been institutionalized and is the lens through which theology,
Scripture, ordination, sacraments, mission and even evangelism is
Finally, we must cite the disregard for history. Did you know that
during the American Revolution Anglican clergy in the colonies, almost
all loyalists, feared for their lives for merely holding services and
praying for the king? The Reverend Jonathan Boucher kept two cocked
pistols on his prayer desk to defend himself. The Reverend John Beach
said he 'would pray and preach for the King till the rebels cut out his
tongue', and he persevered in doing so even after being shot at. Most
American Episcopalians do not have a clue about the above. And sadly,
our ecclesiastical amnesia goes much deeper.
Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, John Jewel, Matthew Parker - all were men
marinated in Holy Scripture and masters of Patristics. Indeed, the
motivation behind the sixteenth-century English Reformation was to
return the Church Catholic to a purity of piety and practice consistent
with Holy Scripture and the Primitive Church. Until recently, a
thorough course in Patristics was considered essential to the training
of men for the ministry in England. Such was never the case in America,
and those chickens are now coming home to roost.
A loss of memory is tantamount in an individual to a loss of identity.
The Episcopal Church has no corporate memory before the illegal
ordination of the eleven women in Philadelphia in 1976. Consequently,
it can thumb its nose at Lambeth, the Church of England, antiquity,
apostolic practice, and even the experiences of so-called Third World
Anglicans just a generation ago, as being irrelevant. This amnesia has
resulted in the Church becoming just another loony sect in a nation of
What is next? As this issue of New Directions goes to print, the
Episcopal Church will be meeting in General Convention in Minneapolis.
According to the Canons, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies
must both give consent, by simple majority, to the election of the
openly homosexual priest Gene Robinson before his consecration as the
next bishop of New Hampshire. Barring a miracle on par he will receive
that consent. This action will merely make de jure what is already de
facto, and will be the penultimate victory for the pansexualists. Their
ultimate victory will be the systematic elimination of those who oppose
As Gloucester concluded, so it is with us, 'I have no way, and
therefore want no eyes; I stumbled when I saw.'
The Revd Quintin Morrow is Rector of St Andrew's Church in the Diocese of Fort Worth.
Yet Another Shining Example of Tolerance . . .
Janitor beaten outside church
Plain Dealer Reporter
Westlake - A part-time church janitor suspects three men beat him
because his pastor preached against homosexuality, police said
yesterday. Richard Bilski, 49, of Sheffield Lake, told police that the
unidentified men assaulted him Sunday morning outside the
nondenominational Church on the Rise after demanding to know when
Pastor Paul Endrei would arrive.
Bilski said the men then fled, one yelling, "This is a message for
Pastor Paul." Capt. Guy Turner said police have no way of knowing the
motive for the attack, but Bilski and Endrei said they believe the men
were retaliating for an Aug. 10 sermon in which the pastor called
homosexuality a sin.
Endrei said in a telephone interview that he preached about the Rev.
Gene Robinson, who became the first openly gay Episcopalian confirmed
as a bishop.
"I told the congregation, 'The Gospel according to Gene Robinson is not
the Gospel of Jesus Christ,' " he said. The point of his sermon was
that "we love the homosexual, but we hate the sin."
Buck Harris, a former host of a gay-themed radio talk show, said
sermons such as Endrei's can fuel hate crimes.
"If they don't preach tolerance, they are preaching violence," Harris
said. Bilski, who also works as a letter carrier, told police his
attackers arrived at 6:45 a.m. in a white Pontiac Firebird. He reported
seeing the same car in the parking lot of the Crocker Road church three
or four times last week.
Bilski said that the men confronted him as he took out the trash. A
fight erupted, he said, after he told the men he didn't know when to
"I'm the janitor, not the timekeeper," he recalled telling the men.
At that point, Bilski said, one man berated him with obscenities and
another struck him in the face with a tennis racket. Bilski said the
trio also punched him and tore off his shirt as a fourth man looked on.
He suffered cuts and bruises to his face, arms, hands and ribs.
"I did nothing against anybody and I'm the one in the middle of this,"
NIGERIAN PRIMATE DOES NOT RULE PULL OUT FROM ANGLICAN COMMUNION
[From David Virtue's Virtuosity]
NIGERIAN PRIMATE DOES NOT RULE PULL OUT FROM ANGLICAN COMMUNION
By Lekan Lotufodunrin
JOS, NIGERIA--The Archbishop of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, the
Most Rev. Peter Akinola has said he hopes to arrive at a decision
regarding whether his Province stays in the Anglican Communion, based
on godly principles and injunctions according to the holy Bible.
While not ruling at the possibility of a pull out from the global body
of the Anglican Communion, Akinola stated that the global south group
holds contrary opinions to the American Episcopal Church over the
controversial issues of the ordination of gay and lesbians.
Akinola condemned the appointment of a gay American Bishop saying the
issue poses a threat to the survival of the larger Anglican Communion.
"The rules and regulation binding one Christian to another must not be
different as long as he belongs to the same body of Christ. Anything
contrary to what the Bible spelt out is sacrilegious," he said.
"The Bible is the authoritative word of God which is adequate to guide
our lives and moral behavior. So when a person decides to put the
provision of the scriptures aside and began to act contrary, then in
our opinion, he is already crossing the boundary."
"Such practices" Akinola stated, "is not good for our culture, society,
mission, family life and for everything. We simply cannot accept this,
especially now that it has come to a global level, we say no."
The global south group within the Anglican Communion worldwide,
comprises Africa, Latin America and Asia will meet in October in London
to decide what action it will take following the recent confirmation of
an openly homosexual bishop by the Episcopal Church.
Lekan is VIRTUOSITY'S Nigerian correspondent.
Monday, August 25, 2003
What happens if I sin?
T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T
August 25, 2003
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott
Growing and Continuing (cont'd.)
483. What happens if I sin?
'But what happens if and when I sin?' you may ask. 'Do I
then forfeit my sonship and cease to be God's child?' No.
Think of the analogy of a human family. A boy is
offensively rude to his parents. A cloud descends on the
home. There is tension in the atmosphere. Father and son
are not on speaking terms. What has happened? Has the boy
ceased to be a son? No. Their relationship has not
changed; it is their fellowship which has been broken.
