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July 12, 2012


Why is the Episcopal Church Near Collapse?

What?? Collapse???

Everything is just peachy, thank you very much.

Among the old mainstream denominations reporting to the National Council of Churches, the Episcopal Church suffered the worst loss of membership from 1992-2002 — plunging from 3.4 million members to 2.3 million for a 32 percent loss. In the NCC’s 2012 yearbook, the Episcopal Church admitted another 2.71 percent annual membership loss.

Convention attendees were told that they had spent $18 million this year suing their own local congregations — those which have protested the denomination’s policies by trying to secede. The New York hierarchy has consistently won in court – asserting that the local members signed over their buildings decades ago. As a result, some of the largest Episcopal congregations in the United States have been forced to vacate their buildings and meet elsewhere.

So now, convention delegates were told, the denomination is the proud owner of scores of empty buildings nationwide – and liable for their upkeep in a depressed real estate market where empty church buildings are less than prime property. It’s the classic “dog in a manger.” The denomination has managed to keep the buildings – for which it has little use.


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The so called New York hierarchy has won in court—but not consistently—by insisting that it was a hierarchy even though the church seems to have been deliberately set up to avoid that model. As for buildings, most of them are aging…lots of brownstones near where I live, with fewer and fewer to keep up the heavy maintenance costs.

[1] Posted by Adam 12 on 7-12-2012 at 12:46 PM · [top]

I’ve seen the $ figure of $15 million in litigation from other sources, but in looking at the budget, I can’t find that amount.  I’ve located over $3 million in the current triennium with another $2 million allocated for the 2013-2015 period.  Can someone point out the line numbers in the budget to account for that large disparity in dollar amounts?  Are there dollar amounts in other places in the budget that help arrive at that total amount?

[2] Posted by Cranmerian on 7-12-2012 at 12:51 PM · [top]

[3] Posted by martin5 on 7-12-2012 at 01:01 PM · [top]

She is at the point of collapse because she assumed that intelligent and clever men could forge a better means of Salvation than that given to us by Christ Himself.  These means start with a humble and contrite heart moved by the Grace of God, a God who is no respecter of persons. 

So as the TEC sneered at the humble sinner falling in sorrowful repentence before the Cross even as she elevated the cocktail circuit darlings of the Spongs and Robinsons Christ in His great love of freedom gave her over to her own devices and desires. 

They traded their widow’s mite for a place on the Pride float so they too could be showered with the glitter of the adoring crowds.  Pride being so much more that just “gay” pride.

[4] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 7-12-2012 at 01:23 PM · [top]

PS,  This is true in terms of economic collapse as well.  Throwing a party for Kings and princes is a lot more expensive than cooking up a good nourishing meal for friends.  One way to make up for that expense is by stealing from the larder of the peasants, so to say.

[5] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 7-12-2012 at 01:29 PM · [top]

I read the story’s subject line and wondered if SFiF has sufficient bandwidth to provide a full list of the reasons.  but I see it’s about the property for the most part, so I think their servers won’t end up as sputtering pools of liquid if we just discuss that aspect of TEo’s impending implosion.

I’m delighted to see the dead weight of unusable buildings become an albatross around TEo’s neck.  Once the Presiding Plaintiff maneuvers the 815’s Death Star over the DioSC, I would encourage each and every parish to simply walk away rather than fight, tossing the keys into their respective narthexes before slamming the door.  At that point, it would be a good idea to start working with a straw real estate purchaser - someone unrelated with any organ of the Anglican Communion - to eventually repurchase these buildings once TEo puts them on the market.  A reasonable fee could obviously be paid to the straw purchaser, who would then resell the properties to the original parishes.

As much as 815 would love to scorch the earth and prevent Anglicans from owning these building again, once they are draining the increasingly barren coffers of dioceses and the national organization, they’ll be more than happy to offload to them to anyone with a cashier’s check.

[6] Posted by Jeffersonian on 7-12-2012 at 01:33 PM · [top]

That is a good comment, Paula.

There’s a great book called _Saving the Modern Soul_ by Eva Illouz about the ways in which high minded psychology actually complicates and undermines modern life and institutions.

That said, I think that many good scientists and economists are so overwhelmed by complexity and detail that they take a more humble attitude.  Christianity and maybe theology in general are deceptively simple.

[7] Posted by The Plantagenets on 7-12-2012 at 01:39 PM · [top]

“Deceptive” isn’t the right word.

What I’m trying to get at is that much of key Christian thought is graspable by a child, but the implications of “love thy neighbor” for example are almost infinite and connected to al the other big concepts.

[8] Posted by The Plantagenets on 7-12-2012 at 01:43 PM · [top]

I read the comments at the linked article and the only thing I agree with them is that much of this article is seemingly years out-of-date. Hmmm.

Anyway, Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse? Because they are reaping the consequences of many awful decisions (and decisions not made) over the past several decades. That is the simplest answer I can give. Also, many are quite happy with the general leftist lean of TEC. So they let them be happy and I will be eager to know when and how they solve the huge money problem in TEC. One simple way to help the financial situation would be to stop all litigation currently in the process. Just simple. STOP litigation and that will save millions. Of course they will never do it. LITIGATION IS the mission of TEC national leaders - Never forget that!

