RECENT COMMENTS

By Sarah on October 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

Just a clarification of this last: “evangelistic zeal [as regards invitation into TEC parishes] really isn’t an option other than for those within the 8-10 dioceses led by Gospel-promoting bishops.”

My evangelistic zeal in general is thriving and full of opportunity—I simply engage the lost and the seeking outside of TEC entirely.



By Sarah on October 21, 2014 at 8:30 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

Very interesting comment, Neal.

One perhaps small quibble [since I agree with so much] . . .

In one sense I agree with this point in its entirety:

Episcopalians, as a whole, don’t do evangelism. We are generally content to attend church—some more faithfully than others—and do nothing to engage their friends and family with any sort of intentional proclamation of the Gospel in word and deed. We don’t even do much of “make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ” with an intention to draw them into a relationship with Christ through our church. (Two notes: First, there is warrant for recognizing that evangelism takes place best within the context of the worshiping community, but that is another long post. Second, let me hasten to add that I led two workshops among “the remnants” of people who were considering starting new churches as they saw their own churches being unfaithful doctrinally, and the vast majority of those people only wanted an orthodox chapel of ease that was more doctrinally pure than the church they were leaving. This lack of evangelical zeal is not limited to people remaining in TEC.)

But . . . I think what’s *really* plummeted what little evangelism that existed in my diocese, for instance [and in many others where I chat about things with fellow Episcopalians] . . . is that as TJ above points out . . . traditional/conservative Episcopalians now no longer invite their pagan friends to church.

Fifteen years ago, for instance, as I discerned that a pagan friend might appreciate what sacramental liturgy might offer, I invited.  No more, of course, now—I don’t think it’s right to introduce vulnerable seekers and pagans into the toxic stew of corrupt godless heresy that they *will* encounter within TEC, even if they manage to “make it” to a traditional parish.

Of course, that doesn’t stop conservatives.  I simply point those who are interested to other options entirely—the EPC, the PCA, contemporary worship, etc, etc. 

The only folks I invite into TEC are strong, informed Christians—and let’s face it, many many strong informed Christians want no part of TEC.

So . . . in my diocese, for instance, you have a fatal combination.  One of the biggest “pots” of prospective growth for any church is new people moving into the area.  But among informed strong Christians—most of them have understandably x-ed out any thought of engagement with the Episcopal Church.  So the brand itself drives people away such that it’s not a “purchasing option” for a huge huge percentage of people moving into the area.  And even amongst those who are willing to engage, they then discover what Bishop Waldo has decided in the diocese regarding same sex blessings—and that of course also deletes *a particular diocese* from their options, even if they’re willing to engage in an orthodox diocese in TEC.

It’s a devastating [and entirely predictable] combo . . .

So to simply quote TJ’s apt observation above:

Those of us who were actively engaged in trying to restore a semblance of orthodoxy had a hard time with it on the grounds that we would be exposing our innocent friends to open heresy (imagine taking a young family with a couple of kids into a TEC Church). Essentially, we would be taking the unchurched or young Christians in formation, and bringing them in so TEC could mold them into revisionist pewsitters. Fine if we could slip in a half dozen staunch Anglo Catholics or Evangelicals- but the former in that area were now Roman Catholic, and the latter had their own churches and were not up for taking on a fight for a church they saw as heretical.

None of my comment above is a complaint, nor is my observation at all surprising—it’s all entirely predictable and understandable—the natural consequences of actions.  I’m a happy—and growing—member of TEC and of a TEC parish and am pleased that God has me here, though I recognize anything can change in my calling and discernment.

But reality is that even with happy members of TEC—among those who believe the Gospel—evangelistic zeal really isn’t an option other than for those within the 8-10 dioceses led by Gospel-promoting bishops.



By David Keller on October 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

#14, I can guarantee it happened—I was on the Standing Commission and I was there when it happened.



By MichaelA on October 21, 2014 at 6:26 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

Thank you Fr Handy and tjmcmahon for that information.

I haven’t found a specific reference on the web, but I note that Fr Handy’s friend William Beasley is head of the Greenhouse organisation, and it has been active in the Chicago area.

Also, an interesting blog entry in September 2013 said that ACNA had “over 60” Hispanic congregations, and that 18 of these were in Cuba!  There were also indications that some of the ACNA Hispanic congregations are in Mexico.  (I had no idea there were any ACNA congregations in Cuba or Mexico).



