Episcopalians Continue Bleeding…

… Attendance at alarming rate:

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is leaving office this month after a tumultuous nine years in office that saw significant conflict and numerical decline in the oldline church.

Statistics released this week by the denomination’s Office of Diocesan and Congregational Ministries indicate that Jefferts Schori is leaving her successor, Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry, with decline that is steepening rather than tapering off.

The church’s domestic U.S. membership dropped 2.7 percent from a reported 1,866,758 members in 2013 to 1,817,004 in 2014, a loss of 49,794 persons. Attendance took an even steeper hit, with the average number of Sunday worshipers dropping from 623,691 in 2013 to 600,411 in 2014, a decline of 23,280 persons in the pews, down 3.7 percent.

Virtue Online has more here.


Robin Williams: Top 10 Reasons to be an Episcopalian



10. No snake handling.
9. You can believe in dinosaurs.
8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.
7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.
6. Pew aerobics.
5. Church year is color-coded.
4. Free wine on Sunday.
3. All of the pageantry – none of the guilt.
2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.
And the Number One reason to be an Episcopalian:
1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.




If the Episcopal Church is the American Component of the Anglican Church, Why Are There Anglican Churches in the US?

It’s a new question being asked at Yahoo (NZ) answers, with some of the strangest of responses…

The Episcopal Church is generally pro-gay. Many don’t like that, so they left to become Anglican. Some are recognized by other Anglicans, but some are not. They’re working on it.

Wade in and help them over there.

Or here.



Anglican vs. Episcopalian Legal Fight May Be Nearing an End

In a Fresno courtroom Monday, Anglican Bishop John-David Schofield’s presence loomed large in the long, legal battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.

Schofield, who died in October, is a key witness in a Fresno County Superior Court civil trial that will determine who owns dozens of pieces of property — the Anglican diocese or the national Episcopal Church?

The bishop gave his videotaped deposition in late 2011, long after he led 40 of 47 parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin away from the national Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Diocese of the San Joaquin.

Rest here.



2014: Seizing the Moment. How Episcopalians and Anglicans Will Fare.

Dr David Virtue paints a sobering picture:

The year past ended with one of the worst and most litigious years in the history of the Episcopal Church. At a time when congregations are shrinking and closing, millions of dollars are being spent on lawyers to take back church buildings that will inevitably be sold off to other (evangelical) church groups, to Muslims…anybody except to orthodox Anglican churches that could keep them open as places of Anglican worship.

The Episcopal Church is now more dysfunctional than ever and more and more people, especially Millenials, are simply not interested in The Episcopal Church and its constant rants about the need to accept pansexuality as a prevailing cultural issue. Talk of inclusion and diversity has not stirred them to suddenly fill Episcopal churches. Pews are emptying and will continue to empty with no salvific message of redemption and hope being heard from pulpits.

Endless preoccupation with social and “justice” issues, whether it is about the Middle East or women’s rights to abortion, or gay marriage, will not and is not, making churches grow. People are spiritually starving and hurting. There is more pain out there than ever before. Suicides are up, divorce is still rampant and perhaps the biggest single unaddressed issue in America today is loneliness. Millenials are not committing themselves to much of anything and, apart from occasionally “hooking up”, they are not committed to life-long marriage. I recently heard a wedding vow in which both partners said “till love do us part” not death.

A whole generation has given up on the church. Millenials don’t care. Once upon a time, they would have looked to the Church for aid and comfort. No more.

Read on here.



Episcopal Leader to Visit ‘Continuing Episcopalians’

‘Continuing Episcopalians’? The ChristianPost:

The head of The Episcopal Church is making an official visit to Episcopalians who belong to a diocese that has opted to break away from the denomination.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the TEC, arrived Friday in South Carolina to visit Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina who want to remain with the denomination. As part of her itinerary, Jefferts Schori will attend the “Continuing Episcopalians” special meeting on the election of a new provisional bishop for their churches, as the legal battle over who can rightfully call themselves the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina continues in court.

The Steering Committee for the Continuing Episcopalians nominated retired East Tennessee bishop Rt. Rev. Charles Glenn vonRosenberg to the post. The vote to confirm him will take place at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston on Saturday.

Hillery Douglas, chairman of the Steering Committee and senior warden of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, said in a statement that Jefferts Schori was a welcomed presence. “We welcome the opportunity to have her with us at this important time in the history of our diocese, and it will be a privilege to share with her firsthand the energy and diversity of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” said Douglas.

Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, who is part of the diocesan leadership that decided to break away from TEC, told The Christian Post that he has little issue with the process that the Continuing Episcopalians are undertaking. “We have said consistently that The Episcopal Church (TEC) is free to set up a new Diocese here. She has every right to come and be a part of that process,” said Lewis.

“What neither she nor TEC has a right to do is to claim to be us in that process. We remain the same legally incorporated entity that was established in 1785 (four years before TEC was founded). We have disassociated with TEC but we have not ceased to be The Diocese of South Carolina.”

Earlier this month, the leadership of the South Carolina Diocese filed suit against TEC over the rights to the name, seal, and property of the diocese body. On Wednesday, the Diocese successfully got a court order to temporarily halt TEC’s usage of the name and seal. The order will remain in effect for ten days, overlapping with the Saturday vote on vonRosenberg. A hearing will be held on Friday, Feb. 1, to determine if the order should be made into an injunction.

“Our request for a declaratory judgment is now in the hands of the court of the State of South Carolina. We expect a full and fair hearing of the issues that will in time vindicate our right to freedom of association,” said Lewis.

“We chose to join in the founding of TEC. We are also free to choose to leave that association. We believe that to be guaranteed by both South Carolina law and the U.S. Constitution.”

Due to the court order, on their website the “continuing Episcopalians” have changed their name to “The Episcopal Church in South Carolina” and have removed the diocese seal from their web pages.

Neither The Episcopal Church in South Carolina nor the national leadership of the TEC returned comment to The Christian Post by press time.