Rod Webster on some of the recent TEC Parish realities

Posted by Kendall Harmon



(The speaker is senior VP & General Manager at the Church Insurance Company). Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC DataTEC Parishes

14 Comments
Posted September 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Many of us predicted back in 2003 that ECUSA would start losing members and shrinking in size as a consequence of focusing on secular ‘hot button’ political issues/agendas rather than focusing on the well trodden traditional/spiritual path of “...the Faith once given….”

The good news is that the Anglican faith is alive, well and flourishing in North America outside of ECUSA and the AoC.

And, within ECUSA, there still exist beacons of “...the Faith once given…” inside individual parishes and within dioceses such as Albany and South Carolina.

September 26, 6:58 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd13 wrote:

There’s nothing here that we didn’t already know.  And it’s only going to get worse with no end in sight.

September 26, 7:47 pm | [comment link]
3. Chris Taylor wrote:

So much for 20/20!  A basic “element of business” (to use the speaker’s language) is that you need a product.  What’s the “product” of the TEC?

September 26, 8:40 pm | [comment link]
4. robroy wrote:

TEO properties are valued at $20 billion, much more that denominations of the same relative size.

Note that this is from the point of view of an insurer of churches, not the seller of church real estate. Thus, to carry insurance is very expensive but one can’t recoup that cost if you close a parish down. The high valuation of properties is not good for the TEO.

September 26, 8:45 pm | [comment link]
5. Jim the Puritan wrote:

Why do you need people attending your churches when you have $20 billion in assets?  That can fund a lot of left-wing causes for a long time.  So the more people you get to leave and the more churches you close and sell, the more you can spend on things like promoting gay marriage and stopping “global warming,” supporting activist “specialized clergy” and bishops in the style to which they’ve become accustomed, and just generally supporting the “progressive” political and social agenda. 

Sure there are some legal costs to be incurred in forcing church congregations out and taking their properties, but the end result certainly justifies some spending of attorneys’ fees to do it.  And many churches will just die of attrition on their own.

In the business world this used to be called a “hostile takeover.” Take over management, drive the company under, and then sell the assets for break up value which is more than value as a going concern.

September 26, 8:56 pm | [comment link]
6. Hursley wrote:

While these are admittedly short portions of a larger presentation, I was struck by the pervasive secular tone of the address. One had almost no sense of this as a sacred reality. That, I think, is a feature of current TEC leadership’s approach to most things. The world is denuded of the sacred, reduced to ideologies or business strategies. Once more, TEC’s leadership are not providing something truly different from the culture around us.

Beyond that, these clips portray in cold, balance-sheet terms the fruit of years of disconnect between the mission God gave the Episcopal Church and the stewardship of same. That we are living in an increasingly secular time is beyond doubt. Beyond doubt, too, we would have had to close some churches for any number of reasons. But, if we had remained faithful to the best in our tradition and built on it, I believe the closings would be fewer and would be far less traumatic or dominant, as our overall life would have been engaged in the challenge and excitement of mission, rather than the bitter fruit of rancor, lawsuits, schism, decadence, and the resulting lethargy marking TEC now.

In the foreseeable future, TEC will remain completely fixed on its ongoing project of a secular Christianity. We will, as the speaker remarks at the closing of this piece, have to get very good at this. I have already heard clergy in the diocese I live in speak about the inevitability of all of this, inadvertently sounding like hardened Calvinists speaking about double predestination! Repentance is the last thing on their minds.

In the long run, of course, God is triumphant. Of that I remain assured. Taking the long view… and living in its hope and promise… is essential in this sorrowful era.

September 26, 9:27 pm | [comment link]
7. sophy0075 wrote:

TEC - The Democratic Party at “prayer.”

September 27, 1:44 am | [comment link]
8. yohanelejos wrote:

#6.  “pervasive secular tone”—well, he is the VP of an insurance company, so it may not be that surprising there is no spiritual tone here.

September 27, 2:25 am | [comment link]
9. Henry Greville wrote:

Trinity Wall Street and perhaps a handful of other Episcopal parishes in TEC actually own real estate considered extremely valuable in the open marketplace, but reality for the rest of TEC parishes and missions covered by Church Insurance is that their so-called values are based primarily on estimated replacement costs for buildings, organs, pianos, stained glass windows, ecclesiastical appurtenances, etc.

September 27, 9:04 am | [comment link]
10. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Ugh. This info should leave no doubt as to the direction TEC is headed ...  as if there was ever any doubt. Many people (my parents included) saw this coming down the pike decades ago. Did anyone listen???????Obviously not enough people in leadership positions did or there could have been action taken to stop such losses. However when the leadership is committed to a plan that is obviously failing and can not see the consequences of their actions, nothing less than complete failure will convince them otherwise. Then failure it is…. Hope they like the results…....

September 27, 10:43 am | [comment link]
11. magnolia wrote:

jim i don’t know where you live but invite you to come down to texas where we are experiencing the worst drought in our history along with record breaking 100+ degree temps. it’s rained a total of 5 times since february. i’m struggling to save my 100 year old trees.

i’m from kansas and never saw one armadillo in all my years there growing up; in the last 7-10 years i’ve seen many dead on the road in that state.

there’s no sin in trying to promote clean energy and healthy living,  and there are plenty of conservatives who believe it including the pope and head of the eastern orthodox church. just because TEC believes it doesn’t mean it ain’t true.

September 27, 11:46 am | [comment link]
12. Hursley wrote:

#8 A fair comment, indeed. But the speaker is not just a secular executive. He is a leader in a company that deals exclusively with churches. He clearly spends a lot of time with ecclesiastical leadership, it is evident, and is willing to tell us of the time-consuming nature of what it means to close churches, the drain on resources, &c. The portions we see in this approach it entirely on the level of what leadership must endure. Perhaps that was the audience. It was interesting to me as a study in the tonality of our church life, mostly.

Again, I realize we are seeing only parts of a presentation, but it leaves me wondering about the culture that created it. It was John Keble’s willingness to point out the secular intrusion into the Church’s affairs in “National Apostasy” that ignited the Oxford Movement. I pray that someday a similar renewal will occur in our own status quo endorsing mentality.

September 27, 11:51 am | [comment link]
13. Dan Crawford wrote:

#7, TEC - Wall Street at prayer

September 27, 4:56 pm | [comment link]
14. Sarah wrote:

Sophy0075—even Dan Crawford recognizes your insult. 

; > )

September 27, 5:21 pm | [comment link]
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