Episcopal Church Decline

Bishop Curry’s “Love” Language Doesn’t Halt Episcopal Decline

on September 6, 2018

Evangelistic language and exhortations to embrace the “Jesus Movement” by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry have not yet resulted in a decrease in Episcopal Church decline, according to statistics recently released by the Office of the General Convention.

Episcopalians continue a multi-year decline in both membership and attendance in 2017.

A loss of 13,709 attendees to a total of 556,744 resulted in a 2.4% decline in average Sunday attendance (ASA), despite occurring in a year when Christmas Eve occurred on a Sunday, which typically boosts attendance figures. The church’s 10 year decline in attendance currently stands at 24%. The mean ASA is 55 persons, down from 57 in 2016.

Membership experienced a more gradual drop, down 32,593 (1.9%) to 1,712,563 baptized members in U.S. domestic dioceses. Membership, attendance, and plate-and-pledge income are among three objective data points tracked year-over-year by the denomination.

Curry, elected as Presiding Bishop at the denomination’s 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, has garnered significant media attention for his embrace of language associated with evangelism and revival. In May of 2018 he delivered a homily at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom. The address led to numerous televised interviews in the following days in which Curry repeated his message that “love is the way”.

Uninterrupted Decline

Most Episcopal Church dioceses across the United States experienced declines in membership and attendance, with those in the northeastern Province I hit hardest (down 2% in membership and 4.2% in attendance) followed by the upper Midwest Province V (down 3.2% in membership and 3.6% in attendance). Rural and Rustbelt dioceses continue the steepest declines, which are more gradual in the South and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The tiny Diocese of Northern Michigan – known for selecting a Zen Buddhist bishop-elect in 2009 whose election was denied necessary consent by the wider church – continues to be among the hardest-hit, experiencing a 12.7% decline in ASA, now down to 411 persons. The rump Episcopal Diocese of Quincy was prompted to juncture into the neighboring Diocese of Chicago when it reached approximately 380 attendees. While a juncture of dioceses could save on administrative expenses and shared resources, it would also result in the loss of eight seats in the church’s House of Deputies, making for a strong disincentive. Each diocese in the church may send a delegation of four clergy and four lay delegates to the triennial General Convention, regardless of the size of the diocese.

“Renewing dioceses” attempting to rebuild after their leaders and majority of congregants voted to depart the Episcopal Church continue to be a mixed bag: the Episcopal Church in South Carolina reports a 3.6% gain in membership and a 1.2% decline in attendance, while the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin suffered a 5.3% drop in members and 6.9% drop in attendance to 810. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth declined 0.5% in members and 5.1% in attendance, while Pittsburgh lost 4% of members but inched up 1.3% in attendance.

Some of the “Communion Partner” dioceses which have opted out of same-sex marriage rites held steady. Albany experienced a modest 1% drop in members and 0.4% drop in attendance, Dallas also had a 1% drop in members and a 0.3% drop in attendance. Central Florida saw a 2.3% decline in members but only a 0.5% drop in attendance. Florida was a rare diocese to see both membership (1.8%) and attendance (0.2%) growth, with Tennessee close behind at 0.2% growth in members and a 0% change in attendance. Springfield (Central and Southern Illinois) saw only a 0.3% drop in members, but a 5.7% drop in attendance, North Dakota experienced a 3.4% drop in members but only a 0.8% drop in attendance.

In contrast, some of the denomination’s steeper losses were in some progressive dioceses. New England dioceses of Vermont and New Hampshire faced 5% and 5.1% declines in attendance, respectively, with Rhode Island decreasing 5.7%. Other dioceses facing outsized attendance declines were El Camino Real (Central California coast) 5.7%, Northern California at 5.4%, Navajo Missions at 12.4%, Micronesia at 10%, West Missouri at 5.1%, Northwest Texas at 5.2%, South Dakota at 5.1%, Ohio at 5.2%, Central Pennsylvania at 5%, and Louisiana at 7.7%.

