10/27/2008

The Seven Percent Solution: The numbers in the Common Cause Partnership.


After all the hype about the new Reformation and the return to fundamentals, the Anglican Communion Network Moderator has ended up with a seven percent solution. OK, maybe 10%. It's hard to tell. It's a case for Sherlock Holmes. I give it seven percent.

The Moderator's latest remarks on the Common Cause Partnership and its numerical power tell us a good bit about his sense of the size of CCP. Moderator Robert Duncan in his London press conference said this:

“…we have worked together in a group called Common Cause Partnership. Right now that is eight jurisdictions, both US and Canadian. Those jurisdictions together represent 30 bishops, 800 clergy, 700 parishes, a worshipping community of about 100,000. That makes it larger than a third of the provinces of the Anglican Communion in that sheer number of people who worship on Sunday. We are committed to one another.”


The numbers tell us several things:


(i) The Moderator remarks that these numbers constitutes a community “larger than a third of the provinces of the Anglican Communion.” That includes the Province of the Southern Cone, temporary home to the Network Bishops who have left, along with some of their clergy and people. The Province of the Southern Cone claims about 25,000 people, although that number is soft and certainly is not the Average Sunday Attendance (ASA), or even the “people who worship on Sunday.”


(ii) “30 Bishops”: of which seven have been or are Episcopal Church bishops ( Schofield and Duncan, active when deposed; Cox, retired when deposed, Fairfield and Bena resigned from TEC; and perhaps Iker and Ackerman in the near future.) Only five have been diocesans. About 23% of CCP bishops are from TEC, the rest are from other jurisdictions. (More on the jurisdictions number later in the essay.) The 4 bishops from TEC who joined CCP prior to retirement represent about 3% of the whole TEC active bishops.

(iii) “800 Clergy”: It is unclear just how many of those are from TEC. Quite a few were previous members of TEC. Of the 800 clergy, let us suppose 600 of them were ordained in TEC. There are about 1700 TEC clergy, active and retired. It is hard to know just how many retired TEC clergy have become part of CCP. As near as I can guess, somewhere between 4 and 10 percent of TEC clergy active and retired have entered CCP ministries, with a midpoint of 7 percent.

(iv) “100,000 in the worshipping community”: The average number worshiping in TEC on Sunday stands at about 765,000. (The ASA) If the 100,000 represents more or less the ASA for the CCP, and using a rough percentage similar to TEC Clergy as part of CCP (3/4) the former TEC members constitutes about 75,000 persons, or roughly 9 percent.


(v) It appears that CCP numbers represent an outflow of something like 3% of bishops, 7% of clergy and 9% of Average Sunday Attendance from TEC. These estimates are fairly rough and take at face value the numbers offered by the Moderator. They also assume a fairly generous percentage of clergy and people from TEC in the CCP numbers.

(vi) The “raw” data of CCP gives a high end read: 30 Bishops makes a house of active bishops that is about 20 % the size of the active bishops of TEC. 800 clergy constitutes a clerical “house” roughly 17 % the size of TEC’s active non-retired clergy. 100,000 worshipers constitutes about 13% the ASA numbers for TEC.

In a previous essay I suggested that when it all shook out about 10% of the Episcopal Church would be caught up in the new improved Anglican effort here in North America. The Moderator’s numbers support that and more.
My sense is the Network and the CCP effort to build a base from people within TEC will yield 10% ias a high side estimate. That's what I thought in my earlier essay, but I believe I was wrong. I'd say it is more like a seven percent solution.


------------------------


A note on the jurisdictions part of the CCP:
It might seem that when referencing jurisdictions the Moderator, is referring to the eight members of the Common Cause Partnership. But the realities of the CCP are a bit more complex. Of the organizations that are part of the CCP, only some are “jurisdictions” in the sense that they designate organized congregations in a diocese or dioceses in a larger synod.

