Archive for June, 2013


Monday, June 17th, 2013

The English have word for churches that no longer function as worship sites; they call them, “disused.”

In the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, where I vacationed recently, there are many such buildings in little hamlets and towns that have suffered population decline over the years. Near my cottage, churches have become, respectively, an art school, a law office, a town office, and a residence.

This process can’t help but seem sad to Christians, though it is hardly new. When Incarnation was built in 1864, there were four other Episcopal churches within a couple of blocks. One relocated uptown; the others (including an oddly named Zion Episcopal Church, of which I own an engraving) have all disappeared.

All the more reason to be grateful that our building is still here–and still, day in and day out, used for prayer to our God. —J. Douglas Ousley

New Election Season

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Proposals of names for Suffragan Bishop of New York close this week. The Nominating Committee will spend the summer sifting through the suggestions, interviewing some, checking references and background, and submitting a list of five or so final candidates to be considered at the December 7 election. As the short list should only be out in October, the most intense campaigning won’t begin until then.

It will be interesting to see who is proposed–especially since the current Bishop of New York was not nominated by last year’s committee and had to be proposed from the floor. My guess would be that the nominees will be all over the diversity spectrum but that the strongest candidate will be: female (to balance male bishop),minority in some way (to balance straight white bishop), and older (so as to be retiring relatively soon if she turned out to be a problem!)

More substantially, I would bet that the winner will be someone with a track record of congregational development and church growth. Politics very definitely aside, that is what we need in this diocese. —J. Douglas Ousley