Again it is our pleasure to thank the Lord for His overruling Providence which has kept us faithful to Him; and we also give thanks for all the Lord's faithful people. We are grateful for the many blessings we have received during the past year. "They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot by removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even forever." (Psalms 125:1, 2) "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen." (Psalms 41:13)
"UNDERSEA EXPLORER FINDS CLUES OF FLOOD: WASHINGTON -The first evidence that humans lived in an area now covered by the Black Sea -perhaps inundated by the biblical flood -has been found by a team of explorers.
"'Artifacts at the site are clearly well preserved, with carved wooden beams, wooden branches and stone tools,' lead researcher Robert Ballard said.
"'We realize the broad significance the discovery has and we' re going to do our best to learn more,' Ballard said in a telephone interview Tuesday from his ship off the northern coast of Turkey.
"Fredrick Hiebert of the University of Pennsylvania, the team's chief archaeologist, said the discovery 'represents the first concrete evidence for occupation of the Black Sea coast prior to its flooding.
"'This is a major discovery that will begin to rewrite the history of the cultures in this key area between Europe. Asia and the ancient Middle East.' Hiebert said.
"The remnants of human habitation were found in more than 300 feet of water about 12 miles off Turkey. Many ancient Middle Eastern cultures have legends of a great flood, including the Bible story of Noah.
"Columbia University researchers William Ryan and Walter Pittman speculated in their 1997 book 'Noah's Flood' that when the European glaciers melted, about 7.000 years ago. the Mediterranean Sea overflowed into a smaller freshwater lake to create the Black Sea.
"Last year Ballard found indications of an ancient coastline miles out from the current Black Sea coast. The new discovery provides evidence that people lived in that now inundated region.
"Ballard, a National Geographic Society explorer in residence, said he studied shells found along the ancient coastline and found two types. One group is an extinct type of freshwater shell, while the second is from saltwater shellfish.
"'So we know that there was a sudden and dramatic change from a freshwater lake to a saltwater sea 7.000 years ago.' he said Tuesday.
"'And we know that as a result of that flood a vast amount of land went under water. And we now know that that land was inhabited. What we don't know is who these people are, we don't know how broad their settlements were… but we're expanding our studies to try to determine that.”.. (By Randolph E. Schmid, Winston-Salem Journal, September 13, 2000)
SPACECRAFT SURVIVES BIG HIT: A NASA spacecraft on a seven-year mission to collect comet dust survived a zap from an enormous solar flare this month. The Stardust spacecraft was blinded after it was hit November 9 by a storm of high-energy particles 100,000 times more intense than usual. according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The spacecraft was 130 million miles away from the sun when it was hit. The flare interfered with the spacecraft’s star cameras, leaving it unable to use its primary method of orienting itself in space until the system was reset two days later." (Orlando Sentinel, November 25, 2000)
"DISCOVERY: An international team of researchers exploring the bottom of the Dead Sea in a submarine has discovered what it believes are the ruins of the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah -described in the Book of Genesis as evil cities which were destroyed with fire and brimstone as Divine punishment.
"The dives -for which the submarine had to be weighted with lead to counteract the buoyancy of the extremely salty water -nearly sparked an international incident, since the Dead Sea is a military zone along the shared border of Israel and Jordan, and military authorities at 'one point ordered the ship out of Jordanian waters."
(World Jewry, April 2000)
"FOSSILS ADD FUEL TO NEW THEORY OF LIFE: Tiny formations discovered in Australian rock add new weight 'to the theory that life on Earth originated not in a 'warm little pond,' as Darwin thought, but in scalding, volcano-heated ocean depths where sunlight never entered.
"The rocks contain what are thought to be fossils of single-celled organisms 3.2 billion years old.
"The cradle of life may have been a sulfurous, subterranean inferno, not unlike a medieval vision of hell,' said Birger Rasmussen, a paleobiologist at the University of Western Australia who reported the find in today's issue of the journal Nature.
"The fossil-like traces are 600 million years younger than the earliest chemical evidence of life on Earth. But the find pushes back by 2.7 billion years the fossil evidence of microbes living around hot springs at the bottom of the sea.
The formations appear to be threadlike organisms, measuring a thousandth of a millimeter in diameter and a tenth of a millimeter long, that would have gotten their energy from chemicals such as sulfur, rather than sunlight, Rasmussen said.
