16 February 2009

Duncan, membership and falsehoods

It's always interesting to surf the web: one never knows exactly where one will eventually alight nor what one will find.

What I found was some interesting "misrepresentation" of facts on the ecclesial community of deposed bishop Robert Duncan's web page. What I found was that Duncan and his minions are incapable of understanding The Queen's English.
We are members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a fellowship of more than 70 million Christians that developed from the Church of England . . . we are united not only by our historical ties, but also by our form of worship, which is based on a common prayer book, and our system of church government, which is ordered around an overseer, called a bishop.
Apparently no one bothered to tell Bob that the "Four Instruments of Communion" disagree with his assertion for the moment. The primates just said that Duncan's Folly is not part of the Anglican Communion. Apparently individual Episcopalians are, but Duncan's group is not according to the Primates' press release.
  1. The Windsor Continuation Group Report examines in Section H the question of parallel jurisdictions, particularly as raised by the Common Cause Partnership . . . Significant concerns were raised in the conversation about the possibility of parallel jurisdictions. There is no consensus among us about how this new entity should be regarded, but we are unanimous in supporting the recommendation in paragraph 101 of the Windsor Continuation Group Report. Therefore, we request the Archbishop of Canterbury to initiate a professionally mediated conversation which engages all parties at the earliest opportunity.
The Blog-father called it in a 2007 post.
I can't imagine that they will gain such approvals from the Primates, let alone the ACC. This collage of organizations include some that have been declared "not in Communion" for some time. To simply graft them in without serious study of the theological difference that divide them from the larger Communion would seem to be foolhardy. Beyond that, if the Primates allow this splinter group full membership, they will have also given permission for similar groups to form in their own backyards. That should be enough to give most of the Primates reason to have serious reservations about this new structure.
Either Duncan is correct and the primates are liars, or the primates are correct and Duncan is a liar. There is no consensus as to how this new entity should be regarded. It is not a province,; it is not a church; it is not part of the Anglican Communion. Apparently individuals attending these ecclesial communities are considered Anglicans, but the organization is not.

The AC web pages do not list Duncan and his cohort of deposed/irregular bishops as bishops of anything.

Duncan's site then turns to the numbers game:
Since its founding n January [2007], the Network has grown to include 10 dioceses and scores of individual parishes and ministers. There are some 200,000 Episcopalians, more than 2,200 Episcopal clergy and 900 parishes with some relationship with the Network. Already, Network affiliates make up more than 10 percent of all Episcopalians. [Emphasis original]
Even if we include all the people and groups that have split from TEC since 1830, it would be very difficult to arrive at a figure of nine hundred ecclesial communities and 200,000 members. Their December 2008 figures are not to be trusted. When one subtracts the Canadians and the REC membership, Duncan's group has at best about 60,000+.

But just supposing their figures are correct that means the Network has not grown in two years. I find that very interesting.

After I wrote this post,* Thinking Anglicans also posted on the numbers game. It appears that not only have the schismatics not grown, but they have actually declined. According to February 2009 Network figures, (from deposed bishop Iker's site)their weekly attendance is 81,000+ and the ecclesial communities in Canada is down to twenty-four from thirty-four.
On every Sunday morning, some 81,311 people worship at the 693 congregations of the Anglican Church in North America.
I thought Duncan said 200,000 communicants and nine-hundred ecclesial communities. That means an attrition of about 120,000 communicants about about 200 ecclesial communities all in two months.
But we must remember that the schismatics have always inflated their numbers and importance.

You might want to read this and this.

[UPDATE] Fr. Jake points us to Mark Harris post at Preludium on the numbers game.

* I usually write my posts a couple of days in advance of posting. That allows me to work out most of the bugs, add or subtract, and catch most of the spelling/grammar errors.