Episcopal Church Membership

May 1, 2015

Nominees Announced for Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop

A slate of four nominees has been announced to fill the position of the Episcopal Church’s top bishop. Bishops Thomas Breidenthal (Southern Ohio), Michael Curry (North Carolina), Ian Douglas (Connecticut), and Dabney Smith (Southwest Florida) were reported as nominees May 1 by the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop. Biographical information on the candidates is available here.

The next Presiding Bishop will succeed Katharine Jefferts Schori, who completes the responsibilities of her nine-year term at the conclusion of Episcopal General Convention, to be held June 25-July 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah. An election will be held by members of the denomination’s House of Bishops on June 27th, which will then pass to the House of Deputies for a vote of confirmation.

The 1.86-million member Episcopal Church has been characterized by a sharp decline and ongoing litigation between the national church and those dioceses and congregations that have sought to depart during Jefferts Schori’s episcopacy. Attendance in the church’s U.S. dioceses has dropped over 18 percent from 765,326 in 2006 to 623,691 in 2013, the most recent reporting year. Membership has declined 13 percent from 2,154,572 in 2006 to 1,866,758 in 2013.

The church has been estimated to have spent approximately $40 million in legal fees through 2014 related to the departures. Partway through Jefferts Schori’s term, conservative Anglicans in 2009 organized an alternative Anglican province to the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in North America.

Another mainline Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ, is also set to select a new top official this summer. A new General Minister and President will be voted on at the denomination’s General Synod, held June 26-30 in Cleveland, Ohio.

13 Responses to Nominees Announced for Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop

  1. curiousreader says:

    Think might be the first time I’ve read anything positive about the Episcopal Church in several years, as just about every news item I’ve seen has been about lawsuits, infighting, left-wing politicization of theology and traditional Christian doctrines, and so forth.

  2. Rick Lund says:

    Jeffords Schori has been a train-wreck of a Bishop. Perhaps one of the new priest candidates can right the ship or, rather, keep it from sinking any more quickly than it obviously has been. A Conservative Traditionalist would be quite welcomed by the majority of Episcopalians. Any among this group?

    • Jeff Walton says:

      The four candidates are all bishops, not priests. The candidates are all theologically liberal, although I would not characterize any of them as “activist liberals” like Jack Spong. There seems to be an understanding within the Episcopal Church that to select another candidate for the purpose of making a statement would not be wise.

      • MJ says:

        Yes, another activist could provoke the departures of more dioceses. I’m thinking of Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, …etc.

      • Gary Whiteman says:

        I’d bet the farm that they will “make a statement” by electing the black candidate. First a woman, then an ethnic minority. these people are completely predictable.

        • Sam says:

          “these people” are your brothers and sisters in Christ……

          • TampaZeke says:

            Um, no, people who discard the Bible and claim that God “blesses” homosexual behavior are NOT “brothers and sisters in Christ.” Christians can differ on small matters, but this is not a small matter.

          • Sam says:

            Sorry Zeke, but even sinners are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Otherwise, you’d be an only child.

          • Cynthia Schletzbaum Gee says:

            We all sin, Sam, but our brothers and sisters in Christ are sinners who have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb and who are committed to following God’s teachings. Worldly sinners- those who want to follow their own drummer rather than follow Jesus – are NOT our brothers and sisters *in Christ*, although they are our fellow humans. We are commanded to love them, while resisting and reproving their sin and heresy.

        • Cynthia Schletzbaum Gee says:

          Nothing wrong with them making a statement by electing a minority, Gary – biblically speaking, a bishop

          “must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; …..Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

          These criteria limit the office of Bishop to men only, but race was not a consideration for St. Paul. There is everything RIGHT about the Church embracing *Christian* liberalism, eschewing racism, feeding the hungry, etc – indeed, we are under orders from Heaven to do so – but those orders have been subverted by WORLDLY liberals, who are now leading us down the primrose path to feminism, perversion, and eventually, Hell.

      • Chip says:

        Jeff, I don’t think Smith is theologically liberal. He’s a Nashotah grad and gave a very orthodox charge there at my best man’s graduation back in May ’07; I wrote a piece on it published by Nashotah. The ACI (more specifically, Dr. Philip Turner) is happy about his nomination, while the Episcopal Cafe’s readership has mostly taken the opposite tack, with a frequent reaction being that he’ll turn back the clock on their goals if he is elected. I find it amazing that he was nominated, although I don’t think he has a chance of winning.

        • Jeff Walton says:

          Agreed that Smith is the least liberal of the candidates, but I’d point to two issues that lead me to believe he is quietly liberal: first, he revoked a policy of the previous diocesan bishop permitting individuals and parishes from restricting their tithe to the local church and diocese — requiring support for the national church. Second,

          he seems to have set the diocese on a path to eventual embrace of same-sex blessings, rather than making a clear statement ruling them out, as the neighboring diocese of Central Florida has done. He seems to be an “Andy Doyle”-style liberal, aware that his laity is more conservative on this issue but that his clergy want to press into “the new thing” sooner rather than later.

  3. fdgsr says:

    There is only one true religion, The Religion of Truth. Truth is the proper noun for all that is true and truth about what is not true. Truth cannot be false and still be true, thus Truth of all is The God for all believers. Facts are infinite and each fact has a negation. God is not a fact, but is Truth itself. All else is mythology and superstition. No human being or fake could be true without the possibility of being false. Israel was founded on stolen land and the Palestinians were dispossessed immorally and against human rights. Tell it to your Lord!

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