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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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It's not easy being the Episcopal bishop of Newark, where a third of diocesan churches have money problems, membership is declining, and the monster shadow of Jack Spongs 24-year tenure always hangs over you.
For Mark Beckwith, who on Monday celebrates his one-year anniversary as the dioceses 10th bishop, the financial troubles are likely to be around for a while. But tonight, at the annual diocesan convention at the Hilton Hotel in Parsippany, he signaled he would not recommend consolidating or closing urban churches, a prospect that has worried some in recent years.
Fifty years ago, he said in his address, Newark had 17 Episcopal churches. Today it has three. Jersey City had 12 in 1958, and three now. Paterson had five, and two now.
"I suppose an argument could be made that our three largest diocesan cities were over-churched 50 years ago, but I wouldn't make that case now," said Beckwith, 56. "We have had enough church consolidation in our cities."
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