Shepherd of a Dwindling Flock

Since the convention last Saturday to elect a new Bishop of New York was postponed due to the snowstorm, we have three extra weeks to brood about the election.

In the meantime, the Episcopal Church has released figures on 2010 that indicate yet more decline. Down 16% in membership in the past ten years, the annual decline last year increased from 2% to 3%. Median attendance has gone from 72 in 2006 to 65 in 2010.

The 2012 proposed budget for the Diocese of New York also appeared recently, and it projects one-third of diocesan expenditure devoted to the numerous parishes which are not self-supporting.

Happily, every candidate for bishop has talked about the need for congregational growth and development. Yet the extreme spiritual and financial challenges of our church at this time may have been the major reasons why so many able candidates from within our diocese declined to stand for election. —J. Douglas Ousley

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