Is the presiding bishop accurate?
Take a look at the following sentences from the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and ask yourself — is this statement accurate?
Referring to turmoil in the Episcopal Church following the election of an openly-gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003, Katharine Jefferts Schori says:
“It’s a very, very small part of this church, less than 1 percent, that sees this of sufficient concern to want to leave over it,” she said. “Our job is to bless their going and reassure them our door is always open and that we’ll keep the light on for them.” (Salt Lake Tribune)
1.) The 1 percent figure is suspect. Here’s why.
According to the Episcopal Church’s own research department, average Sunday attendance (ASA) dropped 9.6 percent between 2002 and 2006. During that time period, ASA plunged from 846,640 to 765,326 — a loss of 81,314 churchgoers on Sundays. Prior to Robinson’s ordination, the Episcopal Church — incredibly — had been growing (the only mainline denomination to do so.) In 2003, conservatives warned the Robinson ordination would have a disastrous impact on attendance. Key liberals (on the national morning news shows and elsewhere) predicted it would have a positive impact on attendance by attracting Catholics and others who want a more gay-positive church. They presented anecdotal evidence to that effect. Undoubtedly, Robinson’s ordination has drawn new members, but overall, attendance is down sharply.
2.) “Our job is to bless their going…” Thus far, the Episcopal Church has “blessed their going” primarily by hiring teams of attorneys, filing lawsuits and stripping them of their ordination for “abandoning the communion” of the church. Even when entire congregations depart — with 100 percent of the worshippers leaving — the Episcopal Church claims ownership of their bank accounts, their buildings, even their name tags.
If this is the presiding bishop’s idea of a “blessing”, I can only imagine what one of her “cursings” would be like.