By MichaelA on October 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Church must change or 'wither away' warns Bishop Julian Henderson of Blackburn

“The Church’s most recent national attendance figures show around 800,000 people go to church each Sunday, down from twice that in the late 1960s.”

That’s pretty low when one diocese in Australia can manage 60,000 in church on a Sunday.  But the more important issue is the 50% decline over 50 years.

“Lord Carey said clergy were gripped by a “feeling of defeat”, congregations are worn down by “heaviness” while the public simply greets both with “rolled eyes and a yawn of boredom”, he said.”

Of course they are - that is the wages of the Church of England’s toleration and encouragement of liberalism.  There are congregations within CofE that are not like this, and they include the very ones that the hierarchy are trying to marginalise and drive out, by forcing them to accept women bishops and clergy.



By MichaelA on October 21, 2014 at 6:07 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Ebola In Church: The Reverend's Quarantine Spreads The Word

Wow, this is confronting stuff.  This is a very courageous couple, he and his wife keeping their heads in face of great danger, and putting their ministry to others ahead of their own needs:

“But the Brownes went public.

“I left work immediately, wrapped up everything, called the treasurer, the bishop, my colleagues,” Herman said. Then Trokon and Herman quarantined themselves for 21 days.

Even their children were not allowed to come upstairs until the couple knew they did not have Ebola.”

Also interesting that the Church can have greater credibility than the government:

“That’s a message Liberians have heard constantly from the government. But many people in Monrovia say they don’t trust the government. They consider it corrupt. So the messages can have more of an impact when they come from a spiritual leader”



By MichaelA on October 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm [comment link]
From the entry: [Fr Dale Matson] Thank You ++Justin Welby

Thanks Fr Dale. 

I note there is an excellent comment by Pageantmaster on your blog.



By CBH on October 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

Well, I find this all very puzzling (tongue in cheek). I find it rather difficult when visiting other Episcopal or Anglican Churches to be offered the opportunity to pray the prayer of Humble Access as well as other exquisitely beautiful prayers.  We seem to have tossed so much of our language and traditions out of the window, I am thankful no matter where those words might be appropriated!



By MichaelA on October 21, 2014 at 5:59 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Liv. Church) Grantchester and Archbishop Runcie

Interesting, but contains virtually nothing about Christian faith. 

Which is not surprising - Robert Runcie was a great administrator and a genuine war hero.  But he was a very poor pastor to his flock.  As a priest he superintended the emasculation of the anglo-catholic Cuddesden College to outright liberalism, and as an archbishop he dragged the Church of England further along the road to becoming the anaemic, terminal institution it is today.



By Neal in Dallas on October 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

I posted this once, but it took so long I think my session timed out.
A couple of comments (WARNING: this is rather long):

1. (Re Terry #2) Philip Jenkins understands trajectories quite well. He is arguing a “what-if” scenario. Of course the decline won’t be consistent. On the other hand, decline in both ASA and membership has been fairly consistent over the past five years, so he’s arguing that the near-future news is likely not very encouraging. See here for the statistics for the past five years. The ASA in 2011 increased 55 for the year because that year had 53 Sundays, one of which was Christmas Eve. The reconfigured numbers for 2011 indicate decline consistent with surrounding years.
The reasons for the decline are a combination of (1) systemically spiritual values, (2) strategic decisions at the diocesan level,  (3) “national” leadership unwise strategic decisions, and, (4) yes, demographics.

(1) Systemically spiritual values. Episcopalians, as a whole, don’t do evangelism. We are generally content to attend church—some more faithfully than others—and do nothing to engage their friends and family with any sort of intentional proclamation of the Gospel in word and deed. We don’t even do much of “make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ” with an intention to draw them into a relationship with Christ through our church. (Two notes: First, there is warrant for recognizing that evangelism takes place best within the context of the worshiping community, but that is another long post. Second, let me hasten to add that I led two workshops among “the remnants” of people who were considering starting new churches as they saw their own churches being unfaithful doctrinally, and the vast majority of those people only wanted an orthodox chapel of ease that was more doctrinally pure than the church they were leaving. This lack of evangelical zeal is not limited to people remaining in TEC.)

(2) strategic decisions at the diocesan level. Where are the church plants among us? (I’m speaking to my fellow Episcopalians here.) If the diocese is the basic unit of the Church, it is incumbent on the dioceses to lead the way in church planting. ‘Nuff said.