Relationship depends on birth; fellowship depends on
behaviour. As soon as the boy apologizes, he is forgiven.
And forgiveness restores fellowship. Meanwhile, his
relationship has remained the same. He may have been
temporarily a disobedient, and even a defiant, son; but he
has not ceased to be a son.
So it is with the children of God.
--From "Basic Christianity" (rev. edn. London: IVP; 1971),
Saint Bartholomew the Apostle (Tr. from 24 August)
O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, August 24, 2003
The Tenth Sunday after Trinity.
LET thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pedophile Ex-Priest Is Killed in Prison
By ROBERT O'NEILL, Associated Press Writer
BOSTON - Former priest John Geoghan, the convicted child molester whose prosecution sparked the sex abuse scandal that shook the Roman Catholic Church nationwide, died Saturday after being attacked in prison.
Preliminary indications are that Geoghan, 68, was strangled, Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte said. An autopsy will be conducted Monday.
Conte said fellow inmate Joseph L. Druce, 37, attacked Geoghan shortly before noon Saturday. Geoghan died at 1:17 p.m., shortly after he was taken to UMass Memorial Health Alliance, Leominster Campus, Conte said.
Druce, who received a life sentence in 1989 for murder, armed robbery and other counts, was placed in isolation and will face murder charges in Geoghan's death, Conte said. In 2001, Druce was charged with mailing a threatening letter containing white powder and indicating it was contaminated with anthrax.
The attack took place shortly after lunchtime at Souza-Baranowski Correction Center, about 30 miles northwest of Boston, Department of Correction spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said. Geoghan was being held in protective custody to shield him from the general prison population, but he had some contact with other inmates in protective custody.
In civil lawsuits, more than 130 people have claimed Geoghan sexually abused them as children during his three decades as a priest at Boston-area parishes. He was convicted last year of indecent assault and battery for fondling a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool.
Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney for many Geoghan victims, said he was "surprised and shocked" by Geoghan's death.
"Many of my clients would have rather seen Father Geoghan serve out his time in jail and endure the rigors of further criminal trials, so that his pedophile acts could have been exposed further," he said.
Geoghan often targeted boys from broken homes, ingratiating himself during frequent visits or fun outings. One victim said Geoghan molested him as the two were driving home from getting an ice cream cone. Others said Geoghan molested them after visiting their rooms at bedtime to tuck them in, sometimes while whispering prayers.
The church sex abuse scandal, which has had repercussions worldwide, broke in early 2002 with revelations that the Boston Archdiocese had shuttled Geoghan from parish to parish despite warnings about his behavior.
The scandal mushroomed after a judge ordered the release of archdiocese files involving dozens of priests, showing repeated examples of the archdiocese shipping priests to different parishes when allegations arose.
Soon dioceses and bishops across the country came under scrutiny for their handling of abuse allegations over the years, with the church tainted by scandal in many states. With the public outcry reaching a new crescendo, the bishops adopted a toughened policy against sex abuse and more than 325 priests of the roughly 46,000 American clergy were either dismissed or resigned from their duties in the year after the Geoghan case.
David Clohessy, national director of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said what made Geoghan's case more "than just a single case about a single predator" was that it revealed the corruption in the church.
"In many respects, Geoghan is not the pivotal figure, it's the people who he wounded and still came forward and the bishops who enabled him but were finally exposed," he said.
Geoghan was ousted from the priesthood in 1998 at the urging of Cardinal Bernard Law. The Geoghan case was one of several that led to Law resigning in December over his mishandling of abuse cases.
Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, offered prayers for Geoghan's family.
"Upon hearing the news of the tragic death of John Geoghan, the Archdiocese of Boston offers prayer for the repose of John's soul, and extends its prayers in consolation to his beloved sister, Kathy, at this time of personal loss," he said.
Geoghan was convicted in January 2002 for grabbing the buttocks of a 10-year-old boy in 1991 in the first of three criminal cases against him. He was sentenced to nine to 10 years in prison.
Most of the allegations against Geoghan did not lead to criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired.
In September 2002, the archdiocese settled with 86 Geoghan victims for $10 million, after pulling out of an earlier settlement of about $30 million.
One of those victims, Ralph DelVecchio, said Geoghan deserved prison but didn't deserve to be killed.
"I wouldn't say he deserved to die, you know?" DelVecchio said. "He was in jail — that's where I believed he should be."
DelVecchio said he didn't wish ill on Geoghan.
"It's over with," he said.
A recent report by state Attorney General Thomas Reilly estimated that more than 1,000 children were abused by priests in the Boston archdiocese in the last 60 years. The Boston Archdiocese has offered $65 million to settle cases filed by more than 540 alleged victims.
On Saturday, the archdiocese announced that four priests had taken voluntary leaves of absence in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. The church had asked the priests to step aside until the alleged incidents — all said to have occurred decades ago — are investigated and resolved.
Saturday, August 23, 2003
Worth many looks
The N.T. Wright page.
A Parallel Jurisdiction by Maurice M. Benitez, Bishop of Texas, Retired
[Bishop Benitez has given his permission for the dissemination of the following.]
To my brother, George (McGonigle), and Father Clavier, and others who have
commented on this subject:
I cannot comprehend why those members of ECUSA who won big on votes to
approve Robinson , and to allow the Blessing of Same Sex Unions, would be
surprised or angry that a number of us evangelicals in ECUSA want to leave
ECUSA and form a parallel Jurisdiction, a new realigned Anglican Province
in the United States.
I am devoted to the Anglican Communion and treasure our Anglican Faith and
heritage, but I no longer want to be a part of ECUSA, a Province with its
continuing theological revisionism away from the Faith and Practice of the
rest of the Communion, as well as from the Biblical teachings of the One,
Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I am not angry or mad at anyone. However, I am heartsick over the
direction that ECUSA has taken in recent years, a Church that I have loved
and served as best I could for a lifetime. I no longer want to be a part
of a Province that displays the sheer arrogance that our recent General
Convention displayed toward the rest of the Anglican Communion, the
majority of whose Primates pleaded with us not to take the action that we
took on Gene Robinson at Minneapolis, and over which so many are now
grieving for us. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury fervently asked us to
refrain from taking that action for the sake of the unity of the
Communion, yet we showed utter disregard for the rest of the Communion.
