Western Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese set to announce 5 bishop nominees

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church officials said the new bishop will face daunting tasks, including turning around congregations with massive membership declines and repairing deteriorating church plants.

Over the past 10 years, average Sunday attendance has plummeted and 15 congregations have been deemed “at risk.”

A number of Episcopal churches have also closed over the past few years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

5 Comments
Posted April 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. MichaelA wrote:

“Though the diocese is in reasonably good financial shape, church officials said many congregations are having difficulty paying their bills.”

I’m not sure I understand that one.

“Church officials said the new bishop will face daunting tasks, including turning around congregations with massive membership declines and repairing deteriorating church plants.
Over the past 10 years, average Sunday attendance has plummeted and 15 congregations have been deemed “at risk.” A number of Episcopal churches have also closed over the past few years.”

Okay, well maybe this gives the answer: the diocesan finances are okay at the present time, but one doesn’t need an accounting degree to realise that this cannot last. Congregational income is directly dependent on Average Sunday Attendance, i.e. committed parishioners.  If you aren’t keeping them, then income inevitably declines.  What then?

The answer is hinted at in this bit:

“The diocese’s invested funds are now at $21 million and a $1.15 million return is expected in 2012.”

Sure, but if income from congregations drops, then what must inevitably follow? The diocese begins to dip into the capital of the trust fund. That in turn leads to other complications, because it may not be legal to do so (depending on the particular circumstances).

And in any case, if the diocese is using the capital merely to maintain itself, then the general financial direction is still down, down, down.

April 19, 7:45 pm | [comment link]
2. David Keller wrote:

It seems to me it is time for TEC to start consolidating dioceses. There are a bunch of dioceses which are smaller than my old TEC parish. Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense for the new bishop to be a suffragan in Mass. And close W. Mass altogether?

April 19, 9:17 pm | [comment link]
3. W Mass wrote:

For what it is worth, here are the names that have been released. I am not familiar with any of them. Anyone that can shed some light?

The candidates for the 9th bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts:

• The Very Rev. Richard A. Demarest, 55, Dean, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Boise, Idaho (Diocese of Idaho)

• The Rev. Dr. Douglas John Fisher, 57, Rector, Grace Church, Millbrook, New York (Diocese of New York)

• The Rev. Nancy Gossling, 60, Rector, St. James’ Church, Glastonbury, Connecticut (Diocese of Connecticut)

• The Very Rev. Ron W. Griffin, 58, Rector, Christ Church, Eureka, California (Diocese of Northern California)

• The Very Rev. Mark B. Pendleton, 49, Dean, Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, Connecticut (Diocese of Connecticut)

April 20, 6:45 am | [comment link]
4. Statmann wrote:

Losses in Members, ASA, and inflation adjusted Plate & Pledge for 2002 through 2010 were about average for TEC.  But the longer tem looks bleak with Infant Baptisms down 32 percent and Marraiges down 46 percent.  Statmann

April 20, 12:43 pm | [comment link]
5. Don C wrote:

I’m unfamiliar with these names, but the following is from the clerical directory:

Demarest: ordained by Spong
Fisher: received from RCC by NY
Gossling: ordained in Connecticut
Griffin: ordained in Colorado
Pendleton: ordained deacon in Florida but priested by Spong

Not a single one from a conservative diocese. Western Mass used to be the only reasonably conservative diocese in New England.

April 21, 11:35 am | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): (USA Today) More congregations turn to Facebook, Web, high-tech outreach

Previous entry (below): Peter Berger—The Long Reach of the Protestant Parsonage in Germany?

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)