(3) “national” leadership unwise strategic decisions. I could go on and on about this. First, although it is not the role of the denominational structure to oversee the way, it is the role of the denominational structure to cast that vision and fund those priorities. Instead, we have a Presiding Bishop who, when asked about two months ago how many churches have been planted in TEC, she responded that she did not know because she is usually invited to established congregations, not new ones. In a denomination that is in severe decline, one would think that the PB would want to make a priority of new church plants and reversing that numerical decline instead of making a virtue out of the decline. Second, several years ago BS—before the split—a 2020 task force was established that made many good and serious recommendations. The task force was tamed and the recommendations went nowhere because a certain segment of the committee was more concerned with inner-city issues only and the more liberal social agenda than they were the suburban growth and supporting normative congregational development. The work of the committee was completely derailed thanks to a few vocal people on the task force, and the larger leadership did not have a will to overcome these loud voices.

(4) And yes, demographics. It is true that we are dying more rapidly than we are producing biologically. That is not to our credit, rather to our shame.

2. (Re, Sarah #5) Yes, the leadership continues to publish the bad news even though they have no solution. However, at least they are publishing the numbers. I commend Kirk Hadaway for continuing to post these numbers and the leadership for not eliminating that position.

3. (Re David#8) Yes, it is my understanding as well that the scenario you allude to did occur. It was the same group that torpedoed the 2020 Task Force.
Also, the attendance and membership decline under PB John Allen leveled off during the tenure of Ed Browning. I believe it was not so much because of Bishop Browning’s leadership as it was the stability and energy from Bishop Allen’s tenure and Venture in Mission resources made available to the dioceses after the bloodletting under PB Hines. (I realize that will inflame more than one reader, but that is my interpretation of events and personalities.)



By New Reformation Advocate on October 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Barna) Five Trends Among the Unchurched

Or the Crusades.  Or the Spanish Inquisition.  Or the burning of witches.  Or The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1848) between Catholics and Protestants in Europe, etc.  However, one reason why so few people can actually cite examples is because so many adults, especially in America, are appallingly ignorant of history.  Of any kind.

However, the point is that when people cite a reason for their objections to Christianity, or institutional religion of any sort, that isn’t grounded in evidence (known data), that is a clear sign of prejudice, i.e., a bias that is no less real or significant for not being based on facts.  We really are dealing with a disturbing increase in anti-Christian prejudice in the Global North.

I would be interested in reading this latest Barna megastudy, Churchless.  However, one of my reservations about most of the Barna research that I’ve seen is that it’s presented too simplistically, in a perhaps futile effort to get more people to pay attention.  For example, although this summary notes the striking differences between generations of Americans, with alarming signs that the younger you are, the more likely you are to be secularized and alienated from the Church, there are no indications in this report about regional and ethnic variations in the data.  Those differences are often highly significant.

Bottom line:  We have a HUGE challenge on our hands.  And it’s getting steadily worse, as Western/Global North societies become ever more secularized, pluralistic, postmodern, and cynical.  We need to pay careful attention to research like this that can help us learn how outsiders perceive us and how we might best serve and reach them in Christ’s name.

David Handy+



By Jim the Puritan on October 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

#10 and 11. I asked an older priest about this a number of years ago, when the slide was just beginning.  He said he believed the Episcopal Church and all the mainlines were destroyed by the Vietnam War and young men avoiding the draft.  A well-known exemption was you couldn’t get drafted if you went to seminary.  So the mainline seminaries were flooded with folks who weren’t Christians, were often leftist in orientation, and were looking for a place to hide from the draft.  They were in no way “called” to ministry, which used to be the test and usually required prior vetting and recommendation by the applicant’s church that this person was a suitable candidate for the ministry, had been active in the church and helped serve, etc. 

The seminaries were only all too happy to take these folks, because they paid the bills and kept the classes filled.  And a lot of them were only Christianity Lite at that point anyway.  And once these folks got into the ministry track, they realized how churches could be platforms for “social change” (and an easy way to make a living, with a captive audience and podium for your social and political views, and at that point, pretty much an assured lifetime employment).  So within a few years, the mainline seminaries and churches began to fundamentally change.

Certainly that was the case in my parish.  When I was a kid and went, it was a solidly conservative Anglo-Catholic parish.  We were taught our catechism, the Creeds, and that the 39 Articles of Religion were binding on all Anglican churches.  We even had real Sisters teaching Sunday School (there was an Episcopal girls’ school next door also run by the Sisters).  Men wore suits, women wore hats.  Today, that church is a shattered shell of its former self.  The last service I went to, which was advertised as a service of Christmas Lessons and Carols, turned out to be a service for the Winter solstice, almost totally lacking in Christianity.



By Pb on October 21, 2014 at 9:56 am [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

I concur.  Last Sunday I attended a TEC service. The lay reader concluded the reading with “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the People of God.” And we responded “Thanks be to God.” We could have a whole thread on the implications of this change.



By St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse on October 21, 2014 at 9:27 am [comment link]
From the entry: (America) James Martin--Five Things the Synod Just Did

The Petrine office IS infallible, regardless of the fallible soul that inhabits it. And infallibility only when teaching in concert with established doctrine. The pope does not have the power to nullify Catholic teaching, regardless of how liberals may hope he might.



By tjmcmahon on October 21, 2014 at 8:31 am [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

At a macro level, as Pb suggests, it started academically.  But at this point in time, Episcopalianism has become a religion unto itself.  The leadership, at this point down to the deanery level, if not lower, everywhere but a very few dioceses, have rejected certain books of the Bible, and have, in fact, functionally created a new one- the Book of Spirit!!! (no longer Holy, no definite article, always at least 3 !s), which is the accumulation of all the new things that their god has done in the past 50 years, which leads them in “prophetic witness.”  I am sure that someday soon, someone will post the Book of Spirit!!! on the TEC website, but until then, it will be presented to congregations around the country through sermons, GC resolutions, and actions of the HoB.
The Book of Spirit!!! has also caught on with much of the rest of Western Anglicanism, as we see with the recent quotations from it by the bishops of the CoE.



By Pb on October 21, 2014 at 8:20 am [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

I believe this started in the seminaries when non-believers were hired to teach. The curriculum may have remained orthodox but what was actually communicated was not.



By tjmcmahon on October 21, 2014 at 8:09 am [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

#7 and 8, You are both more learned than I, and undoubtedly correct.  But I think the TEC problem goes much farther than that, down to the parish level.  I participated in a parish meeting, perhaps 8 years ago, when the priest in charge suggested to the dwindling congregation (down to an ASA in the low 30s, and a supposed membership of 75) that if each of us brought in one friend or family member, some might well stay.  We should institute a visitor Sunday once a year, and everyone ask their outside friends- churched, unchurched, whatever- to come.
The responses came in 2 varieties.  Those of us who were actively engaged in trying to restore a semblance of orthodoxy had a hard time with it on the grounds that we would be exposing our innocent friends to open heresy (imagine taking a young family with a couple of kids into a TEC Church). Essentially, we would be taking the unchurched or young Christians in formation, and bringing them in so TEC could mold them into revisionist pewsitters. Fine if we could slip in a half dozen staunch Anglo Catholics or Evangelicals- but the former in that area were now Roman Catholic, and the latter had their own churches and were not up for taking on a fight for a church they saw as heretical. 
  The rest of the parish was just embarrassed.  They knew that if they even suggested to a friend that they come, the response was going to be- (if they followed religious news) “oh, you mean that church with the gay bishops” or (if they just paid attention to local conversation about churches) “weren’t you complaining last week about the meaningless sermon….”
  That parish is now, for all intents and purposes, ELCA with an occasional out of the book Rite II service (shared ministry with the local ELCA congregation).  “Evangelizes” young liberals from the local college, and desperately looks about town for the few openly gay couples, hoping they will come so it will appear “inclusive” when the bishop visits.



By David Keller on October 21, 2014 at 7:37 am [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

#7, You are correct.  There is also a long history behind this going back to 2002 when the Evangelism Standing Commission told PB Griswold that TEC was in institutional decline which would be irreversible if not stopped immediately. I think Griswold was sympathetic, but the EC, especially Louie Crew, were not only not sympathetic but were openly hostile to the Standing Commission. The Commission was led by John Guernsey at the time, so you can see what was actually going on. EC essentially adopted the head in the sand policy that TEC will push a left wing, political LGBT agenda and we will grow.  We will be the DNC with vestments and it will all work out.  It didn’t.



By William P. Sulik on October 21, 2014 at 6:44 am [comment link]
From the entry: (America) James Martin--Five Things the Synod Just Did

Fr. Martin concludes:

But in the end one person makes the decisions, and in this case it’s the Pope.  At one point during his concluding speech to the bishops he said, playfully, “I am here and I’m the pope!”

