Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Katharine Jefferts Schori hits the Public Relations Circuit in attempt to fix Episcopal Church's broken image

WED. UPDATE: Confirmed. The new head of Schori's Communications Office is not a journalist or anyone with a serious journalistic background, but a marketing flak. Keep your eyes on the branding.

UPDATE:
Right on time! Here's Bishop Schori's speech to the National Press Club today, thanks to Minnesota Public Radio. You can scroll down this post for the speech.

Yep, Katharine Jefferts Schori has gotten rid of the traditional church communications team at her offices in Manhattan and is now - as we write this - hitting the public relations trail (keep those tithes and offerings coming!). She's here in Washington today and speaking to the National Press Club, which is, of course, Flak Heaven. We see one article has all ready hit the LA Times (which is teetering on bankruptcy by the way) that shows us the spin that 815 (ah, your church contributions at work!) is giving the media with their rather innovative interpretation of church history.

Kendall Harmon of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina writes about this reimagined history Bishop Schori is pushing:
"Sorry to say that I regard this article as an embarrassment in lopsided reporting. First, the history itself is flawed, since Anglicanism itself came as a result of a break in the 16th century, and there is also no mention of Methodism, or more of the details of the near split of TEC during the civl war, or the Reformed Episcopal Church split in 1873. Also, could we at least have quotes from people on both sides of an argument. Why could not even one reasserter be quoted in this piece?"
The answer, Kendall, is that Schori has launched a public relations tour and not a history lesson. It's about lawsuits and a public image that is so tarnished with members fleeing its churches (and it's not just about theology or social innovations, it's about a ruined public square marquee that should trouble us all - the Episcopal brand is smashed - no wonder her title of her road tour is Religion in the Public Square).

Heaven's to Betsy, it's not about getting both sides, but about attempting to repair a smashed public image in the public square as TEC continues it's march to sue and depose, sue and depose, sue and depose (who thought up this strategy anyway - Wall Street?). With the most serious journalists all fired from TEC's headquarters in New York, it is clear now that they have been replaced with public relations personnel instead. Same thing has happened on the other side of the Big Pond, as we've seen in the recent and rather dramatic change in strategy for the Archbishop of Canterbury and his media. The Episcopal/Anglican crisis is at hand.

We saw early signs of this reinvention in the reorganizational charts presented last year at the New Orleans House of Bishops meeting, only then the communications effort was divided into forks - one fork was the traditional church journalism and the other fork was for the flaks. The central focus of 815's communication efforts is to repair their image on the national stage. Schori took put a fork in the journalists, the flaks, however, remain.

At any moment we are about to hear the final ruling from the Fairfax Circuit Court on the properties of the Virginia churches that voted overwhelmingly to separate from The Episcopal Church. It makes a lot of sense to attempt to take some ground before the press is inundated with news stories regarding the Virginia ruling. The Episcopal Church has all ready announced, even before Judge Randy Bellows has issued his final judgement, that it will appeal his decision to the Virginia Supreme Court. So here we have Bishop Schori in Washington just as we expect that ruling at any time.

Alas, could not get away from the office today to catch her lunchtime remarks, but Cafe regulars are there. I did submit a question to the National Press Club though:
In Virginia alone the estimates for legal fees already top $5 million, money that could have surely been used for missionary work, helping the needy or reaching out to bring in new members. Looking back, would it have not been better to let the Virginia churches come to a settlement, which they were negotiating, instead of stepping in and forcing a protracted legal battle?
Stay tuned to find out what was really on the menu.

LATER: Here is Bishop Schori's amazingly sophomoric speech (which she lectures the press to be nicer and stop writing about schism and sex) to the National Press Club today. You may need Flash Player plugins to listen to the speech:



The first questions are as if the TEC flaks wrote the questions. ??? What did you as a woman feel like?" Can anyone be more patronizing - imagine asking a male bishop, "What do you think, as man?" Oh get real. Conscience raising? Conscience raising? Oh great, and now we're going to talk about those greedy churches. Of course, TEC isn't one of those. Who are the people asking these questions? Were they in the bus with Bishop Schori? Ah, Episcopalians are broad-minded. Ah - by learning about Islam we learn about our own faith. Really. SHALOM? Shalom? Ah, it's clear that she wants to be the spokesperson for the Liberalism-dominated churches. Just makes the heart feel warm, doesn't it? "If we understand the enemy, they soon become table mates." Did she really just say that?

