Category : TEC Departing Parishes

(TLC) David Goodhew–Facing Decline in TEC (the Episcopal Church)

[Jeremy] Bonner’s analysis shows how TEC has dramatically declined in recent years. There is a sense that the wider Anglican Communion has not awakened to how far and fast that decline has happened. In significant parts of the United States, TEC has ceased or will soon cease to have a meaningful presence. That said, those who write TEC off are overstating their case. Despite severe decline, it remains a substantial presence in parts of the nation, especially in some major cities.

Estimating the size of TEC’s decline and understanding its causes is complex. Suggesting remedies is beyond the scope of this short article. But a few things can be said.

First, churches need to face demographic realities. If, for example, a city’s or town’s ethnic make-up shifts, wise dioceses and congregations will adapt, not pretend everything is the same.

Second, denominations have to learn to value the local church theologically. If the local church is seen only as an adjunct to some higher good, often called the kingdom, it is not surprising that little effort is made to multiply such congregations or seek their growth. Seeing kingdom as different from, and better than, church is against the grain of the New Testament, in which local churches are integral to the kingdom. The things that we value are the things that tend to flourish. If we want to see growing local churches, we need a theology that values the local church more.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes

(Gafcon) Stories of sacrifice from the USA – How God sustained two faithful churches through tough times

Indeed, in an almost unbelievable twist, the diocese sold the property for a third of the price Good Shepherd had offered to a local Muslim Group! The building, now no longer a place of faithful gospel witness, stands as an ‘Islamic Awareness Centre.’ Tragically, the diocese preferred to sell to an organisation spreading the message of Islam than to a church who had for years preached Jesus and the true biblical gospel.

And so, the Kennedys (who lived in the rectory) were now homeless and the congregation had nowhere to meet. Game over, right?

Wrong! Following their untimely eviction, the congregation was provided with temporary space to worship by a local Baptist Church. And then, in a stunning example of God’s providence, they were later offered a permanent building that had been vacated in a Catholic parish merger. And so, it was settled; 360 Conklin Avenue would become the new home of the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd.

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Posted in Katherine Jefferts Schori, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

(Touchstone) SM Hutchens–The Mess Amongst Conservative Episcopalians

For more than thirty years now I have been an observer and sometime participant in what I will here call the conservative Episcopalian mess. The departure of more orthodox Episcopalians from an apostatizing mainstream headed by weak and clownish English archbishops and astoundingly aggressive heretics in North America, contained no real surprises, for this is the predictable fruit of religious liberalism hatched upon an ignorant, passive, and venal laity, that we have seen in other major Protestant churches, and from which modern Roman Catholicism, especially under a Nice Pope, is unlikely to be much of a refuge.

What I have found somewhat surprising, I suppose because my knowledge of the ecclesial geography was not very deep early on, was what a hard time conservative Anglicans have had getting their act (literally) together. Now to be sure, my “geographical” knowledge has increased over the years, so that I understand quite well that “conservative” applies to a number of incompatible or barely compatible attitudes….

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

Robert Munday on the 2016 Primates Gathering–Anglican Communion Acts–18 Years Late

The most significant outcome of that first GAFCON meeting was the invitation extended to conservative Anglicans in North America to form an alternative province: the Anglican Church in North America. The rending of the Communion through the disobedience of Communion liberals had occurred, and the final steps envisioned in To Mend the Net–the suspension of communion and the establishment of a new, alternative province–had become a reality.

In retrospect, the tragedy of this history can more clearly be seen: the painful departure of thousands of North American Anglicans from their church homes, countless millions of dollars spent in litigation. All of this might have been avoided if the three Archbishops of Canterbury under whose watches all this has occurred had provided faithful, godly, unequivocal leadership.

But there is an even greater tragedy: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (1 Corinthians 14:8). Of the three great streams of apostolic Christianity–Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism–two stand unequivocally for historic Christian faith and morals. Only Anglicanism has equivocated at the highest level.
The churches of formerly mainline Protestantism have embraced the zeitgeist. Too many Anglican leaders have chosen the path of mainline Protestantism rather than biblical, apostolic, and catholic faithfulness. And damage has been done to countless souls through the ambiguous or downright immoral witness of these Anglican leaders and church bodies.

Many count it a sign of God’s grace that, in this week’s meeting of the primates in Canterbury, the GAFCON and Global South primates have finally taken an effective stand to restore godly order and discipline to the Anglican Communion. This is a first step–a baby step–that, though it goes in the right direction, does not go nearly far enough. Will this first step ultimately lead to the restoration of the Anglican Communion to historic Christian faith and morals? For that to happen a lot of hearts will have to be changed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh–Nov 7th to be the end for St Martin's Monroeville before it is sold

For more than a half-century, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Monroeville has played an important, if not unique, role in the life of our diocese as a whole, as I know it has for many of you individually. Its visibility along the Parkway provided the means to proclaim to thousands of drivers every day that Jesus is alive. It was a Spirit-charged community, and members of our clergy and lay leaders alike have been fostered by that charism. And, it was the final resting place for some of our departed sisters and brothers.

