Why did Episcopal Church stick to the upper classes?

Discussion in 'Church History' started by Celtic1, May 14, 2013.

  1. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    Why hasn't Anglicanism reached out to and planted churches in rural areas, out in the countryside like Baptists, Methodists, and Holiness churches have? Anglican churches are found in towns, big or small. Common people look at the Anglican churches as elitist.

    So, does Anglicanism only care about upper class and upper-middle class folks, and those who live in towns and cities? The ACNA and AMiA emphasize church planting, but they are following the paths of TEC, planting churches in towns. I think that is somewhat less true of the AMiA, but the pattern is there, nonetheless.
     
  2. Robert

    Robert Active Member

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    Celtic1,

    Does it have anything to do with $, whether for start up or sustainability? I have seen many Orthodox missions start with as little as a dozen people. But it is very difficult for them to grow or survive at times. I have seen one mission grow into a full sized congregation, one fail and be dissolved, and one just staying the same size for the last 20 years. I don't know what could have been done differently.
     
  3. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    How very different from England, where the CofE advertises itself as providing "a Christian presence in every community". and where quite tiny villages still boast magnificent churches.
     
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  4. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    There's a saying in the USA: Baptist churches were founded by farmer-preachers, Methodist churches by itinerant preachers traveling on horseback, and Episcopal churches by bishops traveling by rail and town car.

    If you're going to reach the common man and the rural dweller, you have to go where he is and identify with him, something the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism in general didn't and doesn't do. That's my main criticism of Anglicanism.

    Out here in the boonies where I live, the nearest Episcopal churches are a half hour away, in towns, but I cannot really support them because of our bishop in this diocese. The AMiA, of which I am an Associate clergy member, has a church 85 miles away which is too far for me to attend. I am starving for the liturgy, but the situation seems hopeless. I thought about attending a RC church about 30 miles away, but I would not be allowed to take communion, and I can't agree with the Mariolatry.
     
  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Are you criticizing the episcopal church or Anglicanism, Celtic1?

    I am sorry to hear about your troubles with the distance. It seems the Episcopal church is too busy championing gays, abortion and gun-control than building a church near where you can worship it. I am truly sorry.
     
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  6. Robert

    Robert Active Member

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    If i am reading Celtic1's post correctly it seems that there is a Episcopal Church within driving distance but he does not feel comfortable worshipping there do to disagreements with the diocesan bishop. Is that correct Celtic1?

    "the nearest Episcopal churches are a half hour away, in towns, but I cannot really support them because of our bishop in this diocese. "
     
  7. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    The Episcopal Church long ago abandoned the common man when it triumphed the esoteric, non-scriptural Tractarianism.
     
  8. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Actually I think we have done it to ourselves... In the 50's and early 60's there were two Parishes in my district here in Queensland Australia. There St. Pauls Parish, and St. Peters Parish both were within about 6 miles of each other (the main Church) each of the Parishes had daughter Churchs as part of the Parish St. Pauls had 3, and St. Peters had 4. After I joined the Australian Airforce and went away to various other places I decided to retire from the Airforce and come back to the district, now both Parishes still exist but the sister churches have all been long sold off due to small congregations and the cost of maintaining the land and buildings. The only growth areas in Churches in our area are the Pentecostal type Churches that seem to attract huge congregations compared to us Anglican, Uniting Church, Baptists etc. I am afraid while ever we all continue to break away from one another this situation is only going to get worse. IMHO
     
  9. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    anglican74 and Robert,

    I very much appreciate your concern for my personal situation, but I should apologize for veering this thread that direction, although my personal situation is troubling to me.

    I intended my main point to be on Anglicanism's focus on the upper classes and seeming inability to get the Gospel to the common man out in the boondocks the way the Baptists, Methodists, and Holiness denominations have. At least that has been the situation in the USA. Even the new Anglican bodies which emphasize church planting seem to be planting churches in urban and suburban areas and college towns but not out in the countryside; this is true of the ACNA and somewhat less so of the AMiA. In this, they are following the pattern of TEC. I wish there was a concerted effort to reach the common man and people who live in the rural areas rather than just in towns and cities. Do Anglicans believe they cannot appeal to such people?
     
  10. luke

    luke Member

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    Well Gordon, turns out your older than i had Pictured you :)

    I feel we as Anglicans, don't try very hard to attract new members. In my local parish , it looks like they have spent years sitting back and waiting for people to come to them for Wedding, Baptisms and funeral to try to set a good impression and share the words of God, This has resulted with our local church only having about 3 young family's, the rest are a lot older than us and/or retired.
    They have recently started running a play group for pre-school Kids ( which my wife is heavily involved with) but still they seam so disorganised. My wife is there to help and try to grow the church yet she fears if she shares more of her thoughts and starts making decisions others may get there noses out of joint, (she was a teacher in early childhood so this age group is her speciality ).
    Next year i want to undertake a training program that our Dioceses runs so i learn more about my faith and how i can help the diocese, but this can only happen if i finish my current studies early ( Normally applicants speak to there Priest first and the parish council determines if they wish to pay for it, i am holding off on this chat until i am more confident about finishing my other training course, plus i will pay my own way so there is no issue there;)) .

    My parish also tried the Family services for a while , switched to guitars and stuff , it was so uncool , i cant image why none of the hip crowds wanted to attend. I would of thought a better selection of hymns to suit a younger audience would of been better than the guitars and stuff but all these changes within the church wont change anything unless you can get them in the door.
     
