Saturday, September 24, 2016

It's the End of the Church As We Know It

Crusty has noticed some buzz in the interbloggerwebotwitfacesphere around the Episcopal Church's release of annual membership statistics, which can be found here.  The news, friends, continues to be not good, very bad, alarming, four horsemen of the apocalypse, dogs and cats living together, bad.

Among the tidbits:

--A drop from 1,923,000 members in 2011 to 1,770,000 in 2015.

--More alarming in Crusty's opinions is the number for Average Sunday attendance (ASA), which is, in many ways, the more significant one, since it reflects those actually engaged regularly in the worshipping life of a congregation.  This has dropped from 657,000 in 2011 to 579,000 in 2015.  That's 12% in four years.

--The average ASA of an Episcopal Church is 58.  We are increasingly a collection of small churches.

Crusty has said before on this blog that the church on every level, from the parish to the diocese to the denominational structure, needs to address this reality.  Crusty's said this several times.  We need to be merging congregations and dioceses, strengthening ecumenical cooperation and collaboration, revamp our churchwide structures...basically just stroll through the blog posts that aren't bashing Justin Welby and you'll get an idea of what COD has been Cassandraing about for the past five years.

Hey, here's three times Crusty has written a post covering some of the same topics as this one, going back to 2011 when he posted on the release of the membership statistics back then. If you'd like some specific deja vu, read here, and here, and here.
Once, twice, three times Crusty.

OK, glad you're back.  I had a lovely gin martini while you read those postings.

Here it is, five years later, and yet another round of terrifying attendance numbers.  Crusty was not surprised in the least when he read them, and, hate to break it to you, Sunshine, but Crusty also thinks it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Couple of things to keep in mind:

1)  This decline is a complex collection of various factors, involving some elements particular to The Episcopal Church, and some elements shared by all religious expressions in the United States, if not those areas culturally "Western" (Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, other similar places).  Part of this is demographics.  Some examples:

--Anglo components of the Roman Catholic Church show the same kind of decline pattern as The Episcopal Church, but the Roman Catholic Church's decline overall is much less (about 1% per year) because of growth in its Hispanic/Latino and Asian/Asian American components, Catholics that emigrate to the USA, and other diverse populations contributing growth.

--The Episcopal Church is overwhelmingly old and white (87% white and average age of 58 last time Crusty checked) in a country that is increasingly racially diverse and whose average age is much younger than the typical Episcopal Church (63% white and average age 37.6 according to 2010 census).

--We have seen tremendous internal shifts of population, and the Episcopal Church has had historic strength on the losing end of this: the Rust Belt versus the West, for instance.

--In a related vein, Episcopalians have never kept up with these shifts.  Around the year 1900, 90% of Episcopalians lived East of the Mississippi.  In the year 2000, a whopping 12% of Episcopal
White was obviously not a Village People fan, given his reluctance to Go West.
congregations were founded after 1968.  This is nothing new; William White became Bishop of Pennsylvania in 1787 and never even set foot in Pittsburgh until the 1830s, and only on the urging of a mission-minded priest in his diocese named Jackson Kemper.

2)  Part of this decline, however, is due to massive, systemic failure in evangelism and discipleship at all levels of the church.  Our churchwide system seems to exist solely for the purpose of holding meetings.  At the 2015 General Convention, the Committees, Commissions, Agencies, and Boards (CCABs) were thoroughly overhauled, and we were constantly told this would make is more "nimble" and would save money.  Well, we ended up budgeting MORE money for meetings at General Convention 2015 than GC 2012.  We appointed a blue ribbon task force to consider restructuring, and then implemented practically nothing it suggested.  Convention decided it would keep doing more or less what it had been doing, and spend more money on it.

This from a church as a whole that has slashed campus chaplaincies and Christian Education and formation.  We seem to be increasingly a church that has a General Convention whose main purpose is to hold General Convention and pay for meetings in between General Conventions, and dioceses whose main purpose is to prop up single-priest parishes.  We are blessed in having a new Presiding Bishop who is trying to return our focus to mission and evangelism, since we truly are part of the "Jesus Movement."

