Daily Archives: January 28, 2012

A.S. Haley on TEC's Executive Council and the Massive Challenges they face that Cannot be Escaped

Both the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies made opening remarks to the Council, along with CEO Bishop Sauls. (Bishop Jefferts Schori’s remarks were not made from a prepared text, but are summarized in this ENS article.) Reading between the lines of each, and translating the Presiding Bishop’s earlier prepared remarks about coming changes in structure, which may be viewed here, it is clear that the heads of the Church are not of one mind about how to deal with the challenges which it faces in the twenty-first century.

And those challenges are significant and substantial. They are summarized graphically in a presentation to the Council (zip file download is at this link) by Kirk Hadaway, who is the church official in charge of congregational research, and by Matthew Price, of the Church Pension Fund. Among other facts shown, 72% of Episcopal congregations were in financial stress as of 2010 (compared to 58% of other denominations for the same year) — the highest level in the past decade, by far.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(ENS) Executive Council challenged to engage in adaptive change

Three Episcopal Church leaders challenged members of the church’s Executive Council Jan. 27 to engage in “adaptive change” in response to what they said are changing church and societal environments.

That challenge began immediately as the members received two different budget scenarios developed by council’s Executive Committee upon which to begin formulating a draft 2013-2015 budget. One scenario calls for asking dioceses to contribute 19 percent of their income and the other calls for dioceses contributing 15 percent. The larger income would be $103.6 million and the 15 percent-asking budget would be reduced by approximately $13.5 million, according to Treasurer Kurt Barnes.

In an emailed memo to Episcopal Church Center staff after the scenarios were presented to council, Chief Operating Officer Stacy Sauls noted that the 19-percent version plans on a $5.9 million decrease in income from the current triennium. The 15-percent version’s reduced revenue amounts to $19.3 million less than the current triennium.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, House of Deputies President, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Bishops

Kirk Hadaway and Matthew Price's presentation made to TEC's Executive Council Yesterday

Broader Measures of Church Vitality

To get a broad-based sense of congregational vitality, we have used a number of measurements including church school enrollment, marriages, funerals, child baptisms, adult baptisms, and confirmations. These speak to a parish’s integration in the community and the possibility for future growth:

Change in church school enrollment: -33%
Change in number of marriages performed: -41%
Change in number of burials/funerals: -21%
Change in the number of child baptisms: -36%
Change in the number of adult baptisms: -40%
Change in the number of confirmations: -32%

While these numbers may not capture the totality of what is happening in the Church, we do not have a measure that is moving in a positive direction.

Do take the time to read and consider it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Data, TEC Parishes

Article in The Tennessean on the Continuing AMIA Fracas–Former Episcopalians face more upheaval

For the second time in a decade, the Rev. Thomas McKenzie has found himself in an ugly church fight.

Back in 2004, it was over sexuality and salvation in the Episcopal Church.

Now it’s over power and money, the spat between leaders of the Anglican Mission in the Americas ”” made up mostly of former Episcopalians like McKenzie ”” and the overseas Anglican group that adopted them.

“It’s sinful, it’s ugly, it’s wrong,” said McKenzie, pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville and a former Episcopal priest. “And it doesn’t bring honor to the name of Christ.”

Read it all.

Update: Please note–this link no longer works for me but I found it over here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Continuum, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

Why You need to know about the Association of Religion Data Archives Website

As an example consider these available religion quiz topics:

Pet ministries and the spiritual growth of congregations
Investing for sustainability
Congregational conflict in changing times
The church in rural America

It is a goldmine–check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture

Recent Statistics for the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

(Note that I decided to research these numbers based on the preceding post about the diocese–KSH).

According to the U.S.Census Bureau’s figures, Roanoke, the see city of the diocese, has grown in population from 94,911 in 2000 to 97,032 in 2010. This represents a population growth of approximately 2.2% in this time frame.

According to Episcopal Church statistics, the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia went from Average Sunday Attendance (or ASA) of 5,311 in 2000 to 4,266 in 2010. This represents a decline of 19.7% during this decade.

Please note that if you go to the link toward the end of this sentence and enter “Southwestern Virginia” as the name of the diocese and then “View Diocese Chart” underneath on the left you can see in pictorial form some of the data from 2000-2010.

Posted in Uncategorized

Southwestern Virginia Episcopal Bishop says it's time for him to retire

“I feel it’s a good decision, and it’s a tender decision,” [Bishop Neff] Powell said. “I love this diocese, and it’s going to mean saying goodbye to it.”

Powell, 64, is leaving as he nears retirement age and as the diocese – like the Episcopal Church itself – is grappling with slowly declining membership, attendance and revenues. A committee is presenting over the weekend a proposal that would partially decentralize resources to the parishes.

“Rather than me staying for these changes, I think it’s time to call for a new bishop,” Powell said.

Read it all.

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

Northern California Episcopal Church to close Feb. 12

The closing of the church is a result of an aging congregation and others who have moved. There are no longer enough
remaining members to maintain its services or care for the building and grounds.

The congregation is saddened by its inability to do so, however, feeling that the closing of the doors will surely open God’s work elsewhere in the community.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(NPR) [From StoryCorps] After Son's Sudden Death, Shock, Grief And Coping

“StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants.”

This is one such story….

Read or much better listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Almighty God, who hast enriched thy Church with the singular learning and holiness of thy servant Thomas Aquinas: Enlighten us more and more, we pray thee, by the disciplined thinking and teaching of Christian scholars, and deepen our devotion by the example of saintly lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The American BCP

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I fetch a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on–since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds, and milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

–Genesis 18:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Economist) Globalisation and Jihadism intersect in the little-known Metropolis of Kano

A year ago arrivals on the outskirts to Kano had to pass a sign forbidding alcohol consumption and banning women from riding on motorbikes. Now it is gone.

Kano may be the sixth-biggest Muslim city in the world””after Karachi, Jakarta, Dhaka, Cairo and Istanbul””but it is far from the most conservative. Women lift their hemlines to get on the back of achabas, motorbikes that are the main source of transport. Mini vans carry both sexes to their destination. It is possible to get a cold beer to wash away sand inhaled during a day on the edge of the Sahara.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism