Monday, April 22, 2013

So the decline of the Episcopal Church is a myth?

The Very Rev'd Ian Markham.
The Very Rev'd Ian Markham, Dean of Virginia Theological Seminary, recently spoke at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, on the topic, "The Myth of the Decline of The Episcopal Church." Am not sure the good dean's attitude is helping his case here. He seems to think it's all pretty funny.  

Official stats put out by The Episcopal Church itself show that the Episcopal Church sees at best 657,000 in the pews on Sunday mornings, as opposed to, say,  the 22 million Catholics in the pews.  You can read the stats here.


Dean Markham thinks TEC can grow, could grow, would grow, should grow because it has more than one service (Rite 1 and Rite 2 - but doesn't mention that you can sort of write you own liturgy these days if you want to), that it requires "a skill set," in order to participate (stupid people need not apply), and says without irony that TEC is  "generous," and "thoughtful," as opposed to all those other Christians who are stingy and stupid.  He also thinks that there are people who aren't being counted on the rolls, though oddly enough, the fact that they don't go to church anymore doesn't seem to bother him.

How does he then describe the monumental events starting in August 2003, events that even the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Virginia described as a legal division?  Events that the Windsor Report warned is still tearing apart the fabric of the Anglican Communion?

"We are at the heart of the cultural wars and some people had real problems with it," he says simply,  "so they decided to call it a day."

That's it.  He says that and ignores the millions and millions of dollars spent - and continues to be spent - by the Episcopal Church on lawsuits and depositions and heartbreak. 

Watch it for yourself: 


Part One



Part Two



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you bother with this? be wary of being the angry divorcee who still complains bitterly about her ex, when he had moved on completely.

BabyBlue Anglican said...

It is the primary topic of this blog (when we're not writing about Bob Dylan) and whose readers are made up of Anglicans and Episcopalians and we're all in the same communion. No man - or woman - is an island.

bb

Anam Cara said...

What I find interesting is that he says the Episcopal church is not in decline with 657,000 in the pews on a Sunday. I wonder what percentage that is of total membership. You compare with Catholics which is sort of unfair when you think about the many countries people in the US came from that were Roman Catholic countries. It's like comparing apples with oranges. England vs. France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, etc. But for an amazing comparison just look at the Eastern Orthodox - always a minority (and many people are cluless that they exist, and know very little about the doctrines) but in 2010 with 293,900 in the pews on an average Sunday. That was 28% of membership rolls. There are just over 1 million people who claim to be Orthodox Christians in America. I wonder what the numbers currently are for Episcopalian and Anglican. (and you're not allowed to answer both Episcopal and Anglican, BB. For this you have to pick only one)

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, and denile must be a wide river in Virginia. Wide, but not very deep....

A wise seminary professor of mine declared that the last thing a dying denomination does is re-write (or continue to re-write) its constitutional documents. Now that ordination is open--and encoraged--for cross-dressers, when do polygamists and other sexual-flavors(to embarrassing to name) get a fair shake?

BabyBlue Anglican said...

Dean Markham says in the talk on the video that the Episcopal Church has 1,951,907 members.

bb

Anonymous said...

It would be lovely if you came to visit Virginia Theological Seminary. Would you be willing to come and visit the Seminary as our guest?
Ian Markham, Dean and President Virginia Theological Seminary

Anonymous said...

"We were at the heart of the cultural wars..." Right...fighting as hard as possible for the secular culture. The secular culture which says "there is no God." So, to be "thoughtful and generous" the Episcopal church tells the secular culture "no need to believe in God to attend our church." To which the secular culture replies "thanks -- but we prefer not to believe in God and stay home."

Notice the most interesting thing about this whole talk? The complete absence of the name "Jesus."

Anonymous said...

I really don't get the triumphalist chutzpah here...there may be millions more Catholics in the US, but according to CARA, *only 23% of them go to Mass*! not far from ECers. AND how many of those are STILL dissenting from the Churchs teaching, compared to episcopal service attenders, given how hard it is to dissent from the EC?...

Anonymous said...

I think it better it decline. After my experiences the person in the pew sees so little of what goes on behind the scenes. I spent time in seminary and am horrified by what I saw. Clergy are politicians - many of whom seem to think they are exempt from following the Gospels. I personally was left homeless and destitute by the Episcopal Church. They knowingly left me in such a state. I had converted from out of Christianity, gave up everything to join only to end up broke, in debt and homeless. I am still trying to get compensation but - Christ has died to them. It has become a business. And the ordination process is truly horrific. At this point it seems almost merciful to let it die. Jesus would be horrified if he could see the state of things.