Palmetto Anglican
Friday, April 30, 2004
 
Holy worldliness


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T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 30, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church (cont'd.)

732. Holy worldliness
All down history the church has tended to go to extremes
.. Sometimes, in its proper determination to be holy, it
has withdrawn from the world and lost contact with it. At
other times, in its equally proper determination not to
lose contact, it has conformed to the world and become
virtually indistinguishable from it. But Christ's vision
for the church's holiness is neither withdrawal nor
conformity.

--From "The Contemporary Christian" (Leicester and Downers
Grove: IVP, 1992), p. 262.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 306, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

Thursday, April 29, 2004
 
THE BATTLE OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Gay bishop proves it's never too late to fall in love
With grandson in attendance, 78-year-old cleric marries same-sex partner


Rona Marech, Chronicle Staff Writer

The ceremony lasted two hours and 45 minutes. When it concluded, Otis Charles, the world's first openly gay Christian bishop, also became the world's first bishop to wed his same-sex partner in church.

Charles, an Episcopal bishop, married Felipe Sanchez Paris before several hundred people at St. Gregory's of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco over the weekend. The bishop says he was guided by his belief that all human beings are called upon to live as fully as they can.

That same precept guided him in 1993 when, at age 67, he announced he was gay.

"The single most powerful possibility for raising people's awareness and consciousness would be when in the church relationships are being blessed," said Charles, who turned 78 on his wedding day. "When people see that two human beings want to commit their lives together and are able to do that and have the desire to do that with the blessing of God.

"My 8-year-old grandson was there, and I think of what the world will be like when young people see two people can make a deep commitment to each other, and it has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with love."

A grand total of four different clergy helped officiate the wedding, which began with drumming and ended when Charles and Paris were lifted in chairs and carried outside. The ceremony included singing, dancing and opportunities for the guests and the betrothed to give impromptu speeches. Three of the couple's nine grown children participated in the wedding, welcoming the new spouse into the family by placing a lei around his neck.

David Perry, one of the best men, read from the poem "The Truelove" by David Whyte.

"If you wanted to drown you could," he read. "But you don't."

"I could barely get through it," Perry said. "This man had lived his life in fear of drowning and now he said, 'I'm tired of drowning.' "

Charles, who served as bishop of Utah for 15 years and then president of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., was married for 42 years and has five children. He told his wife he was gay in 1976, but he didn't come out publicly until he retired 11 years ago.

For years, Charles said, he told himself it would be too hard on the diocese, on his family, on his wife. But then keeping his secret became unbearably oppressive.

"I was ashamed of myself for remaining silent when the church was involved in an acrimonious debate about the whole question of gay people in the life of the church. I couldn't live with that any longer," he said. "I came to realize that I was only going to wither and die and it would be a destructive relationship for my wife and myself."

In a letter to fellow bishops, Charles wrote, "I will not remain silent, invisible, unknown."

The Episcopal Church continues to be highly divided over the issue of gay priests and same-sex marriage. Last year, in a hotly debated election, Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, became bishop of New Hampshire. The church had long held that it was possible to ordain gay priests, as long as they were celibate, but Robinson's election created a furor because he has a longtime partner. Robinson and Charles are the only two openly gay bishops to this day.

The question of whether to bless same-sex unions has also caused some internal strife: Though such unions aren't officially encouraged, the church has acknowledged that in some dioceses, officiating such ceremonies is common practice.

Charles and his wife ended their marriage soon after his public announcement. Nearly 70 and unsure "how to be gay," Charles moved to San Francisco. For the first year, he lived among Episcopal Franciscans and began to build a new life.

"What was nurturing was just simple things," he said. "Walking down the street seeing a rainbow flag or two men holding hands."

He directed a gay ministry. He went dancing. He had openly gay friends.

"At whatever age you come out, you have to live through whatever you've missed," he said. "Even though you're 67, you have to go through a process I associate with adolescence. Hopefully, you do it with a little more maturity and grace."

Two years ago, after some relationship fits and starts, he met Paris, 62, a retired professor and political organizer with four ex-wives and four children.

And the white-haired bishop fell in love.

"As people get older, they turn into two kinds. Some become thinner and wispier, and the lifeblood has gone out of them because they have regrets and there are some things you can't do anymore," said the Rev. Leng Lim, a friend who's also an Episcopalian priest. "Or there are people who become really alive to the moment, to the vulnerability that is there, to the love. Because they've worked through their own stuff. And Otis belongs to that second group. "

Several days after marrying, the couple took turns recounting the details of their wedding. True to form, Charles shed his bishop-like pensiveness and hopped out of his chair to sing and demonstrate a dance.

"See what I mean by energy?" said Paris, who has a habit of pausing mid- sentence to smile.

Charles is rarely at a loss for words, but reflecting on what had passed he said, "I don't think I can describe it, but I do feel different."

He touched his chest and stared at Paris for a long time.

"So," he said softly.


 
A resurrection religion


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T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 29, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church (cont'd.)

731. A resurrection religion
The church of Jesus Christ is today facing a major crisis
of faith. What is at stake is nothing less than the
essential character of Christianity: is the Christian
religion natural or supernatural? Various attempts are
being made to rid Christianity of its supernaturalism, to
reconstruct it without its embarrassing miracles. But
these efforts will be as fruitless as they are misguided.
You cannot reconstruct something by first destroying it.
Authentic Christianity -- the Christianity of Christ and
his apostles -- is supernatural Christianity. It is not a
tame and harmless ethic, consisting of a few moral
platitudes, spiced with a dash of religion. It is rather a
resurrection religion, a life lived by the power of God.

--From "Christ the Controversialist" (London: Tyndale
Press, 1970), p. 63.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 306, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.


 
CENTRAL FLORIDA: Mutual discernment, respectful negotiation avert property showdown

April 21, 2004

Memorandum to: The Clergy and People of the Diocese of Central Florida
From: Bishop John W. Howe
Regarding: The Church of the New Covenant

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you know, on February 5, 2004 the Rector and representatives of the Vestry of the Church of the New Covenant in Winter Springs informed the Chancellor and the Bishop of the Diocese that they had unanimously passed two resolutions the previous month. The first claimed that the Episcopal Church, USA, had abandoned its authority over the Church of the New Covenant, and the second set forth a process to transfer title of the property to a separate corporation not part of the Episcopal Church.

They claimed to speak for "95 to 100 percent" of the present congregation in wishing to "come out from under the authority of the Episcopal Church."

Our response was that those who wish to leave the Episcopal Church are free to do so, but clergy or members of a Vestry of an Episcopal church cannot make such resolutions while they are still in office. Accession to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church is a prerequisite to holding such an office in a local congregation. I instructed them that if they wished to leave the Episcopal Church they would have to resign their respective positions at the Church of the New Covenant.

Further, we advised them that transferring the title to the property without the prior approval of the Bishop, the Diocesan Board, and the Standing Committee would be illegal under the laws of both the Episcopal Church and (therefore) the State of Florida.

I asked them to rescind these two resolutions or resign "immediately." When over a week had passed without a response, the Chancellor filed a lawsuit with the Circuit Court of Seminole County to prevent the transfer of title. That same day the Vestry informed us they had, in fact, rescinded the second resolution regarding transferring title.

However, they then filed a countersuit arguing that the actions of last summer’s General Convention constituted such a departure from Anglican orthodoxy that the Episcopal Church has no further legitimate authority over the Church of the New Covenant. They asserted not only the "right" to separate themselves -- as the Church of the New Covenant -- but to take the property with them at a fraction of its current value, since CNC is essentially a one-generation church, and the present membership has paid nearly all of the costs of construction.

Both "sides" asked the Court for non-binding mediation (which the Court would have ordered, anyway). That mediation took place on April 12, 2004, and it resulted in a comprehensive agreement that was approved by the Diocesan Board, the Standing Committee, and the Vestry of the Church of the New Covenant on April 15, 2004. This agreement was arrived at after nearly 14 hours of mediation where many factors were under consideration.

The agreement includes the following particulars:

1) The Vestry of the Church of the New Covenant will rescind the resolution disavowing the authority of the Episcopal Church.

2) Both "sides" will dismiss the lawsuits without prejudice.

3) On or before June 1, 2004 the Rector and the members of the Vestry will resign, in order to form a new church entity.

4) I have agreed to write letters dimissory for the Rev. Carl Buffington to whatever Anglican Province or diocese he wishes to affiliate with.

5) Between now and June 1, 2004, I will contact the present members of the Church of the New Covenant (as will Fr. Buffington), to ascertain, on a confidential basis, their desire to remain members of the Church of the New Covenant, the Diocese of Central Florida, and the Episcopal Church USA, OR to leave to become part of the new church entity. I will assure those who wish to remain that the Bishop and the Diocese of Central Florida will continue to provide pastoral care for them.

