Skip to comments.The Light That Failed (Episcopal Church)
Posted on 07/16/2012 5:43:07 PM PDT by RightGeek
New numbers reveal that the collapse of the Episcopal Church dramatically accelerated in the last ten years. The denomination is literally falling apart, with attendance down 25% between 2000 and 2010.
For a link to the PDF file with the numbers, and for Rod Drehers comments on them, look here; but its important to note that the effect of these numbers on the life and the well being of local churches is even greater than the raw figures might suggest.
Many mainline Protestant congregations today are stuck with an infrastructure built in the 1950s and 1960s. There are buildings to maintain and salaries to pay. As congregations have dwindled and aged, it gets harder and harder to keep the place running. The congregation has less money for program, for outreach, for anything but survival, and the energy of the congregation turns inward. There is less going on that can attract new members, and each year more maintenance is deferred, more corners are cut, and the congregation gets a little smaller and a little greyer.
Ten years ago, roughly half of Episcopal parishes faced this kind of situation. Ten years of declining attendance on this scale means that many more parishes are now in survival mode. As the churchs resources decline, more and more of the energy and the funds of its members go to staving off collapse. Less and less is available for the wider world.
The numerical decline, bad as it is, matters less than the collapse in the moral authority of the church. The Episcopal Church has made many controversial pronouncements on social issues; at the latest General Convention the church declared that transgendered persons cannot automatically be barred from the priesthood. One can agree or disagree with some of these individual decisions, but what is striking over time is the decline in the moral weight of the church.
It used to matter what the Episcopal Church thought of this or that social issue. Other mainline Protestant churches and many social and political leaders followed its theological and political debates. Now, basically, no one outside the dwindling flock in the pews really cares what The Episcopal Church says about anything at all. General Convention can pass a million resolutions, and nothing anywhere will change. No one is even really angry anymore at anything the Episcopal hierarchy does; at most, there is a sigh and a quiet rolling of the eyes. Soon, there will not even be that.
Its an extraordinary decline in an institution that a generation ago was still one of the pillars of American life. At this point the disaster appears irretrievable; those running the church are determined to run it into the ground and it is hard to see how that can change.
For Anglicans, the theological and demographic collapse of their church is a bitter blow. The traditions of this church exert a powerful hold on those who were raised in it; those declining attendance figures bespeak a lot of sadness and despair. But The Episcopal Church has moved on, headed down what looks increasingly like the theological path of least resistance as it makes the transition from a church that once spoke to a nation to a sect in communion only with itself.
Let us wish The Episcopal Church well on its journey towards whatever hope its bureaucrats and functionaries see glimmering ahead of them in the deepening twilight. God moves in mysterious ways, and the failure of a church is not the failure of a faith. Christianity is all about hope in the face of death; Americas Anglicans are learning a lot about what that means. For this, perhaps, we need to learn to be thankful.
Awwwww! Did you get offended?
I am on our church's vestry. I know exactly how the bills are paid. We get a report every month. We pay all our own bills and we also send out thousands to our Cluster for the ministry of the Church.
Do you sit on your Catholic church's board? Are you allowed to vote on what gets done? Or, does the church take your donations and do what they want with them?
A message to these Catholics that attend the Episcopal church in Connecticut: Good riddance!!! The Episcopal church can have them.
BTW, that's the second most stated reason they left: The intransigence of their fellow Catholics and their lack of compassion.
The sentence reveals two problems with your ecclesiology.
First, MOST is not ALL. And the "Anglican Communion" has no mechanism to turn most into all, and therefore no mechanism to overcome the Gates of Hell into which ECUSA is disappearing (along with CoE), so the delusion that Anglicans are in some way "catholic" is falsified.
Second, there is no such thing as VERY orthodox. An orthodoxy which requires adjectival modification is actually heterodoxy.
I feel very bad for my continuing Anglican brothers and sisters. I still love the rite.
But it's time to give it up.
Northeastern Catholics have what I've heard called the 'deep pockets-short arms' attitude when it comes to giving to their Parishes. They still have the notion that they are 'immigrants' who don't have the money to support the Church. But their parents and grandparents DID give money to help build the large churches standing empty in the inner cities, while helping their children get the education they never had. Their children moved up and out into the suburbs, started raising their own kids, and complain about supporting the churches in those comfortable suburbs.
