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Archbishop Dolan to close 30% of RC parishes in New York

Archbishop Dolan to close 30% of RC parishes in New York

Apparently, church restructuring is far from an Episcopal-only issue. Archbishop Timothy Dolan announced that he would either close or merge thirty percent of the parishes in his archdiocese of New York by August 1, 2015.


This would represent one of the largest reorganizations in one of the largest archdioceses in the nation, and affects 112 of 368 parishes.

Read more here.

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jon white

I remember when I lived in upstate NY, our small town had 3 RC parishes. One had been founded for the French Canadians, one for the Italians and one for the Irish. I wonder if many of the parishes identified by the Abp were originally meant to serve ethnic conclaves which no longer exist?

John Westerhoff argued that 250 members was about the right size for a parish, though most RC parishes are much larger than that. In our own episcopal church, I wonder would realigning our numbers of parishes to create stronger individual congregations actually create that or would the realignment just mean that we would experience a generation of turmoil or conflict until everyone who was hurt by the changes died out?

Jon White

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Evan D. Garner

I think it's worth noting that, although the reorganization will affect 30% of the parishes, only 55 of 368 are being closed/merged with others. That's 15%.

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Wayne Rollins

It would be interesting to know the demographics, date of origin, and cultural changes that influence such a decision. In some of our own dioceses, a new church plant cannot occur within one mile of an existing parish without that parish's consent. These rules were put in place long ago, and transportation has changed drastically. Many churchgoers pass a building in their own denomination on the way to their place of worship. Part of our stewardship comes in the realistic application of all our resources. While many struggle to meet budget demands, perhaps it's better if we consider how we act as stewards of relationships with our neighbors, and concentrate our abilities in a more effective manner. In the meantime, much grief work needs to occur as our images and expectations of what church used to be die away, and our hope of resurrection in whatever form God reveals to us begins to become real.

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Wayne Rollins

It would be interesting to know the demographics, date of origin, and cultural changes that influence such a decision. In some of our own dioceses, a new church plant cannot occur within one mile of an existing parish without that parish's consent. These rules were put in place long ago, and transportation has changed drastically. Many churchgoers pass a building in their own denomination on the way to their place of worship. Part of our stewardship comes in the realistic application of all our resources. While many struggle to meet budget demands, perhaps it's better if we consider how we act as stewards of relationships with our neighbors, and concentrate our abilities in a more effective manner.

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William Hammond

All other things being equal, I have the sense that 1000 members divided evenly among 4 churches is better for the mission of the Church (BCP, p. 855) than 1000 members divided evenly among 10 parishes. Where I say 'members', I actually have average Sunday attendance in mind, and I assume 1 stipendiary priest for the smaller churches but 5 for the larger churches.

Of course, all other things are rarely equal. There is, for example, the question of what will be the average distance from home to church among the members of a given church.

And the closing of a church is always traumatic.

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