It was a year of more fleeing orthodox parishes from The EpiscopalChurch - the worst ever in the history of the TEC - the church'snastiest nightmare, with no seeming let up in sight for 2007. Anestimated 115,000 Episcopalians over the last two years have goneforever.
It was a year that saw the first woman Presiding Bishopof the TEC - Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori - a person who believesthat Millennium Development Goals are more important than theproclamation of the Great Commission was elected to lead The EpiscopalChurch.
She is the first female Primate of the worldwideAnglican Communion who, within weeks of her nomination, found herselfat the center of controversy with an unacceptable rating with most ofthe church's archbishops because of her ultra-liberal views on theologyand morality.
She is the first Primate ever, to refer to Jesusas "mother Jesus" during a homily at the 75th General ConventionEucharist beginning an alienation from orthodox Anglican believers thatonly got worse with time.
It was a year in which The EpiscopalChurch (TEC) changed its name from The Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) toTEC for reasons that were not made clear, but commentators concludedthat it would allow a pre-emptive strike if the TEC got kicked out ofthe Anglican Communion, thus positioning the TEC to be its owncommunion with some 16 provinces (they flew flags at convention) linedup to follow it.
It was a year that witnessed The EpiscopalChurch's continued decline into the morass of moral relativism by achurch already on a slippery slope to oblivion. From hetero to homo,from transgendered to bisexual...can polymory be far behind? (Polymorydefined as a new theory of marriage and bonding in which people canhave a legitimate multi partner relationship, and still maintain a highlevel of egalitarianism.)
It was a year that continued togalvanize orthodox Episcopalians to confront revisionist Episcopalpowers with bishops meeting in New York City and later in Texas only tobe told by bishops Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh) and Jack Iker (Ft. Worth)that they were done "listening" and engaging in blessed "conversation"and the time for walking apart into a new paradigm was now a reality.Will that be a 10th or 39th province? We wait with bated breath. InTexas, Bishop Don Wimberly lead some 22 Windsor bishops on aconsultation at Camp Allen with a couple of CofE bishops in the vainhope of finding a way forward for the TEC. They all signed a letter,but little came of it.
It was a year that saw seven diocesesannounce they wanted Alternative Primatial Oversight from theArchbishop of Canterbury, but then settle for "commissary" status -that is - oversight from an orthodox Archbishop of Mrs. Williamschoosing. The seven were Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, South Carolina,Springfield, Central Florida, Quincy and Dallas.
But by earlyDecember, and perhaps to avoid open schism (we have de fact schism)Mrs. Schori announced that she would offer a "primatial vicar" to thesedioceses. She would, of course appoint such a person. This went downlike a lead balloon and was roundly rejected by these dioceses. Onedoes not, after all, ask the fox to invite a fellow fox to look afterseven vulnerable chickens in a wide open coup.
It was a yearthat saw Anglo-Catholic bishop, John-David Schofield (Diocese of SanJoaquin) announce that he and his diocese were now only one step awayfrom formally detaching themselves from the Episcopal Church forever.This was a red rag to four fellow California bishops who had alreadysought and failed to have him removed from office claiming he had"abandoned the communion" of the church for trying to rewrite thediocesan constitution and canons out of the national church, (the TitleIV Review Committee nixed it) but this time, with the threat of a wholediocese departing, the threatening sounds came from New York City whereMrs. Schori told Bishop John-David that he could go pound sandelsewhere if he wasn't prepared to stay in the TEC.
But other bishops also came under fire, revealing deep fissures within the church.
PBFrank Griswold along with the Bishop of Kansas, Robert Moody filed aformal complaint against retired Bishop William J. Cox to determine ifhe had violated the canons by ordaining two priests and a deacon,confirming others at Christ Church, Overland Park, Kansas which hadalready left the Episcopal Church. As the year drew to an end noresolution was in sight and Griswold had gone into retirement.
VOLrevealed that the Bishop of Milwaukee, the Rt. Rev. Steven A. Millergot word that a formal ecclesiastical complaint had been laid on him bysupporters of the Rev. Martha Ann Englert, rector of Grace Church,Madison. The allegations were that Miller had mishandled a formalcomplaint against her and prejudiced a diocesan review committee. Ms.Englert stands accused of making inappropriate remarks and disclosuresabout certain parishioners. She hired the formidable former Newarkdiocesan attorney Michael Rehill to defend her.
The Bishop ofConnecticut, the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith got a taste of his ownmedicine when he was accused of "conduct unbecoming a member of theclergy" after he raided St. John's Church, Bristol, tossing out theorthodox Rev. Mark Hansen and passing the parish over to a liberalwoman priest. Smith accused him of abandonment of communion. Theecclesiastical charges against Smith are pending, but a federal suitlodged by five orthodox priests was tossed out by a federal judge.Smith moaned that the legal fees were killing him. The pressure wasstill on as the year ended.
But the bishop who faced the wrathof nearly everyone - both orthodox and liberal alike this year wasPennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison. No bishop in modern recordedhistory has been publicly condemned for his actions against an orthodoxpriest by two archbishops and told by his Standing Committee and thenational church to resign along with groups in the diocese and VOL. Hehas been dubbed the Sociopath Bishop because he blindly believes he hasbeen called by God for such a time as this. He is facing charges offraud and 'bad faith' in dumping a godly priest; covered up hisbrother's sexual abuse of a 14-year old girl and the total financialmismanagement of the diocese. He faces the legal wrath of two lawyersand he is selling vacant church properties to pay his legal fees. Hewas repeatedly told to resign at his own diocesan convention by liberaland orthodox clergy alike. His future will be sealed in 2007.
Itwas a year that saw the true colors of liberal and revisionist bishops'who are quite prepared to endorse pansexual misbehavior for theirfellow bishops and clergy, wink at doctrinal inexactitudes, but onproperty issues, reveal a no compromise iron fist. 'Get thee gone andtake not the signage or endowment with thee,' might well be their motto.
Itwas a year that saw The Episcopal Church dodge and weave its way aroundhow far it would go endorsing the Windsor Report and, when pushed, comeup with B033 at GC2006, a resolution recommending that standingcommittees and bishops with jurisdiction "exercise restraint by notconsenting to the consecration" of openly homoerotic priests to theepiscopacy. B033 was vilified by almost everyone from the Far Left tothe Far Right each seeing in it a compromise too far for the EpiscopalChurch's pansexualists or totally inadequate or bullet dodging byorthodox Episcopalians who saw in it one more fudge to dodge primatialanger and a prevaricating Archbishop of Canterbury.
It was ayear that made divorce and remarriage as commonplace as apple pie whenGeneral Convention consented to the Rev. Canon Barry Beisner (divorcedtwice and married three times) to become the next bishop of the Dioceseof Northern California. Only Bishop Walter Righter has had as manymarriages and divorces with Bishops Otis Charles and V. Gene Robinsonswitch hitting from female to male partners as a sign of the church'sincreasingly lofty notions of inclusivity and diversity, even as "sounddoctrine" disappeared down the proverbial drain. It was a year that sawleftist organizations like the Via Media and something calling itselfThe Episcopal Majority announce that an orthodox priest, the Rev. MarkLawrence should not be given consents to be the next bishop of SouthCarolina because of his orthodoxy.
From sea to shining sea, itwas a year of lawsuits, as three orthodox parishes in the Diocese ofLos Angeles, California won their cases based on "neutral principles"over the national church's Dennis Canon, while orthodox parishes inless friendly states like Missouri and Florida, Connecticut andMassachusetts saw bishops triumph in property disputes, only to win theproperties and close the churches to await real estate brokers.Millions have already been spent and millions more will be spent inprotracted law suits over property issues in 2007. No let up is insight.
It was a year that saw David Booth Beers, first FrankGriswold's attorney and now Mrs. Schori's legal schnauzer descend intothe ecclesiastical ring and begin open warfare on fleeing parishes andproperties. 'Thou shalt not' took on a whole new, less biblical,meaning.
It was a year that saw the church's largest attendedparish Christ Church, Plano, Texas disassociate itself from theEpiscopal Church following General Convention with willing DallasBishop James Stanton parting company with the parish for a mere $1.2million - a mere pittance of what the church is worth. Later hedeclared a moratorium on more fleeing parishes hoping perhaps that thePrimates meeting in Tanzania in February 2007 will come up with a planfor alternative oversight.
And out the door they went - 16parishes in the Diocese of Florida, eight in the Diocese of San Diego,five in the Diocese of Los Angeles, one in the diocese of Missouri andNorthern California, and as many as a dozen in Virginia (when the dustsettles), and more, all signifying that the Episcopal Church had lostits way over the authority of Holy Scripture, and sodomy on demand. V.Gene Robinson, the hero of homo, had become the nightmare of LGBT (orGLBT) nomenclature.
It was the year of Grand Alliances. OrthodoxEpiscopal parishes from South to North and from East to West alignedthemselves with bishops as far away as Peru, Bolivia and Recife, andacross the oceans to Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria on the Africancontinent, with the later now firmly ensconced with its own diocese -CANA - the Convocation of North American Anglicans under its fearlessleader the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, the fastestgrowing province in the Anglican Communion, happily installing his ownbishop in the person of the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns - making itabundantly clear to The Episcopal Church's hierarchy that he and hisfellow Global South Primates were done with the Apostate EpiscopalChurch and would have no further dealings with her. The flag of anorthodox African diocese was planted firmly on American soil keepingcompany with other equally orthodox jurisdictions like the AnglicanMission in America (AMIA) that too experienced rapid growth this yearwith a clear fix on both the gospel and mission.
Other acts oforthodox rebellion included the announcement by an evangelicalprotestant theological seminary - Gordon-Conwell in Hamilton, Mass thatit would offer an Anglican studies degree program, right in the heartof the sodomite Diocese of Massachusetts - one of the most revisionistand orthodox hating dioceses in the entire Episcopal Church. Truly Godis not mocked.
The Executive Council of the national church heldthree meetings in 2006 and approved membership in the pro-abortionorganization euphemistically called the Religious Coalition forReproductive Choice. In Philadelphia earlier in the year the counciladdressed churches leaving the TEC and in November the "new" councilmet in Chicago and discussed the possibility of setting up an "Anglicanregional Convocation of the Americas." No word on where this is allgoing.
By year's end, the last word was had by multiple parishesfleeing the Diocese of Virginia and the possibility that the largestchurch in the Diocese of Georgia might sever its ties. Their godlypriest, the Rev. Marc Robertson and vestry and wardens now face thewrath of Bishop Henry I. Louttit who wants them gone by December 31 ifthey don't pay their full assessment. Liberal diversity and inclusivityto the end.
Liberal Bishop Louttit said what most people onlythought, by declaring that Lambeth 2008 may not even take place and itis certainly not clear that the Presiding Bishop will even be invitedto attend. In addition, he said, it is impossible to predict whataction if any might come from that meeting should it take place.
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.Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia