Doing the Math

Alan Cooperman, of the Washington Post reports that 200-250 churches have joined other provinces. epiScope and Father Jake take a look at how the WP came up with these figures. It seems that many were never Episcopal Churches or broke away years ago over the ordination of women, the Prayer Book, or previous issues.

Jan Nunley of epiScope writes:

It looks as though Cooperman has simply taken his numbers from claims made on various dissident groups’ websites and by their spokespersons.

So far, the heads, or primates, of Anglican provinces overseas have taken under their wings 200 to 250 of the more than 7,000 congregations in the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.

That’s a claim apparently made by Archbishop Akinola in a recent story. There’s no hard evidence presented to back it up, for one good reason: not all, or even most, of those congregations–however many there are–ever were TEC congregations.

[AMiA] has grown at the rate of one church every three weeks and now numbers about 120 congregations, with five bishops.

Which makes it sound as though AMiA has had a steady rate of growth; in fact, the majority of those churches were factions of TEC congregations, new plants or “house churches” founded in the first year or so of AMiA’s existence.

epiScope continues:

The misleading part is that uninformed readers naturally assume–from what’s implied in Cooperman’s lead–that “congregations” in these cases means “full duly constituted congregations of TEC, with their physical plants”: in other words, just like St. Swithin’s-in-the-Swamp down the street.

And that’s just not the case. They’re either splits off existing TEC congregations (which continue as TEC congregations), or new church plants, or “house churches” meeting in homes or hotels under lay leadership, or–in a great many cases–“continuing Anglican” congregations long outside Canterbury’s official fold and seeking a way back in.

Read the rest here.

Father Jake corrects the Washington Post’s math:

There are about 45 congregations, less than 1%, that have claimed to have left the Episcopal Church. Almost all of these congregations have been reconstituted by a group from within the congregation that remains faithful to the Episcopal Church.

More reflections on ACK, CANA, NAAC, and other foreign primatial incursions at Preludium

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