As I am sure you are aware, there has not been an active Episcopal Church congregation worshiping at St. Martin’s for several years and the diocese now intends to sell the property.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

New Trinity Anglican Church nears after years 'in the wilderness'

After being without a sanctuary of their own for 2 1/2 years, Trinity Anglican Church members will break ground in December on a new $9 million, 27,000-square-foot complex in the southwest that includes worship space and a preschool.

The ceremony, planned for 1 p.m. Dec. 5 at the northwest corner of Buena Vista Road and Campus Park Drive, will feature a brief prayer service and dedication by Father Karl Dietze, rector at Trinity Anglican Church, and Bishop Eric Menees of Fresno.

It’s just the latest milestone for the congregation, which split from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in a microcosm of the nationwide philosophical schism of the mid-2000s that saw congregations in the valley and around the country leave the Episcopal Church and align themselves with the Anglican Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

(CEN) Martin Down–A Way Forward for the C of E given foundational disagreement over marriage?

If we needed any further persuading that there is no hope of holding the Church together over this, we need look no further than the history and example of what has happened in the USA, or indeed in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Whatever the scolding of the arrogant, Western, liberal élite, Gafcon and ACNA are simply not going to compromise or go away. It is clear that if the Church of England goes the way of The Episcopal Church and abandons its historic doctrine and discipline regarding marriage and sexuality a number of both clergy and congregations will secede from the Church here as they have done in the US and Canada.

We feel, and I speak as one of them, that the teaching of Jesus, the witness of Scripture throughout the Bible, and the tradition of the church, is unambiguous: marriage is between one man and one woman, and all expressions of sexuality outside that relationship are sinful deviations from the will of God. Of course, in our different ways, we all fall short of that ideal, but that does not change God’s will and purpose, nor our obligation to maintain our witness to it, both by our doctrine and our practice. We also feel that this is not an issue that can be fudged or relegated to a secondary or minor status, but that it is fundamental to our witness, both for the good of men and women and for the good of society, not least of children.

The only question worth discussing then is how a dignified and respectful separation can be achieved, in such a way that neither side is disadvantaged or penalized.The worst case would be that we repeat the quarreling and litigation that have disgraced the name of Jesus in the USA. Neither would it be sufficient simply to pension off the clergy who decided to leave, as happened over the ordination of women. There are important questions about local church property and funds to be addressed. But perhaps more importantly or more basically there is the matter of honouring the integrity of both sides, however much we may feel that the others are seriously wrong, and leave God to be our judge.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

ACNA and the Church of Ireland (3): a letter from Alan McCann

It would appear that the Revd Rupert Moreton (Letter, 2nd October) has failed to realise the changing reality of the worldwide Anglican family. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is part of the Anglican family, whether he, or even the Archbishop of Canterbury, approves or not.

I recently had the pleasure of hosting the Revd Ted Wood from ACNA at Holy Trinity, Woodburn, and welcomed the opportunity to fellowship with him and to listen to him preach at our morning service.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

A look at the dynamics of growth and decline in Episcopal Church parishes 2014

“Despite the tendency of new congregations to grow, the impact of these congregations on the level of attendance in the Episcopal Church is relatively small ””simply because there are so few of them.”

Take the time to read through it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

A S Haley–Charges Filed against TEC Bishop Bruno by Clergy and Parishioners

The new charges will add to his recent woes. After the news came out that Bishop Bruno purportedly had arranged a “sweetheart” private deal with a developer — no bids or listing of the property, but just terms worked out with a single buyer who wants to erect a suite of expensive townhomes on the property — he received a letter from the original developer of Lido Isle (the area of Newport Beach where St. James is located), the Griffith Corporation. That letter informed him something he ought to have known already: that the property on which the church stands was gifted to the Diocese for use only for church purposes. Griffith stated that if he went through with the proposed sale, the property would automatically revert back to it.

The letter caused Bishop Bruno to instruct his attorneys immediately to sue the Griffith Corporation for “slander of title” — a rather heavy-handed response to the donor of one’s most valuable property. You can read the complaint and see the original deed of gift at this link — the deed restriction is for real, and the courts enforce them as written.

It will be interesting to watch this scenario play out — whether the Bishop can remain on top of the situation will require that he first rein in his attack dogs, and begin treating donors and parishioners for the valued assets they are. Meanwhile, some useful information is emerging. According to this letter to the Diocesan Standing Committee, Bishop Bruno told the parish that he was trying to recoup the Diocese’s litigation expenses (incurred in suing four former parishes, including the previous congregation of St. James) of Nine Million Dollars. That is five million dollars greater than I had estimated in tallying up all the costs of Church litigation, as reported in this post.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

A.S. Haley–Sweet Poetic Justice for TEC Bishop of LA

And now — enter God’s poetic justice. It seems that Bishop Bruno, who is as quick as any Episcopal Church diocesan to recognize a Dennis Canon interest in property when he comes across one, forgot about an earlier reversionary interest in the St. James parish property. It turns out that the original developer of the area, Griffith Company, donated in 1945 the land on which the beautiful St. James building was erected, to the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, upon “the condition, covenant and restriction” that

The property conveyed shall be used for church purposes exclusively and no building other than a church and appurtenances shall be erected, placed or maintained thereon. The foregoing restriction shall be binding upon the [Bishop], his successors and assigns. Upon the breach of the foregoing condition, the title to said property … shall become at once divested from the [Bishop], his successors and assigns, and shall revert and revest in the grantor [Griffith Company], its successors or assigns.