6) The new church entity will lease the property from the Church of the New Covenant (via the Diocese of Central Florida) for one year, while providing space for the continuing congregation of the Church of the New Covenant to hold separate services of worship as it rebuilds itself under the leadership of new clergy who will be appointed by the Bishop.

7) Prior to the end of the one-year lease the Diocese of Central Florida will determine whether or not to utilize the property for a mission congregation or parish of the Diocese.

a. If the Diocese does determine to utilize the property for a mission or parish, the new church entity may extend the lease for one year while the new entity prepares to relocate elsewhere.

b. If the Diocese determines it will not utilize the property for a mission or parish of the Diocese it will agree to sell the property to the new church entity at Fair Market Value (as established by a mutually agreed appraisal), with an interest-free 30-year payout. If the new entity purchases the property, the lease payments will be credited toward this payout.

I am deeply saddened that we have arrived at this juncture, but I am grateful for the good will of all concerned, and the prayers of so many throughout the Diocese. It is my commitment to provide continuing pastoral care for those who wish to stay, and to say to those who wish to leave, "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord."

Warmest regards in him,

+John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida
1017 East Robinson Street
Orlando, Florida 32801
407-423-3567

 
Episcopal diocese presents theft case against priest
Officials want accused defrocked


By Frank E. Lockwood
HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER

April 20, 2004

The Rev. Chris Platt's finances were in chaos.

Divorced, bankrupt, unable to pay his bills, the Episcopal priest was struggling to get by on an annual compensation package of $79,000. The college chaplain and bishop's assistant couldn't pay his taxes without a loan from his employer. Unable to afford counseling, he had to ask the Lexington diocese to pay his psychologist's bills.

Despite the help, Platt spiraled out of control, eventually stealing almost $50,000 from church banking accounts, diocesan officials say.

Yesterday, a church tribunal began hearing Platt's case, reviewing dozens of suspicious checks signed by Platt, 56. The trial, the first of its kind in Lexington in at least three decades, pits Bishop Stacy Sauls against Platt, his former top assistant.

Church attorney Buck Hinkle told the court that Platt's 21-year ministry may have helped people, "but along the way something went wrong, seriously wrong. It cannot be overlooked. It cannot be swept under the rug."

Platt's attorney, Lee Van Horn, said his client committed no crimes and did nothing immoral. "If Father Platt had the good-faith belief that it was OK for him to write the checks that he did, that's not theft," Van Horn said. "It's our belief that, if this proceeding is fair and everyone does their job, he will be acquitted of the charges against him."

Diocesan officials have asked the ecclesiastical court to defrock Platt for committing a "crime" and for exhibiting "conduct unbecoming of a member of the clergy."

The panel, made up of three priests and two rank-and-file Episcopalians, has set aside the entire week to hear the case, although it could finish before Friday. Because it's a religious court, it has no power to fine or imprison the people it judges. But it could permanently remove Platt from the ministry.

On the trial's first day, the church made its case against Platt. Diocesan administrator Maggie Hall testified that Platt misused three separate church accounts: the bishop's discretionary fund and two accounts belonging to St. Augustine's Chapel, the Episcopal Church's student ministry at the University of Kentucky.

Platt allegedly wrote himself 19 checks worth $13,020. He wrote an additional 53 "for cash," checks totalling $13,930, Hall said. Another church check, for $250, was mailed to American Express, apparently to pay for Platt's private account, Hall said. In addition, Platt apparently used church money to make payments on a personal loan from BankOne, she said.

It's unclear what many of the checks were used for since Platt kept poor records and little documentation, Hall said. Some of the expenses that are documented are unusual for an Episcopal priest. Platt paid his National Rifle Association dues and purchased a book called Erotique with church money.

Yesterday afternoon, Platt told the Herald-Leader that the purchases were appropriate. Platt said the NRA membership helped him be a better spiritual adviser for UK police officers. The book, Platt said, was for a class at the chapel on art development and stained glass.

When confronted last year by Hall and diocesan treasurer Thomas J. Robbins about suspicious withdrawals from the bishop's fund, Platt got agitated, Robbins told the court.

"He was visibly upset. He physically was shaking," Robbins said of the March 2003 confrontation. "He did not provide explanations for the transactions."

An investigation turned up $48,084.25 in suspicious transactions, Hall testified. Platt paid restitution of $5,200. An insurance company paid the rest, $42,884.25, she said.

Yesterday, Platt confirmed that he had sent money to the diocese, but said it was simply a loan repayment.

Platt promised the rest of the story will come out once he is allowed to present his side.

"I think it'll get a whole lot more interesting," he said. "The truth will be told."

 
ORTHODOX LEADER SAYS COMMUNION IS FINISHED IF ECUSA IS NOT DISCIPLINED


Special Report

By David W. Virtue

COLORADO SPRINGS (4/22/2004)—An evangelical Episcopal leader who meets regularly with Global South Primates and bishops, says that unless the Lambeth (Eames) Commission calls for the public disciplining of the Episcopal Church and its Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold for his participation in the Robinson consecration, the Anglican Communion will not stay intact.

The Rev. Dr. Canon Bill Atwood, general secretary of EKKLESIA, an organization that interfaces orthodox ECUSA bishops with leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion, said it was impossible to overstate the sickness of the church in the West, and that if there is no repentance by ECUSA’s leader, there must be discipline for the communion to survive.

Speaking to several hundred Episcopalians at a three-day conference of the Anglican Communion Institute, an orthodox think tank made up of scholars and clergy based in Colorado Springs, the peripatetic leader said the makeup of the Anglican Communion was now “young, female, black on fire for Jesus Christ and located spiritually and geographically a million miles from the ECUSA.”

“The leaders of the Anglican Global South that make up more than 55 million members of the Anglican Communion will never ever tolerate pansexual behavior and there are hundreds of Nigerian Anglicans ready to be deployed to the United States to convert Episcopalians to Jesus Christ,” he said.

Atwood said the consecration of an openly homoerotic bishop to the episcopacy was the straw that broke the camel’s back of Anglican comprehensiveness.

“No one in the ECUSA is paying the price that is approaching the price Global South Anglicans are paying for the sins of the Episcopal Church,” he said.

Atwood said the power of the gospel in the Global South is one of tenacity and courage in the midst of diversity, whereas in the North it is one of arrogance and pluralism leading to fracture and disintegration.

“The Western churches have the tendency to emphasize expediency. Come as you are, stay as you are and let’s celebrate with a party. The Global South says come as you are and be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Atwood said the Episcopal Church was being robbed of the message of the transforming power of Jesus Christ, and its Western leaders were leading people literally to hell with their message of inclusion and sexual diversity.

“The Global South leaders have decided that self-reliance is the only way they can now go, publicly declaring to Griswold, “your money perish with you.”

“The gospel is not for sale, and the Global South leaders are not going to take tainted money from the West, their consciences will not allow it,” he said.

Atwood said the ECUSA leaders were fighting back, accusing Global South leaders “of grand-standing on money issues.”

“This is nothing more than racism. The issues have to do with the gospel, Western revisionist bishops just don’t get it.”


 
ECUSA SHOULD BE DISCIPLINED THROUGH INSTRUMENTS OF ANGLICAN UNITY


Remnant Church must remain faithful and live in “internal exile”, says Missiologist

By David W. Virtue

COLORADO SPRINGS—(4/23/2004) A world renowned missiologist and seminary head, says the Episcopal Church should be disciplined through the instruments of unity including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates, for its theological and moral apostasy.

The Rev. Dr. George Sumner, Principal of Wycliffe College, Toronto, and former ECUSA missionary to Tanzania, told several hundred churchmen and theologians to an Anglican Communion Institute conference that “members of the traditional wing of the Episcopal Church should endeavor to stay and be the Episcopal Church through various strategies of challenge and witness.”

Outlining a three-stage strategy for staying, Sumner said the orthodox must first understand themselves as a “remnant on behalf of the whole and coming generation;” secondly “we must understand ourselves ecclesiologically as a bridge to the whole communion especially in our weakness,” and thirdly “we must understand ourselves sociologically as a subculture by creating a “rich local culture” that included strong colleges, a feisty journal, lively yearly lay and clergy conference, a strong fellowship of prayer which could constitute in embryo renewed Anglican Church in North America.”

The seminary head who earned his PhD from Yale University, said that a movement among Anglican traditionalists marked by these three features stands the best chance of success and stands on the “solidest grounds theologically and spiritually.”

Sumner admitted that such a strategy could fail, “but ultimately the call of our Lord is to faithfulness, and if He wills the humbling of the Episcopal and [Canadian] Anglican Churches”.

Sumner acknowledged that the future of Anglicanism seemed to change almost daily, “but we are slowly and surely coming to an end and to a beginning.”

“The days of arguing over the issue of homosexuality are gone. Business as usual is no longer possible in the Episcopal Church. Whatever comes of the Eames Commission, sooner or later conservative Episcopalians and Anglicans will find themselves alone in official relationship with most of our Communion, a status that will probably not be recognized by our own Church officials in North America”

Sumner said conservatives would sit in anomalous continuity and discontinuity for some time, in a form of “internal exile” but as “the true Episcopal Church or Anglican Church.”

“While the Churches of North America have a false teaching on the subject of sexuality, against the consensus teaching of all major traditions…they still confess the divinity of Christ and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Sumner said the root of the present issues was, as in earlier eras of Church history, “a compromise with our form of Gentile culture, characterized by consumption and individualism. We are all complicit in the much wider compromise. This crisis is the final expression of weaknesses and temptations in modernist Anglicanism long a-coming, as a result of which many Anglicans in North America are effectively deaf to parts of the traditional faith.”

Two options present themselves said Sumner. “One outcome is for traditional Anglicanism to break into various separate splinter groups formally departed from ECUSA.” Sumner said the record of such groups, over the past quarter century was “discouraging.”

“Separating Anglicans run the risk, as time goes on, of resembling those tiny Marxist/Trotskyite/Maoist splinter groups whose doctrine got purer as they got smaller and smaller.”

“By contrast the alternative of simply staying on, to live lives of quiet dissatisfaction, also has its demoralizing prospects. Surely the conservative numbers will be weakened by defections. Young evangelicals may not choose to set out on the Canterbury way. Traditional clergy will be less willing to move to parishes in liberal dioceses that need them, or may find themselves unwelcome there.”

Sumner said that the lesson of the United Church of Canada was an instructive lesson. It still has a brave but diminutive rump of “loyal opposition” which they call themselves. Sumner noted humorously that it was the “only Church he knew where you could move right simply by standing still.”

“United Church leaders still harbor hopes that further shrinkage and resultant crisis in the denomination will bring it to its senses.”

Sumner said Isaiah 10 was a lesson we could all absorb. “A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. That surely is the predominant theological theme for us in this time and circumstance. The theme of remnant follows from the judgment of God which has come upon the faithless people of God.”

“A theology of the remnant is preserving the word of God, and contours of the life it calls us to, for a generation to come. The remnant has an obligation to this future generation,” he said.

“This does not mean that ECUSA will shrink or suffer in a worldly sense - they may or may not. But with respect to this decision they have molded for themselves a teaching to their own liking, disregarding the limit set by God in creation.”

Being a remnant also means that we have a responsibility for the spiritual tradition of Anglicanism in this continent on behalf of the whole Church, he said. “It means that we are obliged to find a way to survive so as to pass the faith on to a new generation we hope will be more receptive to the apostolic tradition. We have the responsibility of being the Anglican Church in North America on behalf of all, including those who disregard us, criticize us, and seek to hamstring us.”

Sumner said the role of being a remnant being a “bridge – the life-line between the churches in North America and the churches of the Global South. We will be defined by our continuing communion with the Global South, and we need to see this in a deeper way as integral to our vocation.”

Sumner cited the historical example of the Wesleyan-Methodist movement of the later 18th and early 19th century. “The Anglican establishment was unable to find a space and sympathy enough for the new movement, and so Methodism left our church. If one considers varied forms of independent evangelicalism, the charismatic movement, and Pentecostalism as in some sense grandchildren of Methodist piety, and if we consider the astronomical rise of these movements in the past several decades, we can see what a critical historical loss the departure of Methodism was. The history of Christianity in the US in the 19th century is in large measure the history of Methodism, cut loose from Anglicanism, spreading across the prairies.”

Sumner said that the views of the primate of Uganda on the Bible, and so on homosexuality, are the same as John Stott’s, and come theologically from the same lineage. “Our leaders will flunk the new Methodist challenge and that will leave us in our remnant role, with the task of maintaining this link, this bridge to the larger communion, especially the southern churches, and so passing the Methodist test.”

As a result, said Sumner “all we have to offer is our own weakness and need. Matters are reversed, and the North American churches look to their southern partners for help, not only in theological legitimacy, but also in spiritual guidance and revitalization.”

“Our vocation is to be recipients as churches of the South will increasingly send missionaries to the North.”

Sumner said Tanzania Archbishop Donald Mtetemela spoke of the Churches of the West as their spiritual grandmother whom they love and revere, but now see granny’s gone daffy, she needs care, and a good talking to sometimes!

The difficulty, said Sumner, will be to make the ties between churches stronger in a time of reduced resources. “Circumstances have now bound us together in a more compelling way than when, one or two decades ago, we engaged in companion diocese or invited the occasional African seminary student.”

Sumner said that in a sub-culture as the orthodox now find themselves in one should “seize the radio station. The goal is not simply polemics and the ability to out narrate our peers in the national church papers, we must have our own journal of news and opinion. Sumner pointed to theological colleges like Wycliffe College, Regent College, TESM, Nashotah House, diocesan efforts, and new endeavors in theological education – seminaries are seed beds where you plan a new generation of leaders.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
 
Church and gospel


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T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 28, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church (cont'd.)

730. Church and gospel
What is of particular interest, because it applies to
Christian communities in every age and place, is the
interaction which the apostle Paul portrays between the
church and the gospel. He shows how the gospel creates the
church and the church spreads the gospel, and how the
gospel shapes the church, as the church seeks to live a
life that is worthy of the gospel.

--From "The Message of Thessalonians" (The Bible Speaks
Today series: Leicester: IVP, 1991), p. 20.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 306, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

Monday, April 26, 2004
 
Saint Mark's Day

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
The Second Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY God, who has given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
 
Evangelical backlash over gay dean


By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 24/04/2004)


Church of England conservatives have called for an urgent meeting with Tony
Blair to express their fury at the appointment of the homosexual cleric Dr
Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans.


Dr John will continue pressing for the blessing of same-sex unions
In a letter to the Prime Minister, they expressed their concern that Downing
Street was deliberately attempting to steer the Church in a more liberal
direction on homosexuality.

The post of dean is in the sole gift of the Prime Minister, although senior
churchmen such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, are
consulted.

It initially appeared that the appointment of Dr John would be far less
controversial than his nomination as Bishop of Reading last summer, but a
powerful backlash is now under way. Evangelicals in the diocese of St Albans
are considering barring the Bishop, the Rt Rev Herbert, from their parishes
because of his support for Dr John.

Anglican Mainstream, an evangelical network representing more than a quarter
of the clergy and laity, said in its letter that it wanted to discuss the
"insensitive timing" of the appointment with Mr Blair.

Dr Philip Giddings, the convenor of the network, said Dr John had made it
clear that he would continue pressing for the blessing of same-sex unions,
which is against current Church policy.

Thursday, April 22, 2004
 
A deaf church


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 22, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church (cont'd.)

724. A deaf church
A deaf church is a dead church; that is an unalterable
principle. God quickens, feeds, inspires and guides his
people by his Word. For whenever the Bible is truly and
systematically expounded, God uses it to give his people
the vision without which they perish.

--From "I Believe in Preaching" (London: Hodder and
Stoughton, 1982), p. 113.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", pp. 303-304, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
 
CAREY SAYS EPISCOPAL CHURCH HAS LOST ITS WAY


By David W. Virtue

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO—Dr. George Carey, the former Archbishop of
Canterbury said the Episcopal Church was in peril having lost its way
and needs to unite in humility to truth and an unflinching commitment to
Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Addressing several hundred Episcopalians at Grace Church & St Stephens
at the beginning of a three day conference on the Future of Anglicanism
in North America, Carey said, “I love my Church, I love ECUSA, it has
done so much good to the world, but it is in peril now because of recent
decisions.”

While not directly mentioning the consecration of V. Gene Robinson the
openly homosexual bishop of New Hampshire, Carey said the modern church
has lost the doctrine of the cross, and for St. Paul the cross was
pivotal and anchor of the Faith.

Many want to skip the cross, putting the focus on experience, but it
must not be separated from the doctrine and redemption of our Lord, said
Carey.

“We live in momentous times for the Anglican Communion. Never has there
been a need for leaders who have an historic faith and know where God is
leading us.”

Carey said that what the church needs today is not adulators who want to
maintain the status quo, but men who are brave under attack.

The former Archbishop said that from a human perspective things can only
get worse, but that is not God’s perspective. From His perspective
things can only get better.

“When a church slackens its grip on fundamental theology it is on a
slippery slope that leads beyond itself to liberalism and to death. We
are called to embrace a creedal and historic Christianity.”

“The church grows when congregations are committed to the historic
faith. God is in charge of us, He is in charge of his church and his
world and he is not going to forsake us. He is going to stick with us
regardless of our mistakes”, said the Archbishop.


 
One Thing Worse than Controversy

"Controversy in religion is a hateful thing…But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation."

The Rt. Rev. J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
(taken from Iain Murray's
Evangelicalism Divided p141).
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
 
Patient biblical reform


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 20, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church (cont'd.)

722. Patient biblical reform
The way of the Holy Spirit with the institutional church is
more the way of patient biblical reform than of impatient
rejection.

