Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse?
Prominent bishops are pulling out. Convention-goers were told headquarters had spent $18 million suing local congregations. Members are leaving at a record rate. This is no longer George Washington’s church – once the largest denomination in the colonies.
“Yesterday,” reports Angela O’Brien from the convention, “the House of Bishops of the Episcopalian Church approved a new provisional blessing for gay unions, while the full General Convention voted in favor of general acceptance for transgender clergy.
“Some Episcopalian bishops spoke out against the resolution on
same-sex blessings. Bishop Bauerschmidt, of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, urged the bishops to defeat the resolution.
“The Reverend David Thurlow advocated rejecting the resolution. ‘For two thousand years the Church has had clear teaching regarding Christian marriage and Biblical norms of sexual behavior,’ he said, pointing out that ‘through previous statements and resolutions the Church has pledged itself not to make any change to this traditional teaching.’
Likewise, Bishop Edward Little of Northern Indiana stood against the resolution.
“The Christian world is going to understand us as having changed the nature of the sacrament of holy matrimony,” Bishop Little said. “The Christian world will look at that liturgy world and see vows, and exchange of rings, a pronouncement and a blessing and they will understand that to mean the Episcopal Church has endorsed same-sex marriage and changed a basic Christian doctrine. I do not believe that we are free to do that.”
But few observers were surprised by the transgender and same-sex resolutions.
A few years ago, the annual national Episcopal convention overwhelmingly refused even to consider a resolution affirming that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Upon returning home from that meeting, Bishop Peter H. Beckwith, leader of the Springfield, Illinois, diocese, wrote in a pastoral letter that the Episcopal church was “in meltdown.”
Beckwith has joined bishops in the dioceses of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, California, and South Carolina in asking their church’s top official, the Archbishop of Canterbury in England, for permission to pull out.
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