They are:

1. The Reformed Episcopal Church
2. The Anglican Mission in North America, of which the Anglican Coalition in Canada is a part, all under the jurisdiction of the Province of Rwanda.
3. The Anglican Network in Canada, related to the Province of the Southern Cone.
4. The Convocation of Anglicans in North America, under the jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican).
That is, four jurisdictions, of which only one is a separate church unattached to an existing Anglican Province.(REC)

Then we have the peculiar situation of the groups that belong to The Federation of Anglicans in the Americas. The Federation of Anglicans in the Americas is a federation of autonomous churches, but they have together been in conversation with the Common Cause Partnership. So there are then four more jurisdictions. (I have numbered only those who are not already listed above.
5. The Anglican Church in America (ACA)
The Anglican Mission in America (AMIA)

6. The Anglican Province of America (APA)
7. The Diocese of the Holy Cross (HDC)
8. Episcopal Missionary Church (EMC)
The Reformed Episcopal Church (REC)

The other members of the Common Cause Partnership Forward in Faith The American Anglican Council The Anglican Communion Network are not jurisdictions, although it can be argued that now that at least two diocesan members of the Network have proclaimed they are no longer members the Episcopal Church, there are two diocesan jurisdictions, The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin and the separated Diocese of Pittsburgh, Inc, that might count, but they are now part of another jurisdiction, the Province of the Southern Cone, not part of the Common Cause Partnership, but obviously closely partnered with it. Like CANA and AMiA they constitute the core of yet another incursion group.

For the moment I am inclined to include them as a separate group,
9. The North American Dioceses of the Province of the Southern Cone: NADPSC, namely San Joaquin and Pittsburgh. (This being different than the Anglican Network in Canada, which involves parishes, not dioceses.) So, as a stretch, there are nine jurisdictions involved, only five (six if you count the ACN because of NADPSC) , actually being named as member organizations of the CCP.


40 comments:

  1. Interesting numbers. The most important ones for TEC's leadership is to count the beans of its own ultimate survival. Sure, CCP has some big things afoot. Quibble over percentages. Go high, go low, and it still doesn't change the fact that TEC will likely lose 50,000 ASAs over the next months. The ones who show up mean more than the 2.4 million quoted from the books. So far TEC hasn't come up with a way to attract more than 40% of its membership to darken the door. Leave CCP to its own self. Wonder why 60% of TEC doesn't care for TEC.

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  2. Gee whiz Mark, I read all the way to the end thinking that the Moderator was using the OTHER 7% solution.

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  3. TEC people don't normally want to talk about nos....not with <0.3% of the US population popping in on a Sunday to hear the "new thing" etc

    Well, the CCP is acceptable to the vast majority of the AC....this is what matters for the future of a new Anglican province in the US (one that does not tear the fabric of the Communion)

    I wonder what percentage of the AC supports TEC's actions in 2003 and in the courts since....maybe 7%?

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  4. As Allen said, interesting numbers, and of course, those are just those for starters, not the ones in the final shakeout which are much harder to predict. I am not sure where Allen gets the 50,000 figure. The four exiting dioceses don't amount to that much. Perhaps he means the exiting dioceses plus all those disaffected by the litigation? In this note, I would add that

    100% - 10% ≠ 90%

    i.e., all the lawsuits and raised awareness of dissension with in the denomination will affect the 90% "remaining Episcopalians". So perhaps 100% - 10% equals 80% or 70% or who knows? I think that it is also clear that

    TEC + new orthodox province ≠ Old TEC in its glory

    But what is exciting is that the African influence injects into the milieu a missionary zeal.

    As to Allen's criticism of the membership versus ASA, the inflated membership numbers are frustrating but not sure that there is a better system. How does one eliminate that incentive to keep people on the books? Also, a minor correction: The ASA to Membership ratio has been remarkably consistent at 36% ± 1% over the past ten years. The ASA would be a good statistic if one could eliminate the "Christmas" effect. The decline is blunted going from a Christmas effect year (Christmas eve falls on a weekend) to a non-Christmas effect year, as happened in 2005 where the ASA "only dropped" by 8500 but the drop was above 20,000 before and after. Note that the opposite will be true this past year. We will be going from a Christmas effect year to a non-Christmas effect year, so the drop will be accentuated.

    (As you can tell, I am a numbers nerd.)

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  5. OK, I think I have stopped laughing and can type now! Allen, your posts are a source of unending amusement! When ever the numbers (wildly over stated ASA's in Nigeria) support the movement of all the rapture bound away from TEC, you find the numbers convincing. Whenever someone points out that the increasingly fractured holy people are about 5 or 10 percent of TEC and frankly not convincing everyone that God is a homophobe, you can find a way to dismiss the numbers.

