Sunday, September 16, 2012

They Should Be Flocking To the Episcopal church.. right?

In the course of today's sermon, our preacher noted that one of the reasons that the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church are doing well is that they have a consistant liturgy of worship, and the features that she identified as things that attract worshippers were things that the Episcopal church also does well. I think she used the term "Deep Church" at some point to describe what people need.

She left a big gaping hole to explore, but she didn't illuminate the depths very well.

If the Episcopal church is doing worship right, it should be doing well in terms of attracting worshippers... right?

Nope. The Episcopal church lost approximately 50,000 members each year from 2006-2010 and lost approxmately 25,000 Sunday worshippers yearly over the same time period.

Most regular Sunday worshippers in your typical Epsicopal congregation are clueless as to the facts of the decline and its underlying causes. What they see on Sundays is a thin veneer of priestly vestments and a liturgy that appears reasonably mainstream (although I would argue with some of the theology behind the 1979 BCP). What they hear on Sundays from the mouths of their pastors is another matter altogether. Let's face it, revisionist preaching is a sure fire way to kill faith in Jesus through the promotion of doubt or through the subtle presentation of heterodoxy or even heresy.

What congregants hear if they attempt to engage their revisionist clergy in small group or in private conversation can be worse than the Sunday preaching.

If people are looking for form without depth of substance, the Episcopal church is ideally situated to stroke their skins.

Judging from the numbers, people do want to have a deeper relationship with God, and that kind of thing can only be facilitated by a Church that stands firm in its conviction of the truth of the Gospel.

Does your church stand firm?  

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