Skip to comments.A Troubling Retention Rate [in ECUSA]
Posted on 05/27/2005 5:22:36 PM PDT by sionnsar
The current crisis caused by the consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson is a mere distraction. Our Churchs terminal condition is not a result of this decision stamped with approval by the 74th General Convention. For many years a cancer has been insidiously growing in our Church and it is found in the number .82 percent.
This number has been uncovered by the Lilly Foundation-sponsored National Study of Youth and Religion, which was conducted from July 2002 to March 2003. Its researchers surveyed by phone 3,370 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 and their parents, and then conducted 267 in-depth, face-to-face interviews.
To anyone interested in youth and the long-term health of Christianity in America, this work is fascinating, and it debunks many of the commonly accepted premises regarding youth and religion. Found within this material is a statistical breakdown of American teenagers religious and denominational affiliation or membership. This breakdown lists each protestant denomination, including the Episcopal Church.
The .82 is the percentage of American teenagers who claim the Episcopal Church as their house of worship. Thus eight-tenths of 1 percent is the future of our Church. Our hope rests in a small group of teenagers. This figure also represents the cataclysmic failure to ensure our Churchs survival.
When compared with the national figure of 2.4 million Episcopalians to the 260 plus million Americans, youll find the percentage is remarkably similar. So you might argue that my warning is merely blather and hyperbole. But before you make such a conclusion, I ask you to consider the following points:
1. It is not safe for us, as a Church, to assume that all of the teenagers who are currently attending our worship services will continue to do so as they age. As revealed in the March 6 TLC, a report to the Executive Council confirms that the retention rate of our young people has fallen below 60 percent. This figure seems incredible, but I only have to look to my siblings and congregation to see evidence of this disaffection.
But what about adults who join our Church? Again, experience shows they may at best simply replace the disaffected. Recent membership figures regarding the Episcopal Church show that our numbers are down. Thus .82 percent does not indicate growth for our Church nor is it sufficient to sustain us.
2. It is not safe to assume that the increase in clergy ordinations will be sufficient either. While seminary enrollment has increased in recent years, even to the point of capacity at some of our seminaries, these priests are needed to replace the current leadership which will retire in substantial waves in the coming years. In the time being, there is good news. The increase in younger ordinands and the Churchs finally realizing the importance of college campus ministries will help stem the tide of disaffection from the .82. However, college ministries will be challenged by the need for parish ministers once retirement waves take full force. This riptide effect will siphon away beachhead evangelists, the Churchs frontline ministers, who are critical in maintaining the .82 and its increase.
Thus you can see that I am not speculating or engaging in hyperbole. The .82 percent is real and disconcerting. Our Church needs to pause at the magnitude of the problem we face. It is a reality which rests in each and every parish from the small islands of Maine to the coast of western Florida, to San Diego, to the inlets of Washington. Yet this reality can be changed. We do not have to accept our terminal fate.
The Rev. Bob Flanagan is assistant at St. Matthews Church, Bedford, N.Y.
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Why do they NEVER have the V written out? V Robinson, stands for Vicky...
In his defense, that's the name he was born with, not one he adopted. Apparently his parents wanted a daughter, and when he was born they gave him a girl's name anyway. I wonder if that had anything to do with later events?
With families running for the exits as fast as they can to protect their children, and the only growing segment of ECUSA being gays, lesbians, and transgenders, I am suprised that it is as high as .82%.
My point is that it is his OFFENCE about being deceptive about what the V. stands for...
And indeed, if you dad names you with a girl name, other than the Sue of the Johnny Cash song, the results are pretty much inevitable. Unless the name is Dana...
Attending college in New England, I knew more heterosexual males named Dana than I ever have females.
It is reasonable to conclude that parents who would saddle their kid with "Vicky" as a given name would also do other, perhaps more subtle, but equally pathological and pathogenic things in the course of child-rearing.
But the fact that his parents were perverts does not exonerate him as an adult from judgment of his conduct nor does it excuse him from conforming himself to accepted standards of decency and natural law.
If my old man had named me Vicki, I'd probably go by V. < middle name > Fox myself. I don't see any offense in that.
As for Vicky Gene Robinson's name, thanks to the posters on this thread who have informed me as to why he is called "Vicky." I have known "gays" and lesbians with similar inappropriate-for-their-gender names, and have often wondered if this misnaming had anything to do with their homosexuality. Parents should be more loving toward their children, and not impose poisonous expectations on them by such misnaming. They should also remember the spiritual importance of a baptismal name. That is why the Orthodox name their children after saints.
Whatever his given name is, I shall continue to call him by the name he now richly deserves--"Selfish Gene" Robinson!!!! For those of you who don't "get" my little double meaning in calling him that, just go to Google and look up "Selfish Gene".
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