Friday, June 26, 2009


The General Convention of the Episcopal Church will be held July 8-15 in Anaheim California. Those attending this big waste of time, talent, and treasure were gifted with a little light reading to study before the big event. This is nicknamed the "Blue Book" (warning this is an 811 page pdf file). One of the most ominous sections was one called the "House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church" (pp 59-81). This report presents in written, graphic, and tabular detail the decline of the Episcopal empire.

It is amazing how one small paragraph in one long document can tell a great truth.

Found buried on page 63 under the "House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church" after all the numbers documenting the dropping Sunday attendances, the greying of membership, etc., we read:

"As a final comment on the age structure of The Episcopal Church we note two facts. First, “youth and young adults” were articulated by General Convention as one of our top five priorities for the 2006-2009 triennium. The Executive Council, in developing the draft budget for the 2009-2012 triennium, did not list “youth and young adults” as one of their mission priorities. Second, in the recent reorganization of The Episcopal Church Center staff in New York City, the position of Staff Officer for Youth and Young Adult Ministries was eliminated and the duties of that officer re-distributed to other ministry areas."

I know there are people who think that 815's decision to eliminate this position is wrong, unfair, cruel, indifferent, stupid, etc., and for them, I raise the alert level to DEFCON3.

Personally I don't give a hoot if 815 has a "Staff Officer for Youth and Young Adult Ministries," because youth ministry is a local/regional issue as illustrated out by last week's post on youth mission trips. When a small church has small numbers of youth, the real question should be, "What are we doing wrong?" Real solutions for Rock Hill, SC will not be found by asking some Staff Officer in NYC.

Unfortunately, in reading through the resolutions in the Blue Book, I don't think these folks have a good idea on where to "re-distribute" that officer or those monies. How about sending it back to the Dioceses? Or better yet, why do we send 815 money at all?


  1. Sounds like the TEC bubble is bursting, too. Never realized Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT) could be applied to churches that misallocate resources.

    I'm impressed that you gain access to this kind of information. Is it available for public review?

  2. By ABCT could you mean "borrowing" from Peter to pay Paul? How about borrowing from popular culture to dream up a theology?

    Yes this information is avaiable, it just takes a little gum shoe work to find it some times.

    I remember when the greeters at church used an old fashioned clicker to count the number at worship services. As a child, I was told that this was so the priest would know how many wafers to take out and consecrate for communion.

    Data regarding attendance and membership is always suspect, but I feel it is still useful to watch trends. The financial records of any church should be a bit more "accurate" although trends in giving are influenced by many variables. It is important that those of us who pay the bills can now inspect some of the numbers. (I recall some of the interesting findings in the tax statements of Episcopal Relief and Development).