A Profile of Episcopal Priest Dan Messier as he begins a new Ministry in Arizona

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Dan] Messier knows that as a mainline denomination pastor he faces a dwindling audience.

A report last week said the number of Episcopalians in the United States dropped below 2 million for the first time in decades — down 16 percent in the past 10 years. There were 3.5 million members in the mid-1960s.

Some within the church blame the declines on disagreements over the authority of Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ, and the church’s stance on hot-button social issues.

“I think the challenge is changing with the times,” Messier said. “It appears to me that a lot of the churches that are benefitting are places that are non-structural and more open.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC DataTEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* South Carolina

8 Comments
Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Nikolaus wrote:

My apologies if my assessment of Mr. Messier appear harsh but it seems that his ministry has been spent avoiding vows, obligations and the Gospel.

October 30, 10:44 am | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

I have to agree with #1.  How happy he is to be away from his previous diocese, South Carolina, where they were so negative about same-sex erotic behavior!

October 30, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
3. Frances S Scott wrote:

I attended St. Francis in the Valley the winter of “93 while I was staying with my Dad following my Mother’s death.  Green Valley, AZ is a retirement community; one has to be at least 55 to live there.
St. Francis is a parish of older people.  There were a couple of young families attending regularly while I was there, the children made much of by most of the older parishioners.

The parishioners, for the most part, were notable for their consumption of alcohol and mostly concerned with who was hosting the next party.  This is unkind, but was the opinion of some of those who opted out of that form of entertainment. I met some very lovely people while I was there.

Quite a good crowd of us watched the “Jesus at 2000” Seminar live on a very large screen…I was underwhelmed by most of the presenters.

I predict that Mr. Messier will feel right at home at St. Francis and be as dearly loved as any other priest in their recent past.

October 30, 1:04 pm | [comment link]
4. Nikolaus wrote:

Not just that Katherine but his vows as a Catholic priest and then as a husband. 

When living in Phoenix many years ago, a priest commented on the very high burn-out rate for clergy in retirement communities.  Not only is the average age even higher that TEC in general, but the congregations tend to be more heavily weighted to the wealthy.  “Back home” they may have had permanent seats on the vestry, personal friends of the bishop, etc., but also rare in the general parish demographic.  In retirement communities they can be a dime-a-dozen and can really chew up clergy.

October 30, 2:03 pm | [comment link]
5. Katherine wrote:

Yes, Nikolaus.  He seems to have found justification for what he wanted to do throughout.  I can understand a man who finds he is not committed to his (Catholic) priesthood.  It happens.  The thing to do in that case is to laicize.  It’s not clear from the article if he formally did that.  He seems rather to have left the church and become an Episcopal priest, and married, rather promptly.  He is now on his second church and second wife and is sympathetic to same-sex attracted people who want to do what they want to do as well.  It all fits together.

October 30, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
6. Statmann wrote:

St Francis is an odd choice for a priest who places an emphasis on working with young people.  Yet, I am sure that it a good fit for his agreement with the TEC agenda. St Francis exhibits the rather common pattern of decling attendance with ASA down a bit over 25 percent since 2002 and with Plate & Pledge adjusted for inflation down about 33 percent.  Statmann

October 30, 6:26 pm | [comment link]
7. stjohnsrector wrote:

Interesting that the predecessor spoke out in favor of homosexual behavior and lasted only 18 months (and apparently is here in my diocese now). The article seems to imply there was a connection to her interview and departure. 
STATMAN - what is the link to the latest ECUSA parish stats?  It changes from year to year and my old links are no good.

October 31, 8:27 am | [comment link]
8. Statmann wrote:

stjohnrector:  episcopalchurch.org/research/109378_107383_ENG.HTM.htm   Statmann

October 31, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
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