Episcopal Pulpits will Lose 2000 Priests in next Six Years [VirtueOnline]

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by World Press, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. World Press

    World Press Active Member

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    CLOSING.JPG


    Episcopal Pulpits will Lose 2000 Priests in next Six Years
    An estimated 1500 parishes and missions will close

    Christ Episcopal Church in Totowa, NJ closes (photo)

    By David W. Virtue DD
    www.virtueonline.org
    August 20, 2016

    The Episcopal Church will see a drop of more than 2,000 full time parish priests in the next six years, as the retirement numbers increase geometrically, with no increase (but a likely decrease) of ordinands going into the ministry, Church statistics reveal.

    This translates into the number of full time priests being reduced by 65% - 75% of total congregations in the denomination. These numbers are from 2014 the last year reported in some cases. Indications are that the situation is probably worse now in 2016. The average age of an Episcopal priest is 59 (or the mean - half older, half younger) there is a tsunami of retirements headed their way in the next 5-10 years with no possible way of filling pulpits with new ordinands.

    A researcher looking at the Church's archives after reading Mary Ann Mueller's extensive article on the crisis in American Episcopal seminaries that showed 70% of TEC's 11 seminaries with fewer than 100 students, crunched the numbers, showing that of the 11 approved and accredited seminaries (one apparently closing in 2017) only 9 exist, if one leaves out Yale and Bishop Kemper. Kemper is basically an online diploma mill. Mueller's story can be accessed here. http://tinyurl.com/h7lexzu

    Their decline follows the bell curve of The Episcopal Church, as it experiences loss in members, parish closings and an inability to attract a younger generation of Americans. Many believe that issues like the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopacy, the embrace of pansexuality and homosexual marriage now enshrined in canon law, reflect a Church that lacks a distinctive message separate from the prevailing culture.

    New research facts include:

    • 80 full-time faculty at all Episcopal Seminaries.
    • A total of 599 full-time students (or equivalents).
    • Only 200 available for ordination each year.
    • 460 priests currently serving will retire each year for the next six years, a drop of 2,760.
    • There are 7,285 priests currently serving parishes in the Episcopal Church.
    • The average age of an Episcopal Priest is 59. (Most will retire by age 65).
    • 45.6% of Episcopal Parishes currently use a lay leader, a part-time or unpaid priest. This will only increase in the coming years.
    • The Episcopal Church is incapable of planting new churches. An estimated three, mostly Hispanic in origin can be counted.

    Church closures.

    In 2006, there were 7095 domestic parishes and missions. In 2014, that number had dropped to 6553 domestic parishes and missions -- a drop of 542 parishes/missions closed in a similar time period.

    Given the retirement tsunami and decrease in ordinands, it is estimated that between 1100 - 1500 parishes/missions will have to close. That will constitute somewhere between 15% - 20% of the total parishes/missions in the denomination.


    Click here for the rest of the article:
    http://www.virtueonline.org/episcopal-pulpits-will-lose-2000-priests-next-six-years
     
  2. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    I don't remember whom but didn't a saint prophesy that the third world would send missionaries to the first?
     
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  3. alphaomega

    alphaomega Active Member

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    I remember an old book with a similar message, something about Christian priests from Africa(?)teaching the faith to British(?)who had long forgotten it. Can not think of the title...
     
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  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    The only answer is, as with most things, prayer. Let us pray that God would lift up a new generation of godly men with a heart for preaching the Gospel in word and sacrament. God will not withold any good thing from us. Perhaps there are even some among us here in the Forums that have been called but delay. Follow your calling brothers! The harvest is bountiful but the workers are few.


    For the Increase of the Ministry.

    O ALMIGHTY God, look mercifully upon the world which thou hast redeemed by the blood of thy dear Son, and incline the hearts of many to dedicate themselves to the sacred ministry of thy Church; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
     
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  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Bishop Broughton who was the first and only ever Bishop of Australia reflected in the debate about Religious Education in Schools, in the 1840's, noted that if it didn't matter which religion, then it wouldn't matter if it was any religion. Clearly in his day he was arguing for a special place for Anglicanism within the colony, although we seem to have had a lot of Catholic convicts. Broughton did not win his argument, and the interdenominationalism of the 19th century does seem to have waned and we now speak of the rise of secularism in the 21st Century. Now the debate is if we should have religious education taught in school at all, or perhaps opt for an alternative Godless secular ethics curriculum.

