Thinking Anglicans

Colorado Springs: the voting results

Updated again Wednesday morning

Episcopal Café reports in The latest from Colorado that:

In a news release [PDF, html version here] dated May 26, 2007, the parish leadership of Grace and St. Stephen’s, Colorado Springs, announced the vote which took place from Sunday, May 20th through Saturday, May 26th, saying that 93% of the congregations members chose to align the congregation with CANA and keep the property they now occupy.

According to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette, there were 370 votes cast and 342, or 93%, were in favor of the parish leaving the Episcopal Church and joining CANA. The tally was 348 to 22 about authorizing the vestry to fight to retain control of the $17 million dollar plant.

Before the break-up, the parish reported a membership of 1500-2000 communicants. The breakaway parish claims 600 to 800 of these, while the Diocese claims that 200 to 400 members of the original parish now worship in the borrowed space down the street.

370 voting out of 600-800?

348 votes from a congregation previously reported as 1500+ strong?

These numbers simply don’t compute. Can anyone shed more light please?

See also Rocky Mountain News Colorado Springs parish votes to break from Episcopal Church.

Update Monday morning
Many thanks to commenters for their input, see below. Another paragraph from Andrew Gerns article on Episcopal Café says this:

The leadership of the Episcopal parish contends that the rules established by the breakaway parish make the outcome of the vote a foregone conclusion. The rules established for the vote require that members of the Episcopal parish must re-register as members of the CANA congregation, contribute to the new congregation and attend its worship. Members of the Episcopal congregation voiced concern that the use of the rolls, or even the possibility of signed ballots, might be used in court in validate the breakaway parish’s claim.

And another Rocky Mountain News article Secession leaves a fractured flock in Springs says this:

Armstrong opened services Sunday by noting the results of vote tallies showing that 93 percent of 370 voting members – out of 822 eligible voters – approved of the plan to leave the Episcopal Church. Saturday’s vote capped the uncertainty that began March 26 when Armstrong and a majority of the church’s governing board declared they were each individually leaving the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado.

Update Wednesday morning
Episcopal News Service has Former members of Colorado Springs congregation approve break from Episcopal Church.

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Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

Well, too bad, if Armstrong+ and Akinola/Minns had really been clever they would have had only Armstrong vote and make it a 100% landslide sweep (kinda reminds me of the last Iraq election under Saddam H.)! Unfortunately for the Nigerian “poachers” the REAL Bishop of The Diocese of Colorado asked loyal Episcopalians NOT TO VOTE at all! They didn’t!

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

This one is easy ;0

The 1500-2000 claim really should have been the 600-800 figure…

which of late has split into more or less equal halves.

Padre Wayne
Guest
Padre Wayne

Hmmmmm…those numbers just don’t make sense. 380 out of 1500-2000 member voted? Don’t their bylaws require a larger percentage to vote? I am totally unimpressed, and hope the Diocese and the true congregation continue to press their case. The enormous ego of Armstrong+ and the hubris of the (vestry) need to be brought fully to light.

michael Cridland
Guest
michael Cridland

When Grace was mentioned in Colorado press reports. It was always mentioned a 2500 membership.

Having visited the place, I questioned it.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Numbers are easily fixed if one makes a decision to only record those who are loyal and theologically correct as members.

Such dynamics remind me of the book “The Revenants” by Sheri S. Tepper http://www.amazon.com/Revenants-Sheri-S-Tepper/dp/0441718213 This novel has great sociological parables e.g. the consequences of purification and separation: how priests can make communities isolated, smaller and distorted. There are also parables about misfits and the fight for diversity.

JPM
Guest
JPM

>>>Can anyone shed more light please?

Perhaps someone is lying.

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

370 departing members? Is that what all this noise has been about? Wake me when it’s over.

Caelius Spinator
Guest
Caelius Spinator

The Red Book (the Episcopal Church Annual) quotes 2000 for Grace and St. Stephen’s. I then transformed congregation size to ASA using the figures for my somewhat larger TEC parish, which gave me 875. So before the split, 875 people were worshipping regularly on Sunday. The congregation size figures usually include irregular communicants of all sorts, people who attended the church as children and never transferred to another Episcopal parish, folks in assisted living etc. Now split the church in two and account for the fact that some number are ineligible to vote on account of their age. That’s an… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

There was much talk here and elsewhere about Fr Armstrong’s remuneration package being excessive.

We were then pointed to a sliding scale of pay packages published on the diocesan website that suggested a Church larger than 400 ASA should have a target wage of $123,000 – but I note that this falls to $99,000 under 400.

