Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Elections Matter: A Look at the Fallout From the 2009 Election of the Bishop of Upper South Carolina

Next week is election week in the United States of America. Most people have known for some time how they are going to vote in the Presidential election. There maybe a few people who have been planning on abstaining and only voting for their Congressman or Senator who might be swayed at the last minute to cast a vote for one of the candidates for President. My advice for anyone who goes to the polls on Tuesday is to consider the long-term consequences of your decision.

Most of us know that predicting the future is like throwing darts at a moving target, but some things can be foretold if we take a good look at what has gone before.

For example, in the run up to the 2009 election of Andrew Waldo to become the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, a small band of conservatives looked at the candidates and decided that Waldo would likely pursue a liberal agenda which would lead to a decline in the diocese in the long term (I think some of us used the term "disaster"). Of the major candidates in that Bishop election, the only ones with a solid record of church growth were solidly conservative, but nobody casting votes seemed to care about that, and the conservatives went down in flames.

Eight years (the equivalent of two Presidential terms) is probably long enough to look at the numbers and determine if that small band of deplorable conservatives was right about Waldo.

In 2009 the average Sunday attendance in the diocese was approximately 8,000. This decreased to approximately 7,000 by 2015, a drop of 12.5%. Meanwhile, the population of South Carolina grew by approximately 9%.

Looking at the six parishes in my area, York, Lancaster, and Chester counties, I added up a drop in average Sunday attendance from 478 to 345 or a decrease of 28%.  York and Lancaster counties have been growing like gangbusters since 2009.

By my estimate, Episcopalians make up 0.15% of the population of my part of the state.

The Episcopal church, under Bishop Waldo, is slowly withering away, and this illustrates the need to vote for a candidate with a positive track record of growth whenever you go to elect a Bishop.

As far as the national election goes, it is hard to vote for either of the two major parties' candidates based on their track records.


  1. Anonymous4:03 PM

    Well, when you creep people out by talking about our "relationship," it is no wonder that no one feels welcome, and are running away. ..

    1. Not that type of relationship! ;-)