At the beginning of David Virtue’s acid commentary on the run-up to General Convention 2012, he quotes the Presiding Bishop as follows:
We need to discover ways to engage in the outside community. The Episcopal Church must embrace change and diversity if it is to move forward.
We, er…you had the greatest chance to strike a blow for diversity and atone for colonialism and racism at one shot: hand the Anglican Communion to the Africans. But you didn’t, because it wasn’t the diversity you were looking for.
There’s another point she made that David missed in his volley:
The Episcopal Church draws strength from its growing immigrant population, cried Jefferts Schori to a newly minted congregation of liberal Episcopalians in the Diocese of Albany that found Albany Bishop Bill Love a bit too exclusionary (read orthodox) in his understanding of mission.
That simply isn’t true. The Episcopal Church was founded to take up the slack left by its orphaning from the Church of England after our Revolution, which meant its first communicants were English descendants. That didn’t change for a long time; for many years it was the WASP church, a familiar church home for England’s children who came over here and a place where others could adopt a suitable British style spirituality and mentality. The revisionist bent in the Episcopal world was generated by same descendants, not those who huddled at Ellis Island and the like. The Anglican immigrants coming now (such as they are) come from provinces where TEC’s revisionist idea isn’t to their taste.
One thing for sure: TEC’s plan may make its leadership feel good about itself, but it is not a plan for membership growth.