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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: "A Church Divided": Aftermath of Virginia Anglican/Episcopal Battle
Mockingale
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Hey guys,

As I was driving home from work last night, I heard the following piece on the radio about the aftermath of the fight between the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and several parishes that broke away to the "continuing Anglican" movement over church property.

There are two interesting questions that the piece raised. First, Most Rev. Jefferts-Schori stated that churches that have no Episcopal parish to fill them may be leased or sold to Baptists or Methodists or other religious groups, but categorically not to any Anglican parish; her rationale for this, which I've never heard before but has a certain logic, is that she will not allow a diocese to "set up" any organization which seeks to harm or destroy the (Episcopal) Church.

Second, someone in the piece, I believe the diocesan bishop of Virginia, states that he guesses that "God is on everyone's side," rather uncomfortably to the question about whether the dispute between Episcopalians and Anglicans reflects a good example of Christian behavior. Is this a copout? Do you think that it might please God for both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church to exist?

[ 20. September 2012, 13:27: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Mockingale
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Sorry, the piece is here: A Church Divided
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gorpo
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:


There are two interesting questions that the piece raised. First, Most Rev. Jefferts-Schori stated that churches that have no Episcopal parish to fill them may be leased or sold to Baptists or Methodists or other religious groups, but categorically not to any Anglican parish; her rationale for this, which I've never heard before but has a certain logic, is that she will not allow a diocese to "set up" any organization which seeks to harm or destroy the (Episcopal) Church.

[/QB]

Makes me wonder if the destiny of all former EPCUSA buildings is to become mosques or pentecostal churches, then. [Roll Eyes] What an evil woman TEC has as their leader, I feel sorry for the 0,6% of the USA population that remains episcopalian. [Roll Eyes] She rather have her sheep becoming atheists or muslims then see them joining another church that is in full communion with the Anglican Communion.
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Zach82
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You might feel sorry for us, gorpo, but you've clearly given little thought to how we might feel about schismatic priests preaching about how evil our primate is in our own churches.

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CorgiGreta
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There's no need to waste your feelings of sorrow on me. Wild horses couldn't drag me out of TEC. I have been an Episcopalian for more than a handful of decades, and I am as devoted a member today as I have ever been.

"Evil woman"? Please!

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Alogon
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
her rationale for this, which I've never heard before but has a certain logic, is that she will not allow a diocese to "set up" any organization which seeks to harm or destroy the (Episcopal) Church.

Boy, would William Stringfellow (of blessed memory) have a field day with that sentiment-- as much as he was an early advocate of women's ordination and would have rejoiced to see a female presiding bishop. Ultimately, institutions are interested in self-preservation and will stop at nothing to serve that end.

The best rationale I can see for property to remain with the diocese is that there's no guarantee that a group wishing to sever it independently has churchly intentions at all. A small parish could conceivably be infiltrated by developers wishing to tear the building down and put luxury apartments in its place. Professor Gaard at the University of Wisconsin (also a perpetual deacon) wrote a novel years ago portraying how something like that could happen.

But the same discrimination was shown by a nearby diocesan in the case of an exquisite little church in a small town not far from here, built according to the principles of the Cambridge Camden Society. It simply closed, perhaps partly due to ineffective clerical leadership. After some time, an appreciative continuing Anglican group expressed interest in buying it. The bishop not only angrily rejected the offer out of hand but threatened legal action if they were to approach him again. The building was sold to a congregation of holy rollers who must have proceeded immediately to gut it out of all recognition. That's the scorched-earth policy of a sore loser in my book.

I doubt that the continuing Anglican movement is, or at least should be, much of a threat. IMHO, those I know best could have continued in the Episcopal Church happily had not their own leaders and the bishop both been spoiling for a fight. They're leaving for the wrong reasons and will appeal to an even smaller niche market than TEC does.

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Beeswax Altar
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I have mixed emotions about this. TEC rightly fought for the right of parishioners who wanted to remain in TEC to stay in their churches. On the other hand, if the entire church wanted to leave TEC, TEC should have sold their buildings to them. Not doing so just seems pointless and vindictive.

KJS isn't evil. I have nothing against her as a person. As a PB, she's had tough choices to make and none of them were easy.

