Category : TEC Parishes

(ENS) 69 percent of congregations in the Episcopal Church (TEC) ‘have an average Sunday attendance of less than 100’

Although capacious churches, glorious choirs, multiple clergy and the smells and bells of Holy Day services may capture the imagination of Episcopalians, the reality is that the majority of congregations in the Episcopal Church tend toward the smaller size, with often dramatically different backdrops and ministerial needs than large churches.

In fact, according to data presented by the Task Force on Clergy Leadership Formation in Small Congregations, 69 percent of Episcopal congregations have an average Sunday attendance of less than 100, placing them in the category of “small congregation.” To take this even further, bishops surveyed by the task force reported that a “substantial minority” of their congregations number less than 20 on an average Sunday.

Recognizing these congregations’ unique needs and issues, the 78th General Convention three years ago asked for a task force to “develop a plan for quality formation for clergy in small congregations that is affordable, theologically reflective and innovative.”

Read it all and I found the comments of interest as well.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(WKTV) Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Whitesboro, New York, closes its Doors

The atmosphere inside St. John’s Episcopal Church was bittersweet Sunday, as it closed its doors for the final time. It was a day to celebrate Pentecost, but also a day to call it quits at 135 Main St. in Whitesboro.

“I will remember this church as a gather of people I knew throughout my life,” said John Groves, a member of St. John’s. “It will be a sad time.”

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

(Abingdon Journal) In the TEC Diocese of Bethlehem, Tunkhannock, Glenburn parishes share a priest

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Tunkhannock and The Church of the Epiphany in Glenburn began a new ministry relationship in January.

Rev. Lou Divis will remain as the pastor of St. Peter’s, and has become the Priest-in-Charge at The Church of the Epiphany. Both positions are part-time. This is a new era in The Episcopal Church as people become more involved in various ministerial activities with pastoral oversight.

In the not so distant past, every parish wanted “their own priest” for sacramental, missional, administrative and teaching needs. There are now several parishes in The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem using one priest for two parishes. The people in these parishes take on some of the responsibilities of mission, administration, home visitations and teaching, while the priest continues with sacramental, worship, mission and other duties.

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Posted in Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(LA Times) St. James and TEC Diocese of Los Angeles leaders try to forge ahead

Local Episcopal Church leaders acknowledged the continual, bruising conflict that has surrounded the St. James the Great church in Newport Beach for the last two and a half years of off-and-on sale attempts, extending a promise to transparently work together with the ascension of a new bishop and the impending reopening of the long-shuttered sanctuary.

In a joint statement released Thursday titled “Making All Things New,” John Taylor, the successor to retiring Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno, Rachel Nyback, president of the diocesan Standing Committee governing body, and Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, the priest who has continued to lead the St. James the Great flock, acknowledged the pain that has come from the sales attempts and related closure.

“The church’s sudden closing hurt the people of St. James,” they wrote. “Their leaders countenanced hurtful statements and tactics. This cycle of hurt strained relationships in the diocese. We will end the cycle by sharing our narratives openly and honestly, using reconciliation in relationship to rediscover our unity and purpose as a diocesan family in Christ.”

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(WBFO) In Buffalo, NY, Converting Episcopal Church of the Ascension into senior housing becomes confrontational

The fight over converting historic Ascension Church at Linwood Avenue and North Street into senior housing turned into something of a confrontation between Buffalo’s Preservation Board and its Planning Board during Monday’s Planning Board meeting.

The Episcopal Diocese and an affiliate want to convert the century-and-a-half-old church into 28 units of low-income senior housing, wading through regulations on three different levels of government and concern the rules for financing the project might change.

The project has been in the works for more than two years, as various approvals were sought and various design changes were made, shrinking the project and moving a new building.

Charles von Simson said it is still not worth building in his neighborhood and other residents agree.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Wash Po) Ryan Danker–Historic church should rethink Washington, Lee plaque removals

The plaques on the walls of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, commemorate famous Americans who at one time called the Episcopal parish their own: George Washington and Robert E. Lee.

As a church historian, I believe the vestry’s recent decision to remove the memorials – as well as their forebears’ decision to put them up in the first place – disregards the true purpose of Christians’ commemoration of the dead.

