(Detroit Free Press) Episcopal Church losing members as it strives for inclusion

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...average Sunday attendance in Episcopal churches has plunged 23% in the past decade to 657,831. In the Michigan diocese -- which includes southeast Michigan, Lansing and Jackson -- attendance has dropped 31% from 2000 to 2010. During the same time period, the number of baptized Episcopal members in the diocese dropped 30% to 20,825; nationally, it dropped 16% to 1,951,907.

Some say the drop is because the Episcopal Church has drifted too much to the left on social and political issues. But [Bonnie] Anderson notes that other mainline Protestant denominations have also seen declines in membership; regardless, the church won't shift its views because people are leaving, she said.

"We're prayerful, we're careful, and we pay attention to what we believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to do. And if we lose members because of that, it's still the right thing to do."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

12 Comments
Posted July 7, 2012 at 11:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Dan Crawford wrote:

“we pay attention to what we believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to do. And if we lose members because of that, it’s still the right thing to do.”

And that’s just what the Holy Spirit is “calling” the Episcopal Church to do: Keep losing members until it disappears. Uh-huh.

July 7, 1:08 pm | [comment link]
2. Shumanbean wrote:

Actually, it’s Bonnie Anderson that can’t shift her views, and she purports to speak for the Church. Unfortunately, with the loss of so many conservtives/traditionalists over the last decade, and the tipping of the Episcopal Church to the hard left in their absence, she probably does.

July 7, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
3. David Hein wrote:

“We’re prayerful, we’re careful, and we pay attention to what we believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to do. And if we lose members because of that, it’s still the right thing to do.”

Future church historians will certainly question whether TEC was “careful” in its thinking and acting ca. 2003 and after. Indeed, they already do. And when they ask why TEC was not more careful and truly inclusive—but instead belligerently self-righteous and heedless—they will take careful note of this language of TEC leaders’ knowing that God was on their side.

Cf. Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War—and he was the most profound theologian of them all, including the ordained ones; note how valuable the Episcopal Church’s official pronouncements were during that conflict.

July 7, 1:27 pm | [comment link]
4. Nikolaus wrote:

But [Bonnie] Anderson notes that other mainline Protestant denominations have also seen declines in membership;

Yes, and most of those mainline protestant denominations are lurching to the left as well.

July 7, 1:57 pm | [comment link]
5. Nikolaus wrote:

Yes, Dan, that could actually be the Holy Spirit’s way of dealing with the problem: disappear.

July 7, 1:59 pm | [comment link]
6. paradoxymoron wrote:

I think that they’re careful-ly plundering the institution’s endowments to finance their effete social-justice activism.

July 7, 2:10 pm | [comment link]
7. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

If only God would listen to GC!  They’ve really improved on that Bible and Tradition stuff He started, bled and died for, according to them.

July 7, 4:42 pm | [comment link]
8. Jim the Puritan wrote:

My parish has lost over 2/3 of its members since 2002 and can barely keep its doors open.  Now they survive as a wedding business Rent-A-Venue.  But it says volumes when you have 20 or 30 people there on a Sunday in a Gothic sanctuary built to hold 700.  The Bible says you reap what you sow.

July 7, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
9. deaconjohn25 wrote:

It is truly sad what is happening to the Episcopal Church as its elite members try to keep up with the secular elites.
But one thing that scares me is—will the disintegration that has hit the Episcopal Church because of its leftward lurch and disparagement of the Christian moral tradition and Bible teachings—begin a disintegrating process in other segments of society????? For example, the military is now not only accepting of aggresively public “coming out” homosexual activity in the military, but is now also running a Gay Pride month in the military.
  What happens to our country’s defenses if the military disintegrates in the manner the Episcopal Church is disintegrationg over such issues ???? The elites certainly don’t seem to care.

July 7, 7:26 pm | [comment link]
10. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Deaconjohn25, You are behind the times. The disintegration of TEC is only a symptom of what has been going on in society for decades. The disintegration of the military is already happening unfortunately. Yes, you can guess the disastrous consequences for us as a nation. Yes, the elites who are pushing this agenda don’t care.

July 8, 12:05 am | [comment link]
11. MichaelA wrote:

“But average Sunday attendance in Episcopal churches has plunged 23% in the past decade to 657,831.”

Not only that, but the decline appears to be accelerating rather than tapering off. 

It is interesting that Ms Anderson doesn’t attempt to deny this is happening; she just cites the fact of other mainline denominations declining (which overlooks the fact that TEC appears to be declining the worst, and that in general it is the most liberal mainline denominations who suffer the worst declines, while orthodox mainline churches have minimal declines, or even increases).

“Jim Naughton, who lives in Maryland and worked with Anderson on a church advisory council, praised her for her “ability to meld diverse people into a cohesive team.””

But what is the point of that if the team cohesively leads the church to disaster?

July 8, 4:19 am | [comment link]
12. Cennydd13 wrote:

Think things are bad now?  Wait until after General Convention, and you’ll see even more people leaving TEC.

July 8, 10:07 pm | [comment link]
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