A fundamental question is whether it's already too late, and whether the structures for organizing ministry that we have simply need to collapse and we create new ones.  Crusty wrote about this at length four years ago here, so won't rehash that posting.  Suffice to say not much has happened in the past four years to change any of the thoughts COD had when he wrote that post.

Part of this decline is undoubtedly due to conflict in the past generation about theological matters, such as the ordination of women and the ordination of LBGT persons to the priesthood and later the episcopate.  Please don't think Crusty is saying all of our decline is due to demographics or failure to evangelize; part of it is undoubtedly due to conflict in the church.  But we honestly have no real way of knowing just how much.  COD thinks that much of the decline in the past generation is due to members dying and not being replaced with newer members, but part of it -- maybe 5-10% -- has to do with persons leaving the Episcopal Church for theological reasons.  But that's just a guess.  COD is open to something other than unfounded polemical arguments that a decline from a peak of 3.6 million in the 1960s to 1.9 million today is due solely to the church becoming more liberal, but hasn't yet come across one that's convincing.  The decline is due to a combination of factors, of which one is certainly, but not solely, internal conflict.

Now, Crusty would also like to point out that he also has no time for hand-wringing, pearl-clutching sobs that the "church" will somehow die out.  Hell no.  The church cannot die because it is of God, and God is not dead. What COD is saying that the church as we know it is probably already dead.  The (by and large) racially segregated, denominational ghettos we call most American expressions of Christianity that we have lived in are crashing down.  To that, Crusty says, thank God.
The church hasn't died despite challenges it has faced far greater than our denominational, suburban captivity of the church of the past 60 years.  Mao couldn't destroy the church and Stalin couldn't destroy it, so we sure as hell can't destroy it despite our failure to live into the Gospel.

We also cannot give ourselves over to weak resignation in the face of massive changes sweeping over the North American religious landscape.  The number of parish clergy Crusty encounters who are quite aware of these changes and their implications for their congregations but are more or less just waiting it out till they retire is shocking and appalling.  There is a lot we can and should and must do.

However, we didn't get here overnight, and we're not getting out of this overnight, if at all.

Crusty thinks ASA will dip to the 400,000 level, congregations to the 5,000 level, over the next 10-15 years.   The church will get to a tipping point when it realizes -- or doesn't -- that massive, thorough, top to bottom change is needed in how we organize and structure ourselves for mission.  The demographic tsunami (the Episcopal Church is shockingly old and white in a country that averages younger and less white) will have had more years to deepen.

Right now we are demonstrating the worst of both worlds.  We are too decentralized right now to address the crises in mission and evangelism with any kind of coordinated effort, and on the local level (the diocese and parish), parochialism and insularity have the tendency to result in either denial or survival at the expense of the larger picture.

From a big picture perspective, Christianity in the 21st century in the West is entering into a post-denominational landscape, and we are living among the wreckage of denominationalism.

However, just like with other crises (climate change, or economic inequality) there are those who, frankly, aren't helping.

Crusty here is referring to the latest crap bomb from the Institute for Religion and Democracy, the North Korean journalism of American religion.  When it comes to the IRD, Crusty should hasten to add it's a free country, and the IRD is perfectly entitled to their beliefs, opinions, and perspective.  While COD disagrees with the IRD, he doesn't begrudge their right to exist or hold their opinions.

Let's take the so-called "Juicy Ecumenism" blog, and its recent entry on the latest round of statistics.   IRD's narrative that it has been pushing for years  is that the liberal trends of mainline Protestant denominations have caused its decline and is pushing members away.  This narrative has been more or less debunked by reasonable, non-polemical sociologists and historians of American religion. Many, many theologically conservative denominations have been declining as well.  The Southern Baptist Convention has been losing members for years, for example.  Liberal=decline and conservative=growth is a canard that no responsible observer should believe.

