Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Quincy in the news

Updated Thursday evening to add link to ENS article

According to Episcopal Café:

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Quincy is studying the question, “Shall the Diocese of Quincy separate from the Episcopal Church?”

It has distributed a 35-page document, “The Church in Crisis: A Resource for the Diocese of Quincy,” to every member household in the diocese. The standing committee says it contains “reliable information on the current situation.”

The document is a 2.3 Mbyte PDF file and can be found via this page (follow Download link to extract the PDF itself).

Episcopal Café has more analysis of the content of the document at Quincy studies separation.

Quincy, with an Average Sunday Attendance of 1105 in 2006, is not the smallest diocese in The Episcopal Church.
The Diocese of Springfield is next door to Quincy and has an Average Sunday Attendance of about 2400.

Detailed ten year statistics for all dioceses are available in a PDF here.

Update Wednesday evening

There are reports about this in the Living Church Quincy Delegates will Consider Separation in November and also Quincy, Springfield Plan Joint Meeting.

Update Thursday evening

Episcopal News Service has a long article, QUINCY: Diocese offers ‘resource’ for making realignment decisions by Joe Bjordal and Mary Frances Schjonberg

…In a cover letter, the diocesan Standing Committee said that the 35-page document resulted from requests following a meeting last May attended by “all priests with a parish, mission or cure” and all elected officials of the diocese, clergy or lay. The reported purpose of the meeting was to begin “a discernment exercise where self-selected groups were asked to discern the following question: ‘Shall the Diocese of Quincy separate from the Episcopal Church? If so, why and how? If not, then why not?’”

Called “The Church in Crisis: A Resource for the Diocese of Quincy,” the document was included in a mailing sent to households on the mailing list of The Harvest Plain, the diocesan newspaper.

Also included in the mailing was a video recording of a presentation by Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, to the Diocese of Forth Worth in March…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 August 2008 at 10:02pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

The Diocese of Quincy cathedral statistics for 2005 and 2006, posted on Episcopal Café, show a 33% drop in membership over the twelve-month period, paralleled by a 43% increase in income.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 13 August 2008 at 11:29pm BST

Truncated link in your reference:

Detailed ten year statistics for all dioceses are available in a PDF here.

the h in http is clipped off

SS adds, fixed now, thanks and sorry.

Posted by: gbd on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 5:56am BST

No-one should be held aginst their will! Let them go, but don't let them corral the 'Anglican' title.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 7:20am BST

Just out of interest, comparable attendance statistics for the Church of England for 2005 and 2006 are athttp://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/statistics/2006provisionalattendance.pdf. I hadn't previously realised that in terms of average Sunday attendances the Church of England is a fair bit bigger than ECUSA (983,000 as against 804688).

Posted by: magistra on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 8:58am BST

The information that the Diocese of Quincy is “considering separation” from TEC, having an ASA of 1.105 (!) makes me think of the present crisis in Georgia (Caucasus) where some traditionally Russia-friendly enclaves want to separate from Georgia into association with Russia…

According to the BBC in 1991 when the last round of troubles started, Abkhazia had a population of 550.000, of which maybe 225.000 have fled. They remaining are Russian, Georgian and (minority) Abkhaz, many Abkhaz fleeing already after 1829-1859/1864/1878, Russians and Georgians moving in. Abkhazia became Sovietic in 1931, Stalin used to spend his vacations there;
The population of Ajaria (with the important, sometime Turkish, port Batumi, now oil imports, refineries and shipbuilding) is estimated at 400.000 They are Muslim Georgians and Russians, Ajaria became Russian in 1878, when Turkey gave up sovereignty over Caucasus;
North Ossetia has 700.000 inhabitants. Russian after 1859/1878 (?), Sovietic in 1924. Following the 1990-92 ethnical conflict the Ingush fled to neighbouring Ingushetia. The remaining are Persian speaking Ossets and Russians;
South Ossetia (where the fighting is) had 100.000 inhabitants 15 years ago (a third of them Georgians), maybe half of the 70.000 remaining have left for North Ossetia, having been given Russian Passports lately... The remaining are Ossetians, Russians and Georgians. Ossetia is a neighbour to Chechnya...

Of these territories, Abkhazia is the larger (no figure given by the BBC), followed by North Ossetia with 8.000 sq km. Incorporated in the USSR after a spat of freedom after 1917 all these regions formed a common Transkaukasian Soviet Republic in the 1920ies, which is what put the Russian-friendly enclaves within Georgian borders in the first place as a useful trouble-makers. Divide et Impera!

;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 9:18am BST

magistra,

The CofE nominally has 26 million members, in comparison TEC has 2.3. I think the attendance figures bear witness to the fact that the TEC is a more active church.

Posted by: Jeffrey Allison on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 3:26pm BST

Father Ron Smith:
I agree about freedom to separate, but seriously doubt that Anglican brand confusion can be avoided in this or any of the splits that are now pressing for, or will soon seek legal resolution and title - in TEC or wherever. Regrettably, I don't think any one party has full title to all variations and combinations that might involve use of the style "Anglican".

Posted by: Cal McMillan+ on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 4:12pm BST

Tiny dioceses trying to rock their boats very hard to create as large a wave as possible. I knew they were small but this is getting close to the vanishing point!

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 4:17pm BST

So let me get this straight...Quincy is a small diocese ergo they are meaningless. Hmmm... What then will be said about DSJ and FW and Pittsburgh? Are they also meaningless?

Degrading fellow Christians, notwithstanding, tell me how long will the mantra, "there's no problem, everything is fine" continue? Is it time to at least agree that the TEC house is on fire? First it was a parish here and there, then groups of parishes, then entire dioceses...this isn't a small matter...right?

Posted by: Joe on Friday, 15 August 2008 at 5:18am BST

John wrote: "this isn't a small matter...right?"

You can repeat that in 50 years time, if you like.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 15 August 2008 at 7:53am BST

"First it was a parish here and there, then groups of parishes, then entire dioceses...this isn't a small matter...right?"

Let's see, 500 years ago, England was a small nation, militarily the weakest in Europe, ruled by a son of usurper. The uncertainty of his succession made him a little dotty, so that he wanted to divorce his first wife, who was related to the ruler of the greatest power in Europe. For political and theological reasons, the Church in England made an alliance with him to escape what they saw as unwarranted foreign control which had introduced error into the faith. In so doing, they brought upon themselves the very real risk of national destruction, indeed, his daughter was only spared it by what was widely seen as Divine Intervention. He did something that was uncomfortably new at the time, he defied the Pope, who, after accumulating power for centuries, considered himself so entitled to rule that the princes of Europe should kiss his feet in deference. This king also allowed his prelates to introduce some of the radical new revisions of Christianity being mooted on the continent and at home. After this, he proceeded to live a life of debauchery and immorality that resulted in a psate of state sponsored murders and two divorces(which meant several sinful remarriages). Yet, we now speak of "the worldwide Anglican communion" the majority of whom are descendants of people who received the Good News from Anglicans. Remind me again how after that beginning, Anglicans have any right to condemn the sexual pecadillos of others. Remind me again how Rome catered to that small little group of upstart English so as to give them whatever they wanted and keep the Church together. Remind me again how size matters. And explain how those who proudly inherit the revisions of the Reformation, even those so radical Anglicans have never accepted them, can be so upset about something far less radical than many of the beliefs that they now hold dear. Seriously. It baffles me how the proud spiritual descendants of revisionists could be so irate at others whose "revisionism" is far less sweeping than anything the former group holds dear.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 15 August 2008 at 12:36pm BST

Ford, what's your point? So Henry VIII's libido was the mechanism to release the full force of the English reformation. OK. That hardly makes Henry a saint nor does it portend that w/o Henry that there would not have been an English Reformation. (Don't you recall that the "Morning Star" of the Reformation was an English theologian?) Moreover, you confuse revisioning with reforming. The former seeks to innovate - it's the work of novelty - whilst the latter is an attempt to return to former glory. The English Reformers certainly took advantage of the freedom HVIII offered, but they did not innovate, they rather sought to reform the church - like the continental Reformation - by returning the Church to its BIBLICAL foundation (remember that whole Luther, "Here I stand" bit?).