Numbering 2% of the membership of the Anglican Communion, we have acted
like we owned it all. Such arrogance! The Ugly American all over again!
And I no longer want to be a part of a Province that departs from 2,000
years of bedrock Christian teaching about marriage, the family, and
sexuality. I don't want to be a part of a Province that does not believe
that sexual behavior outside of marriage is wrong in the sight of God.
God knows that I am not demanding that the Church be sinless, for no such
body comprised of humans does exist. However, I do want the Church to
believe that the answer to sin is repentance, forgiveness, and amended
lives, instead of simply by decision of General Convention to declare that
conduct that Holy Scripture and Christian Tradition have regarded as
sinful for 2,000 years, is no longer wrong in the sight of God.
Heck, I can go on! I no longer, want be a part of a Province where the
Retired Bishop of Newark can , as he did three years ago, issue publicly
his 12 Theses, which blatantly denied every cardinal doctrine of the
Christian Faith, completely discarding the Trinity, the Incarnation, and
the Atonement! Furthermore, there was no action of condemnation or
disassociation with the radical theology of that bishop, nor even a polite
word of censure, from our House of Bishops, and that bishop remains a
bishop in good standing in ECUSA.
Frankly, I do not know why the liberal revisionist wing of ECUSA would not
be delighted to see us evangelicals and conservatives, Anglo Catholics
and mainstream Episcopalians, depart and become a part of a new Province
in the USA. Just think about future General Conventions, when thorny
issues arise, like a Robinson vote, or the proposed adoption of a new
liturgy for the Blessing of Same Sex Unions for the whole of ECUSA, they
could pass unanimously, with little if any debate!!
To what I have said, upholding the idea of a parallel Jurisdiction, a new
realigned second Anglican Province in the USA, some will cry, "Schism!"
Some will raise the familiar mantra, "Schism is worse than heresy! It is
the worst sin of all!" Well, I will take them seriously only when they
start calling for all of us Anglicans, Schismatics of the 16th Century, to
return to the Roman Catholic Church!!
George (McGonigle) , my brother, I agree wholeheartedly with you, that
such an idea as a parallel Jurisdiction would be incredibly complex, and
difficult to establish, and might take some time, but I, for one, would
like to see it happen!! LET'S SPLIT!! +Ben
Maurice M. Benitez
Bishop of Texas, Retired
T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T
August 23, 2003
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott
Growing and Continuing (cont'd.)
481. A hearty appetite
There is perhaps no greater secret of progress in Christian
living than in healthy, hearty spiritual appetite. Again
and again Scripture addresses its promises to the hungry.
God 'satisfied him who is thirsty, and the hungry he fills
with good things' (Ps. 107:9). If we are conscious of slow
growth, is the reason that we have a jaded appetite? It is
not enough to mourn over past sin; we must also hunger for
--From "The Message of the Sermon on the Mount" (The Bible
Speaks Today series: Leicester and Downers Grove: IVP,
1978), p. 45.
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 214, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Episcopal feud helps to heal historic divide
S.C. diocese reaches out to Reformed group
BY DAVE MUNDAY
Of The Post and Courier Staff
Not a bad article at all, although Munday could have been a bit more detailed regarding the historical background of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He also was a bit inaccurate in catagorizing the REC in the Charleston area as "a network of local black churches that split over racial issues after the Civil War." I am a white Reformed Episcopal presbyter in the Charleston area, so we're not exclusively black and, in fact, never have been.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
REFORMED EPISCOPAL AD CENSORED BY HOUSTON CHRONICLE
The bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church recently released a statement on homosexuality in the wake of the ECUSA general convention.
It was been fairly widely published both on the Internet and in local
newspapers by of our parishes. It is printed below for reference.
Recently the REC parishes in Houston attempted to run the ad in the
upcoming Saturday Religion section of the Houston Chronicle (a left leaning
paper which has been notoriously unsupportive of traditional Anglicans
for years). The cost we were initially quoted for the 8 x 10 ad was
$2,000. However, after submission we were told that the ad violated
the paper's editorial policies and could not be run.
The only exception would be as a full page "political advocacy ad" in
the main section (not the religion section) for a price of $10,000.00.
Since the Houston Chronicle bought out its competition (the Houston
Post) in 1994 (for $93,000,000 for the sole purpose of closing it down)
so as to establish a near monopoly, Houstonians have endured repeated
increases in ad rates, a sharp shift to the left politically, and more
and more reliance on wire service stories.
While Richard Vara, the religion editor, who is Roman Catholic, is
respected and appears to be a fair minded individual, the same cannot
be said for the higher authorities that decide the over all slant of the
paper editorially. The ECUSA Diocese of Texas, one of the most
corporatist in the Episcopal Church, while not radically revisionist is
hardly the "conservative" bastion the Chronicle makes it appear to be.
The paper is humorously known as the Houston Comical or the Houston
Barnacle by the more conservative parts of the public.
Here is the "offensive" statement which the Chronicle refuses to print
lest the Les/Bi/Gay lobby be offended: (I hope you will give this the
widest possible circulation)
A Reformed Episcopal Response to ECUSA General Convention
August 8, 2003
The Reformed Episcopal Church disagrees with and is saddened over the
Episcopal Church's confirmation of a divorced, practicing homosexual to
the Episcopacy and their failure to condemn the blessing of same sex
unions. At the 46th General Council of the REC (1990), the following
statement on sexuality was written based on the authority of the Holy
Scripture and historic Christian beliefs and ethics:
A Resolution regarding Christian Sexual Ethics
RESOLVED, that we, the 46th General Council of the Reformed Episcopal
Church, reaffirm the biblical standard given for the well-being of
1. That sexual intercourse should take place only between a man and a
woman who are married to each other.
2. That fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts are sinful in all
3. That Christian leaders are called to be exemplary in all spheres of
morality, including sexual morality, as a condition of being appointed
or remaining in office.
4. That the Church is called upon to show Christlike compassion to
those who have fallen into sexual sin, encouraging them to repent and
receive forgiveness, and offering the ministry of healing to all who
suffer physically or emotionally as a result of such sin.
(Adopted by the 46th General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church,
meeting at St. Mark's Reformed Episcopal Church, Jenkintown, PA,
Wednesday, May 23, 1990.)
