Showing posts with label Bare Ruined Choirs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bare Ruined Choirs. Show all posts

Friday, June 20, 2014

Presbyterians rush to embrace the culture.

//In two overwhelming votes, the nation's sixth-largest Protestant denomination approved the practice in the 19 states where same-sex marriage is legal and approved presbytery-by-presbytery decisions to change the definition of marriage from a man and a woman to two people.
The amendment requires approval from a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries, which will vote on the change over the next year.
In 2011, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved ordaining clergy with same-sex partners. Since then, 428 of the denomination's more than 10,000 churches have left for other more conservative denominations or have dissolved. The church now has about 1.8 million members.
The General Assembly has committed an express repudiation of the Bible.
Presbyterian Lay Committee, in a statement
Given that Presbyterians are historically an influential denomination, the vote could persuade other Christian groups to follow, say experts.//
Want to bet that the 428 churches where the younger, growing churches?
The article is being deceitful because the UPC has been engaged in doing secretly what it is now doing openly for the last 35 years, during which time the UPC has declined from 4 million to 1.8 million, while United States population growth has increased by 20 to 30%.
And, yet, no one seems interested in asking if there is any connection between the two facts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

About two decades too late.

Is gay marriage destroying the United Methods Church:

//"Irreconcilable" disagreement over same-sex unions is once again prompting debate over splitting the historic United Methodist Church (UMC), one of America's largest denominations.

"If we are one church, we cannot act as if we are two. If, in reality, we are two churches, it may not be wise to pretend any longer that we are one," concludes a statement last month from 80 traditionalists from across the UMC, which has 7.7 million U.S. members. (An additional 4.4 million members are overseas.)

The statement says the UMC is facing a crisis in four areas because:

* Pastors have violated or said they are willing to violate the Book of Discipline ban on same-sex marriages. (The Book of Discipline is the church's most authoritative guide.)

* Pastors and other leaders realize that there are no "meaningful consequences" for violating the Book of Discipline by officiating at a same-sex union. (In one instance, two clergy were given a "24-hour suspension without pay" for marrying gay couples.)

* More church leaders believe "significant parts of the Scriptures do not provide an accurate understanding of God's heart and mind and may be discarded as uninspired and in error."

* Among top leaders, "there are dramatic differences in how personal and social holiness is lived out and taught."

"We can no longer talk about schism as something that might happen in the future. Schism has already taken place in our connection," said Maxie Dunnam, chancellor of Asbury Seminary and leader in the Good News movement for evangelical Methodists, in comments to Good News magazine.

"There are conscience-bound persons who find it impossible to live in the United Methodist Church as we presently define ourselves in relation to human sexuality," said Dunnam. "Forty years of wrestling with the issue is enough." The first disagreements among United Methodists over homosexuality began four decades ago. Back in 2004, traditionalist leaders tried, but failed, to move forward a proposal for an amicable breakup of the denomination that traces its heritage to John and Charles Wesley.

Many traditionalists say their differences with progressives are now "irreconcilable." The UMC, the largest of the historic mainline denominations, has been holding the conservative line on homosexuality for years. Two other major mainline groups, The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), permit the blessing of same-sex unions and credential openly gay clergy. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) now allows ordination to occur without reference to its fidelity/chastity clause. In 2012, conservative PC(USA) members created the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians to uphold bans on same-sex unions and openly gay clergy.

The statement by Dunnam's group follows the controversial actions of UMC bishop Martin McLee of New York. In March, McLee announced that he was dropping formal charges against Thomas Ogletree, an 80-year-old retired pastor and former Yale Divinity dean who was accused of breaking church law by officiating at his son's same-sex wedding ceremony in 2012//

Friday, March 14, 2014

It's been coming for 20 years.

The coming Methodist schism.

