Skip to comments.Denial and Closings Stalk Revisionist Dioceses
Posted on 03/30/2005 11:49:29 AM PST by sionnsar
​ ​​​​The letter usually goes like this. "Dear members of the Diocesan Community, we are writing to you at this time to express our concern about an issue that could have long term negative implications for the future of the diocese. We currently have approximately $170,000 of apportionment receivables from our parishes on our financial statements from 2003 ($22,000) and 2004 ($148,000). There are many reasons for these amounts, including changes in demographics and changes in clergy leadership. Some congregations have had major negative events occur that were beyond their control. However, a parish's apportionment payment is not discretionary; it is indeed an obligation."
This "appeal" from the Finance Committee of the Diocese of Southwest Florida was found in the latest issue of the "Southern Cross", their diocesan publication, and it blames the unpaid apportionments in the diocese on everything except the one central issue - the ongoing crisis in the National Church.
Blame it on demographics, blame it on clergy changes, but don't, under any circumstances tell the real truth; and the truth is that 40 years of liberal theology, 40 years of accommodating to the spirit of the age, the failure to uphold basic Christian doctrines at GC2003, and the final insult to the faith - the consecration of an openly homoerotic bishop to the episcopacy in the person of Vickie Gene Robinson, are the real reasons why money is dropping off and people are leaving.
And the truth is this "appeal" letter could be duplicated in dozens of dioceses across the country.
In the Diocese of Newark, Bishop John Croneberger has publicly admitted that "maybe as many as one-third" of the diocese's 114 churches, "are struggling mightily to keep the doors open." Too many churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark are financially strapped, according to the bishop, and the diocese needs to consider consolidating some parishes so more money can be spent on ministry and less on building maintenance.
The diocese, he wrote, "can no longer afford the luxury or the apathy of doing business as usual ... blowing smoke up 114 smokestacks and worrying about how to gather the resources to maintain 116 sets of buildings. I believe we can be an even stronger diocese with more communicants and fewer plants." Church officials said the problems stem from shifting demographics and the recent troubled economy.
There's the fiction being repeated again. Blame it on shifting demographics and the economy, never mind that Newark NJ has more people living in it per square mile than 95 percent of the cities of America and it is a mere hop, step and jump from New York City, one of the most crowded cities in the country.
The truth is there will be no more new communicants. Croneberger's predecessor Jack Spong began wiping out parishes under his tenure when he started saying things like St. Paul was a self-loathing homosexual. How much nonsense will people put up with? Furthermore 'white flight' has nothing to do with it. Croneberger, and the vast majority of his pro-pansexual priests have no gospel to proclaim to keep their parishes open or people coming. It is all a fantasy.
The failure to admit that the real reason these churches are closing is because they have no gospel to proclaim and that people are being fed husks instead of the bread of life is spiritual blindness of a high form. Do you think that downtown Lagos is that different from downtown Newark. Both are heavily black, Newark and Lagos are mired in political corruption, and yet Lagos is being evangelized by the Anglican Church with remarkable results. And the reason is simple: The bishops of Newark and Lagos have different gospels - and that makes all the difference in the world!
The great lie of the Episcopal Church hierarchy is that Robinson's consecration would attract similar minded people. It never happened. The homoerotic bishop of New Hampshire living openly in sexual sin with another man has not been a draw card, in fact it has had the reverse effect. People are fleeing by the thousands.
In Robinson's own diocese, Redeemer Episcopal Church, Rochester closed its 100-year old doors for the last time at Easter. Here is what Robinson had to say as the doors slammed shut; "The church will someday rise again. In what form or when is uncertain. God will reveal the new shape of ministry here." Robinson cited lack of worshippers to help carry the load with no critical mass. That's the fantasy version. The real reason was he himself.
In its place Trinity Anglican Church has arisen from worshippers who left Redeemer and Robinson and who are building a church on the 'faith once delivered' and that doesn't include homoerotic sex.
But it not just New Hampshire, the Diocese of Pennsylvania is in serious trouble. The diocese is in financial free fall. Bishop Charles Bennison is short over half a million dollars to run the diocese. Check books are closing, parishioners are leaving and he is closing down churches and will close more in the future. Historic churches are selling off their artifacts and more. And all the while Bennison is reinventing the faith hoping that time will take care of everything.