Exactly. Since I became Catholic my giving has increased many times over.
To my parish, to EWTN, to Food for the Poor (I bought a goat, what a kick that was, lol) to St. Vincent dePaul Society and to Peter’s Pence and the food bank with groceries.
Please understand that I am not saying I give like the widow in the Bible who gave her very last mite. I’m just saying that is is truly wonderful that God has given me so very much and it is wonderful to give back. It really is better to give than to receive.
It is amazing how much money we actually have to give to others.
And not just money. I have the honor to bring communion to the sick and elderly. How awesome is that? What a blessing Sunday has become, not only for the Mass but for the communion which brings such joy to shut-ins, sick, and nursing home residents.
Thank you, God, for making me Catholic.
Glad you’re home!
Offended? People are free to worship as they please. I don’t really care about these people—I don’t know them. I sorta feel sorry for them. They had diamonds in their pockets and went off searching for rhinestones. My church will be there for me regardless of their actions, since Christ did say he would be with us until the end of the age.
Your new friends are probably naive, too. The Church makes very few changes. If they want female clergy, gay marriage, approval for abortion, etc. they can go to the Episcopal or Universalist whatever-it’s-called Church and find those things.
Our church, like most, has a finance council and a parish council. Members are free to run to serve on these boards. If your new friends had a beef with the church they could have run to serve and make changes, but I guess they chose to pick up their marbles and run home. Our church also keeps track of every dime it receives. We receive a financial report every year with specific details of how the money is spent. I don’t concern myself with the finances—I’m there to receive the sacraments and hear the Word of the Lord. I have attended my current church for 20+ years and have only been asked once to give more—it was during the recession when contributions fell off and bills needed to be paid. I even once had a priest say that we were not obligated to donate to every cause, but to pick and choose the ones that you could support. And if you couldn’t support them, don’t.
Lack of compassion? I’m sure your new friends probably never heard of Catholic Charities. I donate throughout the year when possible and at Christmas to support the House of Charity, a homeless shelter. Many of our churches have St. Vincent de Paul collections for food to feed the needy. We provide Christmas baskets with turkeys to many families. My niece once went to the emergency room at our Catholic hospital. She couldn’t afford to pay and the hospital reduced the bill to next to nothing.
I actually meant lack of compassion toward fellow parishioners.
Your new friends are probably naive, too.
Yep, everybody's naive but Catholics, right?
My church will be there for me regardless of their actions, since Christ did say he would be with us until the end of the age.
Since we also worship Christ and have the same Sacraments as you how does that make us all that different?
. I dont concern myself with the financesIm there to receive the sacraments and hear the Word of the Lord. I have attended my current church for 20+ years and have only been asked once to give moreit was during the recession when contributions fell off and bills needed to be paid.
Lucky you! At the Catholic churches I went to after every sermon there was a plea for money for some such charity and two collections. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure I believe you.
Many of our churches have St. Vincent de Paul collections for food to feed the needy. We provide Christmas baskets with turkeys to many families.
And, guess what? We deliver food regularly to the St. Vincent de Paul church near where we live. We take up collections of food. We also take a dinner, cooked mind you, for 65 people at that church every two months. And, we are a very small congregation.
But, you go on thinking that only Catholic churches reach out to the needy, hear the word of Christ, know anything about the Bible, etc. It must make you feel better about your choice to denigrate others' choices otherwise why would you do it?
If you took my reply as denigration it was not intentional. What do you expect when you, for what reason I am still unsure, label another group of people “beggars” and accuse them of having “animosity” toward others, comments that most would find denigrating? Surely you knew it would raise some eyebrows.
Call it a truce and agree that it’s okay to disagree. Christians get enough crap from the Left anyway. We don’t need to dish it out against other Christians.
One other point: (Don’t take this as a personal attack—it’s just an observation.) I remember reading about a study done in 2010 that found the Catholic Church’s membership rose while the Episcopal Church’s declined. I wonder why.
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