Unfortunately, I believe the churchmanship represented by KJS is slowly killing TEC. Most priests and bishops like KJS are good and well meaning people. However, TEC is in decline and they have misidentified the problem. Their cure for a problem TEC doesn't really have will only kill us faster.

Sadly, I worry that the Anglican parishes will survive TEC.

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gorpo
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
You might feel sorry for us, gorpo, but you've clearly given little thought to how we might feel about schismatic priests preaching about how evil our primate is in our own churches.

Surely, if that was "your own church" there would be enough episcopalians to fill the pews. We are not talking about a divided congregation, with 50% wanting to stay with TEC and 50% wanting to go out... We´re talking about a whole community that doesn´t want to be in TEC anymore, with no TEC members left wanting to remain in the building, so they have to SELL the building.

And even if the church has to sell the building, why not sell it to the people who worshipped in there for years and contributed to build and maintain it? The fact that the church wants to sell it to ANYONE but the anglicans says something. Instead of blessing and wishing well those who go away, the primate wants revenge. Certainly, not a very christian way of dealing with things.

And as for the anglicans being schismatic - they are in communion with everyone else in the Anglican Communion, and they are professing the historic faith of the One Catholic Church.

Episcopalians, on the other hand, are on frozen relations with 80% of the anglican communion, and are DEAD as it comes to ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and evangelical forms of protestantism (namely, more then 90% of global christianity). It has turned its back on the anglican communion and the whole christianity worldwide...

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Zach82
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You and your fellows are not exactly wishing us well, gorpo, so save the sermons about the "Christian way of doing things." Indeed, it is precisely the sort of language you are using that makes it a bad idea to sell to the schismatics. Why sell to people that will only preach against us?

So long as we believe the Episcopal Church is the Church of God, as I do, then we have an obligation to do the best we can by her. And you don't rent to a tenant that goes about calling your mother a trollop.

Zach

[ 12. April 2012, 03:26: Message edited by: Zach82 ]

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The Silent Acolyte

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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
Do you think that it might please God for both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church to exist?

Of course not. Schism is a sin.
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PataLeBon
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KJS had/has the added problem of whole dioceses leaving as well as individual churches. Whether or not a one size fits all rule should have been put into place is what is of concern. I think probably not, but obviously YMMV.

As far as TEC being out of communion with the rest of the church, I'm not always so sure about that. Where do you get an 80% figure from??

As far as churchmanship, what is KJS promoting? We seem to be going up the candle here in this very low diocese. We also seem to be spending more and more time in prayer and fellowship with members from across the divide. I don't think either of those two things are bad, per se...

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Zach82
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I go to a Roman Catholic seminary, and I know for a fact that gorpo's screed the Episcopal Church being "DEAD as it comes to ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church" is simply false. Certain Church leaders might have it out for us, but the rank and file, clergy and laity alike, continue to dialogue with us.

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
KJS had/has the added problem of whole dioceses leaving as well as individual churches. Whether or not a one size fits all rule should have been put into place is what is of concern. I think probably not, but obviously YMMV.

As far as TEC being out of communion with the rest of the church, I'm not always so sure about that. Where do you get an 80% figure from??

As far as churchmanship, what is KJS promoting? We seem to be going up the candle here in this very low diocese. We also seem to be spending more and more time in prayer and fellowship with members from across the divide. I don't think either of those two things are bad, per se...

What churchmanship? KJS promotes a form of broad churchmanship not seen since the Hanoverian church. I only hope we see the revivals that happened in the 19th century. The Anglican splinter groups could become our Methodists.

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ToujoursDan

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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:

Unfortunately, I believe the churchmanship represented by KJS is slowly killing TEC. Most priests and bishops like KJS are good and well meaning people. However, TEC is in decline and they have misidentified the problem. Their cure for a problem TEC doesn't really have will only kill us faster.

Sadly, I worry that the Anglican parishes will survive TEC.

[Confused]

There isn't anything that is happening in TEC that isn't happening in every mainline Protestant denomination and (if it wasn't for immigration) the Roman Catholic Church.

There are identical patterns of declining birthrates, ageing congregations, apathetic younger people and shrinking membership across Christian denominations with all kinds of different leaders and polities. It's even started to affect conservative evangelical denominations like the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and Southern Baptist Convention.

