On 5 December I published schismatic statistics, questioning the reliability of the numbers claimed by the petition on “Anglican Mainstream” website. After three attempts to invite Dr Giddings to reply to this criticism I have now received an answer which is reproduced in full below.
Update 18 December
Meanwhile, a coalition of ECUSA groups issued this press release
Anglican Mainstream Christmas Petition Effort Criticized as Deceptive which says in part:
Questionable counting. Most petition signatures are assembled the old-fashioned way, one signature at a time. Electronic websites now permit worldwide sign-up, such as this world-wide effort. Still, one should be able to assume that each signature represents one person. But in this counting, it seems one signature can sign up the whole family, a whole parish, or even a whole diocese. Is this honest? Do all members of such communities really want to be counted?
…Many may not even know that they are being counted as supporters. It matters not whether a bishop has limited the numbers of “signatures” to the proportion he believes support his position. The count was made without asking the individuals where they stood on this statement. Such “mass signatures” account for over 97% of the total signatures on this “petition.”
There is at the time of writing this not even list of the (currently 4) dioceses currently claimed as mass signatures, never mind a list of the (currently 196) parishes.
Further comment 16.00 GMT 18 Dec
Clearly the arrival of precisely 8 million signatures from Uganda has caused some confusion: the number of provinces has now increased from 1 to 3, and the number of dioceses has decreased from 4 to 3. Presumably some poor province was previously regarded as a mere diocese. But there are still only 2 provinces listed (South East Asia, Uganda) and the names of the 3 dioceses are still not clear: Fort Worth, Kitale Kenya, and ???
Dr Giddings writes:
Sorry - I don’t recall receiving the previous e-mail.
I invite you to re-visit the web-site. On the ‘signing up’ part you will see
< ** Please note - to enter corporate details for a parish / diocese you must be the authorised spokesperson for that community. If submitting for a diocese please enter a contact email>.
Individuals who object can therefore take the matter up directly with the authorised person of the body concerned (which is always the recommended route for complaint-handling). Incidentally you should not assume that ‘the entire membership roll’ was signed up. I know of a number of instances where the number of signatures is lower than the roll number because people have been given, and taken, the opportunity not to be included in the signing-up.
You will also see on the web-site a break down of the signatures received to date: on 12 December it was:
9,909 in 2,751 families
54,881 in 182 parishes
168,000 in 2 dioceses
184,000 in 1 province
We have therefore made clear the basis on which the numbers are being counted. Not being a statistician I don’t know what qualifies as < schismatic statistics > but the purpose of inviting people to sign up to the statement is not just to signal the breadth and depth of opposition to the New Hampshire consecration but also to express sympathy and solidarity with orthodox Anglicans in North America who are being intimidated and persecuted by lawsuits, threats of disciplinary action and other means.