Archive for October, 2010

Executive Council with Heads in Sand?

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has just concluded a regular meeting in Utah and has issued a report. The report is chatty and upbeat, even though it alludes to budget cuts; the latter are occasions to be “nimble” in ministry.

Besides its insouciant verbosity, what is most remarkable about the report is the lack of reference to membership decline. Nor is there any occurrence of the word, “evangelism” nor any attempt to initiate church growth. Just warm feelings and self-congratulations. God help us. —J. Douglas Ousley

The Archbishop’s Dress Code

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

At an interfaith meeting on October 14 in northern India, the Archbishop of Canterbury condemned recent European government decisions to ban the burqa, the complete body-covering dress of a few Muslim women. Rowan Williams said that these decisions were signs of extreme secularism and that the governments had better things to do.

Some might wonder whether the Archbishop of Canterbury has better things to do than defend extreme Muslim practices. Moreover, wearing the burqa (like ski masks in urban areas which are banned in the US) poses security concerns. To say nothing of liberal Christians defense of the rights of women of all faiths to wear what they want without being pressured by their husbands and religious leaders. —J. Douglas Ousley

On the Way to Oblivion?

Friday, October 15th, 2010

A recent article in the Living Church by the dean of a large southern cathedral recounts his experience on a large and extremely diverse committee that was formed in 2000 to develop a plan to double the attendance of the Episcopal Church in 20 years. Dubbed “20/20,” the plan received much publicity initially and lavish funding at the national church headquarters. But after only a few years, the initiative was virtually dead–apparently because of opposition from the Executive Council. Decline has since accelerated and the national church leaders have moved on to a more social agenda, leaving evangelism behind.

What is new in the article is the claim that it was Executive Council that derailed the effort. I would bet that that the vast majority of lay members of the Episcopal Church have never heard of this body, members of which are elected by the General Convention and by itself. Yet this group stopped what would at least have been an attempt to reverse the membership losses of the past two decades. It will be interesting to see if anyone in that group bothers to refute the charge.

The Pope Comes to Britain

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The Pope’s visit to the UK was a surprising success. The protests were minuscule, the pontiff turned out to be both gracious and penitent, and the Anglican-Roman Catholic relationship seems rejuvenated. Meanwhile, the exits of Anglican parishes and dioceses into the Roman communion have been minimal.

One may ask if the two communions aren’t getting along better because they realize they have so much common interest in battling secularism and in holding together progressive and traditionalist factions within their respective churches?