The Articles of Religion, doctrinally subscribed to by the Reformed
Episcopal Church and most of the worldwide Anglican Communion, speak at
two particular points on the Scriptural parameters of the Church and its
councils. Article 20, "Of the Authority of the Church," states, "It is
not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's
Word written, . neither may it expound one place of scripture that it be
repugnant to another." Also Article 21 "Of the Authority of General
Councils" adds, "Forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be
not governed by the Spirit and the Word of God, they may err, and
sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God... unless it
may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture." Extending the
principles stated in Article 21, The error embraced at the Episcopal
Church's recent convention, pertaining to matters of sexuality and the
authority of Holy Scripture, should not be understood to be the
expression of the will of the Holy Spirit and therefore moves that
branch of Christ's Church away from the Historic Christian Faith.
Consequently, ECUSA's decisions will surely impair and impede
substantive ecumenical dialogue with the Reformed Episcopal Church.
These discussions have been recently chaired by the evangelical Bishop
of the Diocese of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Ed Salmon, along with the
competent administration of Dr. Tom Ferguson of the Ecumenical Office of
the Episcopal Church. The following resolution was the result of over
sixty years of meetings and discussions between the Episcopal and the
Reformed Episcopal Church:
Resolution 006 Ecumenism: Dialogue with the Reformed Episcopal Church
Resolved, That the General Convention receive with thanksgiving the
start of ecumenical dialogue with the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC)
and the Anglican Province of America (APA), occasioned by Resolution
D047 of the 73rd General Convention. Be it further,
Resolved, That the 1940 Report of the Committee on Approaches to Unity
of the Episcopal Church and the Report submitted to the Bishops of the
Anglican Communion by this Church concerning the validity of Holy Orders
of the Reformed Episcopal Church be referred to the Standing Commission
on Ecumenical Relations for study during the 2003-2006 triennium and
that the Commission report back to the 2006 General Convention on the
validity of Holy Orders of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
The 1998 Lambeth Conference (Resolution IV.11) and the 73rd General
Convention of the Episcopal Church (Resolution D039) have both requested
that Anglicans initiate ecumenical dialogue with "a view to the
reconciliation of all who own the Anglican tradition (Lambeth IV.11.b)."
The recognition and reconciliation of ordained ministries is part of the
Episcopal Church's commitment to seeking visible expression of unity and
a means to foster common mission and witness in the world. The status of
the Holy Orders of the Reformed Episcopal Church will be an important
component in any ecumenical discussion with that church. This issue was
first addressed in the 1940 Report of the Commission on Approaches to
Unity. This commission produced a favorable assessment of the Holy
Orders of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The Report was circulated to
Bishops of the Anglican Communion in December of 1941. The Second World
War precluded discussion of the report. Since no official action was
ever taken by the General Convention, this resolution asks the Standing
Commission on Ecumenical Relations to study and update, if necessary,
the previous report.
In early October of this year, the Reformed Episcopal Church will have
Bishops and General Committee meetings. A significant part of the agenda
will concern the negative impact of the Episcopal Church's recent
decisions regarding human sexuality on its relationship with the REC, as
well as the REC's potential relationship with the larger Anglican
Communion as expressed at the 1998 Lambeth meeting seeking, "A view to
the recognition and reconciliation of all who own the Anglican
tradition" (Lambeth IV.11.b). In the interim, the REC remains in prayer
for our brothers and sisters in Christ in ECUSA that they will come to
a better mind. We also most especially support and pray for the Bishops,
Presbyters, Deacons and Laity in ECUSA who stand for the Historic
Christian Faith, under the authority of Christ, who revealed His will
and commands, by the Holy Spirit, in Holy Scripture.
We will continue to honor our developing relationship with the American
Anglican Council, and our fellow participants of the U.S. Anglican
Congress, from which the Atlanta Covenant was derived, by
supporting "orthodox Anglicans" in any way that we can.
The Most Rev. Leonard W. Riches, Presiding Bishop and Bishop Ordinary,
Diocese of the North-East and Mid-Atlantic
The Rt. Rev. Royal U. Grote, Jr. Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of Mid-America
The Rt. Rev. James C. West Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of the South- East
The Rt. Rev. Ray R. Sutton, Ph.D. Chairman, of the Interchurch Relations
Two Resolutions from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
(As reported by The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon)
South Carolina Standing Commitee resolution #1
Resolution of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina
Monday, August 18, 2003
The Standing Committee recommends to the Bishop of the Diocese that he convene a special convention of the diocese prior to the Primates meeting in October 2003 for the following purposes:
• To encourage the Church in South Carolina
• To offer a motion to the Convention repudiating the actions of the General Convention meeting in Minneapolis in July 2003.
• To reaffirm our faithful membership in the Anglican Communion.
• To appeal to the Primates of the Anglican Communion to intervene in the pastoral crisis in the Episcopal Church.
• For such other purposes as may be just and proper in relation to these matters.
South Carolina Standing Committee resolution #2
Resolution Two of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina
Monday, August 18, 2003
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, holds that the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church has exceeded its authority and departed from its constitution, in confirming the election as bishop of a non-celibate homosexual man and in permitting same-sex blessings, separating itself from the Anglican Communion and from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, directly rejecting its solemn responsibility to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order, as set forth in Holy Scripture and in the Book of Common Prayer. These acts are held to be in conflict with the Canons of the Diocese of South Carolina and have no binding effect in this Diocese.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
A Happy and Eventful Day
Today was a busy but very happy day. I preached this morning at Liberty Reformed Episcopal Church in Jamestown, South Carolina. This afternoon at 4pm, I was ordered a Presbyter in the Church of God by the Rt. Rev. James C. West, Sr., D.D., Bishop of the Southeast of the REC. I was honored to have my friend and mentor, the Rev. R.J. Gore, Ph.D., Professor of Systematic Theology and Dean of Erskine Theological Seminary preach; a number of other friends, both clerical and laity, attended and participated.
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Monday, August 11, 2003
A Statement from the Dean Paul Zahl
Cathedral Church of the Advent
To the Parish Family and Friends of the Advent,
This is a comment on Tuesday's approval by the Episcopal Church's
General Convention of Gene Robinson to be the bishop of New Hampshire.
As your dean, I reject the Convention's action completely and without
qualification. It is a tragedy for me personally, as well as a tragedy,
I believe, for the whole Church.