[9] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-12-2012 at 01:53 PM · [top]

Re [6]: excellent strategy that could be gainfully employed. TEC would benefit from some income and decreased liabilities and even more the example of what works and what does not. The new/old Anglican owners would benefit by restoring their properties without significant legal battles or by compromising their stands.

[10] Posted by Don+ on 7-12-2012 at 01:53 PM · [top]

Christianity and theology look simple to people who haven’t had and aren’t receiving anything like Christian formation. Homilies that could be teaching our theology are more like “a thought for the day.” I don’t know how it’s been in larger churches, but in our miniscule one, I don’t remember ever having any focused adult education. In recent years, two of us started a class that has had at times as many as seven (yes)  participants, but now has only four. Two moved away to the relative safety of Louisiana and one was elderly and didn’t like to drive at night. One had a hard time fitting in with listening to O’Steen, etc. One felt she had already had all that and didn’t need anymore. Etc. So - But the HoD can do the outlandish things it does partly because, I think, it has never bothered to really study what Episcopalians believe - or believed - and why. It is such idiocy to me to think, as some of them apparently do, that if we just don’t ask people to be baptized, for instance, they will be happy to come to our church. A new member who is unwilling to be baptized - what is he a member *of*? What commitment is he making? TEC continues to experiment with “how we’ve always done it” assuming that if we just quit doing it that way and do it some other way, people will come rushing. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that we aren’t evangelizing. *Really* evangelizing, the hard work of sharing the story of the people of God and our salvation and why it matters and what it means. People who think evangelizing means passing resolutions telling governments what to do - as someone tweeted this morning - don’t have a clue. It doesn’t start at the top and trickle down anymore than the money that was supposed to years ago did. It starts on the street where you live and in the house next door. It’s about doing what you can do yourself, first, and not about telling the world what to do.

[11] Posted by oscewicee on 7-12-2012 at 02:01 PM · [top]

Martin 5, I had forgotten that post by the Curmudgeon. So some 21 million had been spent by 2010. It is now 2012. I know that this latest budget had a less money set aside for litigation.  No doubt they will continue to hide the actual amounts. Some historian is going to have field day in about 20 years if TEC does not destroy all the record in the meantime.

[12] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-12-2012 at 02:02 PM · [top]

[11]  Totally.  I have this theory that when Church members be they bishops or laity turn away from service and spreading the Gospel, they become parasitical or predatory.  When you try to create an separate dreamworld/alternate reality by design or accident, it’s always small and insufficient, so it turns incestuous like the French aristocracy.  This where people become desperately inclusive.

This is an example of how tweaking one variable “service” has unforeseen consequences throughout the whole network of people and ideas.

[13] Posted by The Plantagenets on 7-12-2012 at 02:19 PM · [top]

I think it highly suggestive that Catholicism has a masculine leadership ideology and no priests; whereas Episcopalianism has a super-femine leadership ideology and no laity.

I’ve had this conversation twice in the last two days:

Me:  Blah, blah, my ex-church, blah, blah,
Atheist/Presbyterian: Are you Catholic?
Me: I was Episcopalian
Atheist/Presbyterian:  Same thing.

***

I’m not sure what to make of this.

[14] Posted by The Plantagenets on 7-12-2012 at 02:30 PM · [top]

The Episcopal Church and Katharine Jefferts-Shori = The United States and Barack Obama.

The PB and POTUS are political, economic, emotional, psychological and spiritual twins.

[15] Posted by St. Nikao on 7-12-2012 at 03:15 PM · [top]

Re [6]: excellent strategy that could be gainfully employed. TEC would benefit from some income and decreased liabilities and even more the example of what works and what does not. The new/old Anglican owners would benefit by restoring their properties without significant legal battles or by compromising their stands.

That’s an interesting strategy, but I doubt it would work. Somebody would eventually find out about it and spill the beans. Besides, didn’t the Diocese of Central New York specify that the former Church of the Good Shepherd property in Binghamton, NY could not be re-sold to Anglicans when they sold it to a Muslim group?

[16] Posted by the virginian on 7-12-2012 at 04:18 PM · [top]

GLBTxyz = Dagon

The pillars WILL be coming down.

[17] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 7-12-2012 at 05:36 PM · [top]

#4, most accurate summation I have seen in a long while!

[18] Posted by MichaelA on 7-12-2012 at 06:21 PM · [top]

“Six prominent bishops are ready to take their large dioceses out of the American church and align with conservative Anglican groups in Africa and South America.”

Does anyone know what that is all about?

[19] Posted by MichaelA on 7-12-2012 at 06:26 PM · [top]

If they thought suing their own was expensive, just wait until the outside lawsuits start rolling in. They have worked diligently to embrace, include, and bless every form of fornication. What happens with they mix those explosive decisions in churches that are associated with day care operations or church schools? It will light the fuse to an explosion of sex based charges and litigation. TEC has thrown caution to the wind and is now running full speed into the fire. They better brace for impact.

[20] Posted by Laytone on 7-14-2012 at 07:14 AM · [top]

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