"'Deep beneath the ocean, hot springs would have been attractive habitats for primitive microbes, protected from the effects of early planetary bombardments, and bathed in a rich brew of metals and nutrients,' Rasmussen said. 'Such environments could have provided a safe setting for life hundreds of millions of years before Earth's surface was habitable. '
The findings do not settle the debate about how life started on Earth. The microbes could have migrated from somewhere else." (Associated Press, June 8, 2000)
"OBJECT HAS TINY CHANCE OF COLLIDING WITH EARTH: LOS ANGELES -Scientists have spotted a small asteroid or a piece of space junk that they say has a 1-in-5000 chance of hitting the Earth in 30 years -far greater odds than any similar object ever discovered.
"If it is an asteroid and it hits the planet, 'it would be equivalent to a fairly sizable nuclear blast,' said Donald Yeomans. For now, though, that is 'fairly low in terms of concern,' he said.
"The orbit -circular, close to the sun and in about the same plane of Earth's -is unusual for an asteroid, leading to suspicions that it might be a used rocket stage, possibly one jettisoned from an Apollo launch in the 1970s, scientists said.
"Such an object would have far less mass and would pose no danger to Earth because it would burn in the atmosphere." (Excerpts from Associated Press, November 4, 2000)
2000! What a year. Everybody was expecting a computer glitch that could have fowled up everything from factories to airlines. Many people stayed home for the New Year.
The presidential election, which at this time is in chaos, looks as if for the first time the presidential election will be decided by the Supreme Court. [This has now occurred.]
The next president will preside over a gradually slowing economy according to The Wall Street Journal. GDP gains will eased from four and a half to three and a half in '01. Unemployment is up and the economy is definitely cooling. The Federal Reserve ordered six interest rate hikes this past year. This past week Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman, indicated he may suggest lower interest rates.
The Stock Market reacted to this with two of the best days this year. The Stock Market is starting to report about profits by the Dot-Com Companies. They have not produced profits as it was expected. Many will fall by the wayside.
After six years of record profits the Bank Stocks are reporting lower profits on bank loans. One of the largest top five banks is reporting a $100 billion loss. This has brought stocks of most large banks skidding to a record low.
Gold was low in the nineties and is still at an all time low now. Gold was once the standard currency of the world.
Recession is starting to surface in conversations on Wall Street and around Washington. The first time since a mild, brief downturn in 1990-1991 there is growing consumer debt, tightening credit, rising bankruptcies and problem bank loans.
The soft-landing forecast is fragile, vulnerable to surprises such as a deeper stock slump, weakness abroad, all-out war in the Mideast, a worsening credit crunch, broader employee layoffs at high-tech firms, a steep decline in consumer confidence from a rising unemployment rate.
In this Time of Trouble we need to watch for the "times and seasons" of the Lord. "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you." (1 Thes. 5: 1)
JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES: The Witnesses often change their teaching as the chameleon changes its color. Their followers swallow what they are told without examining it, since they believe their organization is teaching the Lord's Word. A few of them are questioning when they are told not to bother looking up the Scriptures, but just accept what their leaders tell them. Jesus said, "Search the scriptures ..... (John 5:39) And the ancient Bereans "searched the scriptures daily" to see if the things told them were so (Acts 17:11).
Shortly after Brother Russell's death the Witnesses were told that he was still running the Society from heaven. That was so foolish, as it seemed like God was no longer bothering to take care of His people. That error didn't last very long. So they changed their teaching again and have changed it many times since. Last year they changed for a little better and are actually teaching some truth. Some people say "maybe the organization is cleansing itself." But the Lord does not cleanse organizations. He does cleanse individuals of these organizations of the errors they had been taught. "Neither do persons put new wine into old skins; for if they do, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but they put new wine into new skins and both are preserved." (Matt. 9:17, Dia., see also verse 16)
THE LAYMENS HOME MISSIONARY MOVEMENT: It is with regret that we see the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement has published some of its errors in three recent magazines. They have not published their errors so freely for some time, but we understand they have continued to teach them privately.