Why do many of us feel so strongly about this?
First, and most important, the approval of Canon Robinson's election
demolishes the Good News of salvation. It demolishes salvation because
it asserts that what Scripture calls sin is not sin. When there is no
sin, there is no judgment. Without judgment, there can be no
repentance. Without repentance, there is no forgiveness. The
Convention's decision fashions a god who is oblivious to sin. It thus
denies the redemption of the world to a whole category of persons.
Second, Canon Robinson's election is against the plain teaching of the
Bible. The Old and New Testaments speak with one voice on this issue.
Third, the decision is arrogant in that it refuses to attend to the
clear wishes of the rest of our Communion world-wide.
What should we do? First, let's hear from our bishop when he returns
from Minneapolis. Most of us were reassured that Henry Parsley voted
against giving his consent to Gene Robinson. I am thankful for this. I
shall also consult the bishops who resisted it, especially Bishop
Duncan of Pittsburgh and Bishop Salmon of South Carolina. Mary and I
will consult with our friends overseas, and especially with George
Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. I am hopeful we will be
given the right way forward.
To those who disagree with this position, I recognize there are sincere
differences of opinion among Christian people. To the gay members of
our Advent community, I care deeply for you. That is from my heart. I
don't think this ever would have become a subject of public teaching
unless it had been forced upon us. For the first 25 years of my
ministry, I never once addressed the issue, nor felt I had to.
Finally, an image from George Pal's kitschy yet wonderful 1951 movie
entitled When Worlds Collide: In the movie, New York City is inundated
by a giant tidal wave. Only the Empire State Building is left standing
above the waves. Like that image, I believe the Word of God stands
forever (Isaiah 40:8; I Peter 1:25). When the tide of this age recedes,
as I am confident it will one day, I hope that you and I, and our
beloved Church of the Advent, will be left standing, as well.
The Very Rev. Dr. Paul F. M. Zahl is Dean of the Cathedral Church of the
A Hate Crime in Texas
FIRE SET IN ORTHODOX EPISCOPAL PARISH. POLICE SITE HATE CRIMES
A message from the Rev. Scott Wooten, vicar of the Episcopal Church of
the Holy Spirit in Graham, Texas.
Friends in Christ,
On Tuesday, August 5th, late in the night, the Episcopal Church of the
Holy Spirit in Graham Texas, located in the Diocese of Fort Worth, was
vandalized, and a portion of it was set ablaze.
The main church was littered with food from the kitchen and candle wax
from the altar. The parish hall received the same treatment. The office
area was set on fire. The only lead the police have is writing on the
wall: "God and Jesus love Homosexuals."
A hate crime, probably; committed against orthodox Episcopalians. The
thought of an active persecution crossed my mind when I decided to take
a stand against Biblical revisionists, but it turned very personal when
it hit my church.
You see, in that office was a desk, given as a present for graduation
from seminary, the chair was my deceased grandfather's; he practiced
medicine for 55 years sitting in that chair.
The stoles in my office were from my childhood parish priest, now also
deceased, who first encouraged my calling to the priesthood. All was
destroyed or damaged by this action.
My small mission congregation has been shaken; this type of hate and
violence are not common in small towns. The politics of hate became
very real to me this week, I ask your prayers for my mission family,
and for God to give me the words to comfort my flock.
Reports of damages will be filed with Church Insurance Company, and repairs
will be underway soon.
The Rev. Scott Wooten â€
Episcopal Church Commits Spiritual Suicide by Mike McManus
Ethics & Religion
Episcopal Church Commits Spiritual Suicide
by Michael J. McManus
The Episcopal Church, once the proud home of 11 U.S. Presidents,
committed spiritual suicide this week when its bishops and deputies to
a General Convention approved the election of world's first bishop to
divorce his wife and enter an open homosexual relationship with a male
In effect, the church crucified itself on the cross of a behavior
condemned in Scripture two millennia before AIDS appeared to kill
nearly a million homosexual Americans.
The House of Bishops voted 62-43 to approve bishop-elect of New
Hampshire, V. Gene Robinson, a day after the vote was postponed due to
sexual charges filed against him.
Moments after the vote, 19 conservative bishops, slowly walked to
the front of the assembled bishops. "This body has divided itself for
millions of Anglican Christians around the world, brothers and sisters
who have pleaded with us to maintain the church's traditional teaching
on marriage and sexuality," Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan said.
"With grief too deep for words, the bishops who stand before you must
reject this action."
Duncan said that he and his colleagues called upon the top leaders
of the Anglican Communion, the 38 primates of 72 million Anglicans to
intervene in the "pastoral emergency that has overtaken the church. May
God have mercy on this church."
The next day the schism was plainly visible as 47 bishops were
absent and entire delegations were gone from the House of Deputies.
Others wore black arm bands or ashes of mourning, such as the Rev.
Kendall Harmon, who read a statement, signed by dozens, saying "This
church will never be the same again." He denounced "overturning the
unambiguous moral teaching" of the universal church, that he said "must
be corrected by the Anglican Communion."
However, most of the Episcopal Church delegates rejoiced over
Robinson's election. "It's a great day for the church," said the Rev.
Sandye Wilson of Minnesota. "This is a church which has finally
understood that men and women created in the vision of God can be the
guardians of the faith - and be gay or lesbian."
Robinson himself, standing with his grown daughter and partner,
Mark Andrew, said, "God is doing a new thing...I am proud to be in a
church which works to be a safe place for all of God's children." He
predicted that when Episcopalians "go to church on Sunday, it is going
to look pretty much like last Sunday."
Not really. Certainly, the numbers will be thinner. Traditional
believers are being driven out of the church. You've seen those rusting
signs, "The Episcopal Church welcomes you." Since 1965, the church has
lost a third of its members, 1.3 million people including this writer.
Half of the church's 7,360 congregations have less than 37 souls.
"Conservative Episcopalians are threatening to withhold millions
of dollars in parish donations and form a separate U.S. church,"
reports Julia Duin in "The Washington Times."
The drive for that move comes from the American Anglican Council,
which said the Episcopal Church "shattered the Anglican family" and
"departed from the historic Christian faith." It called for an October
meeting in Texas of conservative Episcopalians with representatives of
the world Anglican Communion.