I can't think of any problem in the TEC that began with her tenure. The structures and systems that have caused our decline were long in place before she converted from Catholicism.

Seems a bit strange to blame her or her churchmanship for a demographic shift that has affected religious groups of all kinds of churchmanships.

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PD
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I do wish folks would not call the ACNA/CANA crowd continuing Anglicans. The defining issues for the Continuers were the 1928 BCP and the Ordination of Women, neither of which are of any practical interest to Bishop Duncan's crowd. They have already accepted the major tenants of liberalism, so I do not see why they have such a beef with TEC. They differ only in degree not kind!

PD

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Alogon
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quote:
Originally posted by PD:
They have already accepted the major tenants of liberalism, so I do not see why they have such a beef with TEC. They differ only in degree not kind!

PD

We can deduce by a process of elimination that it's all about da gayz.

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PD
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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:

I can't think of any problem in the TEC that began with her tenure. The structures and systems that have caused our decline were long in place before she converted from Catholicism.

Seems a bit strange to blame her or her churchmanship for a demographic shift that has affected religious groups of all kinds of churchmanships.

In some respects, the absolute worst thing anyone can say about +KJS is that she is a sympthom, not the cause, of TEC's decline.

The liberalization of the denomination and the demographic that supports it took place a generation, or more, before she was ordained. Indeed, you could say that PECUSA emerged as a relatively liberal denomination c.1900 with the decline of the old Evangelicals, and as "systemically" liberal in late 1960s and early 1970s. Basically, most of the Theological traditionalists were out of there by 2000, and I expect most of the social conservatives will be gone by 2015.

PD

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Fr Weber
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quote:
Originally posted by PD:
I do wish folks would not call the ACNA/CANA crowd continuing Anglicans. The defining issues for the Continuers were the 1928 BCP and the Ordination of Women, neither of which are of any practical interest to Bishop Duncan's crowd. They have already accepted the major tenants of liberalism, so I do not see why they have such a beef with TEC. They differ only in degree not kind!

PD

For many of them, their problems with TEC would be solved if only the clock could be turned back to 5 minutes before +Robinson's election.

Which makes Alogon pretty much right.

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Zach82
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quote:
In some respects, the absolute worst thing anyone can say about +KJS is that she is a sympthom, not the cause, of TEC's decline.

The liberalization of the denomination and the demographic that supports it took place a generation, or more, before she was ordained. Indeed, you could say that PECUSA emerged as a relatively liberal denomination c.1900 with the decline of the old Evangelicals, and as "systemically" liberal in late 1960s and early 1970s. Basically, most of the Theological traditionalists were out of there by 2000, and I expect most of the social conservatives will be gone by 2015.

TEC: finally diagnosed to death in 2015. [Roll Eyes]

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gorpo
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quote:
There are identical patterns of declining birthrates, ageing congregations, apathetic younger people and shrinking membership across Christian denominations with all kinds of different leaders and polities. It's even started to affect conservative evangelical denominations like the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and Southern Baptist Convention.
Of course the trends of decline exist in every denomination that is mainly white/european because that demographic group tends to have a lower birth rate, which means there are more people dying then getting batpized. But when less then 50% of the kids who are confirmed remain church members in adulthood, and the denomination strongly believes that evangelization is anti-ethical, you can´t blame demographic trends alone for the decline. Indeed, the Missory Synod and the Baptist Convention are also declining, but nothing like TEC or even ELCA (who lost nearly 6% of its membership last year alone). TEC went from 3.6 million members in the 70´s to just 1.9 million as of last year. ELCA lost more then a million since the late 80´s and the rate of delcine is just getting bigger every year. Of course it´s not the case of the people getting old and dying and not enough children being born - it´s adult people who freely decide to leave which is causing the decline.

quote:
I can't think of any problem in the TEC that began with her tenure. The structures and systems that have caused our decline were long in place before she converted from Catholicism.

Seems a bit strange to blame her or her churchmanship for a demographic shift that has affected religious groups of all kinds of churchmanships. [/QB]

Me neither. I don´t blame her for the falling apart of the denomination. I just blamed her for the evilness of not letting people who left her church to remain worshipping in the buildings they have build and mantained with their own money.