    I do have a question though, where does the taxonomy place the two pink Kenyan bishops? I have lost track of them.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  6. Robroy,

    I counted the exiting dioceses this year and next as well as the departing parishes across the country. My figures for TEC were a bit too hopeful, though. Apparently our ASAs dropped to appx. 750,000 last year, not 800,000.

    Who cares about CCP? I don't belong to their church. My church is committing slow suicide and yet is fascinated at looking at other interests?????????????

    Before some expert shows up on the blog to accuse me of singing the same old songs, let's remember that these numbers are PEOPLE. And too many in TEC have casually disposed of PEOPLE for too long. When you can't even attract 60% of your membership you should sing on that page until you've improved your tune.

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  7. Actually, the most important thing for the future of the Anglican Communion is continuing to learn to live with - and benefit from - the diversity that is already there. Not all Anglicans agree on the ordination of women; not all Anglicans agree on their sacramental theology; and our ability to be in relationship with each other, such differences of emphasis, thought and practice notwithstanding, is and remains our Anglican inheritance and strength.

    So numbers are interesting in terms of taking the pulse of public opinion, yes. But the willingness of charitable Anglicans to live with difference should never be underestimated. Since there never has been - and never will be - uniformity of thought and practice in the Anglican Communion, the only real question is how we go about living with - and living into - difference. Doing anything else is, well, un-Anglican.

    christopher+

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  8. Why is 7% – or 10%, or whatever it is – OK with ECUSA’s leadership?

    What kind of organizational leadership watches its largest, most vibrant affiliates – a Christ Church Plano, a Falls Church, a Truro Church – walk away, and has no more concern over it than to shrug?

    The losses over the past decades have been far more substantial, and should be no more acceptable to ECUSA for having happened piecemeal, rather than en masse. Not only that, it would be reckless to assume 7% is where this stops. As the CCP grows and proves itself to be more cohesive than its detractors fervently hope, in tandem with ECUSA’s continued move toward – well, wherever it’s going – the outflow is going to continue, and it won’t be confined to a drip, drip, drip. I suspect ECUSA is well aware of this, which is why it’s top organizational priority is to cripple, at nearly all costs, the credibility of departing congregations – i.e., do what it takes to drive them into the shabbiest worship spaces possible and brand them, pace the Virginia diocesan flacks, as “Nigerian” early and often.

    Of course, our Founder having been born in a manger, and the very first Christians having been kicked out of the synagogues, ECUSA may want to review early Church history to see how well that strategy worked the first time it was tried.

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  9. (Dan)
    Why this obsession with CCP? Didn't the PB, in George Bush fashion, declare victory and say the worst was behind TEC? It doesn't matter what they say or do. OR does it?

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  10. Deacon Phil,

    I am not (praise heaven!) a 'leader' in TEC. That said, I doubt anyone from the PBp and president of the HoD to the merely lay folks like me is happy about anyone leaving TEC or OK with any percentage.

    None-the-less, it is worthwhile to observe that the holier-than-god folks continually beat the numbers drum when they perceive it shows how all the good folks are coming their way and then dismiss it when the opposite is shown.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  11. Take this as you will. Seems we all have a different take on just what numbers actually mean.

    "I have never been completely comfortable with the argument that orthodoxy equals numerical growth because, well, it doesn't. The apostles met with unprecedented numerical growth. They also met with rejection, persecution, suffering and the sword. Jesus was at first adored by crowds and then deserted by them (John 6). I think that the proclamation of truth ends as often in numerical decline as it does in numerical increase. Error, more often than not, meets with stunning success. Just ask the Mormons, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or Joel Osteen. The fact is that in these last days people seek teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear."
    The Revd. Matt Kennedy
    Stand Firm in Faith

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  12. Congratulations Preludium on a clear concise and analytical essay. I think your (their) figures for worshipping laity are too high.

    North American Christianity, for that is what is driving all this, is by nature fissiparious as it is based on the same 'congregationalism' that populated the America's in the first place in the 16th & 17th centuries as immigrants fled the inequities of the Church of England.