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  11. Robert

    Robert Active Member

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    Celtic1 I must be honest and say that I am not really sure about the context as my idea of rural is probably quite larger than what you may be referring to. But in the community that you are in how many members would an Anglican/Episcopal Church typically have 50-100? Is it enough to cover the costs of startup, salaries, maintenance, mission etc? As I said before I have been in some Eastern Orthodox Jurisdictions that would open missions anywhere and everywhere but the track record of success just isn't there. There are other Eastern Orthodox Jurisdictions in the US that will not open a parish unless it has several hundred members since they feel that the parish must be sustainable on its own.
     
  12. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I can't speak because I am obviously blessed with not only TEC parishes but several ACNA parishes within stone's throw distance. They are located mostly in the suburbs and that is hardly Urban City Central. I cannot relate to your problem because nowadays Anglican churches are everywhere. You mentioned Baptist churches being everywhere, and indeed there is one nearby -- at least the church has the label of baptist on it, but it is locked and shuttered up and closed. It was there once but no longer, and those seeking Baptist services have to travel a very long way. It seems to be a very individualized situation for each of us here.

    I also enjoyed Onlooker's point - while there was a time when anglican churches weren't everywhere in the US, there was never a time for that in the Church of England, probably. Just as famous as the famous big churches in cities are quaint little parish churches that are in every village in England.
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Celtic1, there's a lot of options with social media like Meetup.com. You could start a small bible study or house church....it only takes two or three gathered in Christ's name, especially when one of them is ordained as a minister of God's word and sacrament. See a need, fill a need as they say!
     
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  14. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    We have a family service with the guitars etc as well but we also have the traditional service that old people like me go to ;)
    I was stationed at williamtown back in the early 80's and lived at Raymond Terrace so I know your area fairly well. Which partof Newcastle are you from?
     
  15. luke

    luke Member

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    I live in the Cessnock shire, but attend church at St Marys, Maitland as the wife and i was married there.
     
  16. Lux Christi

    Lux Christi Active Member

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    There are so many Anglican parishes in Canada! I suppose it's because it is the third largest Christian denomination in Canada, after Roman Catholicism and the United Church of Canada.
     
  17. nkygreg

    nkygreg Member

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    I understand the frustration. I have often posted about being a common man. In the area I live in ( Cincinnati/Northern KY) there is a RCC on every corner. When people think of the EC, they think of upper class snobs. It is such a shame because of the richness of the liturgy.
     
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  18. Ogygopsis

    Ogygopsis Active Member

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    Just joined up. I think I'm starting off a little feisty with this, but it is this sort of discussion that prompted me to join up today.

    The story in western Canada.

    The west was settled by people from the British isles as the largest group, followed by people from eastern Europe. This second group is predominantly Ukrainian, ethnic German, with some others like Polish. WW1 killed a disproportionate number of the UK people, weather English, Scottish, Irish. In those days, there was a town with an Anglican church every 15 miles across the prairies. The churches began to close after WW1 due to demographics, but also, with the rejection of "establishment" that followed out here. RC and United (an amalgam of Congregationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, but not all of the latter 2) have been by far the largest denominations.

    Things kept up pretty well until the early 1970s. (I view the 1960s as really being 1965-75 or so out here). We saw church attendance drop, things like Boy Scouts/Girl Guides also dropped, and a host of what is decried as liberalising trends came along. A lot of it was about sex, but it seemed more about justice to someone who grew up in the era. The church we attend used to have 3 services and 300 people in total (it fits 120 with a shoehorn). It's at about 40 today, It was at 40, 20 years ago, and expanded to about 60 15 years ago due to a particular priest.

    Here it seemed that Anglicanism floundered. We saw efforts to maintain things as they were: male clergy, thee-thou language in liturgy, hard line against changes to social/sexual values, and what seemed to me to be a fortress mentality: we must defend from within all that would attack from without. On the other side we saw those who took the approach to be everything to everyone: both gender clergy, modern language, flexibility and creative reinterpretion of values from the bible, and opening up the churches to all sorts of social and community events and activities.

    From the perspective of western Canada, neither works. What seems to bring people to church is entertainment, Good speakers, rock band music, social support and discussion, lots of programs. These are the freestanding simple bible message churches that avoid social justice engagement while preaching conservative social values. It is specifically a marketting approach I think. Delivery of a product. Liturgy not important. Music and inspirational speaking is important. Sort of a Sunday morning TED Talk™. With a book club and Tupperware™ party during the week. All to a soundtrack downloadable to your iPod™.

    I have no solution, just know that we have a problem.
     
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  19. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    I imagine that the Episcopal church has a conciliatory approach to gays, and accepts that abortion might be necessary in some unfortunate circumstances. As for gun control, that is not an issue in England, because we don't believe in gun law, but presumably in America the Pro-Life lobby is also pro-gun control. I am.
     
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  20. Lux Christi

    Lux Christi Active Member

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    We Canadians also do not have issues with gun control because it certainly is not in the Second Amendment of our laws! But it is the same situation in Canada. There are parishes that are liberal, and parishes that are conservative, and parishes that are in between.

    Some are accepting of gays, and some not; abortion is certainly looked down upon, but it is essentially a private matter, and political opinions like guns should not involve parishes. That is a separate and political issue, not a doctrinal or ecclesiastical issue.
     
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