A trifecta of resolutions introduced and passed by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s annual convention confirm a further politicized and progressive direction in which the denomination is headed.
Embracing progressive themes, delegates to The 123rd Diocesan Convention approved legislative proposals “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” and “On the Gendered Language for God” at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, January 27.
Resolutions were passed in under one hour and were introduced by a small number of delegates. The Rev. Kimberly Lucas, Rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., and a graduate of liberal Union Theological Seminary in New York, sponsored all three resolutions. Two of the three resolutions were submitted by The Rev. Alex Dyer, rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Parish in Washington, D.C. Dyer was briefly notable last year on social media for wrapping banners around construction fences at St. Thomas in which an image of a face-palming Jesus was accompanied by political messages including the tagline “a progressive church for a progressive city.”
According to statistics made available by the Episcopal Church, St. Thomas has declined precipitously in the past five years, shrinking from a weekly attendance of 150 down to 75 (-50%). St. Margaret’s has similarly declined from approximately 240 attendees in 2006 down to 130 (-46%).
In the past decade, weekly attendance in the Diocese of Washington has declined 17 percent. Meanwhile, baptisms have dropped 35 percent and weddings have declined 39 percent. In April, the diocesan clergy conference will hear from an organization assisting churches “to move from a place of plateau or decline to sustained congregational health.”
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