The title alone reveals the Institute for Religion and Democracy's perspective:  "Episcopal Church Continues Uninterrupted decline."  Right from the headline, we can see that this article doesn't hold water:  after all, the very text of the article notes eleven dioceses which have shown growth.  So is it
If we don't adopt some cool rules pronto, church growth is going to get more bogus.
uninterrupted decline or not?  This calls to mind the incisive words of Jeff Spicoli.  When Jefferson's brother points out that Jefferson will not be pleased that they have wrecked his car, Jefferson's brother notes "He's gonna s**t!  He's gonna kill us!"  In response, Spicoli adroitly notes the obvious discrepancy: "Make up your mind, dude.  Is he going to s**t, or is he going to kill us?"  Make up your mind, IRD -- the decline clearly isn't interrupted, because you yourselves note eleven dioceses showing growth.

Also in the article, they themselves acknowledge there are external factors involved.  They note that Bishop Michael Curry's diocese of North Carolina escaped decline because it was "aided by a booming state population" and point out that the pattern of decline in the 2015 statistics "is consistent with past years, in which dioceses in New England, the Rust Belt [COD feels need to go sic here because of the appalling lack of an Oxford comma] and predominantly rural areas post sharp declines, while diocese in the South either retain their numbers or decline at a more gradual rate."

These two statements show that IRD knows damn well that demographics are significant components in matters of church membership.  As COD has said before, this cuts both ways.  We weren't necessarily geniuses when the church was growing from 1920-1980, because we were riding a demographic wave.  The town where Crusty is currently rector grew from 1,900 in 1950 to 20,000 in 1990.  My predecessor at that time, now pushing 90, told me, "It seems all I had to do was open the door and people came in."  Guess what?  Since 1990 population in that same town has stagnated at around 20,000 (there just isn't much more land to build on), and has significantly aged.  Census projections are that the only demographic in this town that will grow in the next 10 years will be people over 55.  COD has spoken with Christian Education leaders in the parish that this doesn't absolve us of our responsibility to invest in Sunday School, youth group, and discipleship, but we also need to know the headwinds we are facing.

The Episcopal Church is not declining because of its liberal bent; there is no direct correlation between theological standpoint and growth or decline.  The Unitarian Univeralist Association, far more liberal than the Episcopal Church, has shown stable membership in the past 15 years while The Episcopal Church's has cratered.  Church decline and growth are a complicated blend of a number of different factors.

That said, the numbers are real.  This is the fifth post Crusty has written on the shocking decline in membership numbers in five years for The Episcopal Church.  The question still remains:  are we willing to have an honest, open, and frank conversation, and make an effort to try to do something, or are we going to wait for the structures to collapse and build something from the ruins?  And don't say we can't do anything; that just means you are unwilling.  We have done this before.  This is not the first time this has happened.  Anglicanism collapsed after the American Revolution.  Membership dropped by 50% in a DECADE (and we bemoan a 40% drop over nearly 50 years as the end of the world), the state of Massachusetts had one functioning congregation, and Anglicanism was in danger of splintering into competing, regional expressions.  Our forebears did what was needed to revive the church:  they kept some aspects of their Anglican heritage but radically reimagined others.  Can we do the same, or will endless meetings and comfy CPG pensions keep us from being faithful in our own day and age?  As the great hymn puts its:

Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore
left the gift of your salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grand us wisdom, grant us courage
serving you whom we adore
serving you whom we adore.

35 comments:

  1. Again Tom, you knock it out of the park. I have actually heard priests who are 5-10 years away from retirement say they are just building their HAC. How do we return to a true conversation of Jesus and the Good News that includes not just those of the younger priesthood, but those currently holding most of the positions of authority, both locally and nationally, in the church?

    ReplyDelete
  2. We're facing the very same stuff over here, too. There's definitely a rift between those who want to prop up what we have and those who understand we need to radically rethink what we've got to let it grow. Our own presiding bishop is trying hard to get us to rethink, but the backlash is pretty intense.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ...and how shall the seminaries adapt to this challenge?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I responded on FB as well, Maria -- seminaries absolutely must adapt, and many, in fact, have already done so. CDSP has established a low-residency option for the MDiv, combining online courses and short-term residency. When I was academic dean at Bexley Hall, we merged with Seabury and overhauled the MDiv curriculum to be low-residency so that people did not need to relocate in order to complete the degree. Seminaries, however, are part of a larger ecosystem and infrastructure, and there need to be larger conversations about what kind of lay and clergy leadership we want and/or need. What about bivocational or non-stipendiary clergy? How can we involve our ecumenical partners, many of whom are facing very similar challenges?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a non-stipendiary Old Catholic priest who planted a church with largely his own funds. I left the Episcopal Church because its politics and its bureaucracy could never support what I am doing. I inquired about ordination, but was told that because you are white, over 60, married, and straight, I was not needed "because we already have too many of you."

      Delete
  5. I also wrote a much longer essay on my thoughts on the future of theological education in this volume: https://www.churchpublishing.org/whatweshallbecome

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are right to be a Cassandra about the things you saying in this post. However, I think there is one more thing to bring up, based on this statement:

    "The average ASA of an Episcopal Church is 58. We are increasingly a collection of small churches."

    Family-sized parishes have their purposes. In some cases, they are what the Great Physician ordered. However, we cannot sustain the Episcopal Church on them.

    I've read that it is easier to church plant a large congregation (say, program size) than to increase the size of a family-sized congregation.

    I've seen what happens when you merge two family-sized congregations. A couple of years later, you have one family-sized congregation. The others have moved on.

    Merger is not a solution. Neither is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.

    I am starting to believe death and resurrection is the only way out of this. You would think that, as Christians, we would understand this. Something about grains of wheat and all that.

    We can do actual restructure of the church. But, without death and resurrection, we will be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    It is time to not merge congregations. It is time to close (most all) family-sized congregations that are not able to minister to their communities. It is time to resurrect those congregations with trained leadership that knows how to build a sustainable congregational structure. We need to do this while we still have the resources to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree entirely about death & resurrection, it's in part why I criticized the TREC report for talking about "a Lazarus moment." Lazarus was resuscitated to die again; Jesus was raised to a new mode of being.

    Merger is hard, difficult work -- I helped merge two seminaries. It's not the solution in every case, to be sure, but I think is certainly the solution in some cases. I can name five examples in non-urban settings (not Manhattan or Boston, for instance) where there are two Episcopal churches within a 5 miles of one another, both struggling.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been a Crusty fan for a number of years, but I haven't offered a comment before. (What do they say on talk radio? "Long time listener; first time caller.") And while I agree with a lot of what you have to say in this post, I'm not convinced that what TEC is lacking is a big conversation about Episcopal decline. Indeed, in the 12-odd years that I have been a Christian and an Episcopalian (I suppose I am evidence that the church is doing at least some evangelism), I have heard us talk about our decline more or less relentlessly. Now, we could certainly argue that a good part of that talk has been superficial or fanciful in nature. But I don't think we can argue that we are neglecting the subject.

    What I wish that we would commit to talking about is why certain parishes - and, as you observe, certain dioceses - are growing. Some of those contexts have demographic luck, absolutely. But what else might be happening when an Episcopal worshiping community is vibrant?