Thus if Bishop Bruno carries out his plans to sell the property to the current developer, the only thing that developer could do with the property is maintain the existing church building on it (or build a brand-new one). And thus there is no way a developer would pay $15 million for land that is so encumbered.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes

(AAC) Phil Ashey–The Case of St. James Church, The Facts Speak for Themselves

Update: Video added June 1

Over the years, the Diocese of Los Angeles moved in a more liberal, revisionist direction but some parishes, including St. James, remained faithful. After my father retired in 1985, the vestry of St. James called a young priest from South Dakota to be their new Rector. The Rev. David Anderson and his lovely wife and children came to sunny California from a much different place. However they brought with them the same faith my father and the people of St. James held. Under Father David’s leadership, St. James grew and became an even more vibrant place of ministry and gospel witness. Healing ministries continued to flourish. New ministries were birthed””“Discovery (a kind of in house “Cursillo”) to introduce new members at St. James to discipleship in Christ, outreach to local rescue missions and jails, and a focus on evangelism through pre-marital and baptismal preparation. Many members of St. James were encouraged to participate in the life of the Diocese, to engage different points of view, and to share their Biblical faith in Christ with both truth and grace. As the congregation expanded, so did the building and facilities. Even after Father Anderson retired from St. James in 2004 to lead the American Anglican Council, St. James remained a place of faithful gospel witness in one of the most affluent areas of the country.

It’s with these memories in mind that I was saddened when I heard what The Episcopal Church was planning on doing with St. James. Like hundreds of other parishes, St. James voted to leave The Episcopal Church in the early 2000’s and was subsequently mired in a protracted lawsuit with The Diocese of Los Angeles. After years of fighting in court, the Diocese won the property. At the time, Bishop Jon Bruno said St. James was for those faithful Episcopalians in the Newport Beach area. So it was surprising when I read this Monday that Bishop Bruno and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles had agreed to sell St. James to a real estate developer. It will be bulldozed to the ground to make room for retail boutiques and condominiums, in keeping with the redevelopment of downtown Newport Beach. No provisions have been made for any sacred space for people of faith to replace this sacred space in the heart of the city.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Commentary, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

(OC Register) Newport Beach Episcopal church to be sold

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is nearing the end of negotiations to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to real estate developers.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno announced the sale to congregants Sunday, Diocese spokesman Robert Williams said. The sale of the church could bring in roughly $15 million — twice the appraised value of the site, Williams said.

Services at the church will likely continue into the fall, Williams said. No information on where congregants will be moved or whether the congregation may reopen at a different site was available on Monday, he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

Michael Bird has some interesting comments on TEC in a response to Rachel Held Evans

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a complex and diverse denomination. Only last January I had the pleasure of worshipping at two Episcopal churches in Houston, which was a great experience with some wonderful people. In a broad church like TEC there are people to the theological left and right and everything in between. However, TEC as a whole is typified by a radical liberalism and an authoritative leadership that punishes dissent and persecutes conservative believers (I can provide evidence if you wish!). Bishops in TEC have denied every line in the Apostles’ Creed and there is a flagrant rejoicing in apostasy. I have to tell you that the vast majority of world-wide Anglicans look on TEC with a mixture of confusion and disgust and have broken fellowship with TEC. It is because of TEC that the next Lambeth conference has been indefinitely postponed. The African and Global South Anglican bishops have responded with no shortage of rage and rancor at TEC’s actions and attitudes towards Scripture. Now if the TEC presiding bishop asked you, as something of a celebrity recruit to TEC, to go to Africa and get the African bishops to chillax and to receive TEC back into the Anglican fold, what would you say to them? In other words, should the global south Anglican bishops be in fellowship with TEC?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelicals, Global South Churches & Primates, Other Churches, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(Penn Live) Presbyterian Church forcing evangelicals out for having the "wrong" view of marriage?

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the national Presbyterian Lay Committee, said that in the same way the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ became inhospitable environments for evangelicals to serve, the Presbyterian Church is becoming much the same way.

“We are seeing the environment within the PCUSA change following the affirmation of this particular vote,” she says. “That environment is changing pretty rapidly. Presbyteries are becoming inhospitable to pastors who hold traditional views not only on this issue but on underlining issues related to the biblical authority of Jesus as the only way to salvation.”

While sexuality might be the presenting issue in this case, LaBerge argues that the real division is rooted in a theological cleansing – fueled by a growing intolerance toward traditional, biblical views.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Presbyterian, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture