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Episcopal Church Membership Drops by 3 Percent

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Domestic membership in the Episcopal Church dropped by 3 percent in 2008, continuing a decline in which the denomination has lost almost 200,000 American members since 2004, according to Episcopal researchers.
The Episcopal Church now counts slightly more than 2 million members in about 7,000 U.S. parishes. Church leaders say they are pleased, however, that the denomination is growing in its non-domestic dioceses, particularly in Haiti and Latin America, where the church counted about 168,000 members in 470 parishes last year.
Still, the church is “swimming against some difficult cultural tides,” Matilda Kistler, who heads a state-of-the-church committee in the denomination’s House of Deputies, said in a statement.
“We find ourselves facing a society that is gravitating toward secularism,” Kistler said. “We also believe that the church-going segment of the public is aging significantly, though the committee will be seeking more definitive data to ascertain if that is so.”
Kistler acknowledged that “internal conflicts within the Episcopal Church have also distracted from the message of hope our clergy and lay leaders seek to share.”
In 2003, the church consecrated an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire, setting off a furor among conservative Episcopalians and the global Anglican Communion, which counts the Episcopal Church as its U.S. branch. Four dioceses and dozens of parishes have since left the Episcopal Church, some to join a rival denomination, the Anglican Church in North America.
On Saturday (Dec. 5), Episcopalians in Los Angeles elected a lesbian priest as an assistant bishop, despite pleas from Anglican bishops throughout the world not to elect any more gay bishops. The Rev. Mary Glasspool must still have her election confirmed by a majority of the church’s diocesan standing committees and bishops before she is consecrated as a bishop.
Daniel Burke
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



  • nnmns

    “We find ourselves facing a society that is gravitating toward secularism”
    Good news, indeed.

  • pagansister

    Amen, nnmns!

  • outtahere

    Hmmm, by the first two comments, it seems the Episcopal leadership’s actions are pleasing to the secularists who are cheering on news of its demise. That seems a good argument to do the opposite.
    And a Barna analysis, just released, says it will get worse for liberal mainstream denominations much simply due to aging demographics. We also have this:
    “While Hispanics make up 16% of the US population, they are only 6% of the mainline population. Asians represent 4% of the American public, but only half that proportion among mainline congregants. The failure to add substantial numbers of Hispanics is especially significant, given both the rapid increase of the Hispanic population as well as the outflow of Hispanics from Catholicism to Protestant churches in the past decade. Most of the Hispanics leaving Catholicism for another faith community are settling into evangelical or Pentecostal Protestant churches.” http://tinyurl.com/yzm85dv
    This is interesting because the election in LA very close, narrowly defeating a Latino candidate.

  • nnmns

    “This is interesting because the election in LA very close, narrowly defeating a Latino candidate.”
    Homosexuals and Latinos (not to mention blacks, of course) have been discriminated against for centuries so it speaks well for the Episcopals that their two final candidates were people who might have been ignored in a lot of denominations.

  • cknuck

    nnmns although you would love to throw Latinos and Blacks into the soup with homosexuals there are distinct differences and I am confident my Latino friends would concur, I have several Latino congregations within my network so I do have first hand information. I see youth flocking to evangelical congregations and they are bible believing Christians.
    The Episcopal survey says they lost 200, 000 so the real number is probably double.

  • outtahere

    So instead of choosing the the Latino candidate, they choose the liberal caucasian – as if the Episcopal denomination doesn’t have too many of them. The laity vote consistently went to the Latino candidate and clergy voting for the lesbian candidate. The clergy/leadership of the denomination talk diversity and growth, but then their actions are all about exclusivity and decline…all to the secularists delight.

  • outtahere

    And by the way, nnmns, it’s “the Episcopalians” not “the Episcopals”. Obviously, being “open” and “inclusive” and “accepting” hasn’t drawn nnmns into the fold.

  • seraph

    Hispanics are mainly socially conservative and are not flocking to communities of faith where homosexuality is celebrated in an overt fashion. For all the talk of diversity in the Episcopal Church it is but an illusion, the LA election is an illustration. Aging, liberal, well to do white people elected one of their own…again, instead of opting for a younger, moderate person from a different demographic. Whereas the lesbian’s candidate election will certainly be applauded in LA, it will surely not send any Hispanics running to Episocopal parishes there, and may cost others elsewhere in memmbership. It is just senseless…!

  • interpreter

    I am greatly saddened by the nomination of the lesbian bishop in LA. I too will leave the Episcopal Church if she is confirmed.

  • Chall8987

    Cknuck,
    All nnms said was that hispanics and gays have both faced discrimination in America. That’s very different from saying they represent the same demographic. The straw man argument doesn’t hold through.

  • cknuck

    Chall8987 I will always confront any comparison of sexual orientation to race and my argument will hold because of some very real facts. The homosexual argument for same sex marriage or bringing homosexuality into the church as a godly behavior does not compare to being Hispanic or any other ethic group. It’s like saying the moon should be called the sun.

  • My Name

    cknuck would you mind citing some of those “very real facts” for us? You always talk about these “facts” but you steadfastly refuse to cite them. Why would anyone take you seriously? Out wait, I know why. It’s because you’re bigoted against the same groups as those that take you seriously.

  • cknuck

    YN because you come in on the tail end of a situation does not mean you are qualified to accuse me of anything. I have sited the differences between race and sexual preferences many times for the few feeble minds that cannot make the leap for themselves once again:
    A person’s race can be determined even from their skeleton even if there is no other evidence like flesh or hair. A person’s race can be determined from hair many times. But most of all there is gene evidence, and dna. Homosexuality cannot be determined from any other way than a persons behavior, no gene evidence, not cell evidence, no dna, no hormonal evidence no hair or skeleton evidence can be used to find a person’s sexual preference. Of course there are some inspections that are indicators but I won’t mention those here. Because I don’t accept rhetoric equating sexual orientation with race does not make me a bigot so throw that word around to others that may not have an argument for their point of view, I’m not that person.

  • nnmns

    cknuck I think some of your claims are wrong but I don’t have time to look it up now. Maybe someone else will. More to the point, even if we could not do it now that does not mean we won’t be able to. Long ago we couldn’t see germs but that didn’t mean they did not exist, and wise people then acted as though they did exist.
    I’ve given more convincing evidence than you just did that homosexuality is genetic, at least partly, and apparently it may be environmental (early exposure to chemicals, hormones, ??), all things the individual can’t control. But you want to deny them rights based on things they can’t control, which is exactly what happened to blacks and what has happened to Hispanics and others.

  • My Name

    For those that come in on the tail-end of this I am actually qualified to call ck a bigot. If it walks like a bigot, talks trash like a bigot, and is prejudiced like a bigot, well then chances are pretty good that it’s a bigot. ck you really are that person. It starts with taking away secular rights, it ends in taking away the right to live. Anyone read about Uganda lately? Their policy is growing from seeds planted by western minds very much like cknuck’s. In the name of god indeed.

  • cknuck

    MN you are so clever; not. the old “walk like a” load of crap is indicative of your top speed. Good for a laugh or two but no argument.

  • My Name

    Thanks ck! I am quite clever I think. =) Now can you work in a comment about Uganda while insulting me? I try to add a little substance to backup my shots at you. You still seem content on just insulting others. You’re such an amazing christian!!! Golly I wish I were just like you!!! Not.

  • Heniretta22

    I mentioned in another article about science showing that the brains of Homosexuals show a difference in size in parts, compared to Heterosexual brains. It gave reasons for their difference in behavior because of this. I haven’t time to dig through my files for the article, but I suppose you could google it if you are interested. More will show in time I have no doubt.

  • cknuck

    nonsense

  • pagansister

    No more nonsense than believing in an invisible being. At least science can show concrete evidence to prove something one way or another, even though it takes time. Time hasn’t proven the existence of a divine being.
    Answer this, cknuck. Why would anyone “choose” a life that brings such hatred and discrimiation??? (even with the rights that are slowly being given finally). Homosexuality isn’t a choice, it is what it is, just like heterosexuality.

  • cknuck

    science cannot prove homosexuality on any scientific level the big brain theory is nonsense. It like saying it’s like saying homosexuality is like Down’s syndrome but down’s has chromosomal evidence homosexuality does not.

  • pagansister

    Managed to skip the “choice” part of the post. Why, cknuck, would anyone choose discrimiation and damning by some “Christians?”

  • cknuck

    I don’t know why a person would choose homosexuality but more than a small percentage of the population make choices that don’t make sense to the larger popualtion. That won’t win your case. I don’t have to understand why people expose themselves, or stick things into themselves or spank each other but I don’t have to know why for it to be a reality.

  • pagansister

    Not trying to “win” anything, ck. Just asking. Glad to hear that you aren’t trying to understand all those things you wrote…. it is what it is.

  • cknuck

    Sorry if my poor grammar mislead you pagan I was sitting in front of a panel in a really boring session trying to blackberry my response. My apologies

  • pagansister

    Apology accepted, cknuck. :o)

  • My Name

    ck you are just so blatantly ignorant and evil and you revel in that don’t you. I just can’t believe people like you exist. I don’t know why people like you choose to be so hateful and prejudiced but to each their own right? Heterosexuality can’t be proved genetically either so what does that do to your little theory. You don’t really believe in science anyway so who cares what it proves. You use science like you use the bible. You only pay attention to the stuff that backs up your freakish stupidity. You don’t really believe in anything but yourself. You lack compassion. These are real people, good people that you talk about with such contempt and disdain. You are an affront to Christianity and humanity. And it’s good to see you have such an open mind about new ideas. Your response to the big brain theory was a perfect example of what an idiot you are. You are the example of nonsense. Minds like yours are the problem not homosexuals. Do us all a favor and crawl back under your rock and stay there.