In the November-December Present Truth on page 86 the question is asked: "Is there any difference between consecrations that are made before and those made after the Highway of Holiness (Isa. 35:8) is opened? Answer: So far as the consecrations themselves are concerned, if they are true consecrations, there is no difference. As is pointed out in P'55, pp. 41,42, where this subject is treated in considerable detail, 'The only kind of consecration that has ever been or ever will be acceptable to God is the unreserved laying down or surrender of one's own will in all things, in the same spirit in which Jesus consecrated Himself (Psa. 40:8; Heb. 10:7).’” Both texts refer to Jesus' consecration.
Our answer: Consecration during the Kingdom does not require anything but faith and obedience the same as was required of Adam. There is nothing said about sacrificing. The LHMM say the consecrations in the Kingdom would be in the same spirit of Jesus, and cites Psalms 40:8 and Hebrews 10:7. Only the saints "die with Christ."
The first elect class is in Hebrews, chapter II, and are Ancient Worthies. The Gospel Age elect are the Saints first then the crown-lost (Great Company), who were spirit begotten, but were remanded to the Great Multitude of Revelation 7:9 and are not numbered. The saints were numbered 144,000 in Revelation 7:4, but the other three elect classes are not numbered.
The saints were gathered from all nations during the Harvest of the Gospel Age and in the Gleaning before Brother Russell died. We believe the text of Psalms 50:5 was given to That Servant: "Gather my saints together [in one unit] unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." Brother Russell went to many nations to "gather the saints." Of course his faithful followers helped him with this mission of gathering the saints. It was the first time that the saints were gathered in one unit. During the time before the Harvest the saints were in the denominations, or alone most of the time in the Dark Ages.
The Ancient and Youthful Worthies are under the faith covenant, which requires Faith and Obedience. However, they have to sacrifice at times when it is required in order to be obedient (See Heb. 11:33, 36, 37). But quite a few were faithful and obedient and did not sacrifice: Abel, Enoch, the harlot Rahab, et al, as shown in Hebrews 11. The Youthful Worthies don't sacrifice unless to be faithful and obedient they have to sacrifice. However, we are now living in a time that the only persecution we get is from some of the truth friends. Of course, we don't consider the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses as Bible Students.
We are living in such a time that the denominations do not persecute us. Brother Russell gave three ways to know the door is closed, the second way fits the time we are now living in: "By such a reversal of public sentiment with reference to the truth, that fidelity and zeal in its service would no longer meet with opposition, and when suffering with Christ for the truth's sake (Rom. 8:17) would be no longer possible." (Volume 3, page 207)
We will discuss other errors that appeared in the magazines of the LHMM last year in a future paper. We do not have the space in this paper.
"EVOLUTION ISSUE TURNS ELECTION INTO SPECTACLE: Kansas rejects candidates who favor creationism. CHICAGO -Voters in Kansas have repudiated the state school board's removal of human evolution from the state science standards, making it almost certain the decision will be overturned.
"In a Republican primary on Tuesday, voters defeated three conservative candidates who supported the decision, made by the Kansas Board of Education a year ago. In the first board election since then, voters chose three moderate Republicans who pledged to return evolution to the science standards. And those three will run in November against Democrats who also support evolution. The election assures a majority on the board supporting evolution.
"'I think parents want their kids to have a strong competitive education,' said Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican who defeated the school board chairwoman, Linda Holloway, a conservative.” The message was that that includes a full set of science standards and that includes evolution.'
"While the board vote last August did not prevent schools from teaching evolution, it effectively removed evolution as the sole explanation for the origin of species, as well as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, from state student assessment tests.
"Last year's 6-4 decision was considered one of the most significant victories for those who believe the species were created by God or conservatives who favor an 'intelligent designer.' Proponents of such theories have stepped up their activism, prompting states like Kentucky and Oklahoma to dilute the teaching of evolution. Many other states, wresting with evolution debates, too, had their eyes on Kansas.
"'Kansas has been sort of ground zero,' said Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, a civil liberties group that supports the teaching of evolution. 'And a lot of states will be taking a look at this very seriously.'
"The issue has transformed a normally obscure election into a lightning rod for the evolution debate.
"Campaigns that normally raised no more than a few hundred dollars got tens of thousands of dollars in contributions, some from out of state. Candidates ran television commercials.
"And Democrats switched parties just to vote in the Republican primary. In the end, only one of the four conservatives running won, Steve Abrams of Arkansas City, a board member who helped write the standards approved last year.
