The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Druidic Priests masquerading as Episcopal Priests

From This is chapter two to my post Episcopal church, weep for thee. I will continue to post on issues regarding the church as it impacts not only myself and my family but the behavior of the ECUSA leadership is also impacting American society.


By David W. Virtue

MALVERN, PA (10/29/2004)--A husband and wife clergy couple in the Diocese of Pennsylvania practice pagan Wiccan worship with the woman priest affirming a rite called "A Women’s Eucharist" - A Celebration of the Divine Feminine, that can be found on the Episcopal Church's official website.The wiccan-worshipping woman priest is Glyn Lorraine Ruppe Melnyk rector at St. Francis Episcopal Church on Sugartown Road who goes by the Wiccan names "Raven" and "Glispa" and her husband Bill Melnyk, rector of St. James in Downingtown, PA goes by the Wiccan names "Bran" and "OakWyse". A source told Virtuosity that he does not wear a cross but a shell around his neck.Melnyk insists that the shell he wears is the ancient Christian symbol of Baptism, and is quite well-known as the Symbol of St. James, for whom our parish is named."However, on the Druid board on February 24, 2004, Melnyk wrote about his shell: "I, personally, do not wear a cross unless it is a solar cross. Often I wear a silver shell, which most Christians I meet think is a symbol of Baptism, but which, for me, also represents Athena!"Melnyk: "I'm 57, live in southeastern Pennsylvania, and have been a member of OBOD since 1998. My spouse and I are both Druid graduates of the training course. We are also both priests in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church. Between us, we lead two groves (some call them "congregations") of Christians learning about Druidry numbering about 1200. My creed? 'There is only one river.'The pagan eucharistic rite reads in part: "The chalice of sweet red wine is raised and a woman says, "Blessed are you, Mother God, for you have given us the fruit of the earth. Red as blood, warm as life itself, sweet and intoxicating as love. We thank you for wine. We bless you for the power of this drink to remind us of our own power. We praise you for the strength and beauty of our bodies, and for the menstrual blood of womanhood. We embrace the mystery of life which you have entrusted to us, and we pray for the day when human blood is no longer shed and when woman’s blood is honored as holy and in your image."The cup is passed hand to hand and all drink from it. Placing both hands on the fabric covering the table, one of the women says,"Blessed are you, Mother God, for the fertility of this world. We thank you for the sight and scent of flowers, for the way their shape evokes in us the unfolding of our own sexuality, and for their power to remind us of the glory and the impermanence of physical beauty. May our days of blossoming and of fading be days spent in your presence.""Thank you, Mother, for the abundance of life. Thank you for the rich, full, pleasing, and life giving milk of our bodies. Thank you for the children who drink from our breasts for they bring sweetness to our lives. We drink this cup as your daughters, fed from your own bosom. May we be proud of our nurturing and sustaining selves. May we honor our breasts as symbols of your abundance. Thank you for the milk and honey of your presence with us."The cup is passed and shared by all.The parish itself is barely five miles from the evangelical/charismatic Church of the Good Samaritan, in Paoli, the largest parish in the diocese, and from which some of the members broke away several years ago to form this revisionist parish. The church is sustained by a few well-heeled members from the hunt run horse set. The church does not use the Prayer Book, a source told Virtuosity.Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison said on hearing the news that he will not engage in a "witch hunt", meaning he is reluctant to declare that Pagan Wicca Druid ceremonies mean that those practicing these witchcraft-like ceremonies have abandoned the Communion of the Church. Yet, it is the same Charles Bennison who proclaimed that Father David Moyer had abandoned the Communion of the Church by being faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."The Rev. Bill Melnyk wrote to Virtuosity following the publication of this article to say that neither St. Francis nor St. James Church use the Women's Eucharist from the EWM website. "At St. Francis the schedule is Rite 1 at the early service and Rite 2 at the later service. At St. James we use Rite 1 (Prayer1, with Prayer of Humble Access) at 7:45, and Rite 2 at 11:00. At our 9:00 am children-oriented family service we had been using an Evangelical Eucharist from the Iona Community -- a Christian Eucharist. Because of this current flap, however, we have changed that to the Prayer Book Rite 2 service. Nothing other than orthodox Christian rites have ever been used at either church."Two summers ago the two "pagan" rectors lead an inter-faith pilgrimage to Stonehenge in England and conducted a service that included wiccans.Recently however the Rev. Glyn Melnyk started using the pagan eucharist the language of which is lifted almost completely (without attribution) from a rite from Tuatha de Brighid, "a Clan of modern Druids … who believe in the interconnectedness of all faiths."On hearing the news an orthodox priest said, "This is worse than the sin of sodomy, it is taking the Episcopal Church to a new level, that