--From 'The Sovereign God and the Church', in "Our
Sovereign God", ed. J. M. Boice (Grand Rapids: Baker,
1977), p. 163.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 303, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.


Monday, April 19, 2004
 
Not to be abandoned


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 19, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church (cont'd.)

721. Not to be abandoned
Some people construct a Christianity which consists
entirely of a personal relationship to Jesus Christ and has
virtually nothing to do with the church. Others make a
grudging concession to the need for church membership, but
add that they have given up the ecclesiastical institution
as hopeless. Now it is understandable, even inevitable,
that we are critical of many of the church's inherited
structures and traditions. Every church in every place at
every time is in need of reform and renewal. But we need
to beware lest we despise the church of God, and are blind
to his work in history. We may safely say that God has not
abandoned his church, however displeased with it he may be.
He is still building and refining it. And if God has not
abandoned it, how can we?

--From "The Message of Ephesians" (The Bible Speaks Today
series: Leicester: IVP, 1979), p. 126.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", pp. 302-303, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

Sunday, April 18, 2004
 
TWO CANADIAN DIOCESES REJECT SYNOD'S
CALL FOR BLESSING OF SAME-SEX UNIONS


We are a group of Anglicans from the Dioceses of Athabasca and
Edmonton. We live out our Christian faith in a variety of contexts, yet
we find the common ground of our Anglican identity in the Person and
Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are united in our commitment to the
authority of Holy Scripture and our desire to see the Anglican Church of
Canada submit itself willingly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every
area of its life. In faithfulness to the call of Christ and the
teaching of Holy Scripture, we cannot support the resolutions regarding
the Blessing of Same Sex Unions sent by the Council of General Synod to
General Synod 2004 on the following grounds:

1. On the grounds of Christian love.
We believe Jesus clearly proclaims that the love of God calls us to holy
living, and that to go against, or to advise others to go against,
Jesus' call to holy living would be an offense against the law of love -
both love of God and love of our neighbours. The most loving action is
that which empowers a neighbour to grow closer to God. We see these
motions as hindering that growth in God's love.

2. On the grounds of Christian repentance.
We believe that we as a church need to repent of our neglect of proper
pastoral care to our members who have struggled with the desire for a
sexual relationship outside the bounds of a Christian and heterosexual
marriage. We have not fully listened to the voices of our brothers and
sisters who have chosen to leave the gay and lesbian lifestyle, nor are
we currently doing enough as a church to provide training and resources
for clergy and laypeople involved in those ministries, and support for
those members of our church who choose to leave the gay and lesbian
lifestyle. We have not proclaimed, or have silenced, the Gospel of
healing for those members of our church.

3. On the ground of our communion with each other and our fellowship
with all baptised Christians.
The proposed Framework for the Anglican Church of Canada speaks of our
baptismal covenant, and rightly so. Yet the Framework states that
within the ACC, we differ on our "reception of the apostles' teaching" [Framework, pg. 8]. We find it contradictory to propose that we as
individual members of a church can receive or not receive the apostolic
teaching, and yet at the same time hope to continue unimpaired in "the
fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers".

Through faith and baptism we are indeed members one of another in Christ
Jesus, not only with Canadian Anglicans but with all baptised Christians
throughout the world. We desire to remain in communion with our fellow
Anglicans around the world and to preserve and strengthen that
fellowship which we share with our fellow-Christians of other
denominations. We are persuaded that to proceed with the blessing of
committed same-sex relationships can only serve to further impair that
communion and fellowship.

4. On the ground of honesty.
We believe that it is time to stop using the euphemism 'blessing of
committed same-sex relationships'. Many of the people who wish to take
advantage of such blessings will have been through a civil marriage. To
persist in pretending that what the Church is proposing to ask God to
bless is not marriage is to be dishonest to God and to ourselves. We
believe that the continued use of this euphemism is designed solely to
lessen the offense to people of traditional theological conviction in
the church. The debate is about the permissibility of gay and lesbian
marriages, and should be named as such.

3. On the ground of Christ's high priestly prayer.
In John 17 Jesus calls us not only to unity, but also to faithfulness to
the truth and holiness of life. To exalt our Lord's call to unity over
the other two calls is to make it an idol. A true Anglican balance can
be seen in the Intercession in the BCP service of Holy Communion: 'And
grant that all they that do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth
of thy holy Word, and live in unity and godly love'. Where Christians
are not in agreement in the truth of God's holy Word, there is no true
unity, whether or not they inhabit the same institutional structures.

The unity referred to in these proposed resolutions is a unity based on
structural and canonical allegiance, not on faithfulness to Christ and
his word. As such, it is not in any way a biblical unity to which we can
pledge ourselves. The resolutions also fail to represent the truth about
Canadian Anglican unity: that it is already shattered, with only an
illusion of unity remaining. We are not called to the illusion of unity
but to that real unity which alone can bring freedom (John 8:31-32).

5. On the ground of Christian faithfulness in making disciples of all
nations.
In many of our churches, we are seeing people of all ages coming to a
living faith in Jesus Christ. These new Christians are coming to us and
asking us for instruction in Christian discipleship. We believe as
Christian leaders that we have a solemn responsibility to provide
accurate and faithful instruction in the way of Christ. To compromise on
this instruction on the ground of inclusivity is not only an act of
dishonesty, but is also perilous to the spiritual health of the members
of our congregations; it is not an act of love but an act of betrayal.
As pastors we desire to teach faithfully and accurately what it means to
be disciples of Jesus Christ, but the passage of these motions would
undercut this and make it more difficult for us to uphold biblical
teaching in our parishes.

Yours faithfully in Christ,

From the Diocese of Edmonton:
The Rev. Don Aellen
The Rev. Regula Brandle
Ms. Lori Calkins
The Rev. Capt. Tim Chesterton
The Rev. Richard Conrad
The Rev. Stephanie London Crane
The Rev. Clarke French
The Rev. Pat Hill
Capt. Kathy Hutchinson
The Rev. Gordon Ingram
The Rev. Sally Johnson
The Rev. David Johnston
The Rev. Lynette Kent
The Very Rev. Greg Kerr-Wilson
The Rev. Kevin Kraglund
The Rev. Steve London
The Rev. Wayne Masliuk
Capt. Christine Pierce
The Rev. Stuart Ravnsborg
The Rev. Michael Sung
The Rev. Joe Walker
The Rev. Ralph Warnock
The Rev. Mary Charlotte Wilcox
The Rev. Michael Williamson

From the Diocese of Athabasca:
The Rev. Roy Dickson
The Rev. Ken Harding
The Rev. Canon Fraser Lawton
The Rev. Terry Leer
The Rev. Sean O'Connor

 
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Episcopal and RC Bishop clash over gay marriage

Gay marriage debate deepens
Church leaders give testimony to House

By DANIEL BARRICK
Monitor staff
April 8, 2004

Two of New Hampshire's top religious leaders - one past, one present - added their voices to the statewide debate on gay marriage yesterday.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Douglas Theuner denounced a bill that would keep New Hampshire from recognizing same-sex unions performed elsewhere as "discrimination in the extreme."

"What is so insidious about (this bill) is that it seeks to deny citizens rights which they have not even been formally granted," he said.

Theuner's testimony yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee contrasted starkly with that offered by Bishop John McCormack a few hours earlier. McCormack, the head of New Hampshire's Roman Catholics, rejected gay marriage as undermining "the cornerstone of our society."

"Human love is between a man and a woman and results in the creation of children," McCormack said.

Current New Hampshire law already forbids gays and lesbians from marrying. But the bill's supporters said a change was needed to close a "loophole" that could force the state to recognize same-sex unions performed out of state.

Those supporters pointed to a recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that essentially legalizes same-sex marriage. The Massachusetts legislature is now considering an amendment to the state constitution to forbid gay marriage, but Sen. Russell Prescott, the prime sponsor of New Hampshire's bill, said New Hampshire could not wait for other governments to act.

"We need to close a loophole that allows other states to dictate our public policy," said Prescott, a Kingston Republican.

The bill was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate last month. Gov. Craig Benson has said he will sign the bill if it passes in the House.

But many of the bill's opponents said it claims to defend against a threat that does not even exist.

Marcus Hurn, a law professor at Franklin Pierce Law Center, dismissed talk of a "loophole" as overblown and legally unsound.

"If it exists, it is a very tiny and, as a practical matter, inconsequential loophole," Hurn said. "This is a shotgun aimed at a hypothetical fly."

The Massachusetts attorney general said last month that his state's law would not allow gays and lesbians from other states to obtain a marriage license there.

Other opponents of the bill said the federal Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, already permits states to refuse to accept same-sex unions performed elsewhere.

Yesterday's hearing was in Legislators' Hall, the only room in the State House large enough to accommodate the crowd. Some people quoted Scripture to support their points; some relied on statistics. Some appealed to "enduring moral values" while others railed against "activist judges."