Let´s no pretend here the problem is "schism". American christianity itself is a collection of thousands of protestant denominations, one more doesn´t make any difference at all for the "unity of the Church of Christ". The denomination itself is not the "Church Of Christ". The Church of Christ are the people inside of the denominations, not the burocratic hierarchy that we call the "denomination".

Let´s not forget anglicanism itself is a schism from the Catholic Church.

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by PD:
In some respects, the absolute worst thing anyone can say about +KJS is that she is a sympthom, not the cause, of TEC's decline.

A PB with a churchmanship such as hers is a symptom of the decline of TEC. +KJS is not responsible for the decline. If not +KJS then TEC would have another PB with the same churchmanship. I really don't have anything against Bishop Schorri as a person. What I have against her as a bishop, I will likely have against her successor who might also be a good and well meaning person.

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Zach82
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We're evil for not giving them churches, Gorpo? We don't owe them squat.

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Mary Marriott
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A misapprehension in this thread.


TEC IS the only 'Anglican Church' in the US. They happen to use the synonym 'Episcopal' - like Scotland and other countries, rather than 'Anglican'.

The ministers and parts of congregations and other organisations calling themselves 'Anglican' are not Anglican,(i.e. not in Communion with Canterbury).They ARE trying to subvert TEC, and overthrown TEC's witness to equality.

They could have left and set up their breakaway meetings in public halls etc., but have deliberately chosen to seek to steal the property of TEC.

The Presiding Bishop has stood firm on this. Why oh why would she allow her denomination to be undermined in this manner ?

I have been encouraged by TEC's witness to a renewed Gospel. Few Anglican or Episcopal churches have this effect on me !

[ 13. April 2012, 01:31: Message edited by: Mary Marriott ]

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SeraphimSarov
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If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

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Fr Weber
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quote:
Originally posted by Mary Marriott:
A misapprehension in this thread.


TEC IS the only 'Anglican Church' in the US. They happen to use the synonym 'Episcopal' - like Scotland and other countries, rather than 'Anglican'.

The ministers and parts of congregations and other organisations calling themselves 'Anglican' are not Anglican,(i.e. not in Communion with Canterbury).They ARE trying to subvert TEC, and overthrown TEC's witness to equality.

They could have left and set up their breakaway meetings in public halls etc., but have deliberately chosen to seek to steal the property of TEC.

The Presiding Bishop has stood firm on this. Why oh why would she allow her denomination to be undermined in this manner ?

I have been encouraged by TEC's witness to a renewed Gospel. Few Anglican or Episcopal churches have this effect on me !

Surely "Anglican" refers to a religious tradition and orientation as much as (if not more than) a tenuous state of communion with Canterbury.

There are, by the way, continuing Anglicans on this board. Generally speaking, we try to play nice, and would appreciate that the favor be returned.

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The Silent Acolyte

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quote:
Originally posted by PD:
Basically, most of the Theological traditionalists were out of there by 2000...

Not so fast there, buster. When I was going to my little Roman Catholic Schoolhouse, I was regularly accused by my fellow seminarians of being the most orthodox student in the class. I'm pretty typical for my parish and my parish is not alone.
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
I go to a Roman Catholic seminary, and I know for a fact that gorpo's screed the Episcopal Church being "DEAD as it comes to ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church" is simply false. Certain Church leaders might have it out for us, but the rank and file, clergy and laity alike, continue to dialogue with us.

Except for that most heinously verbed noun, I agree with Zach82: for many RCs of my acquaintance just talking with an Episcopalian gives them hope for their own church. Similarly, even Orthodox speak to me in envious wonder, "You are actually talking about women and gays! We can't even have the conversation!"
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Sir Pellinore
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Your thoroughly attested orthodoxy must give you great comfort in these difficult times, TSA.

Many would give their eye teeth for such certitude.

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Well...

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PataLeBon
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
originally posted by PD:
In some respects, the absolute worst thing anyone can say about +KJS is that she is a sympthom, not the cause, of TEC's decline.