I know Fr Armstrong’s published wages were somewhat higher than the first figure – even without the “added extras” – but now he has left TEC it seems churlish to suggest that he might think it time to reassess his payment package.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“370 departing members? Is that what all this noise has been about? Wake me when it’s over.” Why I get very very annoyed when the press refers to a ‘split’ in TEC – as if half were on one side and half on the other. The people who are leaving are in a distinct minority, which is why they did not prevail in the democratic process that is the polity of the Episcopal church. I live in a state, and in a part of the state, in which I, as a progressive, am for sure part of a minority. In… Read more »

Andrew Gerns
Guest

The Diocese of Colorado says the pre-split Average Sunday Attendance was about 800 +/-, about the same as their cathedral. The larger number includes all communicants. The number of eligible voters should be larger than the ASA but smaller than the communicant strength. I find therefore the claim by the breakaway church of 600-800 Sunday attendance to be hard to swallow. They are saying that between the two groups ASA actually went up as a result of the split. This should have resulted in a higher voter turnout, I should think. Qualifying to vote may have suppressed numbers. There was… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

The massive number of non-voting members should be counted as a “no confidence” vote. With the hard sell that the parish has been giving, a lot of people will just not vote rather than vote no.

harvard man
Guest
harvard man

Seems this is a church split in two (and thank you, Caelius, for your quick math). Can we just focus on prayer for these 800 or so souls (no matter the ‘side’) whose sanctuary is broken for now? Personally, I’m rather sympathetic to the group headed to CANA, although I would have voted to walk and leave the property. For me, as a member of one of the 10 largest ECUSA congregations leaning strongly toward traditional Anglican teaching, this is a common discussion: leave or stay? Fraught with many worldly complications, we simply turn from the fracas and to Jesus.… Read more »

Margaret
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Margaret
John B. Chilton
Guest

In the Episcopal Church children are counted as members. This accounts for some of the disparity. It is also true that rectors clean the membership rolls most religiously (shall we say) when they join a parish. Father Armstrong has been at Grace for 20 years. More speculatively both the occupying congregation and the loyal displaced congregation have an incentive to state their numbers optimistically. The dissembling factors are exposed by the low numbers. There is another factor which I do not think speaks well of Armstrong and his vestry. To be eligible to vote one had to register. Shouldn’t mere… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

Episcopal Cafe has some interesting details on the vote:

The rules established for the vote require that members of the Episcopal parish must re-register as members of the CANA congregation, contribute to the new congregation and attend its worship.

http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/episcopal_church/by_andrew_gerns_a_colorado.html#more

In other words, only those who have affiliated with CANA are allowed to vote on whether to affiliate with CANA.

Saddam Hussein’s campaign manager couldn’t have done better!

The Spotsyltuckian
Guest

The same thing happened in Virginia. As folks approached the table to vote, many of the “stay” voters were disqualified for dubious reasons. Some were accused of having poor attendance records (who knew anyone was keeping roll – I guess when people in authority talk about your permanent record, there really is one). As has been reported before, large numbers of congregants in the most populated Virginia congregations aren’t even Episcopalians – they left years ago when far-right evangelicals stormed the gates; if they never bothered to become members, they couldn’t vote either. Still, the point remains, in Colorado, as… Read more »

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

The Rocky Mountain news is reporting today that Grace had 822 “eligible members” with 344 voting to leave.]

ww.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5558997,00.html

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

A suggestion: when you see a news story that refers to the controversy that ‘has split’ TEC, write a gentle note to the author if you can, pointing out that ‘split’ implies a 50/50 division, which is far, far from the case. I did write to a Richmond [Virginia] Times Dispatch writer Sunday, and got a nice note back. He’d meant some had ‘split off,’ but realized that using the word ‘split’ alone did imply a greater quantity of dissent than is the case. I was quite up front about my motives, identifying myself as a progressive concerned about accuracy.

Weiwen Ng
Guest

John Chilton, I was going to say what you did: could be the kids. Armstrong’s parish seems authoritarian and militaristic. Perhaps they have a strong pronatal streak too, and the members have been fruitfully multiplying. Fruitful – not THAT kind of fruit, though.

Malcolm French+
Guest
Malcolm French+

“The rules established for the vote require that members of the Episcopal parish must re-register as members of the CANA congregation, contribute to the new congregation and attend its worship.” So, if you want to stay in the Episcopal Church, you cannot vote on whether the parish should remain as part of the Episcopal Church. Right. Well, let me be the first to say it plain. This is nothing but theft of property. The Rev’d Mr. Armstrong and his supporters are thieves. And if the Prince Bishop of Abuja accepts this congregation with the disputed property at the end of… Read more »

GoSane
Guest
GoSane

harvard man: You wrote: Grace and St Stephens felt it was time to move, given the actions of their bishop.” This is incorrect. Grace and St. Stephens is the continuing Episcopal congregation with the support of the Bishop of Colorado. To be accurate, you should have written that dissident members of Grace and St. Stephens felt it was time to move, etc.

