Bob Kerry, senior editor of BeliefNet.com, reports of the membership-losing Episcopal Church (barely 2 million left from one-time 3.6 million):
“Prominent bishops are pulling out. Convention-goers were told headquarters had spent $18 million suing local congregations. Members are leaving at a record rate. This is no longer George Washington’s church – once the largest denomination in the colonies.
“The headlines coming out of the Episcopal Church’s annual U.S. convention are stunning – endorsement of cross-dressing clergy, blessing same-sex marriage, the sale of their headquarters since they can’t afford to maintain it.”
Episcopal columnist David Virtue reports asking one of the nation’s top leaders, Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, “if she saw the irony in that the House of Deputies would like to see the Church Center (national headquarters) at 815 2nd Avenue in New York sold (it has a $37.5 million mortgage debt and needs $8.5 million to maintain yearly) while at the same time the national church spent $18 million litigating for properties, many of which will lie fallow at the end of the day.”
The national Episcopal headquarters has filed continuing lawsuits against local congregations across the nation that want to leave this suit-happy denomination now promoting same-sex marriage and ordination and consecration of homosexuals.
“The New York hierarchy has consistently won in court – asserting that the local members signed over their buildings decades ago. As a result, some of the largest Episcopal congregations in the United States have been forced to vacate their buildings and meet elsewhere.
“So now, convention delegates were told, the denomination is the proud owner of scores of empty buildings nationwide – and liable for their upkeep in a depressed real estate market where empty church buildings are less than prime property.”
“‘It must be galling to the Episcopal liberals that many of the parishes and dioceses that are pulling out are growing instead of shrinking,’ noted Jay Tower. ‘Christ Church Episcopal in Plano, Texas, for example, is one of the largest Episcopal churches in the country. Its 2,200 worshipers on any given Sunday are about equal to the number of active Episcopalians in many of the liberal bishops’ entire dioceses, whose churches average attendance is 80.
“‘One repeated theme is that the conservatives who are pulling out have no confidence in the denomination’s presiding bishop, the arch-liberal Katharine Jefferts Schori. She allows same-sex union ceremonies in her Nevada diocese and recently used the phrase ‘mother Jesus’ in a sermon.’”
In view of this nation’s considerable number of well-heeled homosexual organizations, is there any record of any such sodomy lobbies coming to the aid of the financially endangered Episcopal Church?