Or as we say in the Jesuits, when it comes to the superior it’s: “You discern, we discern, but I decide.” 

On the other hand, consider this dissenting view from conservative Catholic writer John Zmirak:

If the pope permits divorced couples who now live in extramarital relationships to receive Holy Communion without repenting and promising celibacy, he will be sanctioning one of two things: adultery or polygamy. Marriage is, by Christ’s command, indissoluble. That was taught infallibly by the Council of Trent. If the pope denies that doctrine, if he re-shapes one of the seven sacraments so radically, he will be proving something that the Orthodox have been saying since 1870: That he is not infallible on matters of faith and morals. 

Of course, it is not just the Orthodox who have maintained that position - this is a large part of the reason I left the Church of Rome many, many years ago.  The Pope is not infallible.



By Br. Michael on October 21, 2014 at 5:26 am [comment link]
From the entry: (RNS) Musician Jeremy Messersmith wears his atheist heart on his sleeve

Ross, “fundamentalist” (how I hate that world) or Pentecostal?  I would like to think that we are all fundamentalist in that we believe in the fundamentals of the faith.



By Stephen Noll on October 21, 2014 at 5:13 am [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

It seems to me the failure of Episcopal leadership in this matter comes down to a Hobson’s choice. Life and growth in the Christian church require evangelism (see under “Great Commission”). Evangelism requires the conviction that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. That conviction, however, is exclusive, fundamentalist and hateful. Whatever else the Episcopal Church stands for, it is not exclusive, fundamentalist and hateful. Therefore evangelism is repugnant to its DNA, its raison d’etre. Hence the only conscientious option is slow death.

We have seen this choice acted out time and again recently. The denomination forces an evangelical Anglican body out of its building, it cannot fill the facilities, then it gets its thirty pieces silver by renting or selling the building to a non-Anglican evangelical body. “OK, they are evangelicals, but they are not our evangelicals!”



By tjmcmahon on October 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

Michael A- the churches “joining” may be former Episcopal parishes, or Anglo Catholic churches or plants not associated directly with TEC (I will be honest, I do not know for sure).  Like NRA in #4, I would think Quincy a good guess.  I don’t recall the specifics, but Bishop Morales came to Quincy as a priest who had been a bishop of an associated Catholic (but not Roman) Church in Central or South America- so these Hispanic parishes may have the same roots.  NRA notes Fr. Beasley, but the Anglo Catholics have been working in black and Hispanic and even Native American neighborhoods in Chicago for decades.  As has often been the case elsewhere, bishops will send Anglo Catholic clergy to their “low rent” parishes in destitute parts of the city, but some of those are among the most vibrant parishes in the Church.  They often don’t have much money, but they are filled with very faithful people, who often make up for in faith and donated time what they cannot provide in money.
  I don’t know that Chicago was ever an “Anglo Catholic diocese” but certainly 50 years ago, there were many Anglo Catholic parishes.  Last I knew, there were still a couple, sort of flying under the radar.  There are, of course, many that like to dress up in lace and parade about (with the current bishop among them) as though they were, but gave up the faith a long time ago.
  Remember that Anglo Catholics in North America have disparate roots- the first breaks came with TEC over 50 years ago, and the pogrom began in earnest in the mid 70s.  Anglo Catholic dioceses in TEC were reduced from 25 (more or less) to zero in the past 40 years- with a diaspora of sorts.  So there are Anglo Catholic parishes out there that have had no official Anglican Communion attachment for several decades.  Quincy and Fort Worth and the Diocese of All Saints have been beacons for many of these scattered parishes, clergy and laity since they split from TEC 5 years ago.



By Sarah on October 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

RE: “many of the failing denomination’s leaders seem untroubled by it. . . . “

But you know, they’ve got good reason for putting on that appearance.  I mean—they’re not able to grow, and I believe they know that.

So why broadcast the Bad News incessantly when one doesn’t have a solution?  Why continually talk about The Problem when they can’t implement a solution?

Besides . . . if you talk about The Problem, you frighten the sheeples, the parishioners, the givers, the volunteers—never a good thing, when you need to continue your position and the facade of a functioning diocese.



By New Reformation Advocate on October 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

Michael A (#1),

My guess is that those 8 Hispanic congregations have transferred to the Diocese of Quincy, since Quincy’s bishop is Alberto Morales, a Benedictine monk and a native of Puerto Rico.  If so, that would be a major boost to a small but vibrant ACNA diocese.