A day after approving Robinson's election, the House of Bishops
voted by an overwhelming voice vote to allow individual dioceses to
bless same-sex unions. In its only concession to conservatives, the
bishops did not call for creating an official church liturgy.
"They passed a local option, and a local option translates into
anything goes," said Rev. David C. Anderson, president of the American
The vote on Robinson was expected Monday, but was postponed when
two charges of sexual impropriety surfaced. One was an email from a
Vermont Episcopalian alleging that Robinson "put his hands on me
inappropriately." An investigation revealed that he was touched only
on his shoulder and back, which seems innocuous.
The other allegation came from David Virtue, whose website,
virtuosityonline.org, cited OUTRIGHT, an Internet site of a group that
Robinson helped create for "young gay, lesbian, bisexual and
questioning people ages 22 and under."
It provided links to Internet sites such as www.threepillows.com
with hard core pornography. Virtue charged, "This is youth ministry
like you have never seen it. Rather than leading young people to a
saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, it offers adolescents a church-
affirmed invitation to...perverse sex."
The hard core links, which Robinson said he was unaware of, were
removed within hours. However the site still has perverted material,
such as a posting by OLD GOAT "looking for a young/slim attractive/
married male on the femm side for casual sex."
Pro-Homosexual Decisions Spur Nasty Calls Even to Continuers
Note: Although the Reformed Episcopal Church is not a "Continuing" church, I have personally experienced some strange looks and/or questions when I've been in clericals the past week or so. Strange times indeed.
Pro-Homosexual Decisions Spur Nasty Calls Even to Continuers
By Auburn Traycik
The Christian Challenge
August 9, 2003
SO BLACKENED has the Episcopal General Convention's pro-gay decisions
made the Episcopal and Anglican names around the country, that some
people are even making nasty calls to Continuing Anglican parishes--
congregations which maintain historic faith and order.
One congregation was accused by a caller of being "sodomites."
The calls follow the Episcopal Church convention's consent this past
week to the consecration of Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop, and
to local option on same-sex union rites.
While the watershed decisions have caused some Episcopalians to seek
refuge in the Continuum, others who do not understand its position have
"tarred it with the same rotten brush " as ECUSA.
"There is a serious reaction going on...`Anglican' is a dirty word
right now, because of this, and it hurts our witness," one Continuing
Church cleric, the Rev. Charles Nalls of the Anglican Province of the
King, told TCC. He said that several APCK parishes had received angry
Yet Continuers, he said, are "the ones who oppose this and warned of
Nalls added that officials from the APCK and its dialogue partner, the
Anglican Catholic Church, are considering what steps they need to take
to clarify their position and distinguish it clearly from ECUSA's in
the public mind.
To provide fuller coverage of this matter, TCC is seeking information
on similar complaints which may have been received by other Continuing
or "separated" Anglican/Episcopal parishes. Please contact the magazine
at CHRISTIAN.CHALLENGE@ecunet.org or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have
anything of this nature to report.
ACKERMAN: "GENERAL CONVENTION LIKE WITNESSING AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT"
Beloved in Christ,
I greet you in the Name of the most holy and glorious Trinity, the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit whose servants we are.
I have just returned from the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal
Church that was convened in Minneapolis Minnesota. First and foremost
I wish to thank God for your faithfulness and your prayers. The
organized Prayer Cycle that engaged those of you who responded to your
priests' invitation meant that we were literally covered in prayer
every single hour of the day. This is a reflection of the fact that in
our Diocese our first priority is to pray. I wish to thank Candice
Hogden Spencer for organizing this watch through the auspices of the
Also wish to commend to your prayers of thanksgiving those who
represented our Diocese so well as agents of peace, truth, and love.
Those whom you elected to be your Deputies, those who attended the ECW
Triennium, and those who volunteered their time have represented the
Diocese well. As I wrote to you last week, our deputation is quite
unique, for we gathered together three times per day: in the morning
for Morning Prayer, at lunch time, and almost every night for Supper
followed by fellowship and the recitation of Compline.
I am writing this to you just hours after returning from Minneapolis,
and I am unpacking a variety of things, from suitcases to emotions and
memories. The General Convention is a bit like witnessing an
automobile accident. Even though it was one occurrence all of the
witnesses report something different. Due to the unwieldy size of the
Convention there is a constant atmosphere of chaos and ambiguity. I
have been receiving an average of 250 e-mails per day regarding the
general Convention, and I have heard numerous reports related to what
occurred at the General Convention. It would lead me to wonder if I
were at the same general Convention they attended. In other words, the
spin that has been placed on the issues at the convention has turned
tightly both ways! But, just as it will take me a few days to unpack
all my papers and documents, it will take days to unpack what really
happened. Therefore, for me to report what did and did not happen in
this letter would be premature because even as we speak the reaction to
this general Convention by our worldwide Anglican brothers and sisters
is pouring in.
In spite of the thousands of resolutions and canonical changes that
were considered virtually around the clock, there will be only several
issues that will engage the media. Therefore I ask you to be patient
in the days ahead. I ask you to choose your words carefully, and I ask
you not to react until all the information is in. Beginning this week
I will prepare a packet of information that will include numerous
documents which will be sent to every priest, deacon, and church in the
Diocese. I will send a cover letter charting what has transpired, and I
will devote a Clergy Day in September to all of the matters at hand. I
will also ask each parish priest to invite one member of the Vestry,
Bishop's Committee or Cathedral Chapter to attend that clergy day, so
that you may hear from your Bishop and Deputies.
The most inappropriate action at this time is to overreact. The most
appropriate action is to pray. As you may have heard the Archbishop of
Canterbury has called for an unprecedented emergency meeting of the
Primates of the Anglican Communion to discuss the international
implications of the 74th general Convention. I will certainly continue
to send to each church updated information to keep you apprised of what
In the mean time, I want you to know how humbled I am to be your
Bishop. Satan wishes to scatter the sheep and send them to other
pastures. The Good Shepherd seeks to take his sheep into verdant
pastures, and I, as a servant of the Lord will spend two weeks of
vacation seeking to know the mind of Christ, the Good Shepherd who laid
down his life for His sheep.
Please be assured of my love for you and my desire that we "hold fast
to what is good. Love and serve the Lord in gladness and singleness of
heart, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit."
