In all likelihood the bishop, and a majority of clergy and lay delegates to the Diocese of Fort Worth convention will vote to leave the Episcopal Church, align temporarily with the Province of the Southern Cone and wait upon the right time to become part of a new improved Anglican Province of North America.
In this action the bishop and delegates will join similar groups of folk in the Dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and Quincy.
The question is, how may people does this represent? Well, its hard to tell.
In terms of raw numbers, the most recent estimates we have on these dioceses are as follows:
total membership average Sunday attendance (ASA)
San Joaquin : 10,500 4,000
Pittsburgh 20,000 8,000
Quincy 1,850 1,000
Fort Worth 17,000 7,000
totals: 49,350 20,000
The current figures given for the membership of The Episcopal Church is 2,154,000 (domestic) 2,320,000 total. The average Sunday attendance is 764,000 (domestic) 804,000 total.
This means that if everyone in the four dioceses left those dioceses, the percentage of the whole membership and ASA would be approximately 2.2% total and 2.5%. ASA.
But of course not all the people of those dioceses are leaving. Supposing ¾ are, that percentage drops below 2%.
There are a variety of parishes outside these four dioceses, and a larger group of disaffiliated laity and clergy who are now wanderers who simply don’t get included in this group. The overall numbers leaving the Episcopal Church it seems to me still grow to about 7 percent, or about 155,000. In terms of ASA that is about 56,000. Moderator Duncan estimated the overall numbers of ASA at about 100,000, meaning the other groups in the Common Cause Partnership (CANA, AMiA, REC, etc) bring in about 44,000 worshipers. That is a generous but reasonable figure.
The point is, that in terms of The Episcopal Church these four dioceses account for something like 2.4 percent of the whole.
When it is all over I still believe about 7 to 8 percent of the Episcopal Church will have left. The number leaving and taking the property? 1 percent.
But that’s another story.
Meanwhile, remembering that Bishop Iker, all the people of Fort Worth, and the people set on realignment and those set to remain members of the Episcopal Church are all part of the community of the faithful, let us pray that they and we may have peace in our hearts towards one another.