Southwestern Virginia Episcopal Bishop says it’s time for him to retire

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I feel it's a good decision, and it's a tender decision," [Bishop Neff] Powell said. "I love this diocese, and it's going to mean saying goodbye to it."

Powell, 64, is leaving as he nears retirement age and as the diocese - like the Episcopal Church itself - is grappling with slowly declining membership, attendance and revenues. A committee is presenting over the weekend a proposal that would partially decentralize resources to the parishes.

"Rather than me staying for these changes, I think it's time to call for a new bishop," Powell said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops

6 Comments
Posted January 28, 2012 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. trimom wrote:

This is a sincere question: so when is a diocese too small to have its own bishop? Is a diocese based on ASA or geography? or both? or neither? Seems TEC has a whole lot more purple than people that need to be governed.

January 28, 2:32 pm | [comment link]
2. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I am not really sure what the protocol is on contracting dioceses. Obviously, it has to be voluntary on the part of the people within the diocese. I know two of the dioceses in Wisconsin have tried to float the idea of merging into one Diocese but the people themselves were adverse to the idea and voted it down. I think that is a major canon law problem brewing if a diocese simply can’t afford a Bishop and they don’t have critical mass in terms of population/members anymore but the people refuse to vote to give up their status as an independent diocese.

What I find interesting is that no one on the national level is seriously suggesting any sort of mutual/yoked ministry on a diocesan level like they try to cram down the throats of rural parishes.

January 28, 3:20 pm | [comment link]
3. paradoxymoron wrote:

Powell supported the ordination of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, one of the most divisive issues all mainline Protestant denominations have faced in the past generation. He also has been a vocal proponent of the ordination of female clergy.

Mission accomplished!

January 28, 4:00 pm | [comment link]
4. Choir Stall wrote:

...and he was the past President of Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge. While holding that hideous title he raised his hand to bless the ground of a future abortion clinic.  He is an oblivious shepherd who believes that life is about making people happy, and therefore typical of the problems in TEC.

January 28, 10:31 pm | [comment link]
5. Sarah wrote:

RE: “During his tenure, he said he has seen a trend in this diocese that has reflected declining and aging populations in Southwest Virginia and declining contributions to churches during the longest recession since World War II. Membership declined to about 9,700 in 2008, down 10 percent from 1998, and parishioner contributions slid to $8.8 million in 2008, down 4 percent from 1998.”

Interesting that they cited 2008 stats when the 2010 stats are out now.

What’s even more interesting to me is the ASA plummet. 

In 2000 ASA was around 5400.  In 2010, it was around 4100—more than a 20% drop.

January 30, 11:55 pm | [comment link]
6. Widening Gyre wrote:

trimom,  you will see if you visit the diocesan website that your very question was addressed at council by a sustainability committee that has spent the last year trying to figure out if our diocese (yup, I’m still here) is sustainable.  Interesting start to a difficult question.

February 1, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
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