New Episcopal priest brings spike in Bridgewater, Mass., Episcopal Church numbers

Former congregants are returning after a divisive few years in the parish, and new congregants, mostly young families, are drawn in by the new priest, a bubbly 32-year-old mom who smiles easily, cracks jokes and is apt to talk about iPods or pop culture during sermons.

“I wasn’t very happy with the way things were and found myself going to the Whitman church,” said parishioner Suzanne O’Connor, who left the Bridgewater church for three years and returned shortly after [Natasha] Stewart arrived.

O’Connor says personality clashes between congregants and the former head priest were to blame and says most complaints stemmed from discomfort by parishioners who couldn’t afford to donate large sums of money to the church.

Since arriving about two and a half years ago in Bridgewater, Stewart says she has devoted great energy to welcoming all parishioners, regardless of social status and wealth.

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

5 comments on “New Episcopal priest brings spike in Bridgewater, Mass., Episcopal Church numbers

  1. Old Pilgrim says:

    This is after all Massachusetts. I am not surprised. It will be interesting to see if this phenomenon lasts.

  2. Undergroundpewster says:

    The article notes part of the increase is due to other church closings and the new rector is only part time.

    Statman might be able to figure out what the numbers are for the combined parishes.

  3. Dan Crawford says:

    Gosh, I never knew that social status and wealth were criteria for acceptance in the Episcopal Church.

  4. Statmann says:

    I believe the two closings were St. Paul in Brockton and St. David in Halifax. The 2009 TEC Charts have no data for St. David but the Red Book listed it at 39 Members in 2008. St. Paul went from Members 100, ASA 45, and Plate & Pledge of $33K to Members 30, ASA 35, and Plate & Pledge of $15K in 2009. Hard to guess how many that Trinity may have gained by their closings. Trinity had about 250 Members, ASA of 90, and Plate & Pledge of $80K. They have a long way to go to reach $150K. But their efforts seem to favor children so I must wish them Fair Winds and a Following Sea. Statmann

  5. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Ah, some of us can remember when “spike” meant High Church practices… .