The difference now is that the revisionists of the 21st century seek a church that is POST-biblical. They want a religion that outwardly looks Christian but meanwhile denies the very foundation upon which the Christian faith stands: the Word of God.

Posted by: Joe on Friday, 15 August 2008 at 8:58pm BST

No, we don't, Joe. Stop "degrading fellow Christians."

Posted by: Josh Indiana on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 12:31am BST

Joe:

"...the very foundation upon which the Christian faith stands: the Word of God."

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John wasn't talking about a book.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 12:33am BST

>>>They want a religion that outwardly looks Christian but meanwhile denies the very foundation upon which the Christian faith stands: the Word of God.

John, could you please tell us--specifically--who these people are (names, in other words) and what they have done?

Thanks!

Posted by: JPM on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 4:17am BST

Joe wrote: "The difference now is that the revisionists of the 21st century seek a church that is POST-biblical. They want a religion that outwardly looks Christian but meanwhile denies the very foundation upon which the Christian faith stands: the Word of God."

Well... I for one want reliable and trustworthy de-sexualized translations, not a choice between un-Biblical post VV or Dynamic Equivalence Gnosticist/Neo Platonist forgeries, as it is now.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 7:32am BST

Joe, God did not remain incarcerated in The Bible.
Abp. Cranmer helped the English to read the Scriptures in their own language - which helped to bring about the reformation of understanding of what the Bible was about.

For Christians, the object of our worship has always been primarily about the revelation of God in Christ, so that at the Incarnation, "(God's) Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory - the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Christians (cartainly faithful Anglicans) are not encouraged to worship the Bible, nor even the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion - though some Anglicans want to return to that understanding; but we worship Jesus Christ - the Word Incarnate.

We are not idolators of words in a book - no matter how 'holy' the book. That is why Jesus taught in parables - so that his hearers would be encouraged to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to interpret for their day and age, what was intended for them in their particular situation and culture.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 12:45pm BST

"...the very foundation upon which the Christian faith stands: the Word of God." ???????????

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11; KJV).

Hum? It's interesting that the very people who make so much of the authority of Scripture don't seem to be able to abide what Scripture itself teaches. As that glorious hymn says, following what St. Paul writes to us in 1 Corinthians, "The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord...."

Posted by: WilliamK on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 5:23pm BST

Joe asked "So let me get this straight...Quincy is a small diocese ergo they are meaningless. Hmmm... What then will be said about DSJ and FW and Pittsburgh? Are they also meaningless?"

Let's paraphrase that "so let us get this straight... GLBTs are a small minority ergo they are meaningless. Hmmm... What then will be said about eunuchs 2 Kings 9:30-37 & Isaiah 56:1-9. Mathew 19:11-12. Are they also meaningless?"

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 7:07pm BST

"Let's paraphrase that "so let us get this straight... GLBTs are a small minority ergo they are meaningless."

Oh, touche', Cheryl Va! Thanks!

***

Let's play the Framing Game. Here's an example of how the Framing Game works:

My side: Freedom fighter.
Your side: Terrorist.

Got it? Go!

My side: "Reformers."
Your side: "Revisionists."

What my side does: "took advantage of the freedom ... by returning the Church to its BIBLICAL foundation"

What your side does: "innovate ... seek a church that is POST-biblical"

Repeat ad nauseum... (it's a very silly game)

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 17 August 2008 at 2:20am BST

JCF:

I'm reminded of a line by Ben Franklin in the play 1776:

"All revolutions are illegal in the third person--THEIR revolution; it is only in the first person--OUR revolution--that they are legal."

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 17 August 2008 at 11:45am BST

"The English Reformers certainly took advantage of the freedom HVIII offered, but they did not innovate, they rather sought to reform the church..."

Joe, first of all, the Catholic faith does NOT have a Biblical foundation. The Bible is part of Holy Tradition, not all of it. Second, the Reformers couldn't return the Church to Her former purity, for two reasons: first, they didn't have as much reliable information as to what that early purity was in those days. Second, they mistakenly assumed that Scripture was the source of the faith. In fact, the faith originally had much more in common with Oral tradition. Dix comments that for the first two decades or more of Christianity, it was in the Eucharist that believers found the Gospel, the Written Scriptures came afterwards. There were Christians who lived and died never having heard most of what we now consider the New Testament read to them. The assumption that those things "necessary to salvation", a flawed concept, were all written down in Scripture like some checklist of what God finds acceptable was an error. Jesus talked to His disciples, who wrote down what God called to their memories. That they didn't write down, for instance, that we can ask His Mother to pray for us doesn't mean we can't. The Apostles passed that on to us orally, that's all. This is not disrespect for Scripture. You can only call the kinds of changes that Reformers brought in "not innovative",if you accept this error of the reformers. Suppose that these "traditions of men" were traditions from God, passed on by men. Other than among some very heterodox groups, you won't find anything from the 1500 years before the Reformation that looks remotely like the more radical Protestants, and that includes some Anglican Evangelicals. Sorry, but the Reformation was the largest, most radical set of innovations in the history of Christianity. And as to error, well, someone said recently that God hates sinners before they repent. To that I will just add Penal Substitutionary Atonement, and TULIP Calvinism. Whether or not these things are errors is not for me to say in an absolute sense, but I strongly believe they are.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 18 August 2008 at 1:53pm BST

Ettu- I am in the Diocese of Quincy and a member of the lay organization Remain Faithful- what does the size of our Diocese have to do with anything? We are as faithful and important as any other Diocese.
We have an incredible leader in Bishop Ackerman and we will remain faithful Christians. Our numbers don't minimize our feelings or mission.

Posted by: lms475 on Monday, 18 August 2008 at 10:34pm BST

"Our numbers don't minimize our feelings or mission."

Absolutely! But you need to realize that one of the things that keeps getting thrown at gay friendly people here is that they are a) preaching a "new Gospel", GAFCON stated this outright and called TEC "apostate" for this, b) that they are doing this merely to seek the approval of society, and c) this "new Gospel" is not working and "liberal, reassessor" churches are emptying as fast as time while so-called "orthodox" churches are brimming with believers. So, when a conservative diocese is small, the low numbers get thrown back at them. It might not be nice, but it is understandable in response to that kind of gloating. Another thing you might need to consider is that conservatives continually call themselves "orthodox", "faithful", "Bible believing", etc. What these terms imply is that anyone who is not a conservative, or, more often, a conservative Evangelical, is none of these things. Indeed, GAFCON officially stated exactly this. For people who sincerely believe that they are living the Gospel by pushing for gay inclusion, this is deeply insulting. They are not faithless heathens, they are not apostate, they are not following the trends of society. Indeed, in championing people who for centuries have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured, killed, for whom these things are facts of life even today, so-called "progressive" believers believe they are following the dictates of the Gospel to defend the oppressed against the prevailing culture that is still oppressing gay people. This is reinforced when conservatives deny the facts of antigay violence, spread untruths and misrepresentations about gay people, and support someone like the Primate of Nigeria who advocates the jailing not only of gay people, but of anyone who supports us. I may have my misgivings about SSBs, but it appalls me that anyone could consider someone who advocates oppressing people to be a godly bishop.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 8:25pm BST
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