Friday, February 08, 2008

Rowan Martin's Anglican Laugh-In

Bill sums it up. You're wondering why the Anglican Church is failing and dying? Well, it's not from lack of effort to keep it going on Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Martin's part, he who suggests that Sharia in Britain is inevitable. Decline and Fall of Anglicanism? Piffle. There's a solution to any of that, and Bill nails it:

"The only thing that stops the CoE being universally popular is our failure to abandon all doctrines that upset people who don't subscribe to our beliefs. If we just continue to chip away, people are bound to be eventually convinced by our confidence, our rejection of fashion and the eternal truth of our message.

We just need to be nicer."

Posted by: John on Friday, 20 October 2006 at 11:09pm BST; link below at Thinking Anglican.

Yes, there is hope in Rowan Martin's revival of the 1960's skit comedy routines now showing in an Anglican Church near you, if not yet back on television. Give it time and you just might see the Anglican Church in reruns.

Here's the latest knee-slapping comedy piece from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Martin, as presented by a very clever journalist with far more media smarts than Rowan himself:

Rowan Williams: Sharia Law in the UK "Unavoidable"

Posted by: delusional in News, Politics, Ramblings

…or in other words, the probability of a religious leader saying something mind-numbingly stupid is always close to a value of 1.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams (principal leader of the Church of England) has stated in an interview for the BBC World at One programme that the adoption of Sharia Law in the UK is unavoidable. [warning: link contains inexcusably daft view-points]

He bases his view on the idea that some British citizens (in this case Muslims) do not relate to the the British legal system. Therefore, he argues, they should be given a choice of which law they would like to be tried under ie: British Law or Sharia law.

He seems to think this is a sensible idea.

Well, perhaps I feel that I don't relate to British law too easily either. Perhaps the courts would give me the option of being tried under the laws of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?


Update: Rowan Williams has apparently received death threats as a result of this interview. Presumably some slightly less loony Bishop has offered to bat him over the head with a scepter.

Across the pond, but still related, the American version of the Anglican Church has this news:

"US Episcopal report highlights concerns over church attendance drop"
by Lillian Kwon, Christian Today US Correspondent
Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2007, 12:26 (GMT)

An Episcopal Church committee has released an interim report that reveals positive trends as well as concerns in declining membership and church conflicts.

In a brief assessment of facts and trends in the Episcopal Church, the 'State of the Church' report – issued by the House of Deputies Committee in November – indicated the need for a "plan for action" at all levels of the denomination in response to membership drops.

In 2006, the number of Episcopal churches growing by 10 per cent or more decreased, and the number declining in membership by 10 per cent increased, according to the report. Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) also dropped by three per cent in 2006 compared to one per cent the previous year.

An estimated 41 per cent of the attendance drop can be attributed to the departure of congregations from their dioceses.

And almost half of Episcopal parishes and missions have an ASA of 70 or less.

Conservative parishes and Anglicans discontent with the liberal direction of the Episcopal Church have left the American church body and realigned with like-minded churches from overseas.

The Episcopal Church – the US branch of Anglicanism – deepened rifts when it consecrated openly gay bishop V Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003.

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has indicated that those who have left the national Church only account for less than 1 per cent of the total number of US Episcopal parishes.

According to the report, an increased number of congregations reported "serious conflict" from 2001 through 2005. The consecration of Robinson was one of the frequently mentioned sources of conflict in 2005.

Other areas of concern in the national Church include the "failure of some dioceses to fully support the program of The Episcopal Church at the national level", which is in turn negatively impacting its domestic operations and overseas mission work.

Four Episcopal dioceses have already taken steps to split and realign with a conservative Anglican leader. Most recently, the Diocese of Forth Worth in Texas voted to approve constitutional amendments and remove language that states the diocese accedes to the Episcopal Church's constitution and canons.

In December, the Diocese of San Joaquin could be the first Episcopal diocese in the country to take a final vote and leave the national Church. The diocese has been invited to align with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of South America.