Theuner and McCormack, the two bishops, also had contrasting interpretations of how gay marriage related to the decades-long fight to expand civil rights. Theuner referred to a 1997 law that expanded the state's civil rights law to include gays and lesbians. The current bill would undermine the progress achieved in that law, Theuner said.

"If the rights of any of us are at risk, so are the rights of all of us,"he said.

McCormack referenced that same 1997 law, but he said it proved that restrictions on same sex marriage did not subvert civil rights.

"We can respect the rights of all and still preserve and uphold marriage as it has always been understood," he said.

"In fact, we are compelled to protect individual rights, but I urge you to protect the common good of our society."

 
The First Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY Father, who has given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may alway serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
A contradiction of identity


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T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 18, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church (cont'd.)

720. A contradiction of identity
Insofar as the church is conformed to the world, and the
two communities appear to the onlooker to be merely two
versions of the same thing, the church is contradicting its
true identity. No comment could be more hurtful to the
Christian than the words, 'But you are no different from
anybody else.'

--From "The Message of the Sermon on the Mount" (The Bible
Speaks Today series: Leicester and Downers Grove: IVP,
1978), p. 17.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 302, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

 
"Diocese of Central Florida Redirects Funds to Anglican Communion Network

Members of the Diocesan Board of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida voted overwhelmingly yesterday to approve a resolution designating funds to the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.

The resolution will be applied retroactively, totaling approximately $20,000 for 2004. Central Florida has formally associated with the Anglican Communion Network and is the first diocese to formally redirect funds to the Anglican Communion Network.

The Diocese of Central Florida has always had a mechanism for redirecting funds from the national church. Following the national Episcopal Church’s General Convention 2003, the Diocese of Central Florida held a special convention to deal with the aftermath of controversial votes regarding human sexuality.

“This special convention basically changed the default position for routing funds to the national church,” said the Rev. Don Curran, rector of Grace Church, Ocala, FL, Dean of the Northwest Deanery and Diocesan Board member. “Previously, churches had to send resolutions to the diocese to request fund be redirected from the national church. As of November 2003, vestries have been required to submit resolutions designating funds for the national church budget.”

Of those diocesan monies apportioned to the national church, only fifteen percent is being directed to ECUSA’s program budget. The Diocesan Board is responsible for dispersing available funds – 85% of the apportionment, and recipients include Honduras, South American Missionary Society (SAMS), Anglican Frontier Mission and Episcopal World Mission.

“I am delighted about the Diocese of Central Florida’s decision to redirect funds to the Anglican Communion Network (ACN),” said the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Moderator of ACN. “Such funding will greatly assist ACN to fulfill domestic needs and its commitment to missions both in the US and abroad, including support for Global Mission Partners. The ACN is most grateful to receive this generous support.”

Funding for ECUSA’s budget is down at least 6%. While spokesmen for ECUSA claim the shortfall is a result of economic conditions, churches and dioceses across the nation report they are experiencing lowered giving and/or redirecting funds as a direct response to decisions at General Convention.

In many dioceses, such as Missouri, Colorado, West Tennessee, North Carolina, Western New York and Virginia, giving has dropped by between 10 and 30 percent over the past nine months. Dioceses taking a firm stand against the actions of the 2003 General Convention are generally faring better. The Diocese of Pittsburgh, for instance, recently reported a $130,000 surplus for the 2003 budget year.


 
NEW YORK: Brooklyn Gay-Nup Storm
Episcopal Priest says he will sanctify gay unions


By Patrick Gallahue
NEW YORK POST

March 17, 2004

The gay marriage controversy is coming to Bay Ridge.

Thumbing his nose at the charges against two New Paltz clergymen announced Monday, a Brooklyn minister is vowing to marry same-sex couples in his church.

The Rev. John Farrell says he will sanctify gay unions at Christ Episcopalian Church of Bay Ridge, as soon as his 12-member vestry approves performing gay unions within the 150-year-old house of worship.

And that approval is expected tomorrow.

"I see it as a justice issue - and my church is taking the lead in this matter," Farrell said.

Farrell said he had performed many same-sex ceremonies - but never in public and certainly never inside a church.

A spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes - who said during his 1998 gubernatorial campaign that he would recognize out-of-state gay marriages - said, "If there are any laws broken we will investigate."

On Monday, two Unitarian Universalist ministers were charged with solemnizing 13 same-sex marriages without a license for performing marriage ceremonies in New Paltz in the wake of Mayor Jason West's highly publicized marriage blitz.

Ulster District Attorney Donald Williams told The Post it's a misdemeanor "for any public official or religious leader authorized to preside over ceremonies to solemnize or presume to solemnize the ceremony when the participants have not obtained a marriage license."

But Farrell said he doesn't fear being arrested: "It's about as much of a concern to me as it was to the people 40 years ago who were arrested for marching for civil rights."

The minister said fellow Episcopalian priests are looking forward to being given the opportunity to perform same-sex nuptials once the Diocese of Long Island - which covers Brooklyn - writes up an official ceremony similar to a "traditional" marriage.

The Episcopal Church gives dioceses authority to sanctify same-sex unions. Long Island Bishop Orris Walker is working on a liturgy - or formal ceremony - for gay unions. Such nuptials would not be considered official marriages, pastors said.

END

 
Top job for gay cleric

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
THE TIMES

April 17, 2004

R JEFFREY JOHN, the gay canon forced to stand down as Bishop of Reading, is to be the next Dean of St Albans in an appointment that will generate shock waves throughout the Anglican Communion.

Conservative evangelicals in the Anglican Church, already on the verge of breaking up after the ordination of the gay bishop Gene Robinson in the US and the authorisation of same-sex blessings in Canada, condemned Dr John's elevation as an "outrage" and predicted that it would take the Church a step closer to schism.

The Times has learnt that Downing Street plans to announce on Tuesday that Dr John, who is in a celibate relationship with his long-term partner, another Anglican priest, is to head the chapter at St Albans. His appointment to one of the most senior jobs in the established Church is being seen as a step towards possible episcopal preferment.

The cathedral has been without a Dean since the Very Rev Christopher Lewis moved to Christ Church, Oxford, last October. Liberals in the diocese have lobbied for months for Dr John, who many believe was treated unfairly over the Reading appointment and who is considered to have all the gifts needed to make an international impact as a preacher and teacher.

The elevation of Dr John is surprising because, in an attempt to prevent further fracture, provinces throughout the Anglican Church had been asked to refrain from controversial actions until the Lambeth Commission, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams to resolve the crisis, reports at the end of this year. The appointment will further convince African church leaders that the "mother" Church in England is committed in its heart to the liberal agenda already embraced by dioceses in America and Canada.

Dr John, a liberal catholic, is one of the Church's most gifted speakers and evangelists. His nomination to Reading provoked vociferous opposition in Oxford and around the world, even though he lives strictly within the guidelines set out by Church of England bishops in the 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality and his relationship is not sexually active.

In spite of Dr John's adherence to his church's rules, Dr Williams gave in to pressure and, in an emotional meeting at Lambeth Palace lasting several hours, persuaded him to withdraw for the sake of Church unity.

The initial response to Dr John's appointment in the St Albans diocese was favourable. Christina Rees, a lay member of the General Synod, said: "He will be a very good Dean for St Albans. He is an excellent theologian and has very good pastoral and interpersonal skills. He will be warmly accepted and welcomed."

But David Virtue, the evangelical commentator who runs the influential website Virtuosity, said: "This is an outrageous appointment. It is a backdoor attempt to make homosexuality mainstream in the Church of England.

 
A TALE OF TWO CHURCHES

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

This is a tale of two churches. By any standard they would be considered successful. Both churches are large with significant ministries. Both are wealthy and both are powerful forces in their communities. One is old money, one is new. They are landmark churches in their dioceses and at least one rector is the apple of his bishop's eye.

Their rectors are known nationally and each is respected for their work and ministry in the circles they travel.

But now all that is all changing.

Recent events in the Episcopal Church - the consecration of an openly homoerotic bishop - is profoundly affecting the unity of the church and the polity of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It has also affected both these churches, but in vastly different ways.

Here are their stories.

The Very Rev. Samuel G. Candler is the Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip in downtown Atlanta. The cathedral is an historic landmark erected in 1848 and it was consecrated the first Episcopal Church in Atlanta. It is much respected for its place in the community.

The cathedral is also the epicenter of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta's pansexual community. Furthermore Dean Candler is an extremely vocal advocate of the church's doctrine of inclusion of homosexuals and has done yeoman's work in the diocese and in Cathedral publications justifying his views. He has traveled extensively around the Southeast speaking his mind on the issues and has the ear of Bishop J. Neil "Heresy is better than schism" Alexander. This bishop voted last fall in favor of Robinson's ordination and consecration.

But the effect of Dean Candler's push for homosexual acceptance has come with a large price tag. His cathedral is in financial free fall. As one observer noted, "Candler's gas allowance is about to go down, as the downtown homosexual community hasn't been able to make up for the financial losses from the few remaining orthodox members at the cathedral."

In the cathedral newsletter Candler whines about the church's declining finances and asks the question: Is the Cathedral a Rich Church?

He asks, "Will our parish be able to make ends meet in 2004?" The answer it would appear is no.

Pledges, he says, are down 3.5% from last year. "This is more than disappointing to me." As a result there will be no general staff raises, a reduction in requested diocesan pledging and no replacement of vacant staff positions that he says "are desperately needed."

Furthermore several staff positions will remain vacant including an administrative assistant, registrar, and information technology, "our staff will continue to work with the discouraging squeeze of more demands and less support."

Candler then went on to cite increased expenses including increased property insurance of $54,000 (and more to come), utility increases of $36,730 (and more to come).

Then he drops the big news. He says that the cathedral has lost more than $200,000 in reduced pledges from folks upset with the Episcopal Church General Convention's actions on sexuality. "Some of those folks have told me that they want to make a financial protest."

Candler then says, "but that statement does not directly affect places like New Hampshire, it directly affects the spirit and the life of our parish."

There you have it. The sins of New Hampshire are visited upon Atlanta, and Candler is feeling the pain.

And to add fuel to an already blazing fire, Candler announced that he needs another $70,000 in pledged income to meet new interest costs on new construction. He whines that the church has no "sugar daddies" and says that the problem might be that the church is perceived as rich in "both material and spiritual resources" but it is only a perception with the result that people are spiritually lazy, he says.

In 2003 the budget was $3,647,000 with expenditures and costs $3,515,000. The year ended with a surplus of $132,000. Average Sunday attendance for 2003 was 1262. But now all that is crashing and burning.

The church has built a whole new wing that has cost $17 million. So far the church has raised $10 million and needs $7 million to complete it. A source said that it is very unlikely that he will ever get that kind of money again. It is believed that Candler's family money is Coca Cola.

The interest alone is causing a headache for the church.

But what Candler won't admit is that it is not just demographics and an aging Episcopal Atlanta population that is doing him in, but his theology on human sexuality. He just doesn't get it. Blessing sodomy is not a draw card for white or black middle class, upwardly mobile Atlantans. They like their sexuality straight up, and, er... straight.

Now consider another church in another part of the country. This church is growing and thriving because it has a different theology and a different understanding of sexuality and mission.

This one is in Plano, Texas and it is called Christ Church, and its rector is Canon David Roseberry.

Roseberry is making a name for himself having sponsored the Plano gathering earlier this year that drew several thousand orthodox Episcopalians following General Convention's affirmation of Robinson's unbiblical lifestyle and his elevation to the episcopacy.

But unlike the Cathedral of St. Philip's in Atlanta, the Robinson consecration has not affected Christ Church, Plano, because Canon Roseberry has a different gospel, with an age-old message that he won't change to suit the passing fashions of our times.

"The Robinson consecration has galvanized the church to take a biblical stand for orthodoxy," said Roseberry to Virtuosity.

"If there is one thing I have learned about ministering in a large church, it is that large churches thrive on clarity and Christology. We have to be clear about who Jesus is and the effect he has on personal life transformation. That is what the Good News is."

People come to church to find out what God has to say about pressing social issues, said the canon, one of Bishop James Stanton's outstanding priests. "The bible is very clear on what the most important subjects are. People can find out what the world believes from magazines and a newspaper rack; but what God believes in, what Holy Scripture declares is a wholly different matter. The church has a theology and a moral responsibility to share that Good News with its people."

And as a result his church is growing nicely and his budget is up. "Attendance figures are up. Week by week we see 2,200 people coming to four services. Our projected giving for the whole year will be $4.2 million."

According to figures released by the church, in 2003 the total pledged budget was $2,950,000. In 2004 pledges will reach $3,362,000, said Roseberry.

Total giving will be over $4 million, making it one of the most prestigious and powerful parishes in the Episcopal Church. The parish income alone is bigger than some whole dioceses.

"The average donation in 2003 was $4,545.00, in 2004 it will be $4,865.00, and that is in a down economy," said Roseberry.

So why is one church successful and the other failing? "To the extent that we are faithful people will come. God will always send His people where they can be cared for," said Roseberry.

That might be a lesson Dean Candler could learn as he watches pansexuality ravage his cathedral.


NOTE: If you are not receiving this from Virtuosity, the Anglican Communion's largest orthodox Anglican Online News Service, then you may subscribe for FREE by going to www.virtuosityonline.org . Virtuosity's website has been accessed more than 1.4 million times. When you sign up a weekly digest of stories will come directly into your E-mail.

END
Friday, April 16, 2004
 
African churches refuse funding over gay clergy issue


Thursday, April 15, 2004 Posted: 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Africa's Anglican archbishops decided Thursday to
reject donations from any diocese that recognizes gay clergy and refuse
cooperation with any missionary that supports the idea.

Their decision at a meeting with their counterparts from Asia, the Caribbean
and Latin America was the latest attack by church conservatives against the
consecration of an openly gay bishop in the United States.

The African archbishops also recommended that the Episcopal Church USA, the
American branch of the Anglican church, be disciplined and be given three
months "to repent" for the consecration in August of Bishop V. Gene
Robinson, an openly gay man, in New Hampshire.

If the Episcopal church is not disciplined, African Anglicans will be free
to take whatever action they see fit, but breaking away from the worldwide
Anglican Communion "is not an option", Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria
told journalists.

The election of an openly gay bishop has created deep divisions within the
worldwide Anglican Communion, a confederation of national Anglican churches.
The communion established a commission to look into the issue and its report
is due in October.

The archbishops from Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean at Thursday's
meeting were to issue a statement Friday, but Akinola said that "by and
large we are together on most issues."

Akinola acknowledged that rejecting funds raised in wealthy nations,
particularly the United States, will hurt the African churches in the short
term.

"If we suffer for a while to gain our independence and our freedom and to
build ourselves up, I think it will be a good thing for the church in
Africa," said Akinola, who also is chairman of the Council of Anglican
Provinces of Africa, which represents 12 national and regional churches plus
the diocese of Egypt.

"We will not, on the altar of money, mortgage our conscience, mortgage our
faith, mortgage our salvation," he said.

Akinola urged African dioceses to become more self-reliant, giving the
example of the Anglican Church of Kenya, which uses rent from buildings it
owns in the capital Nairobi and elsewhere in the country to pay for some of
its work.

After the New Hampshire diocese consecrated Robinson, several African
Anglican churches severed ties with it. All African churches -- except those
in South Africa -- have opposed the ordination of homosexuals.

Akinola said the South African leader, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of
Cape Town, told him in a telephone conversation Thursday that he supported
the stand taken by the other African archbishops.

He added that Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the Bahamas, who listened in on the
conversation, "is firmly in support of the views which we are espousing. He
made that quite clear."

The worldwide Anglican Communion, a group of 37 independent national
churches that trace their roots to the Church of England, has 76.5 million
members, of whom 36.8 million are African. The African churches are the
fastest growing in the world.

"We are not against every church in the America. We are not against every in
the West," Akinola said, explaining that in the American Anglican church
there were individual churches which did not support what happened in U.S.
Diocese of New Hampshire.

Thursday, April 15, 2004
 
DIOCESE OF NEWARK PARISH APPLIES FOR DEPO


By David W. Virtue

A traditionalist Forward in Faith parish in one of the most revisionist
dioceses in the country - Newark - has applied for Delegated Episcopal
Pastoral Oversight.

The Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Hackensack NJ is the only FIFNA
parish in the Diocese of Newark and one of three AAC parishes.

They sent the following letter to Bishop John P. Croneberger

Rt. Rev. John P. Croneberger

Bishop of Newark

Diocese of Newark

31 Mulberry St.

Newark, New Jersey 07102



Re: House of Bishop's Plan for Episcopal Oversight



Dear Bishop Croneberger,



The unanimous Vestry of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua,
Episcopal Diocese of Newark, proclaim Jesus Christ to be our Lord and
Savior. We embrace the faith and practice of the Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church, and declare our loyalty to the Anglican Communion. We
humbly place ourselves under the authority of Scripture.

We accept the recently adopted House of Bishop's plan as an
important opportunity to establish mutual understanding and
reconciliation between ourselves and the Diocese of Newark.

We thank you for the cordiality with which you have approached us
in the past, even though we have been treated with hostility by others
in the Diocese of Newark.

Sadly, the Diocese of Newark has intentionally departed from
Biblical norms and the teaching of the Anglican Communion on many
issues, including the issue of human sexuality. Many homosexual clergy
are living with their same sex partners on parish property. Blessing of
same sex partners has been common for many years. This trend culminated
in your consent to the election of V. Gene Robinson as ecclesiastical
authority in the Diocese of New Hampshire.

Accordingly, we wish to discuss episcopal oversight, and we wish to
proceed in the spirit of charity called for in the House of Bishop's plan.

First, as a confidence building measure, we require the immediate
visitation of a Forward in Faith Bishop to confirm and to celebrate
Mass. We have over thirty five individuals awaiting confirmation/reception.

We respectfully request that you consent to have Bishop William
Wantland make this visit. Bishop Wantland is experienced in pastoring in
a multicultural setting and can confirm, preach, and celebrate in both
Spanish and English. This is important because many awaiting
confirmation are Hispanic. We believe Bishop Wantland's visit can be
arranged in a matter of days.

Furthermore, as good will is restored between us, the following
concerns must be addressed:

1. A guarantee that we will be able to call a Forward in Faith
rector upon retirement or transfer of the incumbent.

2. Access to the ordination process for our young men called to the
priesthood.

3. The right to direct our Diocesan assessment to Diocesan missions
of our choosing. This is crucial because "Oasis" and other revisionist
and homosexual organizations are line items in the Diocesan budget.

4. Appointment by you of two liaison members (one a member of the
American Anglican Council and one a member of Forward in Faith) to the
following Diocesan committees: Standing Committee, Commission on
Ministry, Convention Committee and Diocesan Newspaper (The Voice). This
will ensure diversity and that orthodox viewpoints are heard.

5. We ask your commitment that you will work to rescind and
repudiate resolutions enacted by past Diocesan Conventions condemning by
name the Dioceses of Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin. These
resolutions are malicious and insulting to us. Bishop Iker of Fort
Worth, Bishop Ackerman of Quincy and Bishop Schofield of San Joaquin
have shown us every kindness and act as our true Fathers in God. The
Diocese of Newark, on the other hand, has in the past treated us with
contempt.

6. Oversight by a Forward in Faith Bishop, coupled with assurances
by the Diocese of Newark that it will respect and encourage the Catholic
faith and witness of this parish.

We see no reason why these issues cannot be resolved in meetings
during the next 3-4 weeks. There is no complexity here. Our committee
will meet with you and the Chancellor at any time.

The final agreement should be reduced to writing and provide for a
neutral mechanism for dispute resolution, such as arbitration by the
American Arbitration Association.

Our goal, as stated by the House of Bishops, is reconciliation and
deepening relationship. We count upon your good will and sincerity to
accomplish this.



Yours in Christ,

The Vestry of the Church of St Anthony of Padua

The Church of St. Anthony of Padua

72 Lodi Street

Hackensack, New Jersey 07601

A Forward in Faith North America Parish



END

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
 
Tuesday in Easter-Week

ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without en. Amen.
 
Mature adoration


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 13, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Reforming the Church

715. Mature adoration
The Divine Lover still sorrows when his love is unrequited,
and pines for our continuing, deepening, maturing
adoration. Love, then, is the first mark of a true and
living church. Indeed, it is not a living church at all
unless it is a loving church. The Christian life is
essentially a love-relationship to Jesus Christ. 'Jesus
captured me,' wrote Wilson Carlile, founder and 'chief' of
the Church Army. 'For me to know Jesus is a love affair.'

--From "What Christ Thinks of the Church" (revised and
illustrated edn. Milton Keynes: Word UK, 1990), p. 23.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 301, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

Monday, April 12, 2004
 
Monday in Easter-Week

ALMIGHTY God, who through thy only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
 
Clergy need remedial lessons in Bible, says bishop

Clergy need remedial lessons in Bible, says bishop
By Nicholas Pyke and Rowena Mason
11 April 2004


Church of England clergy have become so blasé about the Bible that they need "remedial" lessons in its meaning, says Dr Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham and the third most senior figure in the Anglican hierarchy.

In an Easter message he complains about the lack of "biblical literacy" even in established congregations. Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, he also attacked the view of the afterlife held by many worshippers.

"The great majority of people think that 'going to Heaven when you die' is the name of the game. Yet it ignores the real message of Christianity. This is about commitment to equality, justice, working in the world in the present, which the old platonic dream really doesn't give you.

"The Bible story is about resurrection and new creation, not about abandoning this world and going off to some disembodied, platonic place called Heaven. Most people in the church have only a sketchy idea of what the biblical world is like."

The bishop has already courted controversy by attacking the war on Iraq, comparing Tony Blair and George Bush to "white vigilantes going into Brixton to stop drug-dealing". His predecessor at Durham, Dr David Jenkins, caused a storm by denying the literal facts of the Virgin birth and the Resurrection.

Today the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales joins criticism of Muslims for not doing enough to denounce terrorism. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, caused anger when he said that too few moderates condemned attacks "in the name of Allah". Now Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor says he sympathises with those remarks.

"He had highlighted something that needed to be highlighted," he tells the Easter edition of GMTV's Sunday Programme. "I think what he said was fundamentally true."

 
The need for diligence


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
April 12, 2004
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

The Unity of the Church (cont'd.)

714. The need for diligence
The fact of the church's indestructible unity is no excuse
for acquiescing in the tragedy of its actual disunity. On
the contrary, the apostle tell us to be *eager to maintain
the unity of the Spirit* (Eph. 4:3). The Greek verb for
'eager' (*spoudazontes*) is emphatic. It means that we are
to 'spare no effort' (NEB), and being a present participle,
it is a call for continuous, diligent activity.

-- From "The Message of Ephesians" (The Bible Speaks Today
series: Leicester: IVP, 1979), p. 153.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 300, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

 
The Good Friday Divide

By Uwe Siemon-Netto
UPI Religious Affairs Editor

WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- Editor's note: Part three of the UPI series on the schism running horizontally through most Christian denominations addresses the very center of the Christian faith -- the Good Friday question: Why did Jesus die on the cross? Diametrically opposed views on original sin separate the parties in this dramatic dispute.

As the world's 2.2 billion Christians entered this year's Holy Week, ABC contributed one of its most astounding programs ever -- Peter Jennings' three-hour report on Jesus and Paul.

Eminent theologians assessed Christ and the church's first theologian from many perspectives. Jesus was portrayed chiefly, though not exclusively, as a social reformer, Paul -- correctly -- as apostle to the gentiles. "Was Paul a homophobe?" the sages were asked. Was he misogynous? Was he an anti-Semite?

To their credit, they answered these questions mainly in the negative. But amazingly they barely touched on the crucial aspect of Paul's ministry -- his explanation of what Christ's sacrifice was all about.

"Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe," reads Paul's liberating message. "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through the faith in his blood" (Romans 3:21-25).

This is what orthodox Christians of all denominations bear in their hearts as they strip their altars, say their prayers and chant their mournful hymns on Good Friday. This is also the very text whose rediscovery by Luther brought about the 16th-century Reformation.

It is the very essence of the Reformers' doctrine of justification by grace through faith, which Roman Catholics have also affirmed in 1999.
Contrast Jennings' oeuvre with Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ," whose very motto read, "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5), and you have contemporary Christianity's horizontal schism in a nutshell.

The underlying issue is none other than original sin in the sense of man's purposeful disobedience to God, a fundamentally theological conception that must not be confused with moral "sins," which are the fruits of original sin, just as good works are the fruits of faith.

The disparity between progressive and traditionalist theologians of the same denominations on this topic is severe. On the one hand, there are the likes of John S. Spong, the former Episcopal bishop of Newark, N.J., who declared: "Human beings did not fall from perfection into sin, as the church had taught for centuries; we were evolving, and indeed are still evolving, into higher levels of consciousness. Thus the basic myth of Christianity that interpreted Jesus as a divine emissary who came to rescue victims of the fall from the result of their original sin became inoperative."

On the other hand, most believers, especially the faithful of the burgeoning churches in the southern hemisphere whose theologians Spong often belittles as intellectually backward, agree with this doctrine articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Only the light of divine revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind's origins."

The Augsburg Confession of 1530 defines sin as the innate inability to fear and trust God, plus concupiscence (desire). To this Paul Tillich added another important element -- hubris, or self-elevation. Man puts himself in the place of God.

Theologically speaking, spiritual darkness, nihilism, and hatred for one's fellow man are expressions of sin. This is why God makes himself small and goes to the cross for suffering humanity -- why he suffers with us, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer phrased it. Canadian theologian Douglas John Hall calls this gift most Christians commemorate on Good Friday "Christ's priestly act of solidarity."

On the other side of the theological divide, which is numerically withering, secular culture has eclipsed and virtually displaced the Christian concept of sin, as theologian Robert R. Williams observed already more than 20 years ago.

"Secular culture perceives evil no longer as a theological problem but rather as a problem of human institutional and social arrangements," he wrote. "Divine aid is felt to be either unnecessary or not among the real possibilities available to resolve the problem. Instead, evil calls for intelligent human action."

"Thus while orthodox Christians continue to see themselves as sinners in need of a gracious God," says the Rev. Christopher Hershman, a pastor and psychologist, "revisionists have bought into a therapeutic notion. They don't see sin as a violation of God's rules but as a glitch on the track of self-actualization." The objective, in other words, is simply to get back on the road to self-fulfillment.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses precisely this point: "Without the knowledge revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure."

In this context the orthodox side of the horizontal divide within the Church would doubtless agree with a quip by Lutheran theologian Louis Smith that a Christian's task is not so much to "understand scripture as to stand under scripture."

There is no room for accommodation here with views such as the one expressed by the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, at a recent pastors' theological conference. According to participants, Hanson said his denomination was not going to make decisions on homosexuality based solely on seven Bible verses, which prompted one minister to tell a colleague: "Seven verses? That's more than we have on the Lord's Supper."

Ordinary Christians don't buy into man-made formulae for salvation. The North American and Western European churches dominated by theologians, bishops and ministers denying the reality of sin are all shrinking dramatically. At the same time, confessional groups within these denominations are growing. The same goes for conservative groups, such as the Presbyterian Church in America, which is rapidly expanding, in contrast to the more liberal Presbyterian Church USA.

More stunning still is the growth of Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and other churches in Africa, where the concept of original sin makes a great deal of sense to everybody, says Yale University church historian Lamin Sanney.

"It makes sense because it has always been part of popular religion," explains Sanneh, a Gambian nobleman and convert from Islam. "In African thought -- including pre-Christian thought -- sin has three characteristics: One, sin haunts you. Two, sin contaminates and three, sin can be cleansed by sacrifice. Therefore, Africans find it easy to relate to Christ's sacrifice for human sin."

On this Good Friday, hundreds of millions of Africans will commemorate this sacrifice without wasting any thought on therapeutic solutions to evil, just as Europeans have for almost 2,000 years -- until a concept such as Spong's sprang up, a belief in an evolution to higher levels of consciousness.

In the eyes of Christopher Hershman this is an immensely foolish notion: "The human condition is the same as 3,000 years ago. We are still struggling with the same issues and still need a gracious God."

On the other hand, "What Spong says is of no relevance in Africa," according to Sanneh. What is it then that attracts Africans to Christianity? "The message of the Bible unfiltered by the West," he says.


Sunday, April 11, 2004
 
Packer in Dallas

Trinity Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas, is a great parish, solidly evengelical and unabashedly low-church (my kinda place!). On 21 April they will be hosting an evening with the Rev. Dr. J.I. Packer. If you're anywhere near Dallas, that would be well worth a visit.
 
NEW HAMPSHIRE EPISCOPALIANS VOW THEY WILL NOT GIVE UP

Orthodox will not accept less than we have demanded from gay bishop, says lay leader

Special Report

By David W. Virtue

ROCHESTER, NH—Hundreds of orthodox Episcopalians in five parishes in the Diocese of New Hampshire vow they will not give in to the demands of the homoerotic bishop V. Gene Robinson, and they will reject his ministry and have notified him of the parishes wishes not to pass through their doors to celebrate or confirm.

“We will not give up and we will not accept anything less than we have demanded,” said Jerry DeLemus, senior warden of Redeemer Episcopal Church in Rochester, NH.

“We want alternative episcopal oversight, nothing less. We don’t want the watered down episcopal care options of the ECUSA leadership or Robinson,” said DeLemus in a phone call to Virtuosity.

Despite talks with the bishop and a stage managed media invitation at the church last week nothing has been settled, said DeLemus to Virtuosity yesterday.

“We don’t believe we will get from Robinson what we want, but we will stay and fight to defend Holy Scripture for us and other Episcopalians. We want to be a light to stand,” said DeLemus.

“This church does not belong to him, it belongs to Jesus, and we are standing firm for Jesus Christ and His gospel and against the apostasy that is being put upon us from The Episcopal Church's leadership.

Where is Archbishop Rowan Williams on this issue, we are in perilous times and are asking for him to support us in this attack by the apostates that are supporting this blasphemy on us?”

DeLemus said he would welcome Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola and he plans to invite him to come and speak, and would like him to perform eucharistically and confirm. It's obvious that Archbishop Akinola is not ashamed of Christ's word, he said.

DeLemus said that a month ago Robinson’s Canon to the Ordinary Tim Rich called to say Robinson wanted to set up an appointment with us, which we agreed to. “We said we were looking for alternative episcopal oversight and we want to come under an orthodox diocese. Robinson was offering pastoral care. It was not good enough and we rejected it.”

“When we met last Monday at the Church of the Redeemer in Rochester we, as a vestry gave him two names; Albany Bishops Dan Herzog and David Bena, with two weeks to contact them. Right away Robinson said no. Later he said he would be willing to talk with them and get back to us with a list of 20 Bishops he feels are orthodox. Mind you Bishop Robinson said that he considers himself to be very orthodox.”

DeLemus said only two parishioners currently attending services at Redeemer supported Robinson. “We are 99 percent united”. The parish has a supply priest – a British evangelical Gordon Allen. “As a supply priest he functions at the mercy of the bishop,” said DeLemus

DeLemus said the vestry presented the bishop with a letter regarding the situation at Redeemer and for all the orthodox in New Hampshire. “We are still waiting for a reply to our letter. Until we do, nothing is settled.”

DeLemus said he has asked Robinson to his face to repent. “Robinson told me, I don’t need to repent on the issue of my homosexuality as I don't feel God is asking me to. If Gene would repent it would put an end to this and be a blessing for him as well as us.”


 
AAC PRESIDENT SAYS DEPO PLAN INADEQUATE


Some revisionist bishops already moving to frustrate plan

Special Report

By David W. Virtue

The president of the American Anglican Council, Canon David C. Anderson,
says that it is important to recognize the difference between the
Anglican Communion Network and the AAC, as the two will work separately
but remain in conversation.

The Network (NACDP) will press for Adequate Episcopal Oversight for
orthodox parishes under siege in revisionist dioceses.

The Primates called for adequate provision, and any provision that
frustrates delays or denies the process isn’t adequate.

The AAC on the other hand will work in a grass roots manner to help
orthodox ECUSA congregations that are already known to the bishop, apply
for DEPO. Although the AAC doesn’t believe that DEPO is adequate, it is
the vehicle produced by the House of Bishops, and AAC wants to see it in
action.

For those who apply for DEPO, any delays designed to frustrate or
stretch out the process or any denials or additional requirements laid
on by the local bishop will be seen as a bad faith gesture. The Network
and AAC will be deliberately working off of different pages for this
crucial time. The Network will be working on ecclesial connections and
recognition, and the AAC will be in the trenches trying to help liberal
revisionist bishops to understand why it is in their own best interests
to cooperate with the true intentions of the Primates.

In a phone interview with Virtuosity, Anderson said that a number of
bishops would be willing to provide pastoral care to the beleaguered and
harassed orthodox congregations.

Anderson said that DEPO solved only the HoB’s own perceived problems to
satisfy the Primates as well as remove pressure from Presiding Bishop
Frank Griswold, but it failed to do anything for orthodox parishes in
hostile dioceses. "We were never consulted before any of this happened.
Faithful Episcopalians are no further ahead than they were before DEPO.
"It won't solve pastoral issues of calling new priests, or gaining
access to the ordination process for local orthodox aspirants, nor
necessarily provide for confirmations, let alone provide for property
issues. The Episcopal Church has left the faith and order of the
Anglican Communion."

Anderson said it was still difficult maintaining consensus among
orthodox Episcopalians as to how they should proceed. Bishops, priests,
parishes and attorneys have so many opinions, it is hard to get everyone
to work off the same page, he said.

Anderson said recent comments by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola in an
Associated Press interview provides a watershed moment for the ECUSA.
Dick Ostling of the AP reported that Akinola also said "unless
conditions change he will not attend meetings alongside the leader of
the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, or attend the
2008 meeting of the world’s Anglican bishops if the US hierarchy
participates."

The orthodox global Primates are pressing the orthodox Episcopalians to
do more. They are willing to act, but they want the orthodox
Episcopalians to do more. "I think that everybody is underestimating the
resolve that is building in Africa. They are not going to sit idly by
and let Western provinces call the shots any longer. They will no longer
be swayed by old loyalties and new money. Those days are gone."

Anderson said that the concordat signed recently by Southern Africa
Primate Ndungane and Nigerian Archbishop Akinola was "very significant".
"Both leaders realize that they need to stand together on most issues
and that the consecration of V. Gene Robinson is a communion breaking
act. Nobody in Africa wants to be isolated. They are building a
consensus on that continent that they need to stand together."

Anderson said he was not at liberty to talk in detail about recent
communications with the Nigerian leader, but he described his meeting as
"very hopeful" and the pan-African leader made him aware that faithful
Episcopalians are not being forgotten in North America.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the Global South will one day wipe
their hands of the ECUSA altogether. There is tremendous frustration
with the American scene, and growing frustration with the Canadian one
as well. Words of caution are starting to circulate that the orthodox in
North America need to pull together and work together before North
America is simply written of as lost. One clear action item for the
orthodox is how to work together and pull in unison clearly and publically.



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