A few dioceses reporting attendance growth were Rochester, New York at 12.3%, breaking a long trend of decline with an increase of 368 attendees to 3,362, and Central Gulf Coast at 2.7%, with an increase of 152 attendees to 5,686. The tiny rural diocese of Western Kansas increased attendance 3.2%, increasing by 18 persons to 574 in total. Overseas dioceses including Taiwan and Colombia also reported increased attendance of 10.3% and 11.3%, respectively.

The list of 2017 statistics by province and diocese can be accessed here: https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/22942

The church’s official 2017 table of statistics includes information on baptisms, confirmations, receptions, weddings and burials and is typically released in December. Complete 2016 statistics can be accessed by clicking here (This report will be updated when 2017 statistics are made available).

  1. Comment by David on September 7, 2018 at 7:28 am

    “The parallel trend of declining growth rates among both mainline and conservative denominations points to an overriding societal pattern that transcends theology and church growth strategy. That society-wide pattern is the supply of new people: the birth rate.

    Changes in the mainline church membership denominations, including the Episcopal Church track extremely closely to the
    birth rate for white Americans who make up the primary constituency of mainline denominations
    relationship)… In statistical terms, 88% of the year to year variation in mainline membership can be explained by the birth rate.” This study was from 2002. A more recent one finds: “The average age of an Episcopalian in 2011 was 57 years old. In 2017, it is closer to 64. What this means is that roughly three-fifths of the Church’s membership will be dead in the next twelve to sixteen years.”

    Then we have the decline in audiences for classical music, the mainstay of Episcopal churches, and people do select churches on their music. So, we should not read so much into recent issues with post hoc fallacies as the trends have been going on for some time.

  2. Comment by Steve on September 7, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Your comment is internally self contradictory. You have indicated that three quarters of Episcopalians will be dead in a dozen years or so. Do you really think three quarters of whites will be dead in the same time period? Obviously, Episcopal Church membership/attendance does NOT closely track white demographics.
    As regards music: since the 60s, the Episcopal church has offered a wide range of music types, not just traditional/classical, including but not limited to contemporary. While this had some occasional success, that kind of music tends to attract more conservatives than liberals, and these services were decimated about the same time the gay bishop was ordained. Currently clergy doesn’t want contemporary, because they recognize it typically contains conservative (bible based) theology; clergy currently wants to eliminate it and replace it with things NOBODY likes, particularly Taize and “Music That Builds Communities”. Try searching for that kind of music on YouTube (“Anna Hernandez” is a prominent exponent) and you can see that the views are in the low dozens (extremely unpopular). I assume (and you’d probably agree) that quality traditional/classical liturgical music has lots of hits; something like Handel’s Messiah performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir probably has hits in the hundreds of thousands. There’s no need to guess what music is popular and not, just check the views on YouTube. By that standard, what the clergy is doing now is absolutely toxic. Bet you’d rather hear The Messiah too.

  3. Comment by Joseph M on September 10, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Just for fun her is a story on the Virtual Hallelujah Chorus that the Choir did a couple of years ago.


  4. Comment by Tony on September 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Anyone who tries to minimize a 24% decline over 10 years really has their head in the sand. To try to deflect to it’s happening elsewhere is not at all helpful. How can pecusa pull out of their slide should be the response of any responsible person.

  5. Comment by Tony on September 7, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    As a point of comparison, the ACNA has grown from roughly 100,00 members in 2007 to over 134,000 in 2017. Also, the average age of parishioners and clergy is lower than in pecusa.

  6. Comment by Tony on September 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    One error: actually the ACNA was formed in 2009, not in 2007 as I stated. So, the growth in the ACNA has been over a shorter period than the ten years of pecusa decline.

  7. Comment by Donald on September 8, 2018 at 6:22 am

    Memo to TEC, PCUSA, ELCA, DoC, et. al regarding all of these data points.: You can put lipstick on a pig, but in the end it is still a pig. So far in the race to see which one of these Seven Sisters can get below 1,000,000 members, it looks like the PCUSA is ‘winning,’ which means the TEC’s pig is a bit more attractive.
    But the TEC and the other Sisters still remain what they are: declining denominations in the fever swamp of apostasy.