Friday, August 09, 2013

"Inclusiveness" works its magic on another denomination.
This time the ELCA:

At its inception in 1988 the ELCA it had about 5.3 million members in 11,133 churches.  Every year but two has marked decline in membership; every year has marked a loss of congregations.  In 2010 and 2011 after the decisions of 2009 in which gay blessings and ordinations were approved, the ELCA lost 710 congregations.  Now two break-off churches—Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and the North American Lutheran Church—account for about 1100 congregations.  In 2011 the ELCA listed 4,059,785 members and 9,638 congregations.  By 2013 there is little doubt it has fallen below 4,000,000.  From 2003-2011 weekly attendance dropped by 26% across the church.  There is decline in every demographic, every geographic area.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"The Episcopal church have become Unitarians with candles and some stained glass."

That's a great observation from a comment to this Via Meadia post on the decline into irrelevance of the Episcopal Church:

It used to matter what the Episcopal Church thought of this or that social issue. Other mainline Protestant churches and many social and political leaders followed its theological and political debates. Now, basically, no one outside the dwindling flock in the pews really cares what The Episcopal Church says about anything at all. General Convention can pass a million resolutions, and nothing anywhere will change. No one is even really angry anymore at anything the Episcopal hierarchy does; at most, there is a sigh and a quiet rolling of the eyes. Soon, there will not even be that.

It’s an extraordinary decline in an institution that a generation ago was still one of the pillars of American life. At this point the disaster appears irretrievable; those running the church are determined to run it into the ground and it is hard to see how that can change.

For Anglicans, the theological and demographic collapse of their church is a bitter blow. The traditions of this church exert a powerful hold on those who were raised in it; those declining attendance figures bespeak a lot of sadness and despair. But The Episcopal Church has moved on, headed down what looks increasingly like the theological path of least resistance as it makes the transition from a church that once spoke to a nation to a sect in communion only with itself.

Let us wish The Episcopal Church well on its journey towards whatever hope its bureaucrats and functionaries see glimmering ahead of them in the deepening twilight. God moves in mysterious ways, and the failure of a church is not the failure of a faith. Christianity is all about hope in the face of death; America’s Anglicans are learning a lot about what that means. For this, perhaps, we need to learn to be thankful.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Catholic Church should ordain married and women and gay priests so it can be just like the Episcopal Church...

...which has suffered a 23% decline in membership during the last decade.

The decline of mainstream liberal Protestantism is reaching a point where it can't be covered up.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How the United Methodist Church developed that winning policy of inclusiveness...

...that has caused its numbership to decline by over half in the last 30 years.

According to Karen Booth writing at the Ben Witherington Blog it was outsider activists who targeted the UMC, the PCUSA and the ELCA:

In 2006 the Roundtable released its first joint research project: a landmark study entitled David v. Goliath. More than half of the report focused on pro-gay caucuses in the Protestant mainline churches—“the backbone of American religion.” If these denominations could be won over to the pro-gay cause, “it would … be a tremendous moral victory for the LGBT community,” said the report. Three of the denominations (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church U.S.A, and The United Methodist Church) were singled out for special attention specifically because of their denominational decision-making processes. Because their legislative gatherings were essentially democratic in nature, they were more susceptible to pro-gay advocacy than other autocratic or autonomous Christian bodies. Because they were conducted on a church-wide basis, greater numbers of people, including those that lived internationally, could be reached. So their general assemblies and conferences were identified as the best settings to introduce and foster proposals for theological and moral revision.

David V. Goliath also challenged secular activists to recognize the political advantages of working with people of faith and to support their new friends with intellectual, political, and financial resources. In 2005 the Human Rights Campaign (the largest national group with over one million members) harkened to the call, starting its “Religion and Faith” Program with the help of a former United Methodist student pastor named Harry Knox. Committed to influencing the “moveable middle,” the Program’s most recent focus has been Hispanic believers. A comprehensive pro-gay resource entitled A La Familia was written and edited by retired United Methodist pastor Ignacio Castuera and Iliff Seminary Professor Miguel De La Torre.


Of the three mainline denominations specifically targeted in the David V. Goliath report, only The United Methodist Church has managed to hold the line on traditional moral teaching. But leaders from the Reconciling movement have gone on record predicting that the 2012 General Conference will finally reward them with long-awaited victory. At the very least, they expect compromise legislation to be passed that would enact policies stating United Methodist are “not of one mind” about homosexuality. For Lutherans and Presbyterians, that was the first step toward the downhill slide to full inclusion.