"Holloway, the former chairwoman, said she 'had no idea it would be that much of a defeat.' Holloway, who believes that evolution can be taught alongside creationism or other theories, said, 'There is clearly still a misunderstanding of what we did.'
"'One thing I'm very elated about is I don't believe the discussion about evolution will ever be the same again,' Holloway said. "'People are looking at it with a more critical eye rather than swallowing it hook, line and sinker.'" (By Pam Belluck, N.Y. Times News Service, August 3, 2000)
CATHOLICS: "POPE PIUS XII: Historians pose new questions to Vatican. VATICAN CITY -Roman Catholic and Jewish historians examining Pope Pius XII's actions during the Holocaust have put the Vatican on the spot.
"After an 11-month study, they concluded that published Vatican material on World War II leaves many important questions unanswered and urged the Vatican to open up its archives.
"There has been no immediate response from the Vatican. Its chief spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said it was premature. He noted the commission of three Catholic and three Jewish scholars, issued its 'preliminary report' only last week.
"The report, and remarks by commission members at a news conference, raised explosive questions about what Pius XII and his top aides were doing as reports of the persecution of Jews across Europe reached the Vatican.
"The panel was formed by the Vatican and Jewish groups to examine accusations that Pius did not speak out forcefully enough against the Holocaust. For Jews, the issue took on urgency when the Vatican appeared to have put Pius on a fast track for beatification, the last step before possible sainthood.
"Since the first controversy surrounding Pius' role during the Holocaust arose in the 1960s with Rolf Hochhuth's play 'The Deputy,' the Vatican has consistently defended its wartime pope. It said he worked prudently for peace and was thanked by Jews for his efforts.
"At a Vatican news conference a year ago, two church representatives denied the Vatican ever received concrete evidence of the extent of Hitler's campaign to exterminate the Jews.
"One of them, Cardinal Pio Laghi, said at that time that while modern satellites Can detect 'a cow in the field in Nicaragua,' it is unfair to judge the World War II era by such standards.
"In posing specific queries to the Vatican, the commission appeared to challenge the Vatican's contention that it was unaware of the extent of the tragedy.
"The report cites 'astonishingly detailed accounts of killings' by the chaplain of a hospital train in 1942. It recalls how a Ukrainian Catholic bishop 'described with sharp clarity the atrocities and mass murder' against Jews and the local population that same year.
"'There is evidence that the Holy See was well-informed by mid-1942 of the accelerating mass murder of Jews,' the report said. 'Questions continue to be asked about the reception of this news and what attention was given to it. How thoroughly informed was the Vatican regarding details of Nazi persecution and extermination? What was the Holy See's reaction, and what discussions followed reports that flowed in describing evidence of the Final Solution."
The Rev. Gumpel, a Jesuit who has been documenting the case for Pius' beatification, called the questions leading and loaded.' Gumpel denied that the beatification has been put on hold. as some have suggested, saying he is still putting together material to make the case.
"'It is absolutely open when and if' the beatification would be approved, Gumpel told The Associated Press. 'I personally think it will.'
"The commission examined documents published by the Vatican in 11 volumes between 1965 and 1981. ..” (By Victor L. Simpson, Winston-Salem Journal, November 4, 2000)
"ROME: New documents have turned up in a Roman flea market confirming that Pope Pius XII was briefed about the Holocaust as early as 1941. A local journalist and book collector, Fabrizio Coisson. recently bought four volumes that turned out to be file copies of secret reports written for the eyes of the pope by the British ambassador to the Vatican, D'Arcy Osborne. Coisson has no idea how they reached the market stall. Osborne, who spent most of the war inside the Vatican, compiled reports of European news which he picked up on short-wave radio from the BBC in London. He passed these on to the pope, at first once a week, then daily. On 21 September, 1940, for example, Osborne writes: 'Experiments have been made on gassing sick or mentally deficient children in Germany.' On 14 March, 1941, he reports: 'However incredible it may seem, there have been reprisals against the Jews in Nazi territories.' He continued to pass on reports of Nazi atrocities against the Jews and others. The new revelations are expected to reinforce Jewish protests at Vatican plans to declare Pius XII a saint." (The Jerusalem Report, June 19, 2000)
"ROME: Although they lost the battle to block the beatification of Pope Pius IX, Italian Jews vowed to continue against the anti-Semitism and narrow clericalism represented by the 19th century pontiff. Pius IX enacted laws against the Jews in 1849 and authorized the abduction of a Jewish boy, who became a priest. Pope John Paul II announced the beatification. one stage short of sainthood, in St. Peter's Square on September 3. The president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Amoz Luzzato, told The Report they would now concentrate on developing and strengthening the ties they forged with 'the best part' of Italian Catholics, as well as with the Protestant and Muslim minorities. 'The problem,' he said, 'was never to interfere with the internal affairs of the Church, but to make people aware that Pius IX was a racist who opposed the development of Italy into a modern state. We took the lead, drawing criticism from many sides, but it was worth it.” (The Jerusalem Report, September 25, 2000)
"CARDINAL: Vatican still awaiting Jews' conversion. LONDON -Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a leader of the Vatican's conservative wing has created a storm by declaring that the Catholic Church is waiting for Israel and Jews to embrace Christianity.
