Whenever an activist Episcopal priest shows up in the news, as a general rule, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find a dead or dying congregation.
A recent example comes from USA Today, covering the March 2 U.S. Supreme Court hearing about a Texas law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same regulatory requirements as ambulatory surgical centers. Pro-Life advocates argue that such health and safety regulation is necessary, especially in the wake of Philadelphia abortionist Hermit Gosnell’s murder trial and the gruesome discoveries about his clinic. Abortion rights advocates counter that a rapid decline in the number of U.S. abortion clinics is placing an undue burden on women seeking to terminate their pregnancy.
Enter Episcopal Priest Anne Fowler, one of 10 women submitting an amicus brief, arguing that:
“If the Reverend Anne Fowler had not had access to an abortion when she accidentally became pregnant after enrolling in Divinity School, she would never have been able to graduate, to serve as a parish rector, or to help the enormous number of people whose lives she has touched.”
As USA Today reports:
All the personal tales have similar morals: Without having access to abortions, the women said, they might not have been able to achieve professional successes and contribute as much to their communities.
According to LifeNews.com’s Micaiah Bilger, Fowler is active in the pro-abortion movement and is a leader with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) an organization which exists primarily to provide a veneer of religious approval for abortion-on-demand. Fowler served nine years on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, two as Chair. Currently, Fowler is a chaplain for Planned Parenthood, but until recently was rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
So how did Fowler “achieve professional successes” shepherding the flock at St. John’s from 1992 until 2013? Contrary to a 2013 story in the Jamaica Plain Gazette on her retirement in which Fowler asserted that during her leadership the church has stabilized and grown, the opposite seems to have actually occurred.
In just the past decade, the parish lost about half of its membership and attendance. St. John’s dropped from a membership of 400 down to fewer than 220; average Sunday attendance shrank from 110 down to about 50 persons in 2013, Fowler’s final reporting year as parish rector. Fowler has since relocated to Maine where she works as a freelance spiritual director and pastoral counselor.
I’ve linked to a PDF of Fowler’s parish statistics, which were made available by the Episcopal Church Office of Research.
Fowler claimed in the Gazette piece that St. John’s doubled in size and more than doubled in budget under her leadership. She said that she is most proud of “fostering a loving, creative, responsible and fun community of faithful people.”
“I pray that that will be seen as my main legacy,” Fowler told the Gazette.
Sadly, we know this legacy all too well: another decimated parish led by a liberal activist.