A PB with a churchmanship such as hers is a symptom of the decline of TEC. +KJS is not responsible for the decline. If not +KJS then TEC would have another PB with the same churchmanship. I really don't have anything against Bishop Schorri as a person. What I have against her as a bishop, I will likely have against her successor who might also be a good and well meaning person.
Again I'm going to ask for your definition of "churchmanship". It's hard to understand what you are talking about without it. Are we talking about liturgy or theology? Can you give me an example?

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sonata3
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quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:

Episcopalians, on the other hand, are on frozen relations with 80% of the anglican communion, and are DEAD as it comes to ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and evangelical forms of protestantism (namely, more then 90% of global christianity). It has turned its back on the anglican communion and the whole christianity worldwide...

gorpo, I think your final phrase needs to be reconsidered. On the issue of the ordination of non-celibate gays - clearly the main factor in the Virginia schism - TEC is on the same side of this issue as the Old Catholics, many of the continental Lutheran churches, and some of the continental Reformed churches; in the US, ELCA and the Presbyterian Church. Although the Moravian Church in North AMerica continues to discuss these issues, they remain in full communion with both ELCA and TEC. It has hardly turned its back on "the whole Christianity worlswide." The Anglican/Episcopal churches in New Zealand, Scotland, and Canada are, I believe, equally liberal on this issue.

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CL
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
We're evil for not giving them churches, Gorpo? We don't owe them squat.

Maybe not but being purposely vindictive is another matter altogether, a case in point being the treatment of Matt Kennedy and his parish - they offered to purchase their church at full market value; not only were they refused, the building was instead sold cut price to Muslims and is now a mosque.

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Zach82
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quote:
Maybe not but being purposely vindictive is another matter altogether, a case in point being the treatment of Matt Kennedy and his parish - they offered to purchase their church at full market value; not only were they refused, the building was instead sold cut price to Muslims and is now a mosque.
These people are going about calling themselves the legitimate Anglican Church of North America. It is their stated purpose to replace the Episcopal Church. Letting them continue on in these churches sure seems, to me, just a bad strategic decision. People will get the idea that they are a legitimate continuation of the former Episcopal parishes, and Lord knows that's how they present themselves.

It's not about revenge, though it must be flattering to the schismatics to imagine it must be so. It's only about what is best for the Episcopal Church.

Zach

[ 13. April 2012, 12:08: Message edited by: Zach82 ]

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
originally posted by PD:
In some respects, the absolute worst thing anyone can say about +KJS is that she is a sympthom, not the cause, of TEC's decline.

A PB with a churchmanship such as hers is a symptom of the decline of TEC. +KJS is not responsible for the decline. If not +KJS then TEC would have another PB with the same churchmanship. I really don't have anything against Bishop Schorri as a person. What I have against her as a bishop, I will likely have against her successor who might also be a good and well meaning person.
Again I'm going to ask for your definition of "churchmanship". It's hard to understand what you are talking about without it. Are we talking about liturgy or theology? Can you give me an example?
Both

TEC is so focused on being inclusive of everybody and being seen as welcoming we are neglecting to maintain anything very many people want to be included in or welcomed into in the first place. Some parishes do liturgy well. Most are too concerned with neither being Anglo-Catholic because Anglo-Catholic is old fashioned and fussy nor Evangelical which is too modern and pushy (don't want to be too much like a megachurch). In taking the middle ground between the two, we manage to embrace the strengths of neither.

Our theology of the sacraments is an incoherent muddle aimed primarily at not offending anybody but those with a traditional view of the sacraments. Baptism is full initiation into the life of the Church. What does that mean? I'm not sure we know. Are there any negative impacts for not being baptized? In the eyes of The Episcopal Church, a person who had water splashed on their foreheads as a child is really no different from one who hasn't. Confirmation? We don't have a clue. Does the confirmand receive the Holy Spirit at Confirmation? Of course not that happens at Baptism though if pushed, most of us will say a person doesn't have to be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit because we might hurt and offend the unbaptized by telling them they haven't received the Holy Spirit. Is Confirmation necessary to affirm our faith? Nope. In our view of Baptism, faith isn't really necessary. At least you have to be baptized to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, right? Technically, you do but we are working to change all that. Got to keep up with the times. Don't want to offend anybody by not welcoming them to the table. Our theology of the Eucharist is almost identical to our theology of coffee hour. I could keep going.