In order to prevent that, morally traditional General Conference 2012 delegates will have to be winsome and outspoken witnesses to the biblical truth about sexuality. Moderate delegates, some of whom may be stuck in the gray area of the “moveable middle,” need to realize that compromise has not served us well for the last 40 years and could very well destroy us in the long run. And all the delegates, even those who are liberal or progressive, should express outrage over the non-Methodist and non-Christian “outsider” influence and money that have been manipulating our system.

We in The United Methodist Church cannot afford to tolerate that kind of unscrupulous interference, and we must not allow it to sway us to overturn two millennia of Christian moral teaching on a cultural whim. If we do, then perhaps we are no longer the Church that Christ founded and for which he died.

No wonder the Methodists felt that they had a winning proposition in "inclusiveness"; they were getting glad-handed by a bunch of non-Methodist secularists. That must have made them feel that they were "that close" to winning over a whole new population to Methodism.

Little did it occur to them that growth does not come from alienating the 90% of your constituency for 2%, particularly when the 90% can and - all things being equal - will have children and the 2% - all things being equal - won't.

And there's a lesson in there for all Christian churches.

Monday, February 27, 2012

That Methodist drive for inclusiveness is beginning to pay-off.

UMC in United States still shrinking

UMC membership and average worship attendance in the United States continue to drop, according to the latest figures released by the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration.

GCFA said membership dipped 1.4 percent in 2010, having declined 1.2 percent in 2009. Average worship attendance was down by 2.3 percent in 2010, compared to a drop of 1.9 percent the year before.

In 2010, only 54 percent of churches reported receiving any members by profession of faith or faith restored.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

How's that policy of promoting inclusiveness working out for you?

Episcopal Church announces that its membership level is the lowest in 70 years.

New statistics from the Episcopal Church show the group's loss of more than 200,000 members and 300 parishes between 2006 and 2010, bringing membership to its lowest since the 1930s.

In an Oct. 22 blog entry, commentator David Virtue noted that if the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion continues to lose active members at the present rate, then “in 26 years there will no longer be anyone attending an Episcopal church.”

Virtue made his prediction based on figures showing five years of consistent decline in average Sunday worship attendance, as well as total membership and number of parishes, in the Episcopal Church.

The official “Episcopal Domestic Fast Facts Trends 2006-2010” document showed a 16 percent decline in members since 2000.

The denomination has lost an average of 25,798 Sunday worshipers each year since 2006, bringing the total of U.S. Episcopal worshipers on a given Sunday to 657,831 in 2010. Overall, the Sunday attendance rate in Episcopal communities has declined by 23 percent since 2000.

With a total membership of 1,951,907 in 2010, the Episcopal Church has reached its lowest rate of membership since the 1930s. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, the mainline Protestant denomination last reported having less than 2 million members in 1939.

Episcopalianism peaked numerically in 1959 with more than 3.4 million members. Since 1968, however, it has lost over one third of its membership.
That is an absolute decline.  The relative decline is absolutely staggering in the face of the quadrupling of the United States population during the Twentieth Century.

But, of course, according to the lady who runs the Episcopal Church in the United States, the decline is a design feature of Episcopalianism.  According to the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori :

Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children… . We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.

So, in post-modern parlace, "be fruitful and multiply" means joining the voluntary human extinction movement.

If you too want to see your church become extinct, by all means ordain women and make homosexuality a lifestyle option for your clergy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

If only the Catholic Church ordained women priests, if only it would become more tolerant of homosexuality, then it could reach out to everyone and enjoy the same spirit-filled growth ....

... as the Episcopal Church.

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Latest Statistics Show Continued Denominational Decline

TEC will be out of business in 26 years figures reveal

2010 attendance figures for the Episcopal Church reveal a denomination in steep decline.

Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) in 2009 was 682,963. In 2010, ASA was 657,831, a decrease of 25,132.

The 10-year change in attendance has seen a decrease of 23%.

57% of all churches have lost more than 10% of their attendees in the last 5 years.

Median attendance per church has gone from 72 in 2006 to 65 in 2010, pushing many more churches below the threshold of the required number of attendees to support running a parish and to pay clergy.

54% of churches had fewer people attending in 2010 vs. 2009. Annual attendance declines are accelerating across the board.

The decline was 3% in 2006, 2008, and 2009. It was 5% in 2007 and is now back at 4% for 2010. This points to a widespread decline across the whole church.

The decline cannot be blamed on a few churches/dioceses leaving the denomination.

The gospel of lawsuits doesn't seem to be winning any converts and is slowly hemorrhaging viable dioceses. Active homosexual laity, priests and two bishops have failed to draw in anticipated crowds.

Friday, August 05, 2011

So, why not sleep in on Sundays?

1 in 6 Dutch Protestant Church Pastors are atheists.

The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he's not the sort of man to sugar the pill.

An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.

It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord's Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse's sermon seems bleak - "Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get".

"Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death," Mr Hendrikse says. "No, for me our life, our task, is before death."

Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.

Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible's account of Jesus's life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.

His book Believing in a Non-Existent God led to calls from more traditionalist Christians for him to be removed. However, a special church meeting decided his views were too widely shared among church thinkers for him to be singled out.

A study by the Free University of Amsterdam found that one-in-six clergy in the PKN and six other smaller denominations was either agnostic or atheist.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bare ruined choirs.

Only 15% of Swedish Lutheran Church belive in Jesus, and are outnumbered by atheists and agnostics.

According to the survey, 15 percent of church members they are atheists, while a quarter of Swedish Church members identify themselves as agnostic.

The younger the members, the more likely they are to be atheists or agnostics.

Bromander pointed out that there is no requirement that church members believe in Jesus or any particular religious figure.

"Many are members, not for religious reasons, but because of the role the church plays in society, or because it serves as an organisation which maintains Swedish traditions," said Bromander.

"In fact, there are many members who would rather that we focus more on our social work in Sweden than on Sunday services."

Of the roughly 6.6 million members of the Church of Sweden, about 400,000 are active churchgoers, attending services at least once a month.

According to the survey, 90 percent of church members have a weak relationship with the Swedish Church, forcing the church to ponder whether or not it remains a relevant institution in Swedish society.
In other news, Swedish man convicted of "forcible sex with sheep."
Bare ruined choirs.

Vox Day reflects on the death of an urban church that is a microcosm of the mainstream churches.

Halifax’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are without spiritual anchor after their church of 20 years closed on Sunday. Around 50 people gathered at Safe Harbour Metropolitan Community Church on Veith Street to hold one last worship service. The congregation of 27 decided to disband on April 17 after a vote at their annual general meeting.

"We reached a point in our history where we realized we couldn’t go on," says Jane MacConnell, the vice-moderator of the church. "The biggest (reason) being the financial side of things."
Let's see if the usual signs of the church death spiral are there. Female pastor? Check. "Reverend Darlene Young" and "Reverend Jennifer Paty". Homophilic? Check. "Safe Harbour was the first church in HRM to accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people."

One wonders if this gentleman understands the irony in his words: "Tim Doufar has been a member of Safe Harbour since 1993, yet sees the church’s dissolution as a step forward for gay people... "Now (gays) are accepted in my home church, the Anglican church." Doufar said it’s only a matter of time before all churches accept gay people."

It's never going to happen. Eventually, even the most would-be tolerant Christians are going to notice that once a church starts throwing out the clear teachings of the Bible, it leaps into the death spiral that killed Safe Harbour and is now in the process of relegating the Anglican church to the dustbin of history.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Concerning the continuing decline of mainline Protestantism in America.

There are no Protestants on the Supreme Court, and there are no mainline Protestants running for the GOP nomination.

That could change, but it is certainly evidence of two things: (a) mainline Protestantism has become essentially a liberal project and (b) mainline Protestantism no longer carries the essential cultural influence it once did.

The two are probably related.
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