It’s perhaps worth mentioning that one main reason why the TEC Diocese of Chicago had the number of Hispanic churches that it did was because of the faithful missionary work of my friend Fr. William Beasley (a fellow Wheaton grad and ardent evangelical), who had been a missionary in Costa Rica and who served for several years as the diocesan leader of outreach to Hispanics.  Fr. Beasley left TEC way back in the mid 1990s, when he became disgusted with the pro-gay and ultra-liberal policies of +Frank Griswold and the diocese.

David Handy+



By New Reformation Advocate on October 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

I agree with Jenkins (as usual).  Maybe the most disturbing thing about the rapid and persistent decline in TEC is that many of the failing denomination’s leaders seem untroubled by it.  We can speculate all we want to about the various possible explanations for the apparent lack of concern, but no matter what the real reasons for it are, they aren’t good.

The way the bottom is falling out of TEC’s ASA is only one symptom out of many dangerous signs that TEC is actually nearing the point of implosion and collapse.  Personally, I think the most ominous of the stats is that the national mean age for Episcopalians in the pews is now 63 (whereas the national mean age of the population as a whole is just 35, a huge gap of 28 years).  The grayihg of TEC has been progressing relentlessly for a long time.  It’s a vicious cycle: the older congregations become, the less attractive they become to younger adults, and especially to parents with young children.

If TEC were a publicly-traded business on the stock exchange, the board would’ve taken action long ago to fire the CEO and would’ve undertaken drastic steps to turn the corporation around.

I’m so glad I got off the Titanic before it sinks.  My only regret about leaving TEC (in 2009, as soon as the ACNA was officially launched) is that I didn’t leave sooner.

David Handy+



By Terry Tee on October 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

Isn’t there a mathematical error in this analysis?  The assumption is that the church will drop by a constant number.  Jenkins is assuming that if, say, the decline is 2%, then in 50 years there will be zero. 

But if a church is declining at 2% each year then each year it is 2% of the reduced number, so, paradoxically, each year the zero retreats further away, as per Zeno’s Paradox.  Of course, the numbers still fall, and the broader point about sustainability remains.



By MichaelA on October 20, 2014 at 8:37 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Philip Jenkins on Episcopal Church stats--The Church Vanishes, Part Deux

One of the commentators to the original article appears to be from ACNA.  She wrote:

“We just had 8 new Spanish speaking parishes in the Chicago area join the Diocese - our Bishop (a monk) also happens to be Spanish speaking.”

Does anyone know where these churches are?

And how do parishes “join” a diocese - does she mean they are previous church plants who finally reached the size where they could be counted as parishes?



By Ross Gill on October 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (RNS) Musician Jeremy Messersmith wears his atheist heart on his sleeve

One can only wonder how deep his ‘faith’ was to begin with to allow a passage like this to trip him up.  It looks like he is reacting against his fundamentalist upbringing as much as anything.



By Nikolaus on October 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (RNS) Musician Jeremy Messersmith wears his atheist heart on his sleeve

Really - that passage caused him to stumble?  Well, bless his heart.



By Dan Crawford on October 20, 2014 at 5:54 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (DC Register) George Weigel--Samuel Huntington Not Being Used Properly at the Vatican

Apparently, only the views of those whom Weigal “properly uses” are worthy of consideration in the Vatican.



By Dan Crawford on October 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

Thank you, Dr. Witt, for pointing out the silliness of the article. Even Hilaire Belloc, no great fan of Cranmer, commended the Archbishop for rendering in sublime vernacular many of the riches of the Latin Mass. I’ve noted in the most recent translation of the RC liturgical texts some of Cranmerian phrases are found in the Collects.



By William Witt on October 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

I’m enough of a card-carrying dues-paying Anglican to concede everything writteb above about Anglicanism’s self-understanding as a reforming movement within the Catholic Church.

At the same time, one can hardly deny that the Medieval liturgy being used in England at the time of the Reformation was a late Medieval Roman Catholic liturgy. Otherwise, the whole point of an Anglican re-formation is sort of lost.

Whatever his complaints about the inadequacies of this late Medieval liturgy (“Preface to the 1549 BCP”),  it was precisely much of this Medieval material that Cranmer “borrowed,” “appropriated,” “incorporated,” “adapted,” “continued,” “inherited.” The verb is not that important.

