Support the Café

Search our Site

Weekend Roundup for September 7th

Weekend Roundup for September 7th

Welcome to this week’s roundup.


Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
TEC released info from last year’s parochial reports.


Tom Ferguson, the Crusty Old Dean, had a great response


Speaking of stats, the CoE released theirs yesterday too



Marriage Equality
A diocese in the Australian state of Victoria has decided to move ahead with same-sex marriage



Sydney’s Glenn Davies isn’t pleased about that


And in Canada, the church is dealing with the ongoing effects of the failure of their marriage equality resolution by a vote in their House of Bishops



Hurricane Dorian and relief for the Bahamas


Also, ERD has a special Donation Fund to respond



From Around the Anglican Communion
A good short primer on the euthanasia debate in New Zealand


Archbishop Welby hasn’t decided whether he or any other representative will attend the next GAFCON gathering



Episcopal Church
Georgia’s slate for the upcoming episcopal election


UTO will match up to the first $60,000 in donations to create the Anglican Pilgrim Centre in Santiago de Compostela, Spain


Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Roanridge Trust Grant Awards which are meant to bolster rural and small town ministry


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rod Gillis

Statistics are essentially a measurement. A metric is neither explanation nor analysis. It is interesting to consider the measured decline of institution (A ) alongside the measured growth rate of its competitor (B). Further analysis of a decrease in (A) in tandem with an increase in (B) requires judgment about and verification of causes. The decline of liberal institutions and the growth in illiberal competitors ( we see this at play in political parties and movements) may together measure a larger social decline. Values such as liberality, egalitarianism, intellectualism decline while there is a commensurate increase in undifferentiated populism, anti-intellectualism, and chauvinism. Stats, even with a trend line, remain empty data without a verified contextual hypothesis —the latter distinguishable from the vindication of individual or group bias.

Christopher SEITZ

In one of the stranger bits of strained logic, while here we see Episcopalians accepting that the TEC decline is real and indeed likely to end in a very serious recalibration of identity, Ron Caldwell on his SC schism blog is wanting us to see ‘the Church diocese in the eastern part of the state’ as a counter-example, brimming over with joy and good news. It has around 7k — up from 5k when the ‘schism’ occurred. It is growing, while elsewhere in TEC we see decline!

But think about this for a second. This is the same entity that wants to claim it IS the historical diocese (despite his odd nomenclature above). If this were a fact, as he and others want to claim, then the present ‘Church diocese’ went from around 22K to its present 7K. You can’t have it both ways.

Those who have remained in the historic diocese are at least twice the number that consists of TECSC. ACNA could cite growth on the same standard. Zero to X is always stastically anamolous. (last comment missing, btw).

Christopher SEITZ

The Ferguson essay is odd. He makes fun of doomsayers but in the end says TEC is collapsing. We are just not to be surprised. TEC was never much of anything until the baby boomer period, and so this is a return to form (though worse). It is hard to know what such a long investment in words is meant to contribute. ‘Don’t worry, TEC is collapsing and it isn’t that bad. Call off GC, get rid of 815, merge dioceses, and do so with a knowing smile.’ I’d think this kind of a message would irk the liberal TEC ascendancy. But maybe that is his goal?

Kenneth Knapp

I don’t have enough knowledge to know the answer to the larger questions involved in the church’s demise, but I think they would be wise to start dismantling a lot of the elaborate superstructure that was erected in the glory days. The franchise fees are becoming harder and harder for parishes to afford and much (if not most) of what the national church does is only marginally relevant to those of us who are just parishioners.

Simon Burris

Amen to “church as organization” vs “church as instrument of the Holy Spirit” but…

I think that the “charism of Anglicanism” in America is no longer only (and soon will be not primarily) embodied in TEC. Which suggests (to me) that the defining characteristic of TEC must be something distinct from Anglicanism. And that something seems (to me) to be a certain kind of political advocacy. Which in turns seems (to me) closely associated with GC and the remaining national denominational organization.

Which suggests (to me) that TEC can’t be TEC without the superstructure.

mike geibel

I didn’t realize there was a contest between the TEC and ACNA as to which church would reach the bottom first. The 2019 Parochial Report records a membership loss of 36,214 in 2018, an ASA decline down to 533,206 and median attendance down to 53. The claim of 1.676+ million total members must be inflated as only 1/3 of this number regularly attend church. The ASA count is inflated because it includes clergy, and if there is more than one service, clergy are counted twice. Put in perspective: The USA has a reported population of around 330 million. TEC represents less than 0.5% of society. An estimated 75% of the population identifies as Christian, with 49% as Protestant, so even at 1.6M the TEC is less than 1% of all Protestants in America. Up to 3.5 million people in the USA are homeless at any given time so there are more homeless Americans than Episcopalians. There are more than three times as many members in the NRA (a popular target of the TEC) than in the Episcopal Church.

Christopher SEITZ

“the book”?

There are some very fine historical studies of TEC and of american Christianity. I’m not sure his would be on the list. He does have his own quirky perspective to be sure.

You will appreciate that I do not need convincing TEC is unlikely to survive, or that GC is an expensive and increasingly silly phenomenon, or that 815 is a mess. No historian is required to make these observations.

mike geibel

There is no comfort to point to similar declines in other denominations. The excuses and rationalizations must stop. To survive, the church must double-down on political correctness and the truth of science. Only a 7-point plan will save the Church:
• Excommunicate all clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
• Open all church parking lots to establish immigrant and homeless sanctuary communities on Church grounds.
• Turn off all electricity and heat to church facilities to stop Climate Change.
• Create a “gun free zone” by banning gun owners, NRA members and red-necks.
• Resolve that members must double their tithe in order to atone for “white privilege.”
• Ban all references to God as male and re-write the Bible and BofC Prayer to delete gender pronouns.
• Renounce the non-profit status of the Church and publically advocate the destruction of Israel and endorse any candidate running against Trump.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café