  8. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on September 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    You’re correct that the PCUSA has been experiencing the highest rate of decline (currently about 5%, I think) but the smallest of the seven sisters is the Disciples of Christ. They’ve Absolutely tanked in recent years.

  9. Comment by Loren Golden on September 10, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    The PC(USA) and its immediate predecessors, the UPCUSA and the PCUS, have had unmitigated net membership decline every year since 1965.  Conversely, the Episcopal Church membership has occasionally rebounded during the same time, but the overall trend has been decline.
    Both Presbyterianism and Anglicanism/Episcopalianism generally appeal to college-educated adults, with an insistence on higher educational standards for their clergy, resulting in more erudite sermons in general.  The difference is that Presbyterianism has historically relied more heavily on theology, whereas Anglicanism/Episcopalianism has relied more on a formal liturgy.  (This should not be construed to suggest that Presbyterians are ignorant of liturgy, nor Anglicans/Episcopalians of theology, but the difference has been primarily one of emphasis.)
    Thus, the Episcopal Church has been more effective at attracting Progressive Roman Catholics who have become disaffected by the Roman Catholic Church’s more traditional stance on matters such as sexual ethics and abortion, yet who want to retain the emphasis on liturgy found in Roman Catholicism.
    The PC(USA), by contrast, now emphasizes social righteousness, seeking to develop a “theology” (loosely understood) to support its goals of sociopolitical reform.  However, this approach really does not have much appeal to Progressive Christians not already in the PC(USA), because those individuals are usually found either in other Mainline Protestant denominations or in non-denominational churches; in the case of the former, the PC(USA) does not have anything to offer than that which they already have; and in the case of the latter, such individuals are more apt to stay and try to subvert their respective church homes to their sociopolitical goals.
    Neither the PC(USA) nor the Episcopal Church has anything to offer those outside the pale of the Church, because the only thing they have to offer is an anthropocentric worldview with a veneer of religiosity, in which Christ is held up as a role model of Progressive Christianity, and not as the Head of the Church with His own agenda independent of the goals of Progressive Christianity.  Hence, the decline.
    And the decline in membership and cultural relevance will continue for both denominations, unless there is a massive reformation, in which Jesus Christ and Him crucified to atone for the sins of humankind becomes “of first importance” (I Cor. 15.3-4) once again.  However, the forces of worldly subversion are entrenched in power in the denominations’ national and regional governments and in their institutions of clerical education, making a modern-day reformation extremely improbable.

  10. Comment by William on September 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Perhaps one of the saddest points in the 2,000 year history of Christianity — when the Good News Gospel of repentance, forgiveness, conversion, and a new transformed life in Jesus Christ became a mere footnote in the message of these denominations. Is there a greater sin than that of large sectors of our contemporary Christian clergy of not bringing this message to the lost masses?

  11. Comment by Susan Jones on November 27, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I completely agree. Serving in the music ministry in the episcopal church, I have grown tired of hearing about gun control, climate change (in a recent prayer) and more in long litany of political messages versus the message of God and His son, Jesus Christ. The episcopal church has lost its true calling that Jesus spoke in Matthew.

  12. Comment by Liz on September 10, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    David said, “Currently clergy doesn’t want contemporary, because they recognize it typically contains conservative (bible based) theology;” Wow! I didn’t realize this was the reason. Good point! I have often felt as if anything bible based is anathema for TEC.
    I recently found an ACNA church and I love it! It is spirit filled and “back to the Bible” and yes, they have a contemporary service!
    Compared the dead or dying TEC, it seems to be filled with life! Here are 4 reasons why:
    1. It is growing.
    2. It is attracting families with children and conducting baptisms of kids.
    3. It is attracting evangelicals who want a more liturgical church, and not only Catholics/ Episcopalians.
    4. The church is able to quickly raise money in capital campaigns.
    And you have to remember that they had to start from ZERO because they had to leave their buildings and assets, unlike churches who left PCUSA to join Eco.
    But the thing that really strikes me is that I have not had a single discussion about politics till now. We go to study the Bible and meet JESUS – not to trash politicians. Or anybody else!