    Two final points:

    A. There'll never a properly recognised new North American Province for dissident. It's only authenticity will come via Archbishops such as Venables of the Southern Cone who do not necessarily represent their people even their
    bishops.

    B. They will fight amongst themselves and I hope Preludium's next succinct essay will be on the potential and already extant divisions in the new CCP 'North American Province.'

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  13. So far TEC hasn't come up with a way to attract more than 40% of its membership to darken the door.

    Does anybody know what percentage PECUSA drew at its highpoint in the 20th century, and when exactly that was?

    Oh, and Allen, I'm still waiting for you to point me to that canon that says parishes have to call women priests whether they want to or not.

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  14. God, am I missing Fr. Jake's at this moment.

    Someone want to start sharing recipes? (Tended to drive out trolls in those days of yore)

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  15. According to "Episcopal Domestic Fast Facts 2007", average Sunday attendance is down by 14% for the last five years, and active baptized members is down by 9%. We simply can't possibly continue to sustain these kind of losses.

    Any objective viewer would say this church is in serious trouble. That won't happen with the Episcopal leadership. I doubt they will ever actually acknowledge it -- until it is much too late.

    I expect that in 30 to 50 years, TEC will be forced to merge with the ELCA, the UMC, or both. We won't talk about being Anglican any more, as we will be dominated by Lutheran and Methodist clergy, who won't care about that sort of thing. We'll have plenty of female and gay/lesbian clergy, though -- in fact, heterosexual male clergy will be almost as rare as children within the congregations. By that time, no doubt we'll still have some sort of relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the Church of England will be engaged in applying for membership in the African Communion.

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  16. Well, Allen, you underestimated the decline of the ASA for the past two years. The numbers are just out and the decline was 59.5 thousand. So perhaps Jim is not laughing now. (But again, I caution readers to take the large drop in ASA in 2007 with somewhat of a grain of salt in that 2006 was a Christmas effect year and 2007 was not, thus 2006 was inflated in comparison to 2007.

    dah-VEED, I agree with Matt+'s point that numbers don't necessarily theological correctness (otherwise, as Matt points out, I would be riding around on a bike with a white shirt and tie). But I think that Gamaliel still speaks today. And I think that loss of numbers on the scale that the denomination is experiencing signals that hard questions about leadership should be asked, and they are not.

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  17. billyd,

    Trace the supposed conciliatory promises made to those who, for conscience sake, could not call a woman a priest. At the beginning liberality and tolerance reigned. Then trace how the women's ordination movement gained strength and called itself a justice issue. Then trace how actions at GCs led to "full access" being expected for women clergy.
    Movement: liberal toleration for differences to GC expecting "full access".

    As we know in these times canons don't mean squat. The interpreters make up the rules, so it's canon by fiat.

    Do your homework and trace this evolution.

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  18. As per JCF's request:
    Three Sisters

    Put some olive oil in a dutch oven (heavy stovetop casserole). Cut up one small onion and drop in the oil. With heat on low, cover the casserole and let simmer while you prepare the squash.
    Peel, de-seed and cube one small butternut squash. Once the onion is soft, drop the squash cubes in and saute (lid off) while preparing the corn.
    If you are using fresh corn, take the kernels off 2 or 3 ears. Drop them in with the squash and raise the heat to medium. If using (a good quality) frozen corn, once the squash is beginning to soften drop it, still frozen, into the squash and raise the heat to medium. Simmer all together while preparing the green beans.
    French beans (thin haricot vert) are the best, but regular green beans are okay. Cut off both ends of the beans. Cut beans in half.
    Once the squash is soft, but still retains its shape, drop the beans into the casserole. Stir and cover.
    Saute about five minutes or until the beans are still green and cooked through but crisp. Add a good dollop of butter, some ground black pepper, and 3 to 5 fresh sage leaves, julienned (rolled, up , then sliced thin).
    Saute all together until flavors are blended. Enjoy!

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  19. When we start seeing JCF's pleading that dissent be squashed - even citing the gold standard of deletion and browbeating, "Jake's" - we can be sure the "trolls" are hitting too close to home.

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  20. rb,

    We agree that the losses are a problem. But(!) if you look at the National Council of Churches or other wide range survey organizations, you will find they are not Episcopal. The only church showing anything like stability or growth is the Roman Catholics and that is entirely from immigration. Send the illegal Mexicans home, and everyone is declining.

    That would include the Southern Baptists by the way. No one can accuse them of being for a "homosexual agenda!"

    FWIW
    jimB

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  21. BillyD - re: the canon "that says parishes have to call women priests whether they want to or not."

    Do you acknowledge, if not the specific point in this case, that social pressures can function in such a way that we reach the result that (I am presuming) Allen suggested?

    For example, we are told repeatedly that racism continues to be a problem in a wide variety of situations in which the law, on its face, makes the practice quite impossible. Closer to home, there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that graduates from Trinity and Nashotah are unwelcome in many dioceses. I suspect that is also formally prohibited, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

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  22. Frankly, I don't think the Phils of the world are really worried about parishes being compelled to call people of the wrong gender.

    Rather, it's the fact that, during the calling process, such a poorly plumed priest might make a convincing case, at which moment the plumbing police have to reassess their obsessions.

    Frankly, I don't lay this at the feet of God, the Holy Spirit, or anything, really. Calling (hiring, really) is a very human enterprise. Done well, with some luck, the result can really strengthen a community. Done poorly, with a lot of luck, it can all turn out okay.

    If that's not clear after you've served on your second search committee, then you're pretty oblivious, especially the role of luck. And if you've not served on at least two searches, then frankly, you don't know what you're talking about, anyway.

    LPR

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  23. Jim,

    I'm aware of the conflict within the Southern Baptist Convention, and I suppose we all know of the horrible things that have afflicted the Roman Catholic Church in recent history. But I'm a man of limited perspective and understanding, so you may have to explain to me how the very slight decline in Southern Baptist membership and the loss of many people within the Roman Catholic Church is relevant to this discussion, and how this helps the Episcopal Church. Frankly, I don't see it.

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  24. "As we know in these times canons don't mean squat. The interpreters make up the rules, so it's canon by fiat.

    Do your homework and trace this evolution."

    I did do my homework. I looked on-line for the canon you told me about - the one forcing parishes to call women priests - and could not find it. I asked you several times to point me towards it; you must not have seen my requests, posted on several threads. I interpret your latest post, with it's "canons don't mean squat," to mean that no such canon exists, after all. Could you instead point to a parish that has been forced, contrary to the canons, to call a woman priest that it did not want?

    I never got a response about the erroneous information you were advancing about the MDGs, either. Do you need me to repost the link showing that the UN doesn't expect people to send them money to fund the MDGs, but rather to bring pressure on their government, either by themselves or through NGOs?

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  25. "Do you acknowledge, if not the specific point in this case, that social pressures can function in such a way that we reach the result that (I am presuming) Allen suggested?"

    No, I don't think so. Allen assured me that soon parishes would be forced to call gay priests whether they wanted to or not, and pointed to a canon that forced parishes to call women priests as the precedent for this. I couldn't find it and asked him to direct me to it. He now seems to be saying that such a canon does not exist.

    I'm puzzled as to how social pressure could result in the same scenario. How can a parish be forced to call someone they don't want? They might want someone their bishop won't license (e.g. a Ft Worth parish could not call a woman priest), but how could it work the other way around? Can you give an example of a parish that has been forced, through social pressure or otherwise, to call a woman priest?

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  26. "When we start seeing JCF's pleading that dissent be squashed - even citing the gold standard of deletion and browbeating, "Jake's" - we can be sure the "trolls" are hitting too close to home."

    While I hope that Fr. Harris doesn't start to limit debate, your assertion won't hold water. After all, someone might want the train's conductor to throw an aggressively proselytizing Jehovah's Witness off at the next stop for reasons other than that he was "hitting too close to home."

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  27. I hope you have all read The Great Divorce. Sounds to me like many of ya'll keep missing the trolley.

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  28. Thanks to Google, I believe this is what Allen is referring to.

    The "canon" is 1997 Resolution A053 which does use the word "mandatory" in ordaining women priests and includes a clause that says that diocese that don't currently ordain women are going to have to begin complying and report to GC on their improvent in this area.
    It's wordy enough I didn't want to copy it all here, but I'm sure you can find it the same way I did.

