We’re also investing tremendous resources in our congregations as the foundation of Christian life. Contrary to the conservative critique, it isn’t what we’ve changed that is weakening our congregations, but rather what we’ve been unwilling to change. For all our liberal theology and progressive politics, we’ve remained rather stodgy in worship, wedded to unwieldy structures, and resistant to growth. When I ask young people what keeps them from attending church, the answer, predictably, is that it’s boring. And they’re right! But we’re committed to changing that, both in the Diocese of Washington and across the country, so that all our congregations will be vital centers of Christian worship, learning, community, and service.
And why do all this? Why does it matter for the Episcopal Church to claim its place in the spiritual landscape of our nation?
I believe that the Episcopal Church has something vitally important to offer to our time, that we have particular gifts and unique perspectives on the gospel of Jesus Christ that this culture hungers for and desperately needs. That, in the boldest of affirmations, we have something God needs for God’s mission of renewing the face of the earth. And so on our watch, we are called to change; to turn the trends of decline, atrophy and lethargy around; to assume our place as God’s collaborators in mission; and to help transform this culture by allowing ourselves to be transformed.