Bishop Robert Duncan of the Pittsburgh Diocese is also in the process of forming a separate Anglican structure in North America that would remain faithful to the global Anglican Communion. Bishop Duncan contends that the Episcopal Church has "failed" the communion and rejected "obvious scriptural teaching".


Things must be going well in America for the Anglicans/Episcopalians if as "Katharine Jefferts Schori has indicated that "those who have left the national Church only account for less than 1 per cent of the total number of US Episcopal parishes." Yeah, except those are the ones who have formally split from the Church, and it doesn't account for those who likely will as the snowball of schism, to mix a metaphor, continues its down-hill roll. My arithmetic is kind of poor, but this lot of figures surely impresseth me greatly anyway: "churches growing by 10 per cent or more decreased, and the number declining in membership by 10 per cent increased...." And to sum up the good news, "that reveals positive trends."

Some might think that Anglican Church attendance and the drop in membership would show the marketplace is rejecting the current Anglican sales pitch to the Anglican masses. Rowan Martin, eternally comedic, has the solution: Sharia in Britian. Yes, dear reader, sadly, you and I did not become filthy rich only because strikingly original ideas such as that just don't occur to ordinary folk like us. Well, OK, I'll speak for myself then.

Here's a Thinking Anglican who can speak for himself about Church attendence:

"The minister of my last parish commented last year that they had solved the problem of people who come only for Christmas, Easter and special events like Baptisms. They had complained to the people so often that they only show up for these events, that the people listened and stopped coming to those too...." Posted by: Cheryl Clough

Crisis in the Anglican Church

In recent years the Anglican Church has received very little good publicity in the press. In the UK weekly church attendance has dropped below a million, and worldwide the church has been bitterly divided over the issues of homosexuality and the ordination of women priests. Newspaper headlines during the past month, however, have suggested that the situation has suddenly and dramatically deteriorated, with words like "schism" and even "anarchy" being used.

For those numerically-minded, help yourselves while I go have coffee:

Posted by David Virtue on 2004/12/10 10:36:00 (6638 reads)

By David W. Virtue

WEST CHESTER, PA (12-10-2004)--Attendance statistics for The Episcopal Church USA in 2003 reveal a church in continued steep decline with nearly 36,000 active baptized members leaving for greener theological pastures, a significant drop from 8,000 in 2002. Another 24,000 Sunday worshippers left the ECUSA last year, more than twice the previous year.

In 2002 the church claimed a membership of 2,320,221. In 2003 it was down to 2,284,233, the church officially declared.

Some 85 parishes closed their doors - 7,305 in 2002 to 7,220 in 2003.

Average Sunday attendance in 2002 was 846,640. In 2003 it was 823,017.

The percentage of churches with any increase in average Sunday attendance (ASA) also dropped from 39 percent to 34 percent.

And for the first time churches with any loss in average Sunday attendance rose from 49 percent to 54 percent, the first time in living memory that it has reached over 50 percent.

Even those churches that were growing by 10 percent in the past five years dropped from 31 percent to 28 percent with those churches declining 10 percent in the past five years rising from 39 percent to 43 percent. Even when people leave, some churches keep them on the books.

The two parishes with the largest membership (but not necessarily attendees) were St. Martin's in Houston with 7,365 members. It claims an increase of 228 over the previous year and St. Michael's & All Angels in Dallas which rose to 7,243 from 7,166 in 2002.

But the largest attended parish in the ECUSA is the evangelical parish of Christ Church, Plano under the leadership of Canon David Roseberry. In 2003 it had 1,975 members a slight increase of 42 members over the previous year.

The number of congregations with 10 members or less jumped from 234 to 247. Those with congregations between 100 and 300 registered a significant loss in members.

The most startling figure was that the median average Sunday worship attendance of all Episcopal churches across the whole country is 77 members (down from 79).

And who's running the churches these days?

[T]he percentage of clergy under age 40 make up only 9 percent, with nearly 50 percent of all clergy now aged between 50 and 60.

As some might recall, Arte Johnson, the one wearing a German army helmet, used to curl his lips and say to the audience, for no particular reason: "Verrrry interes-stink. But not very funny."

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