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  29. Thanks, chris. The resolution can be found here:
    http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_resolution.pl?resolution=1997-A053

    It has to do with matters on a diocesan, and not a parish, level. I don't see how it could be implemented to foist a priest on a particular parish. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will clue me in.

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  30. RB,

    My limited point is that assuming as the wrong wing routinely does that TEC is unique in its loss of members or that any particular item in the pantheon of issues is at fault is dishonest. We simply do not know.

    No one from, for instance the network has done survey or interview work to determine who left and why. In our aggressively secular time, thanks to the dolts like Rick Warren and the "TV evangelists" what we do know is that Christians are generally perceived as bigots. Hmm.....

    FWIW
    jimB

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  31. billyd,

    TEC money DOES go to advocacy groups to fund MDGs. That's my only point.
    No wells are dug with the $. No homeless women shelters are built with the $. Nothing execpt advocacy, and yet we are asked to "fund" the MDGs.

    Nothing wrong with noble goals, but we aren't Rotary. We are supposed to give Christ the praise in all of our deeds: "Whoever gives a cup of cold water IN MY NAME..." Remember? Another blogger had the density to say that Jesus isn't to be praised because He wants our deeds to be "in secret".

    MDGs are not Christian mission. Look at Church World Service. THERE's an organization that does the MDGs without calling its work that stale moniker. And....they bring up Jesus.

    On the compassionate concilitory compromises made to parishes and dioceses over WO I suggest that you keep doing your homework. Let us know when you have.

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  32. "TEC money DOES go to advocacy groups to fund MDGs. That's my only point."

    Really? Because your point used to be that the money was being given to the UN, which of course it is not.

    " We are supposed to give Christ the praise in all of our deeds: "Whoever gives a cup of cold water IN MY NAME..." Remember? Another blogger had the density to say that Jesus isn't to be praised because He wants our deeds to be "in secret".

    Ah, I believe that was David, who was quoting someone else about your left hand not knowing what your right hand was doing. Now who was it that came up with that one? Oh, I know - Jesus. Remember?

    And, of course, TEC didn't come up with the MDGs. The idea for advocacy of the MDGs came from Lambeth Palace. So all your complaining about them proving something about TEC is off point.

    "On the compassionate concilitory compromises made to parishes and dioceses over WO I suggest that you keep doing your homework. Let us know when you have."

    I'm puzzled. Why should I keep doing my homework to prove something you said and can't back up? One parish forced to call a woman over their own objections would prove your point, of course. Just one.

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  33. Since no one could tell me when PECUSA reached its high point in percentage of membership actually going to church on Sunday, I started looking around the interwebs. A very interesting analysis of the membership numbers bandied about can be found at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/2004GrowthReport(1).pdf

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  34. Jim,

    If it was true that our leadership has no idea why our average Sunday attendance went down by 14% (one-seventh) in 5 years, they would be incredibly inept. But the truth of the matter is, they do know. We have very good church growth analysts that work for our national church, and they have been documenting what is going on. I'm sure there will another report released soon on factors involved, but earlier reports had already documented the trends.

    I don't have all the reports I've read right now, and I'm going off of memory. There are a multiplicity of factors.

    Some significant factors are the fact that our membership is rapidly aging, and that we have largely failed to reach ethnic minority groups as well (including those "illegal Mexicans" to which you so unfortunately referred -- most of which are perfectly legal, as you know).

    But the whole gay conflict is also a significant factor, and these reports do not deny it. (With those huge churches in VA and a whole diocese walking away, how can it be otherwise?)

    As I recall, a large number of churches, especially the loyal conservative ones (almost all of the conservative ones, if my memory serves me right), have had major conflict within the last five years, and it was over Bishop Robinson. (If I can find the report, I'll be happy to send the link.) When there is major conflict, people leave. We don't go to church to fight. I think that if the truth would be told, a number of conservative Episcopal churches left simply to survive. These studies don't say this, but as far as I can tell, the national church has not offered them much to help deal with this conflict, and really has been very one-sided in its approach. This has made the issue only worse for these churches.

    So, at this point, the church has found ways to alienate significant numbers of its people, and has not found ways to draw in new members from the significantly growing portions of the population. And I guarantee they know it. What I cannot comprehend is, why they place such emphasis on property rather than concentrating on its most significant resource and reason for its existence -- its people?