    In a real sense it is the witness of the laity that brings people to faith, and the teaching of the clergy simply equips the laity for their task. We do need clergy, I am not sure that we know how we are going to pay them, and there are a host of other challenges that we face.

    One of the reasons why we have fewer people offering for the sacred ministry, may well be because we have fewer and fewer young people in Church. The things I believe will attract young people and sustain them in faith is authenticity. Obviously we need to be concerned. Yet even more obliviously we need to be faithful. Faithful to the one who has called us out of darkness, into his wonderful light.

    I don't feel it is that different in Australia, and as I read it, it is not that different in England. We seem to have missed most of the X and Y generations.

    The conservatives will note that liberalism hasn't given the Church much joy, and the liberals will note that the conservatives have not brought much grace to the table. We need to be the kind of Church that abounds in both Joy and Grace, with a great deal of authenticity.
     
  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I think that part of the problem in the US is that seminary commitment is overly burdensome. The cost to attend a ATS accredited seminary is obscene. Add to it the limited number of campuses and the disdain most mainline seminaries have for any kind of distance education offering, and you have a recipe for the great mass of potential priests being locked out, either for financial or geographical reasons. With churches and their coffers shrinking we need to consider bivocational clergy as being the most obvious antidote to the loss of priests. To do that however, we'll need to reset our expectations on the formal education requirements our priests have as a theshold requirement for entry into the ministry. As a lawyer, i can say with no doubt that the law school system has never been able to ecclipse the old practice of "reading for the bar" although it has been very successful in creating a cottage industry that charges extortionary tuition rates and saddles new lawyers with mountains of debt before their careers even begin.

    Perhaps the churches afflicted by the mass retirment of current clergy should institute a reading for orders program that is offered for little or no cost that could be administered by dioceses. I think this is alreafy done at a small level but could and should be expanded.
     
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  7. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It is already happening in the States. AMiA and CANA are just two of the groups of Anglicans in North America. Rwanda, Uganda and the Southern Cone (mainly South American) have provided oversight for many Diocese and parishes that have fled the TEC. I believe Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina is under the Southern Cone as has of yet to join the ACNA. Bishop Iker was also, but transferred to ACNA when it formed.

    Last year they began sending missionaries to the UK and have established parishes in places such as London outside the oversight of the CoE. Needless to say the CoE is not happy. The group is AMiA if I remember correctly.

    Blessings

    Fr. Mark
     
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  8. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Lowly Layman has made a good point. When I went to seminary the cost was beyond obscene. Classes would cost around $1000 per class. Then books.
    $100 to 300 for one book! Then fees, cost of getting to class, dorm rooms or rental. Now if you were a "mature" man.....I refuse to say older!.....with work and family you could not relocate. So you would have to travel. At times I traveled 3 hours one way to class on the weekends. I was lucky in that one of my professors was from the UK and he implemented the "Oxford Method". Something he said they did in the UK. Load you down with books. Read them, write papers and defend the papers and debate a panel of professor on the subject.

    The cost for any college level education is beyond what is reasonable. Young priest will come out with 10's of thousands of dollars in debt. My son, an engineering student has calculated he will have about $40,000 in debt. His girlfriend who is going into medicine......min $100,000. Obscene.

    I have met some great priests who have read for orders. They are taking distance courses to further their education. They, like me, are bi-vocational.

    What gets me, the distance classes are more expensive than the classes in the building! My oldest daughter due to work has to take on line classes from the University. She is taken fewer classes, but the price is $500 more than last semester when she went to the classroom!

    The growth of Christianity and Anglicanism will have to come from the laity. The clergy equipping the laity to live the commission. When in Seminary, one of my classes on evangelism talked about a then current Pew Research Poll commissioned by the Southern Baptists. It found that the laity were more successful in getting people to Church and in seeing conversions than the Clergy. The non-believers responded more positively. They expect the clergy to show up, they treat us like the used car sales man. Also found that those who had more men converting had better growth. I believe it was something like this.....get the children who have a good chance to get the Mother. Get the Mother you will get the children, and maybe just possibly the Father. Get the Father and you get the entire family. It does look and sound somewhat crass.....though I have found it is true.

    Blessings

    Fr. Mark
     
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  9. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand, do seminarians have to fund their education? When I was a seminarian in 80's Ireland all was provided, even down to laundry. All my family had to cover was pocket money! As far as I'm aware, this is still the case
     
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  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I wish.....im in over $100k. I work in government so that I can get them forgiven in about 8 years.