From the very start of the Christian faith, believers have remembered the “great cloud of witnesses” who came before them. During the third century, the church in North Africa regularly commemorated early martyrs on the anniversary of their death – the origin of saints’ days.

Whether honored through holidays or monuments, the church still recognized the complexity of the human situation and never expected perfection from these early saints. Scripture and church history provided plenty of evidence of their shortcomings: Paul’s thorn in his flesh, Peter’s denial of Christ, Augustine’s lust, Thomas Aquinas’ borderline gluttony, Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic tendencies, John Calvin’s use of capital punishment, and John Wesley’s failed marriage.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Office of the President, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

(JE) Mark Tooley–What Christ Church’s decision to Remove George Washington’s Plaque really Tells us

Over the last 14 years the Episcopal Church has suffered a nationwide schism since electing an openly homosexual bishop. Some conservative congregations, including several in Northern Virginia, left the denomination to create the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Another church Washington helped govern at the same time as Christ Church was The Falls Church, whose congregation joined ACNA. It lost its historic property in litigation to the Episcopal Church but continues to thrive and grow while meeting in a Catholic high school auditorium. It has even planted several successful new churches.

Christ Church remained in the Episcopal Church and has headed in a more liberal direction. One Christmas Eve sermon I heard got political, as I shared here. And in recent years the church has hosted a labyrinth, advertised by a large banner outside the church to passing commuters. This arguably New Agey fad is popular in some liberal Protestant churches, and I wrote about it here, noting that neither Washington nor Lee, if alive today, were likely to walk the labyrinth.

I mention the political sermon, the labyrinth and support for same-sex marriage because they could all be interpreted as unwelcoming signals to potential worshipers who don’t share Christ Church’s form of Episcopal liberalism. This kind of church invariably attracts a demographic that is nearly all middle and upper class, educated, socially liberal urban white people. Churches that stress their welcome-welcome-welcome message of inclusion over a firm orthodox theological message typically are, whether realizing it or not, actually welcoming some and discouraging others. In my visits to Christ Church I have noticed the well-dressed congregation is not very diverse. Removing the Washington and Lee plaques will not likely expand its demographic.

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Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, Zimbabwe

(DNA info) Old St. James Episcopal Church in Elmhurst in the borough of Queens, the City’s 2nd Oldest, Gets Landmarked

The Old St. James Episcopal Church on Broadway, one of the city’s oldest churches, is now officially a landmark.

The Church of England mission church, which was built in 1735 and 1736, was unanimously voted for the distinction by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

It’s the second-oldest religious building in the five boroughs, constructed in what was then Newtown Village for the new Anglican residents. (The oldest is the Old Quaker Meeting House in Flushing, also known as the Flushing Friends Meeting House, which was built in 1694, according to the church’s website.)

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

(OM) Downtown Milwaukee landmark Episcopal Church will close; transform into a wedding/events venue

St. James Episcopal Church, which has made its home at 833 W. Wisconsin Ave. since 1851, will close its doors at the end of this month. The building, which was put up for sale a few years ago, is in the process of being sold.

According to the church’s pastor, Father John Allen, the final worship service will be held on Oct. 1 and the diocese will hold a closing service on the evening on Nov. 1.

“The church will be secularized,” Allen said. “The bishop or his representative will come and say a prayer to say, ‘we blessed you but now we’re taking it back.'”

Allen said the sale of the building is expected to be finalized in November.

He added that a group of partners – including developer Josh Jeffers, Shawn Hittman and The Hidden Kitchen owners Oliver Hunt and Kate Crowle – plan to open a wedding and events venue in the building.

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

(AI) Despite win against Bruno, St James Newport Beach learns they will lose their church

We understand that the Hearing Panel’s ruling, which awaits the possibility of Bishop Bruno’s appeal, calls on us to return the congregation to the building. The four concurring Hearing Panel members and the attorneys who advised them evidently did not take fully into account the existence of a binding contract nor all the ways the dispute begs for wider reconciliation. (One panel member dissented and supported Bishop Bruno.)

