St. George's Spesutia, Maryland's oldest Episcopal parish, to end worship services

St. George’s Spesutia Parish in Perryman, the oldest Episcopal parish in Maryland, will suspend holding worship services effective at the end of the year, the Bishop of Maryland has informed parishioners.

In a letter dated Nov. 1, the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, explained the decision to members of the parish, which has been in continuous operation since 1671.

Sutton’s letter, a copy of which was provided to The Aegis by a parishioner, cited a lack of attendance at Sunday worship services, a lack of income from the collection plate and pledges “to sustain a parish financially with your buildings and grounds, let alone to sustain a thriving ministry” and the likelihood that the parish’s investments would be depleted within four years if the financial situation continued.

Read it all.


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

9 comments on “St. George's Spesutia, Maryland's oldest Episcopal parish, to end worship services

  1. TomRightmyer says:

    I served 1968-74 at Resurrection, Joppa, a new congregation in southern Harford County. St. George’s is isolated – down in the country south and east of Aberdeen. No one lives nearby. It was always small but had some endowment, some of which was spent when I was in the area. Various efforts have been made to grow the congregation.

  2. Emerson Champion says:

    From the article:[blockquote]”You have … been inflicted with a history and pattern of conflicts … between the parish and the diocese,” the Bishop wrote.[/blockquote]

  3. Jeremy Bonner says:

    If they’re not closing the church (which the article asserts) then it seems silly to end services if the congregation can find retired clergy willing to minister. For that matter, the congregation could return to colonial practice with infrequent celebration of the Eucharist and lay-led services the rest of the time. Strange reasoning.

  4. Cennydd13 says:

    Umm, yeah, and Lay Readers have been conducting Morning and Evening Prayer from the beginning……and I’ve done that occasionally. Colonial practice? Sure, and why not?

  5. Jeremy Bonner says:

    Just so we’re clear, Cennydd, I wasn’t deriding the practice. As you say, it’s a postcolonial phenomenon too, though it falls out of favor in the 20th century.

  6. MichaelA says:

    The real problem for this church is likely to be the open apostasy of TEC. Liberal leadership drives away the dedicated people.

    If this parish had orthodox leaders at provincial and diocesan level, devoted parishioners are likely to turn up.

  7. Cennydd13 says:

    For the record, I like Morning and Evening Prayer (especially Evensong) occasionally, but the Eucharist is the centerpiece for worship, and it should continue to be so. Could they use this property for what some call “summer Church,” when tourists are in the area? Just wondering.

  8. David Hein says:

    Wow–I think that’s one of the little churches where my father (when retired and living in Baltimore County) supplied before he died in 2010. I heard my parents mention it. I can’t quite see why the diocesan leaders have to close it. “A food bank will continue to operate out of one of the buildings, and the church and cemetery will remain available to current members for burials.”

    “and for burials”: All too symbolic of TEC’s current (and near-term future) state, and I’m not being snarky or cynical.

    Why can’t lay people hold services 3x/month and a priest come in once a month? My impression is that those little Harford Co. congregations are enthusiastically lay-run. It’s a shame to shut down some of the most interesting, historic places. If I were a retired priest, I’d hold services there for nothing.

  9. Cennydd13 says:

    I remember the “summertime churches” where I grew up…..some of which were in the Adirondacks. If they could be kept open and offering services for vacationers and the people of the area, why couldn’t this congregation do the same?