And this could be repeated in one revisionist diocese after another across the country. Some dioceses are selling camp grounds, one is selling a cathedral and many are consolidating parishes and resources where they can.
Those that have Trust funds and endowments can draw down and live off the interest, but even some of those funds are heavily restricted and cannot be used for general purposes. The funds themselves have a limited life span and if the people leave, what value is the money?
The National Church with all its millions in Trust Funds says it is hurting, though not significantly. People are restricting their giving to the dioceses as people say they don't want their money being sent to the national church. Even if a parish sends 100% to the diocese, individuals can inform the diocese not to send funds to the Episcopal Church's national coffers.
And then there are an increasing number of wealthy parishes, usually orthodox, that are withholding all or part of their monies to their diocese because of the bishop's bad theology and morals, invoking the wrath of the diocesan with accompanying threats of being reduced to mission status or worse. This is happening in the Diocese of Connecticut.
But it is not just bad theology and equally bad morals with the accompanying shortage of money that is hurting the Episcopal Church; it is the bad publicity these dioceses receive in the national press. Broad sheet newspapers, tabloids, Internet news services, multiple Blogs and Listservs weekly grind out the truth about fleeing parishes and lawsuits that hurt the public image of the once genteel Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold hates it and has said so on numerous occasions. Diocesan bishops smart in the glare of local newspaper and television publicity especially when it involves back room politics, public lawsuits over property issues and such bizarre eruptions as Wiccan priests, wacky New Age rites, redefining the Trinity, dumbing down the Bible along with the purging of orthodox priests from their parishes. It is not a pretty sight. The imperial bishop is no more. Can anything be more in-your-face than the sight of two bishops being consecrated to an orthodox jurisdiction right under the nose of a revisionist bishop!
But what is absolutely breathtaking is the total spiritual blindness and denial the vast majority of Episcopal bishops are living in even as they face an uncertain future. While Griswold and his bishops offer a secular version of salvation pushing their Millennium Development Goals to eradicate tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases, (not ignoble causes by the way), they dutifully ignore the sin-sick soul that cries out for personal salvation. Serving the culture rather than conforming to Scripture has come with a high price tag.
Even as they frame a Covenant you could drive a Mack truck through and define alternative episcopal oversight that no one for a moment believes in, they talk blithely about a "time for healing" even as the Primates in Dromantine found that all they could muster was a vague koinonia but no communion.
Is it any wonder that Global South archbishops and bishops seethe at the appalling arrogance and lies of Frank Griswold and his revisionist bishops and refuse both their money and sending their ordinands to America's proto-Marxist, any orifice, "educational" seminaries.
Ironically it took a liberal woman philosophy professor at the University of San Diego to come right out and state the truth in its most raw form. This is what she said. "You arrogant, patronizing jerks just never got the idea that you weren't the lettered gentlemen of your parishes and dioceses, the intelligencia surrounded by a lay peasantry. It never even occurred to you that any of us could have principled objections to your views or rationally considered objections to your policies--you were firmly convinced that any dissatisfaction on our part was merely a result of prejudice or irrational resistance to change, which you could overcome through group dynamics techniques, wheedling and manipulation. Surprise!"
In nicer language the evangelically driven Anglican Communion Institute said it was impossible to square the circle.
At the end of the day it probably won't make one bit of difference if some sort of schism takes place in the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church will continue on its slow but inexorable decline with fleeing members and more homoerotic consecrations while churches continue to close or leave. The Episcopal Church has no power to renew itself, nor does it have the orthodox numbers or will to change.
For what shall it profit a church if all it has are limitless supplies of dead men's money, and loses its own soul.
I drove by my old ECUSA church on Easter and the parking lot was fairly full amazingly. But I live in an urban area of the city where members think of themselves as intellectually superior to the surbanites. However, I will not be there again. I have never in my life seen a church spend so much time trying to disprove the Bible as I did in that church.
"Hit them in the pocketbook."
Agree. There is no hope. It's time to pull the feeding tube.
Ouch. But I agree, with all due respect to those I know remaining and fighting.
Please don't misunderstand me, I also hold the bravehearts in the highest respect.
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