  • pagansister

    YN:
    As much as I tend to disagree with cknuck on many, many things, probably most things religious, I don’t think he is “evil”. He has accused me of representing his version of evil, the famous devil, with my ideas etc.(which I find humorous actually) for what it is worth, he believes what he says, like most of us do. But disagreement doesn’t necessarily mean “evil”. His dislike of what homosexuals engage in as non-productive and un-natural is based on his total and absolute religious stance. Do I agree…most certainly not, but cknuck may be a lot of things, but evil isn’t one of them…stuborn with his thoughts, most certainly, but not evil. Just my thoughts.

  • pagansister

    Big OOPS. Above should address MY NAME, not Your Name. Sorry Your Name.

  • cknuck

    MN why don’t you tell me what you really think? lol anyway that’s what you think and not fact. The standard for man and woman is heterosexuality so it does not have to be a gene, hormone, or cell to prove that man is man or woman is woman. The unnatural event of homosexuality is less defined. what sort of phenomenon is it is indeed up for debate because it cannot be proven what it is or how it happens or for that matter other than a verbal admission who is homosexual. I am asserting that this separates it from being count in race discussion or comparisons. If that does not make sense to you then there is nothing I can do for you and perhaps your name calling will give you some sort of satisfaction or something but it won’t make you right.

  • cknuck

    pagan I am not only touched by your response but enlightened

  • My Name

    PS you’re good people. You’re compassionate and that is a noble thing. ck’s need to demonize people based on no logical argument to the point that these people are regularly beaten and killed is evil. He is a part of that. His “dislike” is not for what homosexuals engage in but for homosexuals in general. He hates the sinner and the sin. That is evil. Based on a “religious stance” is just a nice way of saying based on self-imposed ignorance, a complete disregard for humanity, and an extreme case of self-rightiousness. He and those like him are the disease. That’s how I really feel ck.

  • cknuck

    MN then I truly feel sorry for you, you live in your own little world. I have never criticized a homosexual person I did not know. I have some knowledge of some homosexuals through their post here so I have criticized them personally but so what I criticize many people homosexual or not, unless you want to be placed in a special needs class of person. (I know long sentence but once I got started) I talk if you review my post about homosexuality the practice, so for you to claim that I hate the sinner is just wrong and a blatant lie, and for that I feel sad for you.

  • cknuck

    There’s better ways of getting attention MN

  • My Name

    And for your certain position in hell I feel sad for you.

  • pagansister

    You know I tell it like I see it, cknuck. :o)

  • cknuck

    MN liars like you have always accused Christians of condemning people to hell, there has never been a post or a incident in life I have ever did that; and there you are. I have never understood how a person can make the claim that another person is going to hell. reading your post helps me to conclude it must be a fruitcake thing. No human knows who is going to hell or to heaven. See a shrink get your emotions in check make sense.

  • My Name

    A fruitcake thing? You’re a disgusting person. Enjoy the lake of fire.

  • My Name

    And my emotions are exactly where they need to be. Outrage and disgust are natural and proper reactions when moronic ‘men of god’ like yourself are actively demonizing and vilifying innocent men and women based on bad interpretation of a fairytale. I know I will never change your mind and make you a better person because one cannot debate your illogical delusions with sound reason, logic and compassion for humanity.

  • My Name

    You owe me an apology ck. Your use of a bigoted slur is no different than if I say your obvious lack of intelligence is a n****r thing. You have exposed your heart for what it truly holds. You are a bigot and your are hateful. You do hate the sinner ck. Pray to God that He can change you.

  • cknuck

    MN get help right away, calling me the n word has nothing to do with the statement I made. You see I do not recognize homosexuals any more as gay as any other name you might attribute to your sexual nature. Fruitcake is the way I described an irrational thought pattern; if you claim it has something to do with homosexuality then that is your self imposed burden to bear I’m not responsible for that. I think you just used it as an excuse to be who you are and use the n-word, I’m going to pray for you.

  • My Name

    Please don’t pray for me. Your god is disturbed. And get over yourself. You know you used a slur. Own your bigotry. Display it proudly or apologize.

  • cknuck

    MN, It’s so important to you that you won’t have anything to do with the truth you live there only because you put yourself there. I do apologize when I am wrong but I’m not wrong about this, it’s you stuff only have fun with it.

  • cknuck

    sorry, should read “its your stuff only, have fun with it.”

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