How do you do that PR, she's asked. Yep - it's all about PR. And Bishop Schori says the way to do it is to tell a "broader story" rather than the "conflict story." Wow, at least she's honest that she's on a PR Tour.

What are the pros and cons of two provinces? What a boring answer. She has no passion, no conviction. "It's an ecumenical relationship," she said. She says that it's separate - which is of course, not true. It's also what the lawyers are telling her to say. Uh - we're all Anglican - and some of us are actually still Episcopalian. It's TEC that went off the rail and is being held accountable for its actions. Oops, she doesn't say that. And now she has to explain to why TEC is in decline. More people die? That's why TEC is in decline - because more people die? Oh my God.

So TEC is in decline because people keep dying. Oh my God.

WHAT? "We tried for a very long time - " wait. PANTS ON FIRE! Let me get this quote exactly right:
"We tried for a very long time to negotiate and came to a place where there was no willingness to negotiate so at that point you ask the courts to enforce the laws of the land."
This is so incredibly false - as we all know, the Virginia Churches were following the Diocese of Virginia's Protocol and with a Standstill Agreement in place following the voting and the recording of the votes (nothing was done to the status of the property - as was agreed in the Protocol), the actual negotiations were set to begin with the institution of what Bishop Peter James Lee called the Property Committee. Each church was to elect two representatives to join his committee and begin to work through the details on the settlement of all the properties. Truro had elected its two representatives on a Sunday and the next day, the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's chancellor David Booth Beers had a meeting with the Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee and the result of that meeting was on Wednesday the Standstill Agreement was abandoned, the Protocol was smashed, and both Bishop Schori and Bishop Lee separately filed lawsuits against nearly 200 lay volunteers and their rectors.

We were left at the table, a table hosted by Bishop Lee himself. Pants on Fire, Bishop Schori.

Bishop Schori's statement regarding Virginia - which is what Judge Randy Bellows may rule on this Friday - is so false, it is a major Pants on Fire event. Do we have to put this up yet again?

When asked about all the lawsuits - which of course are costing the Episcopal Church millions, she says, "I think we're past the worst of it ..." and then goes on to point out that the Virginia case is going to be appealed (the final ruling should be this Friday - how nice to announce the appeal before the final ruling, but she's not worried, oh no) and oh by the way, it's all based on slavery (which of course, the law is post-Civil War and was actually based on finding a way in a war-weary devastated nation to avoid more litigation and acrimony and more conflict and settle peacefully to build a road to reconciliation, which, in the case of the Methodist Church, actually did happen).

LATER: I just got off the phone with a friend and I told him about the statement that The Episcopal Church is in decline because people keep dying. He said he'd been at a holiday party filled with Emergency Room personnel and one of the ER personnel told him his philosophy of working in an ER, which of course you see the worst of the worst which one can only imagine. How do these people continue to serve, day in and day out - to see people at their worst? To which this particular ER worker said rather wryly to my friend, "Well, eventually, all bleeding stops."

Eventually all bleeding does stop. One way or the other.

She calls the loss a "significant departure." But all she can say is she'll leave the light on for ya. But she's not angry, oh no. She makes these sweeping statements - and they are just based on her PR Talking Points drawn up by the lawyers. She's got lots and lots of talking points - just like the talking points that were handed out by her office to the Episcopal bishops at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. It's just sad.

Live recording from last month's performance in New York City.

WEDNESDAY PM UPDATE: VirtueOnline now has a transcript of the press conference here. The video is here.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

BB,

Bonne chance getting any answer at all from TEC's chief!

Ann said...

And you care, why?

BabyBlue said...

I guess because I'm still an Episcopalian.

bb

KAY4 said...

$5 million in legal fees - what's the total est value of the combined property of the "VA 11?" Can you say, "Net profit?" Not to mention the intimidation benefit.

ettu said...

BB Personally, and for what it is worth, I am glad you have the faith and love to still be an Episcopalian - good for you ettu

DavidH said...

BB, how are you "still an Episcopalian"? You are, by choice, not Episcopalian. You are CANA, ACNA, Anglican, ...

Pageantmaster said...

Oh I don't know, they have sought to rebrand themselves as The Gay Church and appear to have succeeded.

BabyBlue said...

I am still an Episcopalian.

I am an Episcopalian member of a CANA parish. My Episcopal reception has not been rescinded by anyone. In fact, I was reaffirmed by Lord Carey as well.