    In some respects, talking about growing contexts might be harder than talking about decline. Because acknowledging growth - especially acknowledging growth that may be inspired by causes outside of demographics - necessitates that we engage in self-criticism. For so long as decline is the inevitable result of some genie that got out of the bottle in the post-war years, then we are off the hook, we can reassure ourselves that we are doing everything right but, thanks to a broken and selfish culture, people are unwilling to come. But if we acknowledge that growth can happen and is happening, then there is little escaping the question: Why? I am convinced that there is real energy and hope to be found in exploring that "why."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Martin. They even shorten it sometimes to "First time, long time." Maybe what I should have said clearer is the nature and focus of the conversation. I've mainly heard a lot of hand-wringing about decline, combined with rejecting most every suggestion to do something about it. But yes there are places where I think constructive conversation is happening, and there are certain congregations and dioceses that are growing. My personal sense is that those places that are growing are ones that have a clear sense of identity, purpose, and mission.

      Delete
  9. Great, Holy, on point and funny article. Major props for the integration of Jeff Spicoll into it! ( Dude, that's my skull) I can't speak for the whole church. All I can do is be the church. I can share that I'm willing to do the work you suggest. It's more fun than meetings!

    It took my current parish to get to a place similar to " change or die." They were even desperate to take me apparently! In 3+ years we have prayed, invested in advertising, took "caring evangelism" and we have partnered with a resource parish to invest in a part time youth minister. There was and is a lot of hard work and God certainly has to bless it for any growth to happen, but none of it is rocket science. No baptism of thousands overnight but our ASA has grown from 86 to 111 and with a youth minister we might pop again. While I agree that evangelism is essential, it is also clear that you can't give away what you don't have. No insult to anyone but our very excitement about the very faith handed on to us by the saints is the thing that raises interest. If our job is to share " the hope that is in us" than maybe we need to get on the stick with that! So yes we have to evangelize but there ahead of that our journey is to realize individually and collectively that each of us has received a treasured gift. I didn't earn it nor was I smart enough to receive it but God gave it anyway. Thank you for your post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sometimes follower, first time commentator here. Is there science on the trends - at least in my diocese - of deploying retired clergy to fill Priest-in- charge positions, more often than not less than full time? With our poor efforts to teach true stewardship and right relationships to God and wealth, parishes that porportedly "can't afford" (or won't afford) full time clergy seem destined to shrink. Add "Retired" to that and the deal is sealed.

    Ok, not in every case. Some retired folk are still cooking, but maybe they shouldn't have retired! It seems a mixed message to send retired folk supplemented by pension benefits into parish leadership positions where there is already less than stellar stewardship. Don't bishops who do that take the easy way out rather than leading parishes to provide healthy compensation in exchange for robust, active ministers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are numbers on this. The Church Pension Group tracks the number of clergy who have accepted retirement & are receiving a pension but are also still working in a congregation. No surprise, that number is rising as congregations struggle to afford clergy.

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well said. I'm trying to figure out which well-phrased excerpt to put at the head of the post when I share this on Facebook. I hope you're right that the Episcopal Church won't be as effective as Stalin and Mao in destroying the church--I'll refrain from speculating on which church character would fit in which role...

    Facing these questions frankly, without looking for gimmicks or excuses is really important. As a Baby Boomer, whose HAC is where it's going to be, I am extremely concerned that we not pass on to the Millennials an infrastructure and bureaucracy that is too big for the smaller church that will exist after the half of us who are over 58 conform to the actuarial tables and leave the scene.

    It is not glum or pessimistic to plan for a church that is growing smaller--it would take a magic act that would embarrass P.T. Barnum for its duplicitousness, to have the Episcopal Church increase to the membership/attendance levels even of when either of us were in seminary, let alone the 3.6 million of the 1960s.

    Let's plan for a realistic future, rejoice in the love of God and believe in the power of the Gospel to change real lives in the real world. But let's not tell lies about what will happen with the numbers.

