Bishop Martin Field of West Missouri’s Report to his November 2012 Diocesan Convention

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is crucial. We, as a Church, need to get leaner (though not necessarily meaner). The days of top heavy corporate-style hierarchies are over. We must be focused on mission, not governance. We must be outward focused at every level of the Church, having enough governance for the marshaling of resources, enough committees for organizing ministry, enough hierarchy for holy decision making . . . but no more!

The Church must be — from congregations to General Convention — committed to God’s Mission, not our favorite political agenda. God’s Vision for the world; not business as usual.

God has blessed his Episcopal Church with abundant resources, and through the years the Church has tried to be faithful. The time is now upon us to renew faithfulness and be a leaner, more mission-focused Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

5 Comments
Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Statmann wrote:

+Martin should consider that since 2002 the diocese has seen ASA down by 22 percent, inflation adjusted Plate & Pledge down 15 percent, Infant Baptisms down 41 percent, and Marraiges down 42 percent.  BUT the number of churches are ddown less than 6 percent.  TEC is drowning in Real Estate.  Statmann

November 18, 10:47 pm | [comment link]
2. MichaelA wrote:

Bishop Fields writes:

“Some estimates place the number of Christians in China as high as 150 million plus; that’s nearly half the population of the United States. Certainly, not all of those 150 million are Anglicans, but many are.”

That is good news re the “many”.  Does anyone know any details about this? 

I have heard that ++Chew of South East Asia felt a great burden for outreach in mainland China, and that the Chinese government has held talks with Global South bishops.  But does anyone know any more?

November 19, 4:26 am | [comment link]
3. MichaelA wrote:

Statmann at #1, many thanks for those details.  What is the diocese like, in terms of orthodoxy? 

There seems to have been some activity by independent Anglicans early on.  Bishop William Cox assisted a church plant in Springfield MO in 2005.  CANA planted another congregation in Springfield in 2009.  Both now appear to have a full-time priest, so they can’t be doing too badly.  There is also an REC congregation up in Joplin, but doesn’t appear to be anything in Kansas City.

November 19, 4:47 am | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:

I am somewhat surprised at the reference to Chinese Christians being Anglicans.  I thought that after the Communist revolution that all Protestant churches were subsumed into one broad-brush state-controlled denomination.  Anglicans do not operate there independently - and there is renewed persecution of the branch of the Catholic Church loyal to the Pope, while the state-approved Patriotic Catholic Church is given many benefits.

November 19, 7:45 am | [comment link]
5. MichaelA wrote:

Father Tee, I believe it is fairly clear that the vast majority of Christians in China operate independently of the government. 

About ten years ago, the Chinese government gave out that there were about 15 million Christians in China - about 4 million Roman Catholics and about 11 million Protestants.  At the same time, numerous outside groups estimated the number of members of “house churches” (i.e. churches with no official sanction) between 50 million to 100 million!

I don’t doubt +Field when he says that there are some Anglicans in China.  There has to be.  And I note that last year the Chinese government hosted delegations from the Anglican Global South in China, and government delegations have also visited Global South meetings - this wouldn’t happen unless there were significant number of Anglicans in China.  But I have no idea of what the numbers are supposed to be. 

This article contains excerpts from a translation of an official government paper bemoaning the spread of unofficial Christianity in China.  The translation was produced by Overseas Missionary Fellowship, formerly known as the China Inland Mission, founded by J. Hudson Taylor in the 19th century.  In recent years it has evangelised very effectively among Chinese outside of China - since many of them go back to visit or live, this is one of the main vectors of evaneglisation,  However, I had understood that to mean that most Christians in China lacked western denominational connections:  http://geoconger.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/china-in-danger-from-evangelism-communist-party-adviser-warns-the-church-of-england-newspaper-sep-2-2011-p-6/

Note that the government author estimates the number of non-official protestants in 2011 at 40 million.  The unofficial catholics are smaller but not insignificant - they would easily carry the whole grouping over the 50 million mark.  And the author admits that this is the most conservative estimate.  Praise the Lord.

November 19, 6:09 pm | [comment link]
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