I've received communion several times in Episcopal Churches this past year, including in the Diocese of Virginia and the Diocese of Washington, as well as at the Episcopal Diocese of Virgina's Annual Council which I attended as a member of the Diocese of Virginia's Daughters of the King. I also attended the DOK Provincial Retreat for Province III.

Like a married couple who are separated and living in separate houses, I am separated from The Episcopal Church but I remain Episcopalian, just as if I was a wife separated from her husband but remains married to him.

bb

Kevin said...

"You can take a Scotsman out of Scotland, but you can't take Scotland out of the Scotsman." -- (from an older Alistair Begg bio)

Maybe it's similar ... ;-)

Scott Gunn said...

First, Mary, I thought you were in CANA now? Did I get that wrong, and you are still a member of ECUSA?

Second, I'm not sure what you mean by your claim that +KJS got rid of the traditional communications team. There's still a good staff there, though there has been some turnover.

Third, there is news today of a new Director of Communication for ECUSA. Seems like 815 can't win. If they go out and share the Good News, they are accused of spin. If they say nothing, it's a conspiracy of secrecy.

For what it's worth, I wrote a bit about the new director on my little blog.

Pax,
Scott+

Scott Gunn said...

In your marriage example, I think you have got it wrong. A better example is someone who gets a divorce and enters a new marriage. You are not still married to spouse #1.

I am sorry that you and others have felt the need to leave ECUSA. Really, I am. It grieves me to see Christ's Body torn apart. But we should not kid ourselves. When someone leaves, they leave. You can't leave and stay.

Peace,
Scott+

DavidH said...

Ahh, bb, so you can repudiate TEC but you're still a member? Nice trick.

But that only raises the real questions. I thought the whole point of disaffiliation was to avoid being in communion with apostates, heretics, and false teachers? Why is it OK for you to remain an Episcopalian but it's not OK for your congregation?

Kevin said...

Scott+

Read your canons, it's worst than being RC layperson, there is no escape, my brother would technically still be a member and he's on the session of a PCUSA parish, he request for transfer was denied because of they could not except to another Episcopal parish. There is no way out except death for lay people, at least clergy can get out, however there no way to count people as a member of a parish either, so it's like canon law limbo.

Scott Gunn said...

Kevin,

OK, I'm reading I.17.4(a). Seems to cover exactly this case. You ask to leave, and you are removed. Please let me know what I'm missing. (I mean that sincerely.)

Peace,
Scott+

Lisa Fox said...

I am amused by your claim to be an Episcopalian, since you've been a vocal member of a schismatic movement determined to undercut the Episcopal Church. Haven't you been quite clear that you're a member of CANA? But whatever .... I know you folks make up your rules and allegiances as you go along.

Notwithstanding that dispute, I agree with you completely about what TEC is doing in the communications front. I grieve that TEC has shed the real journalists who were working there, and it grieves and concerns me. When TEC, CANA, or other groups opt for "PR" instead of real journalism and communications, I believe that is a very bad thing.

You accuse Presiding Bishop Schori of engaging in mere spin at the National Press Club. Oh, puh-leeze! Can you say with a straight [sic] face that Akinola, Minns, Duncan et al have been doing anything different? They have spent the past 5 years in the Spin Zone. Mind you, I'm not disagreeing about the spin factor. But I don't think you can charge Jefferts-Schori, unless you admit that the bishops on "your" side have been doing exactly the same thing.

Kevin said...

Scott+,

Exactly what I mean by canon law limbo, read it carefully, an individual is removed from the rolls of a parish, but that's it. Catholic canons go farther and an individual can renounce the affiliation with the Rome Catholicism. Thus one enters a limbo state, but once confirmed, they can always reappear in an Episcopal parish many years later out this limbo. (There is abandonment for clergy, but laity are merely removed from the rolls of the parish).

Anonymous said...

While I find bb's claim to still be an Episcopalian a little confusing, I'm not at all confused about +Schori's statment regarding
TEC's efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with the VA churches.

Her testimony, under oath, is a matter of public record. She was the one that ordered a halt to the negotiations. It's time to stop calling it "spin". It's called a lie.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

Um, clearly you know next to nothing about the National Press Club if you think that the people at 815 were the ones asking the questions, or to imply that the questions were posed by loyal fans of the PB. Seriously, don't you live in the DC area?!

If you are truly an Episcopalian, I must admit that you seem to be one of the angriest Christians I have ever read!

BabyBlue said...

Well, eventually all bleeding stops.

robroy said...

I listened to about 25 minutes of the National Press Club. It was so atrociously bad. It makes me very happy. The press had to sit through 50 minutes of Unitarian blather. Did she mention Jesus in the second half? She didn't in the first half.

Kevin said...

"So TEC is in decline because people keep dying. "

Oh wow, I'd been bantering with Scott+ not to see the updates ... she REALLY said that?!?!?!?!

Does she know what she just said?!?!?!?

She just confessed that Episcopalians are becoming irrelevant and soon will be dying out. The national population keeps growing, but she leading an organization with negative growth ... hmmmm ...

Scott Gunn said...

Kevin, when someone is removed from the parish register to go to another denomination, they are no longer a member of the Episcopal Church, because they are no longer a member of any Episcopal congregation. It's just the opposite when someone becomes an Episcopalian. It is the act of recording them in the parish register (per the canons) that makes them a member of the Episcopal Church. What else would you want?

As for the decline part, I'll be interested to read a transcript of the talk or listen to her exact words. If she said that, it would be an unfortunate word choice, indeed. To be clear: I am alarmed by our consistent decline over many years (long before +VGR, so that one cause doesn't wash in my book). I am even more alarmed by the failure of many ECUSA leaders to be alarmed. So on this point I find myself more in agreement with my friends on the right -- who tend to care about salvation and evangelism.

Peace,
Scott+

BabyBlue said...

The way she makes the case for why the unchurched should come to The Episcopal Church (where they are losing members because their membership is so old it's dying out) - one can imagine if she was working for McDonalds and made the same case of why one should have a Big Mac rather than a Whopper. Her case is so noncompelling - even the interviewer seems dumbfounded that she doesn't seem to care if people come to the Episcopal Church. It all starts around the 32 mark.

She's not interested in the "cause of conversion" but in the cause of "serving the public."

Schori says it's not the lawsuits and other controversies that have caused the decline of The Episcopal Church. "More people die than are born and baptized to members of our tradition," she says. I kid you not.

bb

robroy said...

Scott+ writes, "...long before +VGR".

If one looks at ASA, the Episcopal denomination was actually peaked in 2001, i.e., was growing in the late 90's and early 2000's. Remember the 20/20 program in the late 90's whose goal was to double the membership by 2020? The ASA showed a slight decline in 2002 but began five figure declines after 2002.

Scott Gunn said...

robroy,

Actually, the peak of ECUSA membership was in the mid 1960s. If you consider membership as a percentage of population (members per capita) the subsequent decline is even more marked.

Some of what Jefferts Schori said is true. Much of the postwar growth had to do with demographic patterns of family growth. In other words, we weren't very good at evangelism then either, but our incompetence was masked by growing families.

While it's true that all mainline Protestant churches have experienced similar patterns of decline, I do not think complacency is the answer. I also think that simplistic attempts to blame decline on liberalism are not adequate.

Surely we can agree that a focus on the Good News of Jesus Christ is perhaps the best growth strategy.

Pax,
Scott+

BabyBlue said...

I agree with you, Scott. ;-)

bb

robroy said...

"While it's true that all mainline Protestant churches have experienced similar patterns of decline, I do not think complacency is the answer." "I also think that simplistic attempts to blame decline on liberalism are not adequate."

No, only one mainstream denomination had the worst decline. The "well, all are shrinking" is not true. Southern Baptists are in crisis mode because they statistically stayed the same for the past couple of years. The Assemblies of God are growing. There was a paper several months back and it showed liberalism was highly correlated to decline.

"Surely we can agree that a focus on the Good News of Jesus Christ is perhaps the best growth strategy."

Amen. Poor Ms Schori, less than two weeks before Christmas, ignores this "growth strategy."

Anam Cara said...

And then there are those who left the Episcopal Church to become Orthodox. Entire parishes are converting together. See St. Patrick's of Warrenton, VA for the latest I am aware of.

Anam Cara said...

BB, I am still amazed at how you cling to the name "Episcopalian." I, on the other hand, am loath to admit to anyone that I was ever an Episcopalian. When I see what TEC is, I am embarrassed to be associated with it. When I talk to others about my husband, I make sure that I say he is "Anglican." I don't want anyone to associate the current beliefs of TEC with my husband's more orthodox religious convictions.

I did not leave the Episcopal Church. I was an abandoned child. I missed my mother and though I longed to have her back, I knew she didn't really want me. I searched for a long time to find a new mother. This one loves me and accepts me while challenging me to become a better person. She gently corrects me, wanting me to be conformed to the image of Christ. (My old mother didn't care what I became as long as I sang her praises and gave her money. That is not real love!)

Why in the world would I want to go back to a family that denied all I believed and treated me worse than a red-haired stepchild for clinging to what I had been taught was true? Although I missed that family at first, what I have found far surpasses what was there.

Maybe you haven't realized yet that TEC doesn't want you. You are still mourning for her love that has grown cold - you keep thinking that if you call yourself Episcopalian someday it will be again. Wake up! She (TEC) doesn't want you or love you! (...not the REAL you - she wants to be able to count your head and count on your money!) She has polar opposites as beliefs about Our Lord, who He is, what He did.

Embrace the Truth you have found in CANA. Give yourself wholeheartedly to those who have risked so much to give you a home where your orthodox beliefs ARE accepted! If you can't do that, look for a third party that will comfort and succor you.

The Orthodox Church waits as it has for 2000 years. And for those who prefer a Western service to the Byzantine, there is a Western Rite based on the Book of Common Prayer! see: http://www.antiochian.org/western-rite

We are blessed to be between two such churches: St. Patrick's in Warrenton and St. Gregory the Great in DC

ettu said...

AH, "dualism" - power over - "either/or" thinking (I see a great deal of this in the blog above) contrasted with wisdom and "connect the dots" love themes in the Bible!
Taken mystically - and realizing the dark glass we look thru - I see no inherent reason that BB cannot have a foot in the 2 camps. I do see how this can confound traditional thinking and can only suggest prayer and meditation to try to understand the mystery of her stance. with love , ettu
PS I just saw a blog titled "et tu" - for clarification I have nothing to do with that blog

Anonymous said...

Scott Gunn,
When the votes (to leave TEC)were to be taken in the DioVA churches back in late '06 - early '07, one of the issues was to determine how many people ages 16 and over were really active participating members of each church.

The difficult part was for those who just left without requesting a letter of transfer to another Episcopal church, which ,short of knowing they had died, was the only method of removing them from the rolls.

Did they move away, go to another denomination, stop attending any church, die without our knowledge? Without a request for a letter of transfer, there was no procedural way within DioVA to remove them from the rolls. Conversely, if a young couple had their baby baptized, then never again set foot in that church, that baby was to be carried on the rolls. Diocesan rules - not the individual church's.

I suspect this is true in a great many Episcopal dioceses. 2.3 million members nationwide? I would be surprised if the number is half that. When the growth prevention team takes over in any organization, the end date pops over the horizon.

RalphM

BabyBlue said...

It is one of Bishop Schori's talking points drawn up by her lawyers that is trying to say that the Episcopal Church is a Communion unto itself (hence, the rationale that bishops who go to another Anglican province have abandoned the communion - if TEC is a communion unto itself and anyone not inside the TEC structure is not in the communion, then it's like becoming a Methodist or a Presbyterian or a Hindu Lite). IN this chat at the National Press Club she tries yet again to make that talking point that that the two provinces are an ecumenical issue, which of course is another falsehood. We're swapping howdies with Rowan Williams and we want to keep doing that.

It was the Archbishop of Canterbury himself who sees "the Church" as the Anglican Communion and the provinces make up the Church. TEC wants top/down control when it suits their legal strategy, and they are fine with being inclusive, as long as it fits the legal strategy. Rowan wants an inclusive church, but his vision is not authoritarian, which is so rare it just takes the breath away. I admire greatly for his ability to refrain from authoritarianism. Were that the Presiding Bishop had such wisdom.

I remain an Episcopal member of a CANA parish. I am separated from the structure called TEC, but not from many of her people who are my brothers and sisters in Christ, including the ones who have posted here.

My conscience could not permit me to remain in the structures and in the Diocese of Virginia we had found an extraordinary way - through much prayer and tears and sacrifice - to live peacefully as we continued to seek reconciliation - which was a dream of Bishop Lee's that I shared, and still share. Come what may.

bb

Anam Cara said...

What does the term "Episcopal" mean to you? What does it mean to you to say you are "Episcopalian?" What would it mean to you to say you are "Anglican?" Why aren't you an "Anglican member of a CANA parish?" What is it exactly about the name "Episcopal" that you can't find in any other appellation? I guess we just can't understand. Can you help us?

Allen said...

I love the gay people who get on here and act like they are offended because the majority of the Church is finally responding to their impetuousness.

YES, Lisa Fox, it IS possible that your movement has not claimed the whole Church as you thought, and that people are taking their turf back after years of indulging what should have never been.

Observer said...

BB - you still cling to a rose-tinted view of Rowan.... for all your great work exposing the darkness in the current TECUSA leadership, do you not see it is Rowan who has refused to take any substantial action against them....it is Rowan who invited Schori and her revisionist bishops to Lambeth even though he knew that meant hundreds of faithful bishops could not, in conscience, also come to Lambeth.... Lambeth invitations were Rowan's chance to exercise some discipline in line with the views of the vast majority of bishops and Primates of the AC...

BB, I think you are a wonderful, faithful, brave Christian and do so much of very great value - but you seem to want to forget who has chosen to keep Schori, Bruno and Chane et al in a position of power in the AC?

BabyBlue said...

As I recall, Bishop Schori stood in defiance, with her arms folded while other Episcopal bishops walking out as the rest of the Lambeth Conference gave Rowan Williams a rousing ovation when he concluded his final address to conclude the conference. That very public act of defiance was lost on no one - including the Archbishop of Canterbury himself. Bishop Bruno and Bishop Chane came home and orchestrated their own defiant acts that flew in the face of what Rowan Williams pleaded with the Americans not to do, illustrating for even more public consumption exactly what they thought of Rowan Williams. Believe me, none of that is lost on Rowan Williams which is why he will neither confirm nor deny that he supports the creation of a new province in North America. We in America think like Americans. But the British are quite different, especially when engaging in acts of diplomacy - where what is not said means far more than what is said, at least in public.

bb

Chip said...

Anam Cara,

I will not speak for Baby Blue, but I can tell you why I have the same attitude as she does. It does not matter whether TEC loves me or not. It is, rather, a case of loving Christ's church -- even a branch that is wayward and fallen. I did not receive "the truth" from CANA; I had committed my life to Christ well over two decades earlier. I did not lose that truth when I entered TEC; to the contrary, I met many godly people who expanded my vision of what it means to be a orthodox Christian while Truro was in it. And, like Baby Blue, I spent a good amount of time working at several General Conventions, and in other areas of service inbetween, striving for TEC to grow in orthodoxy.

For me, as well, there's the issue of not wanting to see Christ's body break asunder any more. While our invisible unity is important, so is our visible unity. Too many of us Protestants often downplay visible unity in favor of invisible unity. It is grievous that a branch of Christ' body is becoming more heterodox. And it is grievous to see orthodox Christian brothers and sisters divided, with some in TEC and some outside of TEC.

Some of us, then, find ourselves loving and appreciating our new homes, trusting that God is using even these departures to, in the long run, build up the unity of Christ's body. At the same time, however, we still love and want the best for the wayward branch. We are indeed Anglicans, but we are also Episcopalians in exile.

Peace of Christ to you,
Ralph (Chip) Webb

Observer said...

BB, I am British and understand Rowan pretty well, same university etc.....and while Schori did fold her arms and disrespect the ABC, she was only there at Lambeth with Bruno and Chane because the ABC made a choice to invite them in the knowledge that his decision would lead to hundreds of faithful bishops to, in conscience, refuse invitations to Lambeth..... and it was not in our interests as "non-revisionists"

Anam Cara said...

Chip,

Thank you for that well thought out answer. It does help some. I agree that it is grievous that "a branch of Christ's body is becoming more heterodox."

But what I still cannot understand is what it is in the term "Episcopalian" that causes you to cling to it, to call yourself an "Episcopalian in exile."

It seems to me that the name "Christian" should trump all others. After that in order of classification, you would be Anglican since you do hold tenants of faith that differ from Baptist, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, etc. But if there is no difference between what the Anglicans teach/believe why must you call yourselves Episcopalian? Do other countries in the Anglican Communion have specific designations for their churches such as the Episcopal church?

I am Orthodox. If when I say that someone says, "Greek?" I respond, "yes." If they say, "Russian?" I say, "yes." Since all Orthodox churches have the same doctrines, it doesn't matter which one - they are all the same except for the food at ethnic festivals. It's rather like the difference between Roman Catholic parishes that are predominately Italian, or Spanish, or Polish - it boils down to what food they eat, certainly not worth arguing over!

So what is it that sets the Episcopalians apart from the Anglicans (at least before the current unpleasantness) that would compel you to cling to that designation? Are their different doctrines? That is what I just don't grasp - I thought all Anglicans had the same teachings - all based on the 39 Articles. If there is no difference, isn't just using the term divisive - setting yourselves apart from other Anglicans?