  13. Comment by Steve on September 13, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Just want to clarify a couple things:
    I (Steve, not David) left the post you are referencing.
    I wasn’t trying to say that clergy ever said they didn’t want contemporary because it was “bible based”; that’s just my take on end result; I’m reasonably sure all clergy of all types would say their music is bible based.

  14. Comment by Charles Barfield on September 12, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Society is partly to blame for the decline in church attendance. Separation of Church and State has come to mean Removal of Religion from public life. The government is de facto atheist; although officially just non-theist.

    Of course, the lunatic policy of the Episcopal Church has accelerated its decline. It taakes a pretty special mentality to support a Church that is so tolerant it will allow an atheist like Spong to be a bishop. By conservative traditional standards, he would not even be given a Communion wafer, let alone accepted as a bishop.

  15. Comment by mike geibel on September 13, 2018 at 12:54 am

    In three years, the Episcopal Church has lost over 100,000 members. All these people did not die, and the attrition rate obviously has surpassed clergy’s ability to attract a younger audience. The Episcopal Church prior to the 2016 election was 40% conservatives who either voted for Trump or against Clinton. It is an odd marketing plan to denounce Trump and Republicans, and then be surprised when the Elephants don’t show up at church the following Sunday.

    Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) is now down to 55 members per church and these numbers are probably inflated. Clergy are counted as part of the ASA, and if there are two services, can be counted twice. See, https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/20500, page 9. For a Church that claims to have 1.7 million baptized members, only 556,744 (less than 1/3rd) usually show up on Sunday.

    Shortly after the 2016 election, my LA diocese declared itself a “sanctuary diocese” with a mission from God to harbor illegal aliens, a felony under federal law. My local church held a special “Lament” service to bemoan the election of Trump and the defeat of Clinton. I didn’t even vote for Trump but that was my last day as an Episcopalian.

    Certainly there are many contributing causes to the exodus from the pews, including an aging membership, the rise of secularism, demographics, the modern practice of scheduling youth sports (soccer, etc.) on Sundays, and the the mind-numbing distractions of TV sports such as NFL football. One would think the TEC leadership would be mindful of the shrinking audience and take care not to alienate members whose politics do not match the progressive political activism and “social justice” politicking that has dominated the new Episcopal Church.

    A leadership, top-heavy with Bishops and Activist Committee Members who minister to no congregations, has become more political, more leftist, more divisive, and more activist, and in the last two years has espoused pathological hate towards Trump and Republicans and anything conservative. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in pledge money has been wasted on lawyers filing amicus briefs seeking to judicially mandate who and what kind of cake you can bake, whether a 17 year-old transgender female can shower with the boys in PE class, and whether any restrictions can be placed on immigration from countries identified as fostering terrorism and the murder of innocent American citizens. The Church mantra as become: “No borders, no jails, no guns, no pipelines, no immigration laws, no gender pronouns, no gender- based bathrooms, and no Israel.” The anti-Israel mindset was typified by Bishop Suffragen Gayle E. Harris of Massachusetts who was forced to apologize for bearing false witness when she claimed to have personally witnessed Israel Security Forces murder an innocent 15 year-old Palestinian by shooting him 10 times in the back, and putting a 3-year old child in handcuffs for letting his ball roll into the Walling Wall. https://www.jta.org/2018/08/21/top-headlines/episcopal-bishop-apologizes-sharing-false-stories-israeli-atrocities

    Shortly before the 79th Convention, Bishop Curry signed the “Reclaiming Jesus” proclamation which included statements that our immigration laws are racist, that Trump’s Tax Reform was immoral, and that “America First” was heresy. The many “hot topics of debate” at the 79th convention were all about trying to fix the world, punish Israel, and improve our pronoun choices.

    The more recent evangelism resolutions by Bishop Curry at least try to stem the hemorrhaging. Perhaps Bishop Curry reached his own epiphany and has launched the “power of love” as a new starting point—at least it is a way to voice his passions without polarizing half of the membership with politicized resolutions. Episcopalians now number less than 0.5% of the population of the United States, yet the clergy elite within the church continue to claim their right and Christian duty to blend politics with Christianity. Even now, Bishop Curry’s purist message of love is being politicized by Clergy morphing it into a new slogan: “Love—and Justice.”

    Claiming that many of the “social justice” Church Resolutions were not political does not mean they were not politically motivated. Painting a crocodile purple does not mean it’s not a crocodile.

  16. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on September 14, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Mike. Two points of clarification: 55 is the mean Sunday attendance, not the average Sunday attendance. The ASA is 86.

    We also have data on Episcopal Church burials in 2016 (2017 numbers will be out around December) which were 27,461 in domestic dioceses. While there are baptisms and receptions/confirmations that account for new members, this amount of deaths is remarkably close to the 34,179 total members lost that year. We are in agreement that a significant number of people are also walking away from the Episcopal Church, but the church’s aging population is probably the primary culprit here. This doesn’t excuse Episcopal Church officials from their failure to foster programs and a church culture that evangelizes and brings in new young people, but as the age of the average Episcopalian rises, we can expect many more deaths in the coming years.

  17. Comment by gentle truth on September 16, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I understand “mean” and “average,” but I don’t understand your statistical clarification here.

  18. Comment by Gregory Gardener on December 6, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Bishop Harris’ lying doesn’t surprise me at all. When you remove God, it’s only a matter of time until lying is acceptable.

  19. Comment by Rev. Paul on September 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Nothing is more dangerous than an unbelieving ministry. You can’t sell what you won’t buy. Sadly, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with liturgical churches; they would require the very best leadership of all in today’s church shopping climate.

    Across the board they have not had that

  20. Comment by Marc Meinzer on September 26, 2018 at 7:43 am

    While waffling back and forth between Anglicanism, Catholicism and Orthodoxy I noticed that Episcopal clergy have virtually no “religion”, as it were. All you get from them is pop-psychology and references to elite private educational venues. Catholic priests are frequently no better. Only the Orthodox appear immune to modernism and rationalism. Yet in their own way the eastern churches are extremely annoying as well. To me there is simply nothing to believe in. After reading Freke & Gandy and also Tom Harpur [The Pagan Christ] I was forced to admit that Christianity was invented by St. Paul and that Jesus and the apostles never existed. Now I’m a do-it-yourself Buddhist. The British Empire is dead, and so is its church.

  21. Comment by Bill on February 26, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Mark – I sympathize with your objections to and frustration with the Anglican church. Adding the thorny and flawed Catholic doctrine of “papal infallibility” to their toxic epidemic of wholesale child abuse and their parallel decline into liberalism your rejection of the church in Rome is understandable as well. If cultural differences keep you from relating to the orthodox churches I can understand that too. But, while acknowledge the importance of St. Paul to the foundations of Christian religion, he was not the founder of the church but had, in fact, set about to destroy it. It was instead Christ who founded the church and he did so on a foundation of miracles witnessed both widely and narrowly as Paul did on the road to Damascus. These were foretold in the Torah mainly in Isaiah an Daniel and independently reported in separate gospels and also corroborated by secular historians as well as archeological findings. Beyond that, the miracles continue to this day among beleievers and the evidence of the true God will surely reveals itself quietly to you if you give it the chance. May I, humbly, suggest that, if you want to do it yourself, you can, but start with the words of Christ himself in a red letter edition of the New Testament which will reveal to you the most central aspects of the faith Jesus considered essential and the essential continuity of the gospels. From there you can bypass the Pauline epistles for the time being (if you choose) and study the profits and the apologists until your crisis of faith has subsided. From there God will led you where you need to go.

    Your study hopefully will reveal that St. Paul is not the inventor of Christianity but instead a zealous adherent who set about implementing the great commission in a way St. Peter failed to do. It’s disappointing that Peter’s church in Rome has fallen victim to Satan’s scheming but not surprising – even less surprising that the American offshoot of the ill-conceived C of E branch created to accommodate the sins of a King has descended into utter chaos.

