The Bishop of Washington D.C.'s Diocesan Convention Address

A diocese engaged in the Gospel mission of Jesus Christ locally, domestically and globally must be a diocese consistently centered in corporate and private prayer. It must be a diocese that sees its parishes as being part of the whole mission of the diocese and the larger church and not just a diocese where parishes are “stand-alones” living into the concept of independent contractors and local franchises. For any parish to be an active agent of the mission and ministry of the Gospel in the 21st century, it must come to recognize that its ministry must extend beyond the local, regional and domestic environment, but must be connected to the global community as well. The diocese provides the very best and most visible way in which to do this. The Internet, satellite communications and almost instantaneous email access throughout the world makes our international neighbors as close to us as our neighbors who live in the house next door to us. We must not become a diocese or a church in isolation interested only in local parish issues.

There are a few occasions when I travel around the diocese when during a parish visit someone will say; “Bishop, we just can’t compete with the non-denominational mega churches that seem to be surrounding us on every side. We just don’t have the resources that they have.” At first glance this observation would seem correct. Non-denominational mega churches have parking lots jammed packed on Sundays, and are almost filled during the week, often with local police directing traffic. Some of these churches have seating capacities of 3000. But for a moment, don’t think parochially; think about the diocese as the church. In the Diocese of Washington if you were to see the diocese as the church and our parishes as supporting congregations, over 24,000 persons attend Episcopal services on average every Sunday. Unlike mega, non-denominational churches, we are linked together by a Common Lectionary, mostly common hymns, and the Book of Common Prayer that is the same in every congregation with very few variations. When I think of the diocese as the church and our parishes as the congregations that make up the diocese as church, then we become much larger than any mega church on any given Sunday or on any given day. In fact through the diocese, we are connected throughout the Episcopal Church nationally and with our Episcopal Church neighbors in Mexico, The Caribbean Basin, Central and South America. But, we are even larger than that, and stronger than any non-denominational community for we are partners with the 77 million member world wide Anglican Communion.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Data, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

20 comments on “The Bishop of Washington D.C.'s Diocesan Convention Address

  1. art+ says:

    Wow, how out of touch with what is happening in his own diocese. According to the latest stats the ASA in his diocese is around 15,000 not the 24,000 he thinks.

  2. Jeremy Bonner says:

    “Churches and even a diocese in the Episcopal Church have declared their allegiance to Bishops in Nigeria, Argentina, Uganda and Kenya.”

    Apparently, even the Bishop of Washington needs to consult with higher authorities. I’m sure we’ve been informed, on numerous occasions, that only individuals – not dioceses or parishes – can do this. I suppose the operative word here is “declared.”

  3. Sir Highmoor says:

    What another American bishop who can not count?

  4. Choir Stall says:

    Speaking of “out of touch”:
    If you wish, just watch National Cathedral services via their website. At Easter and Christmas (particularly) Bishop Chane is in his element: during processions he waves and mugs for the assembled as though they are there for him. The debris of the ego is awash all over the shores of TEC. “Out of touch” is seen in statements, video services, pronouncements, and self-imposed isolation of the mitered malaise.

  5. Pb says:

    This is the mission of the Church?

  6. Brian of Maryland says:

    … as if all those non-denominational mega-churches don’t have their own international connections and regular mission trips that actually make a difference on the ground. Talk about a poor understanding of the Body of Christ …


  7. David Keller says:

    The good bishop speaks the truth. TEC doesn’t have the resources mega-churches have. The resource they have which TEC doesn’t use is the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  8. Irenaeus says:

    “Think about the diocese as the church” —Bp. Chane

    Except when you want to depose orthodox bishops and keep orthodox dioceses in captivity.

  9. Peter Dewberry says:

    Bishop Chane boldly puts conservatives in their place.
    It is a pleasant surprise to read that DC diocese has experienced growth, with an ASA of about 24,000 “on any given Sunday.”