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  35. rb, there's no way an organization -- any organization -- can be all things to all people.

    TEC's current complexion is not to everybody's liking. Apparently not to yours.

    And?

    LPR

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  36. I can’t provide such an example, BillyD, just as I can’t provide a specific example of Trinity or Nashotah graduates being barred from certain dioceses. The reason, though, is that I’m not keeping a record of the anecdotal evidence that appears from time to time. That the anecdotes are out there, and that many are factual, is not hard for me to believe. If it is for you, well, you’re entitled to your opinion, though I think that's a naive view of the ideological rigidity of many revisionist bishops.

    I do find it hard to believe you really can be “puzzled as to how social pressure could result in the same scenario.” Dioceses can certainly work to limit a parish’s selection to priests that are, shall we say, less than solid on the catholic view of orders and sacraments. The effect of this can quite easily be the draining away of those parishioners who do hold such a view. Over time, and repeating this a couple of times at a given parish, the nature of the church can certainly be changed. I have personally been a member of a parish at which a female was called as an assistant priest, even though many people disagreed with the call. Was it a majority, or only a disgruntled minority? I don’t know; we don’t take opinion polls within parishes. I do know that (just as in the case of General Convention delegates), I have never once been asked to vote on a slate of rector candidates. The search committee does the work, and it is pretty much a fait accompli.

    As to comparing mainstream Anglicanism – because the views which JCF wants silenced belong to that category, whether he, or you, like it or not – to “aggressively proselytizing Jehovah’s Witness[es],” I think that speaks directly to how “welcoming” ECUSA really is to those who dissent from its leadership, and brings us back to the central theme of the collapse in the institution’s membership.

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  37. "Dioceses can certainly work to limit a parish’s selection to priests that are, shall we say, less than solid on the catholic view of orders and sacraments. The effect of this can quite easily be the draining away of those parishioners who do hold such a view."

    Your point seems to be that parishes are not static - that they change over time. Does the diocese where they are affect this? Undoubtedly. So does generational change and the community they're located in. It's not the same thing that allen claimed.

    "I have personally been a member of a parish at which a female was called as an assistant priest, even though many people disagreed with the call. Was it a majority, or only a disgruntled minority? I don’t know; we don’t take opinion polls within parishes."

    I've never been a member of parish where clergy changes have been approved by 100% of communicants. There is always some disgruntled section of the demographic (including the all-important perennially disgruntled population). Again, the situation you describe does not seem to back up allen's claim.

    "As to comparing mainstream Anglicanism – because the views which JCF wants silenced belong to that category, whether he, or you, like it or not – to “aggressively proselytizing Jehovah’s Witness[es],” I think that speaks directly to how “welcoming” ECUSA really is to those who dissent from its leadership, and brings us back to the central theme of the collapse in the institution’s membership."

    Great insight - I am chastened. Or I would be, if I had in fact made the comparison you suggest. I didn't compare any flavor of Anglicanism to the JWs. I suggested that some commentators, whose continual harping on the same (misinformed) points has lead to accusations of trolling, might be as annoying as JWs.

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  38. How many parishes in San Joaquin were able to call liberal priests?

    How many parishes in Fort Worth were able to call liberal priests?

    How many parishes in Quincy were able to call liberal priests?

    Just askin'.

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  39. Why would any sane bishop call a Trinity or Nashotah grad? It's a guarantee of conflict in the very hear future.

    My quite conservative bishop does not license clergy from a nearby diocese that is a hotbed of Pentecostals and Network types, and I think it is a wise decision. Why buy trouble?

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  40. RB,

    What do you feel the national church should do to help the conservative churches better deal with this conflict?

    What would help them to hang in with TEC rather than to just walk away?

    I'm fairly new to TEC, but it seems to me that there are some huge control issues going on with our church leadershiop.

    My own progressive priest has shared with me that she had some real difficulty being ordained in her very conservative diocese. (I don't want to go into detail to protect her privacy.)

    And, I'm sure this can also work the other way around. This doesn't seem right, and about the way of Jesus to me. Was He about "power over," people?

    I could better understand if our differences related to some central issue of faith such as the reality of the incarnation. There are some things that are truly church-dividing. But, about so much of the rest, why not agree to disagree, keep talking, and go on from there?

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