    Good post.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Let every responsible Episcopalian "read, mark, and inwardly digest." Increases across the board are all possible if we will pray and give, including work. Children and young people and families, white, brown, and black. The Spirit and outlook at not a few churches my way (East Tennessee) are up and ready. "71 at Easter - 21 Latino, that many children and teenagers, seven baptized and first communions!" A lot of work. THANK YOU CRUSTY! God bless from the Mountain South! Poppa T

    ReplyDelete
  14. I appreciate this post - and speaking as someone who has been attending ACNA churches, I should say that I agree with you that theological explanations for losses such as the continuing Anglican movement and migration to other denominations don't seem to explain the decline nearly as much as simple demographics and failures of church practice that aren't unique to TEC.
    All that said... I want to register one criticism/admonition, meant purely to be constructive and coming from a fellow Christian.
    You end by saying, "Our forebears did what was needed to revive the church: they kept some aspects of their Anglican heritage but radically reimagined others. Can we do the same[?]" That's great! But why, then, has TEC been so very critical of the reimagined Anglican structures that the continuing Anglican churches have set up? Why not recognize, even if one harbors disagreements with it, that the Anglican Covenant, or flying bishops, or re-alignments with other provinces, are intended to be a "radical reimagining" of the Church with an interest in helping it thrive and furthering the task of evangelism and discipleship?
    I've read your blog some, but not enough to know whether you've personally criticized these ventures, so I want to clarify that I'm speaking generally and not accusing you of anything personally. And I'm not saying that the TEC should just accept everything that the ACNA does and get on board with the "new" Anglican province in the U.S... there are genuine disagreements present, to be sure. But at the very least, it would be nice if TEC recognized that amidst theological dispute and politicking, these sorts of restructuring efforts are being done with a real passion for evangelism and desire to see a growing community of believers. I encourage you (again, speaking generally of TEC and of you only insofar as the shoe fits) to give us in continuing Anglican churches the benefit of the doubt, and reassess whether we have a log on our eye, or maybe just a speck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Evan: thanks for the comment. I can't speak for others, but my personal and theological response to ACNA is that I am willing to realize that denominationalism as a whole is breaking down and we are seeing realignments in many ways in many contexts. I supported approving the Covenant, and did so publicly. I pushed for dialogue with non-TEC expressions of Anglicanism when I was ecumenical officer. However, a condition of that has to be mutual recognition of one another. From me to you as a fellow Christian, being told by some in ACNA that TEC is an invalid, non-Christian body preaching a false gospel is not conducive to dialogue, either.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for this response, and yes I completely agree re: your closing comments!

      Delete
    3. I understand the need for "flying bishops" to provide delegated pastoral oversight. But I think ACNA made a mistake when it replaced the model of a single geographic diocese with affinity based episcopal jurisdictions. I don't think that's the kind of change Anglicanism needs because it encourages us to associate only with those of entirely like mind. It's not a model I'd want to see in my own church.

      Delete
    4. Maybe I'm thinking of a different thing than you are, but at least currently ACNA has established geographical provinces... the affinity based jurisdictions may have been transitional, or maybe there are a few ones currently functioning that I'm not aware of. But in any case (for ACNA at least), they're currently setting of geographical jurisdictions.

      Delete
    5. Perusing their list of dioceses (http://www.anglicanchurch.net/?/main/page/about-acna), It looks like there are 3 non-geographic dioceses left, not counting their military chaplainicy. However, some of their geographical dioceses also overlap- San Joaquin/PEAR West/Western Anglicans/West(REC) being the most obvious example.

      Delete
  15. "why, then, has TEC been so very critical of the reimagined Anglican structures that the continuing Anglican churches have set up?"

    Because ACNA's (e.g. the GAFCON conglom's) homophobia is KILLING PEOPLE, Evan, and in the U.S. and abroad. You need to understand, Evan, that those of us who follow Jesus Christ won't cooperate w/ this institution of murderous condemnation, REGARDLESS of what happens, here on Earth, to TEC. If TEC evaporated tomorrow, the blood of dead LGBTs would still cry out against the ACNA/GAFCON homophobic heresy!