Theologically, our main focus seems to be about making Christianity about leftish (radical enough that you can feel good about yourself for having the opinions but not so radical as to demand major change in your own life) politics. A good sermon is one short and makes the congregation feel good about being politically progressive. Why? People doing the theology agree more with the Green Party Platform than they do with the Nicene Creed. All that stuff in the Nicene Creed is too exclusive and archaic. Nobody believes still believes that stuff. So say the priests over the age of 55 who attend clergy gatherings. Had they even a touch of awareness they would notice the large number of priest under the age of 40 who disagreed with them.

TEC is dying. Our leaders want to double down on what we've been doing. We need more theological innovation. We must strive to create an even more welcoming church experience where nobody but traditional Christians and Republicans could possibly be offended. The question our leaders aren't addressing is why anybody should care if we welcome and include them in the first place.

And before anybody asks, no, this has nothing to do with Gene Robinson. Gay and lesbian Episcopalians who hold orthodox beliefs and prefer traditional liturgy can have a hard time in most places. The few conservatives remaining in TEC reject them because they are gay. Liberals are offended at the audacity some gays and lesbians will not join them in supporting every theological or liturgical innovation anybody dreams up. How dare you support the orthodox and traditional view of anything?! We welcomed and included you!!! Bunch of ingrates. Think I'm exaggerating. I've watched it happen with my own eyes. I've listened to my gay and lesbian colleagues share their experiences of it happening.

Well enough inarticulate rambling on my part. Hard to explain what I mean in a single, concise post. I'll try to elaborate if you like.

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ToujoursDan

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quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

In many ways it is prospering. A church where approx. 30% of the membership grew up in other traditions and made a conscious decision to join it, must have something compelling to offer, otherwise this wouldn't be occurring.

It's just not enough to make up for the falling birthrate amongst the educated, mostly White base that makes up 80% of TEC's membership.

[ 13. April 2012, 12:57: Message edited by: ToujoursDan ]

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SeraphimSarov
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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

In many ways it is prospering. A church where approx. 30% of the membership grew up in other traditions and made a conscious decision to join it, must have something compelling to offer, otherwise this wouldn't be occurring.

It's just not enough to make up for the falling birthrate amongst the educated, mostly White base that makes up 80% of TEC's membership.

Something "compelling "? Or a convenient , temporary refuge. Any port in a storm

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ToujoursDan

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quote:
Theologically, our main focus seems to be about making Christianity about leftish (radical enough that you can feel good about yourself for having the opinions but not so radical as to demand major change in your own life) politics. A good sermon is one short and makes the congregation feel good about being politically progressive. Why? People doing the theology agree more with the Green Party Platform than they do with the Nicene Creed. All that stuff in the Nicene Creed is too exclusive and archaic. Nobody believes still believes that stuff. So say the priests over the age of 55 who attend clergy gatherings. Had they even a touch of awareness they would notice the large number of priest under the age of 40 who disagreed with them.

TEC is dying. Our leaders want to double down on what we've been doing. We need more theological innovation. We must strive to create an even more welcoming church experience where nobody but traditional Christians and Republicans could possibly be offended. The question our leaders aren't addressing is why anybody should care if we welcome and include them in the first place.

But walk into Roman Catholic churches in Europe, Canada, Argentina, Australia, etc. and you find a similar death rattle.

The only thing that has kept that from occurring in the U.S. is immigration from Latin America. But even in this country, there are far more Roman Catholics becoming lapsed- or ex- than people running out to join it. And in Latin America itself, the societies are becoming more Pentecostal and secularized at the same time.

It doesn't seem to suffer the problems you mention. If anything, they have doubled down on their theological conservatism, embraced more right-wing politics and drawn a line in the sand, yet it doesn't seem to be leading to the creation of many disciples (or keeping those that were in, active.)

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ToujoursDan

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quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

In many ways it is prospering. A church where approx. 30% of the membership grew up in other traditions and made a conscious decision to join it, must have something compelling to offer, otherwise this wouldn't be occurring.

It's just not enough to make up for the falling birthrate amongst the educated, mostly White base that makes up 80% of TEC's membership.