    You and I are the Church (capital “C”) and the organized religious groups are only secular organizations reaching out to God. Because they are led by broken people like you and me the sometimes get corrupted and fail to correct themselves. You are free to pursue God on your own and, if you like, to sample the the reformation churches the evangelical churches the charismatic churches and those founded by leaders who had or claimed to have a grand vision like Brigham Young. All of them are led by people and ultimately have the same vulnerabilities.

  22. Comment by Scott B on October 14, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    After leaving the Parish I belonged tp about a year ago due to Holy Eucharist being turned into a political left pep rally, I decided to try another Parish. Today, I arrived early sat in the pew and began looking over the Order of Service. I began wondering if I was really in an Episcopal Church.
    The language from the 1982 BofCP had been radically changed. They had REPLACED the Nicene Creed with some watered down dribble.
    I decided that I would not stay for the “Holy Eucharist” and left. I don’t think it is right to even call what they were doing the Holy Eucharist.
    Sadly, today was the last time I entered an Episcopal Church.

  23. Comment by Susan Jones on November 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    The church is too busy trying to be relevant to the world which is in direct opposition to what Jesus said. I worry about my own position and being able to stay when the pastor starts talking about using the Message bible versus the true Bible. Take a look and compare what the Message puts out for the Lord’s Prayer.

  24. Comment by John Smart on October 30, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Fact is if Jesus were alive today he’d be a buddhist.

    I was the last member of my family to leave the Episcopal Church a few years back. The entire event on Sunday became so annoying and depressing I was glad to say “Good riddance”. I am a political liberal but I slowly found that Left Wing “social justice” Jesus was every bit as annoying, and wrongheaded as right wing “Superman patriot Jesus” . Worse: “Social justice Jesus” was also useless in times of personal trouble.

    Lately as I’ve watched as Catholics are AGAIN consumed by ANOTHER massive child rape scandal – child molestation now which appears to be a feature of Catholic priests, not a bug- AND Evangelicals make one excuse after another for the current utterly amoral President, I’ve concluded that it is entirely possible that Christianity itself is morally suspect, corrupt and dangerous.

  25. Comment by Gregory Gardener on December 6, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Jesus a Buddhist? Yeah, right. Sorry, Jesus was no withdrawer or self-emptier. Christian revival could happen if we’d get back to some basics by a correct reading of Scripture. Salvation is not “going to heaven”, it’s being done with your sins–a process–one-at-a-time–“saved from your sins” is how the scripture puts it and it is not an abstract concept but an ongoing process. Also, Paul said “I have the same hope as these men, that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked.” All will be resurrected into the Judgment room of God and all will repent of their sins. Christians have the opportunity of getting that done now because they believe–so they say, anyway–that a court date has been set. But many don’t examine themselves, so there’s no surprise that Christians will be subject to more ‘punishment’ than non-Christians “who didn’t know the Master’s will”. To my leftist/zealous friends: Aren’t you always screaming about justice? Justice is coming, and you will own up too. It will be the kind of justice hearing where lawyers won’t be needed.

  26. Comment by FollowerOfChrist on November 19, 2018 at 8:01 am

    I visited my local Episcopal Church, after having gone to various non-denoms for the most part, over the last 20 years. My wife and kids and I had recently moved to this particular area, and I wanted to check it out alone. I’m just under 50. It was the 8am, so there were just about 15 of us (all white). After the service, a early 60s woman came up and did the usual introductions, then proceeded to blather about herself non-stop while I tried to meet others. It was clear after a few minutes, she was a social justice warrior and wanted me to know her credentials and also (more importantly) verify I was on board with their open borders and gay-married-to-a-man rector (absent this particular day). Her husband, acting more normal, caught up to us and rescued me, by joining the conversation. I could not help but troll her a little by noting that I agreed with strong borders and rule of law, just like Israel, Japan, Nigeria, etc. (that actually is a legit argument/point). She reacted quite negatively. But more importantly and truthfully, I told both her and her husband I did not like to see divisions within the body of Christ. Why does our (center-right, etc) “otherness” cause them so much anxiety? It was time to place the shoe where it belonged…it is OUR DIFFERENT believes and experiences that they fear and/or hate. She told me I probably would not feel welcomed…and interesting (if not honest) claim, particularly in light of the historical fact that at one time, most of the Church took the same positions I am taking, and yet, liberals never felt they had to leave, instead they stayed and harped on their fellow Anglicans, calling them racists, and homophobes, and then finally wrestled away control…then sued the “separatists” on the way out the door. I did not want to waste my time arguing, but I thought it would have interesting to troll her and tell her I and my family intended to stay and share our “otherness” and seek to change within, JUST LIKE HER SIDE DID the last few decades. Only non-liberals are supposed to fit in or leave.