    It will be interesting to hear how the conservatives, who are always talking about how TEC is in decline, explain the phenomenal statistics for 2007 for the DC Diocese. I bet that they won’t anything to say when they see the remarkable reversal of the decline of the 10 year period from 1996 – 2006. According to official stats for the period 1996 – 2006, the DC diocese showed a steady decline in ASA from 17,200 in 1996 to 15,794 in 2006. a decline of -12%. Won’t it be delightful to be a fly on the wall and see those conservatives blush when it becomes clear that a decline of -12% has become a growth of +33% in just one short year, from a little under 16,000 to 24,000. WOW! The DC diocese is bucking the trend spectacularly.

    Bravo! +Chane, keep up the good work and show those conservatives how to do real church growth.

    Rev. Peter Dewberry

  10. Choir Stall says:

    Re: # 9
    Rev. Dewberry,
    Northern Virginia is an explosive metropolitan area. By sheer force of numbers (sit on the Beltway and see it), there will be constant influx of people – likewise, constant outflow. Look at Washington’s official rolls and you can assume that MANY people are on the books who probably no longer live in the Metro area, or who just sit out on Sunday. This is evidenced by the 2006 Parochial Reports (online). There is a gap in the 15,794 ASA (not Chane’s 24,000) and the Baptized (42,146) and Good Standing (32,333). Best scenario is that there are 32,333 that you can count on – and only half of them attend in the Diocese of Washington. Any way that you cut it the Diocese of Washington is in an explosive metro area and can’t get half of the members to attend – and in fact only received 488 new members among 91 churches among a population of at least 4 million.
    One would wonder how in an explosive Metropolitan area such laggard numbers could exist.

  11. Choir Stall says:

    488 new members (2006) among 91 churches means that each church may have confirmed or received an average of 5 new members in 2006….in a population of millions.

  12. Peter Dewberry says:

    Dear Choir Stall,
    I hope that you and others realize that my comment was “tongue in cheek”, perhaps I should have said so in comment itself. But I thought most would catch it.
    Peter Dewberry

  13. Choir Stall says:

    Gotcha ;

    I thought that the figures would be more embarrassing when put into the Metro context. Chane does not do his best business on Main Street, but he plays a mean drumset for the “Chane Gang”. I can imagine how Holiday Inn could use many TEC bishops in their ads: “I’m not a bishop, but I play in a band….I’m not a bishop but I WAS a scientist….I’m not a bishop, but I HAVE been thrice married….”
    You continue..

  14. Pb says:

    I’ll bet the folks in the pews feel better knowing that they belong to a mega church. It takes a bishop to explain these things.

  15. KAR says:

    #1 Would you please stop confusing +Chane with the facts.

  16. Irenaeus says:

    Not only is the DC metropolitan area growing rapidly but the Distict itself—after a long decline—now has a growing population. Perhaps the diocese should thank Mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty rather than Bp. Chane.

  17. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Stats, doctrine – what’s the difference? None, apparently. Feel free to make free with both.

  18. Statmann says:

    Diocese had about a 2 percent increase in membership from 1996 through 2002 and about a 1 percent decline in membership from 2002 through 2006. Sort of a no growth status for these 11 years. Plate & Pledge increased a robust 47 percent from 1996 through 2002 and then a more modest 17 percent from 2002 through 2006. The Plate & Pledge pattern looks quite similar to other dioceses with a significant change beginning in 2003. And most dioceses don’t have the enormous wealth of the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.

  19. Paul Powers says:

    Re #10: Northern Virginia is not part of the Diocese of Washington, which consists of DC and the Maryland suburban counties.

  20. TonyinCNY says:

    Speaking of Holiday Inn, since Murph and the Magic Tones left their gig at the Holiday Inn to back the Blues Brothers, maybe the Chane Gang can get some regular work there. It’s a bit of a jaunt from DC, but it is close to O’Hare Airport. Rumor has it that the HI in the movie is know a Days Inn.