Something "compelling "? Or a convenient , temporary refuge. Any port in a storm
A port is better than no port, wouldn't you say?

(And are you really making blanket judgments on the motivations of whole groups of people? Is that the best you can do?)

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Zach82
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I think it's generally a bad idea to seek to assign blame for the present declines. The health and life of the Church is the grace of God alone. It falls to us to have faith and to pray, with the certainty that the gates of hell will never prevail.
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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

In many ways it is prospering. A church where approx. 30% of the membership grew up in other traditions and made a conscious decision to join it, must have something compelling to offer, otherwise this wouldn't be occurring.

It's just not enough to make up for the falling birthrate amongst the educated, mostly White base that makes up 80% of TEC's membership.

I don't think your maths works, toujoursdan.

The most recent fertility rate I can find for white US females is 1.84. Allowing for a replacement fertility rate being 2.1, that implies a lifetime church shrinkage rate of around 13% over a lifetime (say 75 years?) due to this factor alone. But your shrinkage rate is higher than that, and if you genuinely have 30% of your parishioners as joiners from elsewhere, that suggests your loss rate is pretty much more serious.

I'm just commenting on the stats, not offering anything beyond that.

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Zach82
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Oh, there is absolutely no doubt that the present declines leave the Episcopal Church in a crisis, Ron. It will take a miracle to save the Episcopal Church.

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Mary Marriott
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quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

Evidence ?

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Beeswax Altar
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What Honest Ron said

Plus, churches are not in the same rate of decline in the United States as in Europe. The United States has churches many churches that are growing and thriving. The ones that are haven't embraced anything like the current paradigm of TEC.

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Mary Marriott
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
Maybe not but being purposely vindictive is another matter altogether, a case in point being the treatment of Matt Kennedy and his parish - they offered to purchase their church at full market value; not only were they refused, the building was instead sold cut price to Muslims and is now a mosque.
These people are going about calling themselves the legitimate Anglican Church of North America. It is their stated purpose to replace the Episcopal Church. Letting them continue on in these churches sure seems, to me, just a bad strategic decision. People will get the idea that they are a legitimate continuation of the former Episcopal parishes, and Lord knows that's how they present themselves.

It's not about revenge, though it must be flattering to the schismatics to imagine it must be so. It's only about what is best for the Episcopal Church.

Zach

What Zach said.

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Mary Marriott
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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

In many ways it is prospering. A church where approx. 30% of the membership grew up in other traditions and made a conscious decision to join it, must have something compelling to offer, otherwise this wouldn't be occurring.

It's just not enough to make up for the falling birthrate amongst the educated, mostly White base that makes up 80% of TEC's membership.

What ToujoursDan said.

Very encouraging for those who were worried here.

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ToujoursDan

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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

In many ways it is prospering. A church where approx. 30% of the membership grew up in other traditions and made a conscious decision to join it, must have something compelling to offer, otherwise this wouldn't be occurring.

It's just not enough to make up for the falling birthrate amongst the educated, mostly White base that makes up 80% of TEC's membership.

I don't think your maths works, toujoursdan.

The most recent fertility rate I can find for white US females is 1.84. Allowing for a replacement fertility rate being 2.1, that implies a lifetime church shrinkage rate of around 13% over a lifetime (say 75 years?) due to this factor alone. But your shrinkage rate is higher than that, and if you genuinely have 30% of your parishioners as joiners from elsewhere, that suggests your loss rate is pretty much more serious.

I'm just commenting on the stats, not offering anything beyond that.

As the people that make up the TEC tends to be more affluent and attract more lifelong singles, gays and urban people, their fertility rates will be lower than the average for all whites nationwide. There is a Faith Communities Together (FACT) Study that estimated that the fertility rate for Episcopalians and Presbyterians is closer to 1.3 per couple, which would cause a 40% shrinkage per generation. When I have more time I can search for the link to it.

And I have no doubt that the TEC is in a crisis. My point is that it is only part of a a larger crisis that is affecting all of western oldline (viz., non-Pentecostal) Christiandom and that doing "X" or "Y" isn't going to be a magic bullet that will turn it around.

[ 13. April 2012, 13:55: Message edited by: ToujoursDan ]

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by Mary Marriott:
quote:
Originally posted by SeraphimSarov:
If it was the "witness to a renewed Gospel" , it would be prospering. It is dying as previous posters have pointed out

Evidence ?
I'd be happy if you could provide credible evidence that TEC is not in decline. I really would. No joke. Everybody familiar with the situation knows TEC is in decline. I'm not exaggerating. Everybody at every level of TEC (local, diocesan, and national) knows TEC is in decline. The only thing different is the spin.

[ 13. April 2012, 13:56: Message edited by: Beeswax Altar ]

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Zach82
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the "church of converts" line is actually a bad sign. For those who do still go to church, denominational loyalty is going out the window. I am not so sure that the people coming to TEC from other denominations makes up for all the people leaving for other denominations, and it certainly doesn't make up for the far larger group of people leaving for the "outer darkness."

We must not have illusions here. TEC, and whether they want to admit it or not practically every Christian denomination, is in a LOT of trouble. I really think a miracle is our only hope. The point not to be missed, however, is that this was ever the case. Maybe that's what God is trying to get us to realize.

Zach

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Alogon
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
Oh, there is absolutely no doubt that the present declines leave the Episcopal Church in a crisis, Ron. It will take a miracle to save the Episcopal Church.

If so, it's in good company. It will also take a miracle to save the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Does that mean that the honorable thing for the Philadelphia Inquirer to do is to turn itself into the National Enquirer, or that the Philadelphia Orchestra members ought to become rappers?

I agree that the dizziness at 815 Second Ave. is not seemly, but IMHO the decline in the Episcopal Church has more to do with the ubiquity of cell phones and attention deficit disorder than with the consecration of Bishop Robinson. There's only so far one can jump into the whirling cesspool of pop culture without becoming part of the problem instead of the solution.

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The Silent Acolyte

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quote:
Among other things, Beeswax Altar sez this:
And before anybody asks, no, this has nothing to do with Gene Robinson. Gay and lesbian Episcopalians who hold orthodox beliefs and prefer traditional liturgy can have a hard time in most places. The few conservatives remaining in TEC reject them because they are gay. Liberals are offended at the audacity some gays and lesbians will not join them in supporting every theological or liturgical innovation anybody dreams up. How dare you support the orthodox and traditional view of anything?! We welcomed and included you!!! Bunch of ingrates. Think I'm exaggerating. I've watched it happen with my own eyes. I've listened to my gay and lesbian colleagues share their experiences of it happening.

Being in a flag-ship diocese that prides itself on all that he describes, all I can say is that Beeswax Altar drives that nail fully home. Call me if you want details.

There was nothing inarticulate or rambling about that post that isn't made up with fervor.

I do dissent from this notion of terminal decline, however. The sickness is bad, but not unto death.

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by PD:
I do wish folks would not call the ACNA/CANA crowd continuing Anglicans. The defining issues for the Continuers were the 1928 BCP and the Ordination of Women, neither of which are of any practical interest to Bishop Duncan's crowd. They have already accepted the major tenants of liberalism, so I do not see why they have such a beef with TEC. They differ only in degree not kind!

PD

I thought it kinder and more politic than calling them what they are - schismatics.
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Honest Ron Bacardi
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ToujoursDan wrote:
quote:
As the people that make up the TEC tends to be more affluent and attract more lifelong singles, gays and urban people, their fertility rates will be lower than the average for all whites nationwide. There is a Faith Communities Together (FACT) Study that estimated that the fertility rate for Episcopalians and Presbyterians is closer to 1.3 per couple, which would cause a 40% shrinkage per generation. When I have more time I can search for the link to it.
OK, thanks. If you could dig out the statistics it would be interesting.

Incidentally, it's right that a lower fertility rate produces a diminution in overall population of the same factor per generation, but not until about the third generation onwards, due to people living beyond their reproductive age. I had assumed the trend was new-ish, but if not, then it lends added credence to the thesis that population statistics being seen now are the result of actions taken around 50 to 60 years ago, and you are right to use the reduction per generation figure for the present.

As to the decline elsewhere, our experience here is that there has been a widespread decline in engagement across all organizations that could be classed as voluntary - not just churches. I can't really comment on how TEC is doing vs. other churches, but I'm sure there must be comparable stats. out there.

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