In that light, the writer’s complaint (“How dare THEY steal OUR stuff?”) is sort of silly. Pointing to a self-understanding of Anglicanism as “Reformed Catholicism” only makes the complaint even sillier.



By Hursley on October 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm [comment link]
From the entry: On this Day in 1914--the first Church of England Bishops' meeting since WWI and its agenda

It would be interesting to know what the Bishops did with the item marked “Unmarried Mothers.”



By Katherine on October 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

Whatever one’s opinion may be about how the English Reformation turned out, the Reformers certainly intended a return to the church of the apostolic and patristic era.  When I began to learn about the degree of continuity between Cranmer’s prayer book and the liturgies which preceded it was the moment I began to understand that radical Protestantism stripped of liturgy and sacrament was not “catholic” as the Creeds say.



By Br. Michael on October 20, 2014 at 11:50 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Barna) Five Trends Among the Unchurched

Or they will cite the OT conquest of Canaan.



By Br. Michael on October 20, 2014 at 11:46 am [comment link]
From the entry: PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly--Transgenders and Theology

It’s also very sad.  Here we are being asked to affirm a mental disorder.



By carl+ on October 20, 2014 at 11:37 am [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

#3 William S - exactly so!  Anglicanism is not - at least according to the original proclaimers of such - an aberration of RC, but a continuation (re-formed) of the One True Catholic and Apostolic Church.



By William S on October 20, 2014 at 10:50 am [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

I would not want to concede that the material in the BCP which came from mediaeval English sources was borrowed from ‘them’ - as though England was Roman Catholic and then became Anglican. Surely a more Anglican way to see it is that the post-Reformation church is not an alien intrusion supplanting the original Roman Catholicism of the country (that is the Roman view) but a genuine reformation of the ancient church of the islands, calling it back to its original purity. So those mediaeval texts were always the inheritance of Anglicanism - not taken from an entirely different church. The post-Reformation church was in continuity with what had been there previously.



By ClassicalChristian on October 20, 2014 at 10:05 am [comment link]
From the entry: Statement from TEC Bishop of Southern Ohio Thomas Breidenthal on General Theological Seminary

Indeed, as I said in another posting, for all their claims to being enlightened, high-minded, “inclusive,” fair and reconciliation-oriented, what you see here is how the Episcopal Church really operates. This is how progressive leaders (bishops and PB) have treated reaffirming and orthodox clergy, defrocking, black-balling, and excommunicating their critics. Sucks now to be on the receiving end!



By Terry Tee on October 20, 2014 at 9:38 am [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

Dr Witt beat me to it!  Large chunks of the BCP were adapted from the Sarum Rite.  Not, I think the Prayer of Humble Access (‘We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table’  and so on ) but it’s a gorgeous prayer anyway both scriptural and eucharistic.

FWIW you might like to know that the collect for purity forms the sacristy prayer in Westminster Cathedral (the RC cathedral here in London, not to be confused with the Abbey) before going in to celebrate Mass.



By Terry Tee on October 20, 2014 at 9:30 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Barna) Five Trends Among the Unchurched

Parts of this report are badly phrased, but the report, if I understand it correctly, seems to say that 18% of the unchurched cite ‘violence in the name of Christ’ as a turn-off factor.  Well, yes.  But I wonder what they would cite as examples?  Whenever people tell me that religion is a source of violence I ask for examples from Christianity in recent times.  Usually they struggle to find an answer.



By MotherViolet on October 20, 2014 at 9:28 am [comment link]
From the entry: Statement from TEC Bishop of Southern Ohio Thomas Breidenthal on General Theological Seminary

GTS board act just like KJS and most TEC Bishops.

This Bishop should not be shocked at the copy cat behavior. They have created the monster.



By William Witt on October 20, 2014 at 9:00 am [comment link]
From the entry: Christopher Howse--Why is the Catholic Church cannibalising the Book of Common Prayer?

From the Preface to the Cloud of Unknowing, written in the 14th century.

GOD, unto whom all hearts be open, and unto whom all will speaketh, and unto whom no privy thing is hid. I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee, and worthily praise Thee. Amen.

Those who study the historical sources of the Book of Common Prayer are aware aware of just how much of it was “cribbed” by Cranmer from Medieval Catholic sources, the Sarum Rite, the monastic office, the collects, a lectionary. Granted that Cranmer modified these things considerably, why offended that Roman Catholics are now borrowing back what we borrowed form them in the first place?