    I don't care what pew you occupy on Sunday---but let it be one where you can meet Jesus---truly KNOW him---for a change? Lord, convert all hearts...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just have to say that JCF does not speak for this Episcopalian and that I find his words unhelpful. And I don't call people who can say the Creed without crossing their fingers heretics.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Whit... although I also want to be humble enough to hear JCF's concerns insofar as they're relevant. I do worry that conservative Anglicans can be naive in certain partnerships they make within various Communion provinces around the world, without taking proper account of the politics of homophobia in these countries. JCF is right that people can do real damage, and even that lives are at stake. I'm not sure I would agree with him about the level of moral or creedal culpability that continuing Anglicans bear in this, although I don't want to just dodge his criticism. I think it's a potentially important one.

      Delete
    3. I recently interviewed one of the attenders of the GAFCON conferences and asked whether the western delegates had challenged the african delegates on the issue of anti-gay legislation. I was assured that the topic was raised and that the Africans were urged to rethink their support of anti gay legislation at the Gafcon meetings. AFAIK this has not been reported publically before

      Delete
  16. Crusty, do you think that the Episcopal Church will cease to exist in large swathes of the country. Already there is no Episcopal church in my county, though I can drive to several parishes in neighboring counties easily since I live at the northern tip of my county (Perry, OH). Even if I lived deep in the heart of Perry County I would still have reasonable access to the Sacraments because there are plenty of ELCA churches with which we are in full communion. Even if I lived really deep in Appalachian Ohio I would have options within a 30 minute drive, actually more Episcopal options than ELCA, though I’d probably be hearing lay-led Morning Prayer as often as I participated in the Eucharist. But I worry about the day that that may not be the case, and I worry about ending up in a hospital with a RC chaplain who won’t give the sacraments to a ‘heretic’ and a bunch of Baptist and Pentecostal protestant chaplains that think liturgy is sinful.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Depends on what you mean by "exist", Whit. If freestanding church structure with its own half to full time priest, then yes, Episcopal Churches are going to disappear in some parts. They already are. But the key I think is to ponder what kind of new existence there might be. Deepened ecumenical partnerships with like minded persons? Selling the building into a social service non profit and continue to hold a service on a Sunday?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In SE Ohio I've seen an Ecuminical partnership with the Presbyterian church work, and an attempt at an Episcopal house church fail.

      Delete
  18. must say you had done a tremendous job,I appreciate all your efforts.Thanks alot for your writings......Waiting for a new 1.. Packers and Movers Mumbai

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lovely Website, Maintain the fantastic work. Thank you so much!
    Local Packers and Movers Mumbai list, Cheap Packers Movers Mumbai Charges, Affordable, Best Household Shifting Mumbai @ Packers and Movers Mumbai

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello Everybody!!!
    Can you give me some minutes for introduct my service? I'm providing:cool: máy tập bụng | and máy tập cơ bụng New Six Pack Care đạp chân | and special is xe đạp tập thể dục | and máy xay đậu nành | and máy xay sinh tố | and máy tập bụng SIXPACKCARE 2018 | and máy ép miệng cốc D6. Contact with me.
    Thanks for reading! And have a good day!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello Everybody!
    Can you give me some minutes for introduct my service? I"m providing máy xay đậu nành | Special is máy bào đá | and máy xay đậu nành đa năng Q10 | and máy bào đá tuyết ET200 | and máy bào đá ZY-SB114 | and xe đạp thể dục IBIKE 8.2i | and xe đạp thể dục IBIKE 4000. Contact with me.
    Thanks for reading! And have a good day!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello Everybody!
    Can you give me some minutes for introduct my service? I"m providing máy xay sinh tố | Special is máy làm bắp rang bơ | and bắp mỹ | and bơ làm bắp rang bơ | and máy làm bắp rang bơ bằng ga | and máy làm bắp rang bơ VBG 1608 | and máy làm bắp rang bơ VBG-1708. Contact with me.
    Thanks for reading! And have a good day!

    ReplyDelete