With love in Christ,
The Rt. Revd Keith L. Ackerman, SSC
DIOCESE OF QUINCY
Akinola: "It is those heretics who will leave the church"
From Hendrix Oliomogbe
(BENIN)--THOUGH piqued by the recent decision of its affiliate United
States Episcopal Church to appoint an openly gay bishop, the Canon,
Gene Robinson of New Hampshire Diocese, the Church of Nigeria, Anglican
Communion does not intend to break ranks with its overseas counterpart.
Stating this yesterday in Benin, Edo State was the Primate of the
Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Dr. Peter Akinola.
Akinola told The Guardian that homosexuality was an aberration which
the church could not in anyway condone, adding that it was one of the
vices that came after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
Insisting that it was not part of God's original plan for man, the
primate noted that there was no threat of schism within the church. "We
are not breaking away from any church. What will happen is that it is
those heretics who will leave the church; we will send them away if
they do not repent. We will not leave the church," he said.
Describing the Anglican Church as an orthodox group which holds on
tenaciously to the truth, Akinola said that it was those who were
bringing in innovations, the so-called liberates that would leave the
church. According to him, their attempts at imposing man's will on
God's will be doomed.
The church has been in turmoil ever since the ex-controversial decision
of the United States' Episcopal Church to vote Robinson as the new
bishop of New Hampshire. Some have threatened to quit the church in
protest against the decision.
The outraged archbishop explained that his expectation was that their
partners in God's church would be of common mind on such fundamental
issues and that any church that deviated from the norm was supposed to
quickly leave on its own accord and save the 70 million-member church
Already, consultations are on among the different parts of the
Communion with a view to finding an amicable solution. "There will be a
meeting very soon. We are consulting at present and by the end of the
consultation, we will take a decision. It will not be too long," he
A Pastoral Letter from the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, SSC, D.D., Episcopal Bishop of Fort Worth
A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop
To be read at all services in every congregation of
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
on Sunday, August 10, 2003.
The Diocesan Bishop may deliver, from time to time, a Charge to
the Clergy of the Diocese and a Pastoral Letter to the people of the Diocese
on points of doctrine, discipline, or worship. The Bishop may require
the Clergy to read the Pastoral Letter to their Congregations.
Dear People of God,
I write to you as your Chief Pastor at the conclusion of the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. No doubt you already have seen and heard in the public media about some alarming decisions made at the Convention that depart from the Church’s traditional teaching on sexual morality and marriage. It has been a troubling time for your Convention Deputies and for me as we have sought to uphold Biblical authority on two specific matters.
First, our entire Deputation voted against the approval given by the General Convention for the consecration of a practicing homosexual to become a Bishop of this Church in the Diocese of New Hampshire. Second, we also voted against the resolution that now allows the blessing of same-sex unions in the Episcopal Church.
We are deeply saddened that the Convention has endorsed these two schismatic acts, for they alienate us from the worldwide Anglican Communion and repudiate the clear teaching of Holy Scripture. These decisions have wounded the Body of Christ and left us more divided and broken than ever before. By these two decisions, the Episcopal Church, which we love and treasure, has violated its own Constitution which commits us as a Church to "upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order" of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
As faithful Episcopalians, we grieve with other Christians who are shocked and offended by these decisions. Many members of this Diocese already have communicated to me that they feel their Church has betrayed them and abandoned the teaching of the Bible. As a Diocese, we must stand with mainstream Anglicans around the world in defense of the faith and unity of the Church. The Episcopal Church is the only Province of the 38 Provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion to make such catastrophic innovations as we have done at this Convention.
Already a series of meetings has been called, both here and abroad, to consider the best way to respond to this crisis. In response to an appeal by orthodox Bishops here in the United States to intervene in the pastoral emergency that confronts us, the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a special meeting of all the Primates of the Anglican Communion in London in early October. Along with many others, I believe that the actions of this General Convention have set in motion a process that will lead to a realignment of the Anglican Communion. At this time, it is impossible to say exactly what form that might take.
What does all of this mean for us in the Diocese of Fort Worth? I want to reassure all of you that we will remain faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the clear teaching of the Bible as the Word of God. This General Convention has abandoned the historic teaching of the Church on matters of human sexuality, but we have not and we will not. I repudiate and disassociate us from the decision to consecrate an openly gay man as a Bishop, and I forbid our priests to bless same-sex unions under any circumstances.
I have scheduled a meeting of our clergy to talk about this crisis on Saturday, August 16th. In early October, some of us will be meeting with hundreds of other Episcopal Church leaders in Plano, Texas, in order to network with several other Dioceses and to clarify how we are to go forward together. As these deliberations take place and the situation unfolds, I will be in communication with all of you. Our Diocesan Convention will be addressing these concerns when we meet on November 7 and 8, 2003. In the meantime, I ask every member of this Diocese to continue to do what you have been doing: Continue to be faithful in worship and in witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Continue to work, pray, and give for the spread of God’s Kingdom in the world.
All of you are in my prayers, and I ask your prayers for the unity of the Church. Pray for the courage, love and peace we all need in order to face these troubled times. As your Bishop, I renew my commitment to be a faithful pastor of the flock entrusted to my care and to guard and defend the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God. May the Lord in His goodness continue to protect and guide us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
Sunday, August 10, 2003
Bishop Kelshaw on GC
Bishop's Pastoral Letter from General Convention
Terence, by divine permission Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio
Grande, to my beloved sisters and brothers in our family of
On Tuesday, August 5, 2003, after the House of Bishops voted to
confirm the election of a person sexually active outside of holy
matrimony as the Bishop of New Hampshire, I stood with some
twenty other bishops to reject this unprecedented action of
General Convention. We stood deeply conscious of our
responsibility as bishops to guard the faith of the Church. It
was perfectly clear to us that a new and alien teaching had been
introduced, one which will inevitably distance the Episcopal
Church from other Christian churches, both here and abroad.
Already it has brought deep division and turmoil to our common
We have accordingly called on the Archbishop of
Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to
intervene in the pastoral emergency that now exists in the
Episcopal Church. Our intention is to stand in our places and
work to reconnect our dioceses and congregations to the vibrant
and faithful life that characterizes the greater part of the
Anglican fellowship of churches.