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Good for GoSane to correct Harvard man. I’m so sick and tired of the lies and misconceptions spread by the Akinolite schismatics.

harvard man
Guest
harvard man

GoSane,

Well, I guess that’s the rub: who are the congregation? I don’t know CO law and the situation on the ground. As I said, I would leave and know Jesus would honor faithful members who serve and love him, no matter the facility. I can’t judge those on either side of this split, and don’t know who moved on or stayed.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

We have seen Bush-allied neoconservatives indulge every kind of immorality and get away with it. The neoconservative fringe of American Anglicanism seems to have the same unscrupulous attitude.

NP
Guest
NP

Cynthia – everyone should know that TEC is not seeing a great split as it is liberal dominated.

The split may come between TEC and the AC if TEC fails to repent before Sept 30th and act like a member of the AC if it wants to be such.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

” … if TEC fails to repent…”

Why should we repent of following our conscience and our polity and not giving in to bullies?

Should not the repenting come from those who want to steal TEC property and those bishops who ignore Nicea, not to metion that holy of holies, ‘Windsor/Dromantine’ by blatently violating diocesan boundaries?

Should not the repenting come from places like Colorado and Virginia, where the ‘election’ processes to go to CANA would shame Boss Tweed in their corruption? Lyndon Johnson would blush!

NP
Guest
NP

Cynthia – I would encourage the faithful AC people in TEC not to fight for property but to move on with grace…..

No, it is not this new god called “polity” which concerns me but TEC deciding, I hope, to accept the recommedations of Dromantine, TWR and Tanzania and to come back to AC and its biblical views with regard to the standards required of leaders in their lives and teaching.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

“The split may come between TEC and the AC if TEC fails to repent before Sept 30th and act like a member of the AC if it wants to be such.” They have nothing much to repent of, at least on the fronts on which they have been accused. Bishop Tutu is right; what Anglican leaders and propagandists should repent of is their “extraordinary obsession” with alleged gay-related transgressions. In any case, the prospect of excommunication for TEC is rather unlikely, given that the TEC bishops have all been invited to Lambeth (though on of them on rather invidious terms).… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

” … if TEC fails to repent…”

The only difference between these bullying fanatics and the mad mullahs is a shave.

NP
Guest
NP

for counterlight and others who are not clear, the Sept 30 deadline for an umabiguous response from TEC came from …the liberal ABC and ALL the Primates of the AC, including KJS……not me!

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

“for counterlight and others who are not clear, the Sept 30 deadline for an umabiguous response from TEC came from …the liberal ABC and ALL the Primates of the AC, including KJS……not me!”

…and from some powerful African Archbishops together with some powerful American money (can you say “Ahmanson”?) yanking their choke chains.

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

NP – Only 125 days and counting. The excitement of getting to watch TEC finally disciplined must be almost unbearable. How do you sleep? What will you do when TEC isn’t trashed as you had hoped? At least, we can be thankful that there will be no more ticking clocks to get all wound up about.

Malcolm French+
Guest
Malcolm French+

The September 30 deadline came from a body that had no authority either to set such demands nor establish a deadline.

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

I find it astonishing that there are so many gleefully anticipating the dismemberment/ overthrow of the Episcopal Church, especially when the Church and its leadership still enjoy the support of a substantial majority of its members. I seriously wonder how far this crisis would have gone without outside meddling and outside money. I’m sure it would have ended as all these crises ended in the past; with some walking out and others being accomodated in some fashion. Some kind of modus vivendi might have been worked out without a lot of demagogues promising the schismatic minority the keys to every… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

The end of the world is nigh! The end of the world is nigh! Nope – that was yesterday. October 1st and that will be another yesterday.

David H.
Guest

My goodness. All the brouhaha (past and present) from reasserters like Armstrong+ about their oh-so large congregations, regardless of their, ahem, “questionable” (ac)counting practices.

Well, my bog-standard, loyal, mainstream Episcopal parish in the midst of the “Network” Diocese of Dallas had approx 2,000 members in good standing last I heard. And not one Alpha class, or any, other bits of extremist conservative nonsense to be seen…

Weiwen Ng
Guest

“for counterlight and others who are not clear, the Sept 30 deadline for an umabiguous response from TEC came from …the liberal ABC and ALL the Primates of the AC, including KJS……not me!” -NP actually, while you are in a sense correct, there were indications that Archbishop Akinola pressured the Primates into making that statement. the ABC’s council had given TEC a mostly passing grade on Windsor compliance. Akinola was understandably displeased. as I understand it, he consulted with fellow conservatives and applied pressure to the other Primates. KJS signed off on it with the understanding that she was bringing… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

You never know, CB, TEC may repent in the next 124 days….now that would be a reason to rejoice! But, yes, if TEC wants to stick to its view that it should both be a full member of the AC and at the same time be able to actively subvert biblical AC teaching, then I would prefer to see the current TEC walk than stay and cause more problems…..we have already lost 4 years because of TEC decisions and actions in 2003 and the AC really cannot afford to have its mission further damaged and distracted – even the ABC… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

counterlight – the majority you speak of in TEC is a tiny minority in the AC – you do realise that??

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

“counterlight – the majority you speak of in TEC is a tiny minority in the AC – you do realise that??” As a liberal gay man who grew up in an ocean of conservative evangelicalism in Texas, I’m not impressed. I remember whole stadia filled to capacity with people all of like mind answering their pastors in unison on cue. If that didn’t persuade/ coerce me into conformity, what makes you think a globe full of Bible thumpers marching in lockstep behind their fearless leaders would make any difference to me? So I wonder NP, what the hell happens to… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“sustained by inherited money” – I wish you would substantiate this. What inherited money? The budget process of General Convention may be studied in the documents produced there – I expect available online at TEC. The only part of TEC that ‘has’ money [as opposed to raising and spending an annual budget] is the Church Pension Fund, which indeed has endowed funds to support retired clergy and thier spouses. This is the result of shrewd investment and good management over the years. Some individual churches have endowed funds [Trinity Wall Street comes to mind], but most parishes are like mine:… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I wonder how it is if liberal=decline and fundamentalism=growth that TEC became this liberal majority. Was there a putsch at some point by which a tiny liberal clique took power and all the evangelicals ran away? I really must go back to the sociology of religion texts and a bit of ecclesiastical history again to see which bit I missed. NP may convince himself with his repetitions but it does not convince me. In its breadth and variety TEC is not alone; I was only saying last night in the pub about the Welsh Anglican Church gaining some of its… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

well, counterlight, to answer your question, in a terrible situation, I follow some good, reliable teaching eg prov 3:5-7

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Since I’m here anyway: what sanctimonious bull, NP! Proverbs 3:5 describes you to a T! You lean fully on your own understanding that the traditional approach to Scriptural interpretation is “the traditions of men”, you ignore the ways in which the approach you favour is at least as corruptable as tradition, and you actively scorn that tradition, preferring a relatively new model of Scriptural interpretation, the newness of which you vehemently deny! If that’s not “leaning on your own understanding”, especially the last bit, I don’t know what is. Verse 7 also directly applies: you are wise in your own… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

NP.

Since we are lobbing proof-texts at each other:

Luke 6:1-11

Also, a favorite Yiddish proverb:

“Truth rests with God alone, and a little bit with me.”

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – your confusion on how TEC became dominated by liberals is surprising….you should be aware that evangelical people have been leaving TEC for decades.

Ford – If I am leaning on my own understanding, it is based on scripture and what it encourages and prohibits for our good….might not those who are teaching contradiction to scripture actually be the real people leaning on their own understanding and not trusting God’srevealed will?

Pluralist
Guest

I am not confused, NP. I don’t agree with you. Your view is that liberal denominations/ churches shrink, and so it puzzles me why evangelicals were incapable of using their growth to take over the denomination and why, instead, they left. My view is clear – Churches operate in religious cultural landscapes and come to occupy general positions within them. There is variation on the ground, but there is a general position. The most liberal denomination in the USA, the Unitarian-Universalists, have had a long period of steady growth. It has been helped by a vigorous understanding of its position… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, Might those who believe Scripture to be the sole source of authority in the Church be leaning on their own understanding and not trusting to the Faith once and for all delivered to the Saints? I mean, the Apostles didn’t go around reading out of a book, or off a scroll, Paul only wrote his letters, for instance, to explain more fully the Tradition he had already transmitted orally to those to whom he wrote. That is not to say that his writings aren’t inspired by God, or “God breathed” if that’s the trendy phrase. Sorry, NP, but it… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – I suspect Alpha in English Anglican churches has added more people than your pluralistic views….and this is part of the reason why you will in the end see the ABC going with the traditional teaching supported by all the evangelicals in the CofE.

Ford – as you know, I have trouble seeing people like VGR as prophets with authoriy to contradict teaching we already have so we will be going round in cirlces if we start on that one