  27. Comment by Brian on January 1, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    The problem is that the Episcopalian church believes in nothing or everything – which is really the same thing. Christ said we’d be hated for our belief in him. The Episcopal church has tried to agree with everyone so that no one disagrees with them. It’s not a “faith.” It’s become just a liberal country club that believes in everything liberal regardless of how that might contradict God’s word. It once was a Christian faith. It’s become, literally, a meaningless exercise in I don’t know what. The Episcopalian church will die. Why wouldn’t it?

  28. Comment by Vivienne on February 1, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    The Episcopal church is no longer Christian, it doesn’t share the Gospel and doesn’t offer anything radical that you can’t get without needing a church. Who wants to go somewhere to be harangued by the self-righteous?

    I was atheist and became Catholic. Now I have 3 children in Catholic schools, our parish is only 10 years old and bursting at the seems with hundreds of families. We just built onto our (new) church as we needed more space for socializing and adult religious education. I don’t consider myself remotely right-wing (I didn’t vote for Trump or Hilary) but Episcopalians are just offensive. They have created their own (uninspiring) Gospel. By their fruit you shall know them.

  29. Comment by Eric Bonetti on March 28, 2019 at 11:35 am

    The Episcopal Church might do better if the hierarchy, which so rabidly defends its claim to a bunch of ratty of church buildings here in Virginia, were equally vociferous about clergy discipline.

    In my case, my former rector, Bob Malm of Grace Episcopal in Alexandria, perjured himself in bogus court proceedings against me. This is not a matter of speculation or interpretation; for example, he falsely claimed under oath that my mother, dying of COPD and unable to use a phone, email or write a letter, repeatedly made appointments with him and no-showed. Yet Bishops Susan Goff and Shannon Johnston refuse to address the issue and don’t even have the courtesy to respond to email.

    And yes, before people say, “That’s defamation,” I can prove that neither my mom, nor anyone purporting to be her, EVER made an appointment with Malm.

    Needless to say, the word “Christian” is not the first to come to mind when I think of the Episcopal Church.

  30. Comment by David Beattie on July 2, 2019 at 12:44 am

    You seem to take great joy in the hardship of others. How very Christian of you. Rather than looking down your nose at the more liberal denominations, you should look at the countrywide decline in religious attendance and religiosity in general not to mention the substantial growth in the number of Atheists. Millions of Americans have decided that they don’t want to be involved with a religion that teaches their children to hate their gay siblings, aunts, uncles or friends and whose actions rarely reflect true Jesus like behavior. In short, we’re tired of the false advertising.

  31. Comment by Josh Simms on August 20, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    I attend an Episcopal church, to support my gay partner who is an employee of a local church. I do appreciate that they welcome gay people. But come on, I’m as liberal as they come and I find the self-righteous politicizing and the demonization of conservatives very off-putting. Why does gun control or open borders have to be shoe-horned into sermons? Why do there have to be constant snide references to Trump and his supporters? Why, during thank offerings, is it allowed for feminists to “give thanks for” (i.e., advertise) the upcoming Women’s March? Our conservative parishioners (there are some) must have the patience of saints to just sit there quietly while they are openly slandered as being based in “hate” or “fear”.

    I found my way to this discussion because I was asked to reflect on how to bring more people to our church. My first thought was, “Are you kidding? How about not insult and alienate half the population during sermons and social hours for starters?” And lo and behold, I discover through this page that many other people have noticed the same obnoxious left-wing political proselytizing at other Episcopal churches.

    To get back to your point about hate–the Episcopal leadership and the congregations have their own self-reflection to do here. They could try listening to those they disagree with and not pre-judging them as ignorant and hateful. Ridiculing or demonizing people who support the right to keep guns seems no different from saying gay people are sinful.

    Even more important, by constantly making everything political and about justice according to social categories, Episcopal churches completely fail to reach to people as individuals–individuals who might be going through personal hardship and need something more than a lecture about transsexual rights or global warming.

    I would not attend this church if it was just up to me. I could get all this social justice programming from the Huffington Post if that’s what I wanted.

  32. Comment by mike geibel on August 25, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Well said, Josh.
    The Episcopal Church is a sinking ship whose crew doesn’t know how to plug the leaks, and they refuse to throw the baggage overboard.

    The decline of the Episcopal Church is no reason for joy. I cherish my memories of the traditional models of worship in the EC, which if performed authentically, are profound and meaningful. The blame for the decline lies with activist bishops and clergy who ardently adopt political correctness as the moral mandate to change the world, one pronoun at a time. They offend more than they attract. They divide rather than unify. They practice hate more than they love.

    “Moral Correctness” is more oppressive than “Political Correctness” because it is founded on a false belief in the superiority of one’s conscience. Tyranny by the Outrage Mob will not change minds or hearts but will drive people away. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. . . . They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.” – C.S. Lewis.

    An informative article on politics in church can be found at: https://genewhitehead.com/political-ideology-killing-the-church/

  33. Comment by Ricky Barnes on August 2, 2019 at 12:05 am

    At some point the Church may have to decide if leadership should serve Christ or the Democrat Party,

  34. Comment by Christine Winters on August 29, 2019 at 7:09 am

    I guess my husband and I are in a rare Episcopal church –in Southern Florida. It is growing and 130 children attend Sunday School classes each week. You can attend Bible studies during the week, and I never hear a word about politics because the priests are too busy talking about Jesus Christ, crucified, buried and risen.

  35. Comment by mike geibel on September 3, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Looks like the 2019 Parochial Report was released last week.


    2018 seems to be a repeat of 2017 with a slightly larger loss of 36k members and another drop in the ASA, with a slight increase in average pledge per person.

  36. Comment by James on September 22, 2019 at 9:32 am

    The Bishop in my Diocese is placing the rights of certain classes of people above others and they preach DOWN to me to emphasize their point. I believe some of these folks have a JESUS COMPLEX rather than a commission to serve in His Name.

    I am also very put off by the Liberal Episcopal PUSH to remove my Second Amendment rights – which come from God and not from the Bishop and the supposed VETO Power the clergy hold over God’s Word and intentions.

    Who needs to support that crap agenda at church ?

  37. Comment by Neda Meinradt on October 26, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    I ended up in a mixed marriage – Catholic and Lutheran. We found the Episcopal Church a good middle ground, lectionary, with more high vice low church. Looking back, we would have not stayed if we weren’t in a “fly over” parish. When I went back to New England in late ‘90s it was clear we were using the same BCP 1979 but no one believed a word of what was actually being said. By 2002, we moved to the Mojave Desert serviced by the Diocese of San Joaquin. We lived through the TEC-ACNA breakup. There were four physical churches owned by their parishes, ours was one it was paid off by local people who wanted a building. In the end, the vestry made the decision to let TEC have it (Matthew 5:40-41). Best decision ever. The TEC is committed to social justice campaigns like food pantry, donations center, “intentional inclusion” & LBGT, and has a woman priest who wears rainbow chasuble vestments. The ACNA focuses on mission and evangelism and the worship of Christ. The BCP 2019 patterned after the 1662 the ACNA members actually believe what the words say. No one ever talks about politics, political parties or slams the dually elected of either party. The two denominations have diverged much in less than 10 years, it’s impossible for me to reconcile that we were once upon a time actually trapped in the same building together.

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