of paganism."The Rev. Greg Brewer, rector of Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli said, "My concern is for the parishioners at St. Francis, some of whom I know. They would be shocked and horrified to know that their rector was engaged in Druid and Wiccan practices."The Office of Women's Ministries at the national church headquarters in New York City had the pagan liturgy posted at the church's official website, but it was later deep-sixed from the "Women's Eucharist" when a hue and cry went up from thousands of Episcopalians on the Internet.However the liturgy is cached by Google and can be accessed at the following VirtueOnline Web Link.The story was first blogged at Christianity Today's website with a headline that screamed "Episcopal Church Officially Promotes Idol Worship," written by Ted Olsen. The story rocked around the world causing the Rev. Margaret Rose, Director of the office of Women's Ministries at the national church in New York to immediately withdraw the page on the skimpy grounds that the material was copyright protected. But another priest responded saying, "it cannot be a copyright issue. The author of the liturgy in question is the one who posted it on the ECUSA website." At the very end of the "Women's Eucharist" page had the name and address of Glyn Lorraine Ruppe Melnyk, rector of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Malvern, Pennsylvania. One might have expected the notation at the end to indicate that she submitted it to the site as well. But the office's credibility is seriously undermined by its claim that it didn't promote the liturgy for actual use. A line from an earlier press release reads: "The Office of Women's Ministries is working towards creating a resource to be used by women, men, parishes, dioceses, small groups, within the context of a Sunday morning service, or any other appropriate setting where the honoring of a woman's life passages and experiences beckons a liturgical response. … Although traditional liturgy acknowledges little of these aspects of women's lives, many women have taken up the task of creating and writing such liturgies for themselves or others. The Women's Liturgy Project has begun collecting worship resources written by women for women in order to create a resource that is accessible to all."This was followed by a link to the page with the "Women's Eucharist" listed as the second of nine resources. The "Women's Worship Resources" (not "Dialogue Resources") page of the Office of Women's Ministries has toned down its description of the rites, but still urges readers to "use them for … gathering communities of worship."Rose said the liturgies listed at the website were intended to spark dialogue, study, conversation and ponderings around women and our liturgical tradition."The current liturgy project – A Call for Resources: The Women's Liturgy Project – and the Women's Worship Resources section on our website is a grassroots, organic, interactive process is an offering to open the awareness of the many voices and needs that exist among people in the church as we all strive to find expressions of our life, love and faith in God."Outraged, the Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry, rector of Christ Church, Plano, the most attended parish in the Episcopal Church was shocked and horrified, wrote to both Rose and the church's Presiding Bishop.In his letter to Griswold he said: "I am alerting you to the unfortunate fact that the web site of the Episcopal Church has been promoting a liturgy and a worship that is patently non-Christian. This afternoon, there was a liturgy celebrating the Divine Feminine posted on the web site of the Episcopal Church. It was outrageous and pagan. I understand that it has been removed as of about 4:30 today. With all due respect, I ask that you clarify the role that the Episcopal Church Office has in promoting non-Christian and pagan practices. I have been in touch with The Rev. Margaret Rose, the director of the Office of Women's Ministries, and she was sorry that the web page had been posted without attribution. (She said it was lifted from a Druid web site.)"In a phone conversation with the director, Roseberry said she did not know that it was "lifted" from a pagan/Druid clan nor did she did mean to convey that the Eucharist was an official instrument or liturgy of the Episcopal Church.Roseberry said Rose was somewhat apologetic, but said the "liturgy" was posted to inspire and promote dialogue. She said that the role of the Office of Women¹s Ministry was to look for ways of spreading the love of Jesus. She said, "It is my personal theology that the clarity of who we are as Episcopalians is often enhanced by our engagement with things that are "Other" and this is clearly "Other".Roseberry blasted her saying that the liturgy was non-Christian, non-biblical and did not represent her hopes for spreading the love of Jesus. "I told her it was right out of The Da Vinci Code. (She hadn't read the book.) I told her that anything that promotes the earth as Mother is Pagan and non-Christian and non-biblical. She also mentioned that the Windsor report encouraged this kind of dialogue and conversation, recognizing that we live in a pluralistic society."Roseberry asked her if she was authorized to open up a dialogue with a pagan religion as a function of the ecumenical office of the Episcopal Church. She said that there were many staff people (herself among them) that represent the Episcopal Church in all kinds of dialogues with the National Council of Churches."I asked her if her office would disavow the liturgy and disassociate themselves from it. She felt that the liturgy itself was a helpful tool in helping us to understand people of other faiths. She might, she said, put up a Muslim liturgy to engender the kind of debate and discussion that we are having about the Druid liturgy."That "other faiths" comment is important, because a key question—if not the key question—is how the Episcopal Church leadership (Rose included) views this liturgy and the church's relationship to it. Is it of a different faith? By promoting it, has the Episcopal Church itself become a non-Christian faith? Rose doesn't seem clear about whether this liturgy is ecumenical (of the church) or of "another faith." Perhaps she's confused because the ceremony directly references the Old Testament. But is offering sacrifices to ancient Canaanite idols antithetical to Christianity or not?Scripture seems awfully clear on this point. "What pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God," Paul told the church at Corinth. "I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"Wrote another priest, "Imagine for one moment that you're a leader in the Episcopal Church USA. You know that within the next few days, a global commission is going to release a report on how the global Anglican Communion should respond to your church, and is likely to be critical of the ordination of an actively homosexual man as bishop. You know, and have said yourself, that the debate isn't just about sexuality: It's about how one views the Bible. And you know that all eyes will be on your denomination over the next few weeks. What do you do? Well, what the real leaders of the Episcopal Church did was to take an action that makes ordaining a homosexual man as a bishop almost a non-issue. They started promoting the worship of pagan deities!""Many scholars believe they were offerings to the goddess Asherah, the female counterpart to Baal, but in this context it may be more directly tied to Ishtar/Ashtoreth/Astarte, the 'Queen of Heaven'.""Our ancient sisters called you Queen of Heaven," says the Episcopal liturgy. That's a reference to Jeremiah. And not a happy one. In Jeremiah 7, God complains, "The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger." The liturgy's reference to defiant women worshipping the Queen of Heaven with cakes comes directly from Jeremiah 44."Wrote Ted Olsen, "and now Episcopal Church leaders want you to do the same. Defy God. Worship pagan deities. There is no other possible reading of this "Eucharistic" text."The website also offered nine offerings, the second of which is the "Women's Eucharist." Another troubling entry is the Liturgy for Divorce, which includes a rite of divorce."This is not a joke, nor an overstatement. In all truth and seriousness, leaders of the Episcopal Church USA are promoting pagan rites to pagan deities. And not just any new pagan deities: The Episcopal Church USA, though its Office of Women's Ministries, is actually promoting the worship of idols specifically condemned in Scripture," wrote Olsen.Both Episcopal priests belong to The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.The Rev. Bill Melnyk, a Druid priest who is also an Episcopal priest, serving in the Diocese of Pennsylvania included information at his website called "A Little Information Written by the Male Druid/Episcopal priest." The Episcopal priest who goes by the name OakWyse when he's a "Druid" or "Wiccan" priest, was so concerned that news about his activities had leaked out that he sent a frantic message appeared on the message board saying; "My Dear Friends—Raven, Glyn Lorraine Ruppe Melnyk, the Episcopal rector and author of the "Women's Eucharist" and I have come under vicious attack from Anglican fundamentalists re our connection to druidry. Hour by hour the attacks are spreading on fundamentalist BLOGs across the country. For our protection, we must end all internet connection as soon as possible. I ask Kernos to leave this one notice up for a day or two, but then to do a universal delete of all references to Druis. Please delete my membership. I cannot stress how serious this is. If you respond, please do not use my name in your response. I will not be posting again." It is signed Druis.Virtuosity also learned that Melnyk had been funding pagan Druid projects out of his Discretionary account which might be illegal.On a posting to a Druid website posted on Mon Aug 23, 2004 Melnyk wrote regarding White Spring, Glastonbury. "Plans are nearing completion for the purchase of the White Spring properties on the side of Glastonbury Tor, across Wellhouse Lane from the Chalice Well Gardens. Please go to for the initial information. I am now soliciting funds to aid in the purchase and development of the White Spring. A Trust will be available soon. Until then, donations can be sent to me and made payable to "Saint James Church" earmarked for "Rector's Discretionary Fund-White Spring". These donations are tax deductible. We are also looking for folks who would be willing to make larger, interest free loans to aid in the purchase. We are not home yet, but we are now very close to making this a reality!"Peace, DruisLate last night the link was taken off the worldwide web clearly working hard to erase his tracks.This is the organization that trained them according to his own words and it can be found here: The OBOD Message Board Lughnasadh 2004 Eisteddfod Winners. The Druid Craft Tarot by Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm and Will Worthington. The following is a piece of another pagan ceremony written by Mr. Melnyk, AKA (OakWyse) for the Celtic fertility festival of Beltaine."Participants draw a warm bath prepared with Lavender bath salts, or scented with a sachet filled with Vervain,, Mint, Basil, Thyme, Fennel, Lavender, Rosemary, Hyssop, and Valerian. The bath should be decorated with white candles, and a musky incense used. Wash each other in the bath, taking time to become relaxed and centered. Then dry each other with soft towels and anoint each other with Lavender or Musk oil on the souls of the feet, behind the knees, just above the pubic area (be careful with essential oils here!), on the breasts, under the chin, and on the forehead. Dress in plain or ceremonial robes, or simple peasant garb that is easily removed. Each take a burning white taper from the bath for the procession to the Nemeton. (If there are more people than will fit in the bath, take turns stepping in and being washed ceremonially.)"As our ancestors once did, so we do today, and so our children will do in the future. We are here to pay homage to the divine as manifest in Boinn, Lady of Fertility, and to Bel, Lord of the Sun; to the Gods, to the Ancestors, and to the Earth Spirits; to the rising light of the year. Now is the time of fertility, when the flowering plants put forth their blossoms, and Mother Earth is fertile once again. Life is now awake, and the bees and butterflies travel from flower to flower. In the meadow come together the sire and the dam. This is the Feast of Beltaine, the Fires of Bell. As the Sun now burns brightly bringing warmth to Mother Earth, so warmth stirs in the loins, and the fires of joining burn again in the sexes. In the embrace of lovers new life is created. So let us join together as one to make our offerings in joy and reverence.Boinn, Cow-Mother and Goddess of the Moon, River of Life, grant us this boon: That power of joining may flow in us soon! AND THEN THIS:River Goddess, naked be!He removes her clothing, and caresses her body.They take some of the small wildflowers strewn about, and weave them into each other’s hair, on the head and in the pubic area.And they eventually end up doing it: The couple join in love-making on the mattress, taking whatever time is needed. (If there are more than one couple, appropriate actions agreed upon as a group beforehand now take place.)The Very Rev. G. Richard Lobs III, Dean of The Cathedral Church of Saint Luke in Orland told Virtuosity, "This is an immensely important story. The primary significance is not that there are two heretical priests, deep into the occult, in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. That is important but secondary. The significance lies in the fact that a culture has been created by the top leadership, within the National Episcopal Church, where the writing of pagan priests is welcome at the Women's Desk for "exploration." It is important to note that this place was not arrived at overnight. Where we are at present is the result of thirty-five years of downward sliding. There really is a slippery slope. This is not simply about two priests. It is about a once great denomination where it is permissible to offend the Almighty and in the most provocative ways to date."Peter Akinola, chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, has been saying that the Episcopal Church USA is "embroiled in a new religion which we cannot associate ourselves with."Responding to the charges Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison said, "the accusations against two local priests that they are practicing druids and in violation of their ordination vows are extremely serious and merit further inquiries to establish the Facts. At the same time, it’s imperative to ensure that the Revs. Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk and William Melnyk are treated fairly and not victims of a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” mentality, he said. “I am extremely concerned by the charges made against the Melnyks, yet I am also concerned about the reputations and pastoral needs of two priests who have contributed very positively to their parishes and this diocese for four years,” Bennison said. “I will not allow this situation to turn into a witch-hunt of any sort.” Bennison indicated that he is looking forward to communication with the lay leaders of St.- Francis-in-the-Fields, Sugartown, where Rev. Ruppe-Melnyk is rector and St. James’, Downingtown, where her husband serves. The Bishop said he thought it crucial during this process to hear the voices of those now served by the Melnyks.“The liturgy at the center of this unfortunate controversy was written years ago for study purposes for a small support group of women in a diocese where the priests previously served. Yet to be determined is the extent to which it represents the priests’ present views,” Bennison said. “The Melnyks assure me that it has never been used in liturgy or in their prayer life.”NOTE: If you are not receiving this from VIRTUOSITY, the Anglican Communion's largest biblically orthodox Episcopal/Anglican Online News Service, then you may subscribe FREE by going to: Virtuosity's website has been accessed by more than one million readers in 45 countries on six continents. This story is copyrighted but may be freely forwarded electronically with reference to VIRTUOSITY and the author. No changes are permitted in the text.


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