Regular readers of the Anglican blogosphere, be they fans of blogs such as T19, Stand Firm, Drell, and BabyBlue on one “side” or EpiScope, Episcopal Cafe, Fr. Jake, and Susan Russell on the other “side,” know things are buzzing right now. We’re gearing up for the September TEC HoB meetings in New Orleans later this week (Sept 20-25), the Common Cause Bishops’ Council in Pittsburgh immediately following, and the September 30 Dar es Salaam deadline. In some quarters, reports, responses, articles and pastoral letters are flying so fast and thick that it’s dizzying and pretty much impossible to “read it all,” no matter how often Kendall exhorts us to do just that!
But the buzz and news overload that those of us who follow the blogs are experiencing right now may be surprisingly limited in scope.
Your humble elf had more time for web browsing yesterday than any day in the last 2 months or so. It seemed like a good time to go on one of our periodic diocesan “news trawls.” What is being said in the various dioceses that we don’t hear from so often or read about much on the blogs? What responses have there been to the proposed covenant? What are bishops writing their flocks about the upcoming HoB meeting? etc. I knew from previous forays into diocesan website land that the results would be patchy. Some dioceses excel in timely communication, but many fail on that score. I expected that in a good number of dioceses the whole “Anglican crisis” and Dar deadline is being downplayed. But even I, an experienced denizen of diocesan websites, was surprised by what I found.
In the 4 hours I had free, I was able to visit the diocesan websites of 31 TEC dioceses. I focused on dioceses which I knew, from past experience, tended to have informative and relatively up-to-date websites. I purposely avoided some of the Network dioceses where there’s been recent news and statements (such as Central FL, Fort Worth, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, etc.) We already know these dioceses are engaged in the current crisis. I tried to hit some of the biggest and most influential dioceses (Texas, Atlanta, New York…) and also many Camp Allen or reasonably moderate dioceses, as well as to get a good geographic mixture.
Here’s a list of the diocesan sites I visited and what I found. A diocese received a “NO” if I could find nothing new about the TEC/Anglican situation since the March HoB meeting. (Legend: **Network diocese, *Camp Allen bishop)
Alabama – NO
** Albany – NO
Arizona – NO
Arkansas – NO
Atlanta – NO
California – NO
Colorado – NO
Connecticut – NO
** Dallas – YES — a good selection of background links and resources, though most not very recent, nothing specific on the upcoming HoB meeting
East Carolina – NO
East Tennessee – YES — a nice and quite current “Windsor Process” page
Florida – NO
Lexington – NOPE, surprising given +Sauls lead role in many recent reports, etc.
Los Angeles – Nothing since April
Massachusetts – NO
Mississippi — YES. Pastoral letter from +Duncan Gray.
Newark – No
New York – Yes. Bishop’s letter July / August (see p. 3), special 8 page insert in Dio. Newsletter
North Carolina – YES Big feature on “Communion Matters” meetings throughout the diocese on the homepage
* North Dakota – not really. A passing mention in Dio. Newsletter “pray for Sept HoB meeting”
* Northern Indiana – No (Bp. Little is on sabbatical, but will be attending HoB mtg)
Ohio – No
Rio Grande – YES Pastoral letter from +Steenson
SE Florida – Partial: Response by Executive board to Anglican Convenant (unclear if laity and parishes are engaged, however)
* SW Florida – Nothing new since May (surprising. SW FL is usually VERY current on news and info)
** Springfield – No
* Tennessee – No
* Texas – No
Upper SC – No
Virginia – NO
* West Texas – YES. Sept 2007 Audio message to diocese from Bp. Lillibridge
So, totalling up the YES column and the NO column:
Only 7 of 31 (or 8, if one counts SE Florida, which is somewhat borderline…) had anything substantive and current on the ECUSA/Anglican crisis. That’s 25%. So of the nearly 1/3 of the ECUSA domestic dioceses surveyed (and I chose those which I know to have generally informative and regularly updated websites) it would appear that 75% of these dioceses are not getting out current info on the Anglican crisis. This includes Network dioceses (Albany and Springfield), and Windsor Dioceses (Northern Indiana, Texas, Tennessee, and SW Florida), as well as more reappraising dioceses. Big dioceses with lots of resources, and small dioceses. I have absolutely no reason to think that the dioceses I didn’t survey are any better.
The lesson to draw from this: If you care about these issues and the decisions that lie ahead, share the news you read on this blog and others with your fellow parishoners, or friends in other dioceses, etc. Don’t assume that the dioceses or other structures are getting the news out. There are many in TEC parishes who have no idea that there is a House of Bishops’ meeting this week. If you care, share a few links and invite them to pray and get involved!