The Ordinariate, the Episcopal Church, and the future

Given the shrinking numbers of the Episcopal Church and, and the news reports, almost daily, of new ordinations and the like in the American Ordinariate, I got to thinking: when will the average Sunday attendance (in my view the best barometer on a week-to-week basis of the health of a church) for Ordinariate parishes exceed the Episcopal Church’s? I’ll put the over/under at 3 years. Which side would you take?

3 Responses to The Ordinariate, the Episcopal Church, and the future
  1. Phal
    June 4, 2012 | 11:16 pm

    Think it’s a wash, Mark, at best. I belong to an Anglo-Catholic Episcopal parish in NYC. The numbers have been growing across the board for the past five years–weekly attendance, pledgers and plate income. Much of the growth has come from trans-Tiberian swimmers.

    The membership attrition of the American Episcopal church, is more attributable to the greying of its congregation than anything else. This has been offset, to some degree, by an influx of disaffected Pentacostalists and Catholics who find their church doctrine antithetical to their beliefs regarding same-sex marriage, strictures on ordination, and birth control. (That’s just what I hear from our parishioners.)

    The interesting thing is, aside from the above, there is very little difference doctrinally between the two faiths-aside from a 16th C. horny king and a land grab.

    From the JV squad,


  2. Mark
    June 5, 2012 | 5:21 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Phal. Glad to hear your parish is growing. But I think you all are probably the exception in the Episcopal Church – the attendance numbers have been imploding for several years, now. Meanwhile, there’s been a veritable ethnic cleansing of Anglo-Catholics and other theologically orthodox folks in almost every diocese in which I’ve represented clients, and across the country. Not all of the people leaving are gray hairs – in fact most are young families with kids. Most have gone to Rome, the Continuum, or one of the other numerous, and growing, Anglican offshoots. A lot of these people will opt into the Ordinariate, I think. As will many Roman Catholics who are tired of their usual crummy liturgy. I frankly think there are more of them than there are RC’s who are disaffected by the institutional church’s orthodox views on social issues. I could be wrong. Time will tell.

    On a personal note, hope you and your family are well. Thanks again for reading and dripping the comment.


  3. William A. Wheatley
    June 8, 2012 | 9:24 pm

    I think the Ordinariate will take off. Where an ordinariate group shares facilities with a Roman Catholic parish, it will revitalize the parish, and both the Romans and the Anglicans in the parish will experience growth. The Ordinariate, if the American Catholic bishops don’t succeed in torpedoing it, will restore traditional Catholicism to the American Catholic Church, and will do it with an Anglican flavor.