By Katherine on October 19, 2014 at 9:02 pm [comment link]
From the entry: TEC Bishop Allen Shin--Forgiveness and Reconciliation

I found the format so annoying to read that I couldn’t finish it.  However, he started out with references to Gaza and Ferguson, which indicates his frame of thought.  In the aftermath of 9/11/01 I was distressed by the attitude of my then-bishop who could see no evil other than American evil.  How do we forgive people who have committed great evil and are not sorry for it, indeed, are proud of the evil?  We should always be ready for genuine efforts at reconciliation and we should avoid letting hatred consume us.  The key is “genuine.”



By ClassicalChristian on October 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Ekklesia) General Theological Seminary board refuses to rescind faculty sackings

For all their claims to being enlightened, high-minded, “inclusive,” fair and reconciliation-oriented, what you see here is how the Episcopal Church really operates. This is how progressive leaders (bishops and PB) have treated reaffirming and orthodox clergy, defrocking, black-balling, and excommunicating their critics. Sucks now to be on the receiving end!
Reminds me of Martin Niemoller’s famous statement:
  First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
  Because I was not a Socialist.
  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
  Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
  Because I was not a Jew.
  Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
That said, I have no special insight into the situation, who’s right and who’s wrong, beyond what I’ve read here, in the NYT, and elsewhere. It does say something, though, that the Board unanimously voted to get rid of the faculty. that fact, plus the demands that they have made also suggest to me that it is a good thing to get rid of them. They strike me as whiny trouble-makers who are used to getting their way. Still, I can’t say that what has been done to them is “fair,” but “fair” is not a characteristic that our higher-up leaders have much demonstrated in recent years. “High-handed, scorched earth” would be a better characterization..



By CSeitz-ACI on October 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Ekklesia) General Theological Seminary board refuses to rescind faculty sackings

There are some interesting details here that—given all the blog vehemence—have not been noted.

1. The expert testimony witness on behalf of TEC is a faculty person at GTS and he did not join the ‘GTS-8’;
2. The canon to the PB is listed as an adjunct faculty person;
3. Obviously faculty persons have been hired and they are teaching courses pro temp; who are they?
4. former PB Griswold was announced as a mediator—what did he conclude/help with?
5. The GTS Board unanimously voted for a plan that only allows faculty who have been let go to reapply for a teaching appointment; sounds like even those sympathetic in some measure voted alongside the majority.



By David Keller on October 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm [comment link]
From the entry: TEC Bishop Allen Shin--Forgiveness and Reconciliation

What a hoot. A man who really wasn’t affected by the violence of 9/11 is ready willing and able to entreat you to forgive Islamic terrorists, but daily participates in the persecution of Anglican Christians, whose only crime is wanting to leave TEC, who he declines to forgive and with whom he has not reconciled. I am pleased to be free of these hypocrites, but I wish someone still inTEC would ask him why it is ok from him not to follow his own admonition when it deals with his issues.



By C. Wingate on October 18, 2014 at 10:09 pm [comment link]
From the entry: [Christian Post] Episcopal Church Still Counting withdrawn Diocese in Membership Numbers

I see that I am not the only one to notice. What the CP article does not say, however, is that the correct numbers are also available from R&S, if one has the patience and knows where to look. The parish charts have been updated, and only TEC parishes are listed (and not all of those have charts). I came up with a very rough count of 3,200 ASA for those parishes, not 12,405; the Lawrence diocese reports 9,223 ASA, which almost perfectly accounts for the difference, itself about 1.4% of last year’s total ASA.



By Katherine on October 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm [comment link]
From the entry: What was fake on the Internet this week: Ebola edition

Further, Karen, I looked up the NBC cameraman.  A report said definitely that he had been treated with the recently-approved antiviral brincidopovir.  This medicine was given to Mr. Duncan a day before his death but his organ failure was too far advanced.  If this shows signs of helping all of these cases still under treatment this would be really good news.  Unlike ZMapp, which seemed to work, Chimerix, in Durham, NC, has some doses of bricidopovir currently available, although probably not enough to provide widespread treatment in Africa at this point.



By Ralph on October 18, 2014 at 5:31 pm [comment link]
From the entry: [Christian Post] Episcopal Church Still Counting withdrawn Diocese in Membership Numbers

When you’ve done the things that some of the TEC leadership have done, and are not repentant, a lie here or a lie there isn’t going to add to your time in the outer darkness.


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