"The statement, contained in a new book by one of the closest aides to Pope John Paul II. is likely to affect Catholic-Jewish relations.
"Ratzinger, who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. the guardian of Vatican orthodoxy, is quoted by the German Magazine Focus as writing: 'Catholics do not want to impose Christ on the Jews, but they are waiting for the moment when Israel also says yes to Christ.'
"The comment is expected to ignite a firestorm among Jews in the Diaspora and cause dismay among those convinced that relations with the Vatican had improved.
"Ratzinger's comment came a week after he issued another Vatican document, Declaration Dominus Jesus, which effectively delegitimized non-Catholic churches by characterizing them as 'gravely deficient.'
"Commenting on last week' s declaration, which carried the authority of the pope, British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks expressed dismay at the 'mixed messages from the Vatican right now.. the personal initiatives of the pope… [and] this very conservative voice... which does seem to belong to an earlier age.· .. (The Jerusalem Post. September 22, 2000)
"LETTER COULD HURT UNITY: VATICAN CITY -One of Pope John Paul II's closest aides has written to bishops worldwide declaring that the Catholic church is the 'mother' of other Christian churches, a move that could hurt Vatican efforts toward unity with other believers.
"The Vatican had no comment on the document yesterday, which was reported Friday by the Italian religious news agency Adista.
"In the document, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told the bishops that it was incorrect to refer to Christian churches, ranging from Orthodox to Protestant, as 'sister' churches of the Catholic church. (Winston-Salem Journal Wire Service, September 3, 2000)
"ALL RELIGIONS AREN'T EQUAL, VATICAN SAYS IN STATEMENT: Catholic Church is called only source of salvation. VATICAN CITY -In a declaration carrying the full authority of an infallible teaching, the Vatican said this week that the Roman Catholic Church is the only 'instrument for the salvation of all humanity.'
"The 36-page 'Declaration Dominus Jesus’ ('On the Unicity and Sa1vific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church') expressed 'sincere respect' for other religions but attacked 'religious relativism which leads to the belief that one religion is as good as another. '
"'If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that Objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the church, have the fullness of the means of salvation, ' the Vatican said of non-Christian religions. It called non-Catholic Christian bodies 'defective. '
"Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued the document at a Vatican news conference as part of what appeared to be an ongoing effort by the Vatican to reassert traditional Catholic doctrine.
"Ratzinger said in a recent letter to bishops' conferences throughout the world that the Catholic Church is the 'mother' of all Christian churches and told them to stop referring to the Orthodox Anglican and Protestant churches as 'sister' churches.
"AND LAST SUNDAY, Pope John Paul II beatified Pope Pius IX, a conservative 19th century pontiff who proclaimed the doctrines of papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary but also fought the unification of Italy, restricted religious freedom and locked Rome's Jews into a ghetto.
"The new declaration raised concern among some other churches. In London, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, called Ratzinger's statements 'unjustified' and said they did 'not reflect the deep comprehension that has been reached (by Catholics and Anglicans) through ecumenical dialogue and cooperation during the past 30 years.'
"In Geneva, the World Council of Churches warned that the growth of ecumenical dialogue could be 'hindered -or even damaged' by what it called 'language which precludes further discussion of the issues.'
But Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, a leader in the Catholic Church's dialogue with both the Orthodox churches and the Jews, said that Ratzinger's pronouncement is 'in full accord with what Vatican II has said.'
Keeler, who attended the Vatican news conference, said he did not expect the new declaration to have a negative effect on ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.
"In England, Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster, the chairman of the department of mission and unity of the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales, said that the new document 'does not attempt to change the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding ecumenism.'
"He said its main purpose was to warn against a tendency to regard all religions as equivalent and it was written principally for Catholic bishops and theologians.
"'Certainly no slight is intended by its comments regarding other Christian communities,' he said. 'As Christians we share a common baptism, .and the Catholic Church believes this brings us all into a real, if imperfect, communion. This was made clear in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, where it said that other Christians 'with good reason are accepted as our brothers and sisters.· .. (By Peggy Polk, Religion News Service, September 9, 2000)
BAPTIST: "TEXAS BAPTISTS SEND MESSAGE BY HOLDING BACK $5 MILLION: CORPUS CHRISTI, TX -Texas' 2.7 million Baptists dealt a severe blow to the Southern Baptist Convention on Monday, withdrawing $5 million in funding on the grounds that the denomination is becoming too conservative.
"After a brief, civil debate, the 6,000 representatives of the Texas Baptists approved the move by a sizable majority by holding up voting cards. "Earlier this month, former President Carter severed ties to the Southern Baptist Convention because of its 'increasingly rigid' creed.
"In recent years, the Southern Baptists have barred female pastors, declared that wives should 'submit graciously' to their husbands, boycotted Disney, and issued resolutions condemning homosexuality.
"On Monday, the Texans voted to cut the amount of money they give to Southern Baptist seminaries by about 80 percent next year and send the $4 million instead to three moderate campuses in Texas.
"The Texans will still send about $19 million to the denomination, mostly for missionary work in the United States and abroad.
"The Rev. Claude Thomas of Euless, Texas, who chairs the national body's executive committee, said, 'I am distressed emotionally. I am distressed because of the impact this is going to have on the churches of Texas [that] are going to have to make decisions they don't want to make. , .. (Excerpts from Associated Press, October 31, 2000)
LUTHERAN: "LUTHERANS OFFER AMENDS: BERLIN -Germany' s Lutheran church has acknowledged sharing guilt for the Holocaust in the clearest terms yet and called on its 27 million members to make a fresh start in relations with the Jewish community.
"A national convention of Lutheran leaders passed a resolution late Thursday saying that the church was guilty not only of 'silence and failure' during the Nazi era but also that its 'disastrous tradition of alienation and enmity towards the Jews' helped prepare the ground for the Holocaust.
"That tradition has hampered efforts to rebuild relations with the Jewish community since the end of World War II, the resolution said, even though the Lutheran Church in Germany first acknowledged its guilt 50 years ago." (Wire Service, November 11, 2000)
EPISCOPALIAN: "BISHOPS SLATE CHALLENGE: ROSEMONT, PA -Anglican archbishops from overseas who oppose the Episcopal Church USA's liberal views on homosexuality are challenging the denomination's leadership by staging their own confirmation service here. The presiding bishops of Kenya, Uganda, Congo, and Sydney, Australia, are expected to attend or send delegates to Sunday's confirmation by Archbishop Maurice Sinclair of Argentina. They oppose the practice by the Episcopal Church, the U. S. branch of Anglicanism, of ordaining gay men and lesbians and allowing clergy to bless same-sex unions. (Orlando Sentinel, November 25, 2000)
"EPISCOPAL, LUTHERAN CHURCHES CREATE ALLIANCE: DENVER -Episcopal Church leaders approved a historic pact yesterday with the nation's largest Lutheran denomination, voting to create an alliance in which the churches will share clergy, sacraments and strategy.
"The Episcopal Church's House of Deputies, made up of 832 priests and lay people, overwhelmingly approved the agreement, one day after it won approval from the other chamber of the church's legislature, the House of Bishops.
"Leaders of the 5.2 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America approved the alliance last year. "'It enables our two churches to work together in ,a' shared mission to our broken and hurting wor1d,' said the Rev. Donald Brown, a co-chairman of ecumenical relations for the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church. 'Both our communities will be living into reality Jesus' prayer that all his followers might be one,' said Brown." (Journal Wire Report, July 9, 2000)