Archive for December, 2013

TREC Drek?

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

I have been waiting for something new from the Episcopal Church headquarters that promises to reverse the escalating decline in numbers and the vanishing Episcopal identity. I should be careful what I pray for, since the best the church has come up with is a Task Force for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church (“TREC”).

This committee has just issued a letter to all of us Episcopalians. It promises many new ideas and proposals but in itself offers no specific suggestions other than trying to “reach out” to non-white minorities who have been outreached for decades with little success. Some will find the prose warm and unctuous and not quite matching the seriousness of the subject.

At least, the powers that be are trying, though. Having been a member of various church task forces over the years, I know that these meetings are time-consuming and occasionally maddening. All power to the people who are devoting their energies to TREC.

We should be grateful, too, that the problem of numerical decline seems finally to be sinking in at the highest levels–as it is in our own diocese. For Christmas, let’s be positive and grateful. —J. Douglas Ousley

New Bishop for New York

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Last Saturday, the Convention of the Diocese of New York elected a new Suffragan (assistant) Bishop, the Rev. Allen Shin. Shin is rector of St. John’s Church in Huntington, Long Island.

Few people seem to have anticipated this result. Two of the women candidates had strong records of leadership within the diocese; the African-American male in the race also had impressive local credentials. In a diocese where identity politics have always played an important role, the selection of a Korean-American immigrant is surprising. One of the candidates was a lesbian, yet despite the gender and sexual politics of recent years, a straight male was elected–and the gay issue was not mentioned publicly the entire day.

Maybe the diocese is pulling back from the divisive issues of the past. Or, maybe, diversity has become the new normal, and we New York Episcopalians are growing up. —J. Douglas Ousley