Their advocacy bespeaks a commendable pastoral connection with the people of St. James. As recently as the filing of the church attorney’s brief after the hearings in Pasadena in March, those conducting the proceeding against Bishop Bruno made it clear that he could avoid being sanctioned if he would relent on his intention to sell the property. This is not to understate the significance of the panel’s findings against Bishop Bruno. But we trust that from the painful experience of the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Episcopal Church will learn lessons about how, in disciplinary settings, to differentiate between actions by a respondent which deserve sanction and a complainant’s wish to reverse an operational decision.

We share the panel’s profound concern for the people of St. James. Bishop Bruno asked them to start a new congregation, and under the leadership of the Rev. Canon Cindy Voorhees, they accepted the challenge. They praised, worshipped, and served, as they continue to do. We are not here to relitigate Bishop Bruno’s actions or the Hearing Panel’s verdict. In all likelihood, after 40 years of ordination, including many moments of courage and vision, he will lose the right to say Holy Eucharist and to baptize, confirm, and bless for three years. It is also outside the realm of Bishop Curry’s charge to assess how long it would have taken St. James to achieve sustainability. Suffice it to say that it was making good progress and that losing its church building was a disappointment and shock….

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes

Potomac's St. Francis Episcopal Church Gains a New Rector

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

TEC's Bishop Bruno blocks Newport Beach congregation from attending convention

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes, Theology

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church properties for sale in Augusta, Maine

The proposed sale is expected to force the food and clothing banks, and the essential pantry and warming center, to move. Depending on who or what type of entity puts in a bid to buy the property, the sale could reshape a prominent parcel between the city’s downtown and a large west side residential neighborhood.

Augusta resident Joseph Riddick, senior warden of the church, said the 40-member St. Mark’s congregation, while now able to pay to maintain the buildings, won’t be able to afford to do so long-term. Also, he and the Rev. Rebecca Grant, the church deacon, said the money they’d spend maintaining and heating the aging facilities will be better spent on the church’s focus of helping needy people in the community.

“This is a building. It’s a wonderful building, but our ministry is people,” Riddick said, standing in the high-ceilinged St. Mark’s Church, beneath its rows of elaborate stained-glass windows and among its wooden pews. “We’re transitioning to a facility for our congregation that we can afford. And the money we use to maintain this campus, we’ll take that money and help people, help those in need. St. Mark’s Church continues and our ministries are going to continue, just in a different place.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

A Look Inside the Oldest Church in North Carolina

For 282 years’ worth of Sundays, someone has sat, and stood, and sung, and knelt, and prayed here, in this space, inside these very walls. Someone in a waistcoat, in a hoop skirt, someone holding a homemade rag doll or an imported, porcelain-headed version, has stood at the first strains of the opening hymn. Someone wearing a bustle, or Confederate gray, or denim overalls, or deep black mourning, has unobtrusively bowed his or her head as a sign of humility as the processional cross was carried aloft and down this very aisle toward the altar. Someone in a middy blouse or boxy suit; in knickers or a knitted cloche; in a belted, darted, shirtwaist dress or Army fatigues, has opened the Book of Common Prayer and followed a liturgy dating from 1549. Like these colonists, these forebears, these faithful, this Sunday, in the oldest town in North Carolina, in the oldest standing, active church in North Carolina, in a short-sleeve dress and flats, I’m doing what they did, and what has been done every week for 282 years.

Like nearly everything in Bath, St. Thomas Episcopal Church is mere yards from water. The town was founded in 1705, on Bath Creek, which leads to the Pamlico River, which leads to the Pamlico Sound, and on to the Atlantic. Behind the church ”” simple, squarish, steeple-less ”” are fields of crops. The church’s front yard ”” indeed, its back yard ”” is randomly dotted with gravestones, both recent and ancient. No fences. No foundation plantings. A few firs, crooked with age. It’s easy to imagine how St. Thomas looked in 1734, when it was constructed. Little, it seems, has changed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

(NPR) National Cathedral Will Remove Confederate Flag Stained Glass Windows

The National Cathedral will be removing two images of the Confederate Flag from the building’s stained glass windows, after a period of public discussion on issues of race, slavery and justice.

The windows in question memorialize Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson; they were installed in 1953 after lobbying by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes