Easter 2024

01 December 2011
The Episcopal Church lives (a 9 step proposal)

  1. Go to Google
  2. type in the words "Is the Episcopal Church"
  3. notice what autocomplete does? At the time of this writing you get four questions:
    • "Is the Episcopal Church dying"?
    • "Is the Episcopal Church liberal"?
    • "Is the Episcopal Church catholic"?
    • "Is the Episcopal Church right for me"?
  4. Read this terrific piece "A Search: Of Catholicity, Google Auto-Complete, and the Episcopal Church" over at The Curate's Desk
  5. Start thinking about how you can provide a result on the web for the web query "Is the Episcopal Church right for me?" (Seriously, does your church have a web page with this title? Mine doesn't. I'll get right on that . . .)
  6. Keep your perspective. It's not really about the Episcopal Church, it's about Jesus. And we are Jesus' voice on the internet.
    • Jesus has no blog but our blogs
    • Jesus has no Twitter account but our Twitter accounts
    • Jesus has no YouTube video but our YouTube videos
  7. Join me in publicly sharing what it is you love about the Episcopal Church and how living in the Episcopal Church has shaped your journey in faith.
  8. The Episcopal Church isn't dying, because we all live in it. #LiveInTheEpiscopalChurch
  9. Thanks for your attention.

Here's a comment that I left on the webpage of the first result for the search "is the Episcopal church dying"

I am an Episcopalian.

I joined the Episcopal Church in 2004, right after this big decline supposedly took place.

I can’t find where Mark Tooley in his article “Killing a Church” ( makes the claim that the membership in the Episcopal Church has declined 60% since 2003.

The reality is that membership has declined 43% since 1966, when it was at a peak of 3.5 million.

I am also skeptical of arguments that doctrinal shifts in the Episcopal Church where somehow responsible for this downward trend. This same trend began simultaneously in all protestant denominations, and continues to this day.

Personally, I have had the privilege to witness Episcopal churches throughout the country that are thriving, not dying. Even if they pine for the glory days when the churches were full (aka 1966), these are places of worship that put their faith in action.

Jesus called us to make disciples, not full churches, so I don’t believe that numbers tell the full story.


No but you're still whistling in the dark about membership. Not many people will pay any attention to you with under 1.94 million members and an average age of 56+. Why bother to listen to a group that's shrinking and by it's own accounts losing attendance? Your old WASP money? The private schools? Lingering Anglophilia? Sorry. Not going to cut it. You'd better hope that those remarried ex-Catholics and gay/educated ex-Baptists and and Methodists keep drifting in, because without them you'd be even worse off than you are.
Thanks for this comment, Anonymous. However, I'm not sure what your point is.

By the way, anonymous comments don't really promote a sense of dialogue, do they? ( I hope that you'll comment again here, but I've changed the comment policy on this blog. You'll have to log in with an Open ID.

I'm not afraid of having this conversation with my full self. I hope you're not either.

I didn't join the Episcopal Church because of it's old WASP money (it's certainly not mine -- I'm an organist, have you noticed? So, if this was an ad hominem attack it was a failure).

I don't think Episcopal Schools figure much into the conversation. Most Episcopal Schools have tenuous ties to nearby parishes, if any. Having not attended or worked at one, it's unclear to me what the average Episcopal School's tie is to the Episcopal Church as a whole.

Lingering Anglophilia... amongst who, exactly?

I think the Episcopal Church provides a wonderful haven for former Roman Catholics and former Baptists. Certainly, many congregations in the the Episcopal Church -- and, thankfully, other denominations -- are openly welcoming of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.

Back to my original point, which from the tone and unrelated nature of your comment I'll gather you don't have any sympathy for:

The Episcopal Church strives to welcome everyone. If you, Anonymous, don't feel welcome at an Episcopal parish, would you care to share why?

My main point is that Episcopalians need to do a better job of answering the question: "is the Episcopal Church right for me?" Certainly the answer to this question for some people will be "no", but it seems that many people are asking it, and I want to ensure that it is being answered online.

Since publishing these thoughts, I think the revamped national church's website is doing a slightly better job of answering this question: - but there's room for a lot of Episcopal voices on this topic. 1.94 million voices, to be exact.

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