Often I have shared with you my own convictions about
ministry in a theologically conflicted church. This has been
especially on my mind these last days and given me much
Richard Baxter was an Anglican clergyman who lived from
1615 to 1691 and is often referred to as a member of the Puritans
which in England at the time described somebody who was
evangelical and catholic. As Rector of Kidderminster, he was an
amazing pastor and preacher and his sermons on the reformed
pastor were delivered to a clerical fraternity called the
Worcestershire association which fixed a day of fasting and
prayer regularly and invited Baxter to preach. His first sermon
was on the text from Acts 20:28 - "Take heed therefore unto
yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has
made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has
purchased with his own blood." This is what he had to say about
"Though we teach our people, as officers set over them in the
Lord, yet may we teach one another, as brethren in office, as
well as in the faith ... A short sermon, but not soon learned!
Had the bishops and teachers of the Church but thoroughly learned
this short exhortation, though to the neglect of many a volume
which has taken up their time ... how happy it would be for the
church and for themselves! See that the work of saving grace be
thoroughly wrought in your own souls. Take heed to yourselves,
lest you be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to
others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that gospel
which you preach."
At this General Convention in 2003, I have been forced
again and again to return to Richard Baxter and to his teaching
on the life of a reformed pastor. The book is little known to
most Episcopal clergy, I suspect, and would be probably too hard
in its lessons for many to read carefully. You have heard me say
many times that there is a mighty job to do within the Episcopal
Church and that my reason for remaining a bishop within it is
based upon my commitment to the people of God in the Rio Grande.
Over most of my episcopate, there has hovered a series of clouds
of tumult and dispute. Mostly occasioned, I believe, by our
insistence on placing God and His word on the anvil of our
opinions rather than being ourselves placed on the anvil of His
word to be clearly and graciously shaped there by His Holy
Spirit. Out of my commitment for the catholic faith and the
Anglican Communion, I have often referred to another great
reformed Anglican, George Whitfield, who at a previous time of
turmoil in the Church of England was asked by the students of the
theological college whether it was not time to leave the
Communion. His response was this:
"The Church of England is rather like a huge wooden ship limping
into harbor overburdened with much cargo and a great deal of it
being cargo it should not be carrying. Oftentimes its crew is
inexperienced or unenthusiastic, but we should stay with the
ship. Until they forbid you to preach the gospel, we should stay
aboard and help it to harbor."
While my heart wants to say with George Whitfield, "Let's
stay in the Church and remain firm to its catholic heritage," my
head recognizes that there are those in our Church who do not
come to search after truth but who dictate to others often with
an arrogant and domineering spirit. I am therefore forced into
committing myself to those in the diocese both individuals and
congregations to offer such help as I possibly can if it becomes
clearly apparent to them that they ought to move on to other
pastors of Christian community. For the health and salvation of
congregations, I will not stand in the way of those who desire an
exit or for those who wish to bring into their communities from
time to time faithful and godly preachers and teachers who have
previously left us for organizations such as the Anglican Mission
in America or its equivalent in Canada. I am sorry to be the
bearer of such negative news from the General Convention, but I
can assure you that your delegation was faithful both to the Word
of God and to their conscience without losing sight of what they
have sensed is the response of our diocese.
Clearly, we have work and mission yet to do. We have new
congregations that need stronger establishment, and we have
people who are yet outside the Church but who need God's grace in
their lives. I know a number of you have said to me how
difficult it is to make the Episcopal Church attractive when this
kind of legislation is so unhelpful to the work and mission in
most places. Certainly there are one or two places that this
kind of news is heartily acceptable, but by far the majority of
you express a sense of embarrassment to be an Episcopalian.
Indeed, I have had a number of clergy ask me how soon they can
take the word Episcopal from off their church note paper and
publicity, and my response has been "do it now." Under God's
grace, there can be a revival of faith and we can focus our
images on winning the churched for Christ in building up the
Kingdom of God rather than expanding a bureaucracy - the Church
and the Kingdom are not synonymous. While I cannot say, "Hang on
and see what happens," I will say, "Become more energized in
making our issue the winning of men, women, young people, and
children for Christ."
Let me close with a final comment from Richard Baxter:
"Never does sin so reign in the church or state, as when it has
gained reputation, or, at least, is no disgrace to the sinner,
nor a matter of offence to we who behold it."
Brothers and sisters, set yourselves clearly for the work
of salvation and follow it diligently, and even if you do it
silently, do not neglect the ministry that God has given you.
And to the clergy let me say zealously, "Contend for the faith of
Christ and help us to be a group of disciples making disciples."
Let us pray for the Church.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Terence Kelshaw
Bishop, Rio Grande
The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.
O GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturday, August 09, 2003
A STATEMENT CONCERNING GENERAL CONVENTION
BY THE BISHOPS OF THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL CHURCH
& ANGLICAN PROVINCE OF AMERICA
For nearly a year now, the Anglican Province of America and the
Reformed Episcopal Church (who together include 16,000 members) have been
engaged in ecumenical talks with the Episcopal Church, USA (see ENS article
2003-012). Also, General Convention approved unanimously resolution B006,
giving thanks for that dialogue. Although we are profoundly grateful for that
resolution, we do feel obliged to respond to the other developments of General
First, bishops and deputies lawfully representing the entire
Episcopal Church have confirmed the election of The Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson,
an openly homosexual priest, as the new bishop of New Hampshire. The APA
considers this a serious departure from classical Anglican practice. Second,
bishops and deputies have approved a resolution recognizing that "local faith
communities are operating within the bounds of [their] common life as they
explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions." As
any blessing within the Church is a blessing on behalf of the whole Church, this
practice cannot simply be dismissed as a local option. This too the APA
considers a serious departure from classical Anglican practice.
The Anglican Province of America believes these actions to be "contrary to God's
Word written" as spelled out in Article XX of the Articles of Religion. They
clearly create a serious impediment for the continuation of our ecumenical
We will continue to honor our long association with Forward in
Faith-North America, the developing relationship with the American Anglican
Council, and our fellow participants of the U.S. Anglican Congress, from which
the Atlanta Covenant was derived, by supporting the "mainstream Anglicans" in
any way that we can. Their bishops, clergy, and laity are very much in our
prayers, as are all the members of the Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Mark F.M. Clavier
Chairman of the Ecumenical Committee of the APA
(828) 891-7601 email@example.com