Talk:Episcopal Church (United States)

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"Growing rift" etc.[edit]

User:Årvasbåo has added material which is so blatantly non-neutral that I feel it has to be discussed and edited down here on the talk page first before it can be added to the article. I note that all these additions are sourced to a single recent article in Christianity Today, a non-neutral Evangelical publication.

"There is a growing rift in the Episcopal church over what critics call a retreat from orthodoxy. Bishop of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Paul V. Marshall has claimed that the denomination's failure to uphold historic Christian teachings had made it an embarrassment."[1][2]
The first sentence is accurate enough, but the second sentence presents only one side of the issue.
"The unwillingness to uphold professed standards of belief has had striking examples in bishops as John Shelby Spong and James Pike who deny several Christian core doctrines, as well as in the election of Kevin Thew Forrester, although the latter's election is not likely to be confirmed by the House of Bishops and a majority of its 111 diocesan governing boards. Forrester maintains among other things, that the crucifixion of Christ was against God's will and the shedding of his blood doesn't wash away sin; and neither does his death redeem and restore humanity. His function, according to the bishop-elect, is simply to reveal to us that we're already and always one with God. Critics charged that Thew Forrester had also altered Christian liturgies to add Buddhist, Unitarian-Universalist, and New Age principles.[1]"
This asserts as fact, rather than Evangelical opinion, that the Episcopal church is "unwilling to uphold professed standards of belief".
"While Spong and Pike made their heterodox proposals after their ordination, Forrester was elected in spite of known heterodoxy. According to Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, only a minority of the diocesan governing boards opposes him because they believe the changes are contrary to Christian teaching.[1]"
This sentence presumes to take the definition of "heterodox" for granted, and contradicts something else added in the same edit: earlier the editor wrote that Forrester's "election is not likely to be confirmed", now he writes that "only a minority of the diocesan governing boards opposes him". The same article from Christianity Today is the source.
"Heterodox statements by bishop-elect Thew Forrester has met harsh criticism by leading theologians of other denominations. "He is an apostate from the Faith; and a church that ordains such a one is also apostate," said George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler agrees with Wood.[1]"
Another sentence that presumes to know what is and isn't "heterodox", and another that presents only an Evangelical point of view. This one is of only tangential relevance anyway, since they're the opinions of members of other denominations. What the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptists think is neither here nor there; shall we add the fact that Baptists and Presbyterians reject the authority of all bishops? Or that Roman Catholics consider all Anglican orders as "absolutely null and utterly void"? The article already discusses the current turbulence in the church in sufficient detail; we don't need to add a detailed summary of a single article in an extremist magazine just because it was published last week. +Angr 23:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ a b c d Frank E. Lockwood: Too Unorthodox Even for the Episcopal Church? Christianity Today, June 8, 2009.
  2. ^ The Widening Division in the Anglican Church Christianity Today.
This could easily be addressed in a controversy section in the article. Most articles have one unless they are fiercely defended.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 02:57, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Most articles don't have a such a section, nor should they, see WP:NPOV#Article structure. Critical and controversial material should be dealt with in neutrally titled sections. It's alrady plain from the article that there are divisions, as Angr says we don't need to include every single reference just because someone's found a new hobby horse. David Underdown (talk) 19:37, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm still not really sure how a controversy can be dealt with in a neutral way. By its very nature each side of the argument is non-neutral. Here quite a few cited statements from the conservative point of view have been deleted. And I guess it depends on your perspective who found the new "hobby horse" as you call it. Here the perspective that says the Episcopal church found a new "hobby horse" keeps getting deleted or pared down. This article is from a conservative publication that is well respected, so I don't really understand why that point of view should be deleted if this is really a non-neutral presentation.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 20:21, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
A controversy can be dealt with in a neutral way by not presenting either side's opinion as fact; the edits I removed did present the Evangelical POV as fact. It's also preferable to use publications that are themselves neutral rather than ones like Christianity Today ("well respected" surely only by those who already agree with its opinions) that don't even attempt to hide their reactionary bias or their contempt for mainline Protestantism in general and the Episcopal Church in particular. +Angr 20:42, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
See here is the problem. You can't present a debate without presenting an opinion or conclusion, which is POV. But you can say the conservative evangelical journal Christianity Today founded by Billy Graham opines that... Instead things like this just keep getting deleted without ever being fixed. And you question whether it is well-respected. Evangelicals make up 26.3 percent of protestants in North America while "mailine" protestants are at 18.1% according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. So it isn't like it is a minority or fringe publication. See http://religions.pewforum.org/reports Sweetmoose6 (talk) 15:18, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
But you can present a debate without taking sides in it, and doing so is much easier if you use secondary sources that themselves do not take sides. When you use a biased primary source like CT, of course you run the risk of reflecting that bias in the article. And while it would be possible to introduce every sentence with "Frank E. Lockwood, writing in the conservative journal Christianity Today opines that...", "Lockwood's opinion is that...", "Lockwood claims that..." and so forth, that would only present a veneer of neutrality without actually achieving it, because it would be putting undue weight on a single author's opinion published in a single article in a single journal. This one person's opinion simply isn't notable enough that it should be covered by 350 words of prose in this article. And even if it were sourced to four different articles by four different authors published in four different journals, is it really relevant to spend 350 words on outsiders' views of the Episcopal Church? Do our articles on the ELCA, the United Methodist Church, the PCUSA, and the ABCUSA spend 350 words discussing what people outside those churches think of them? +Angr 18:47, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Amount of space --> yes if relevant. Topic relevant in article? --> sure seems to be. Opinion from major, influential publication --> probably relevant. From the article on the source - Billy Graham, stated that he wanted to "plant the evangelical flag in the middle-of-the-road, taking the conservative theological position but a definite liberal approach to social problems".[2] I'm not sure the periodical is as reactionary as you say it is.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 20:19, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I guess another major overlooked point here is that one criticism, at the beginning of the article, was leveled by The Right Reverend Paul V. Marshall, Th.D., D.D., D.C.L., Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem. So that was an internal remark, not made by the publication, merely cited in it. http://www.diobeth.org/ Sweetmoose6 (talk) 20:35, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Angr, are you seriously suggesting that Forrester, Spong and Pike might be orthodox? If so, I advice you to read the official documents laying down the doctrines of the Episcopal Church. They can be found in the Book of Common Prayer.

Your claim that Christianity Today is "'well respected' surely only by those who already agree with its opinions" and talk about their "reactionary bias" is sheer defamation. I'm afraid a constructive discussion requires a better effort from your side.

There is no contradiction between saying that the "election [of Forrester] is not likely to be confirmed", and that "only a minority of the diocesan governing boards opposes him him because they believe the changes are contrary to Christian teaching". Some of the diocesan governing boards oppose him on other grounds.

It is an exceptionally strong statement to say that "He is an apostate from the Faith; and a church that ordains such a one is also apostate," as leaders of other denominations say. It cannot by any means be compared to Baptist's and Presbyterian's rejection of the authority of all bishops, or to Roman rejection of Anglican orders. --Årvasbåo (talk) 02:24, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm saying that whether they are orthodox or heterodox is not Wikipedia's call to make, and when our own editorial voice refers to them as heterodox, that's biased editing in violation of WP:NPOV, likewise when our own editorial voice accuses the Episcopal Church of "unwillingness to uphold professed standards of belief", and likewise when we use a source with an unashamedly anti-Episcopal bias as our reference material. The inclusion of this material violates Wikipedia policy. +Angr 07:49, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
There is clearly no consensus here for the insertion of the new material, so I've reverted it again. Talk it through here before making major changes (see WP:BRD). I've left the NPOV banner for now though to draw attention to this ongoing discussion. David Underdown (talk) 09:56, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
However obvious we think it is that Spong, Pike and now Thew are heterodox, the Episcopal Church itself has never declared them so. Pike was censured, though heresy charges against him were dropped but that's as cose as it's come. So far this whole material is based on a single article, with a few commentators expressing their own views so far as I can see, rather than necessarily speaking on behalf of their diocese in the case of the Bishop of Bethlehem, or their churches in teh case of the other two. To really make the acse for a "growing rift", which is a big claim, we need a variety of sources, preferably from a range of viewpoints. One article cliaiming arift does not a rift make. David Underdown (talk) 10:32, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
The heterodoxy of Spong, Pike and Forrester is no subjective statement. Some of the doctrines of the church are formulated so clearly that we only make fools of ourselves by making believe that they can be interpreted as being compatible with the ideas of the three men. YOU and I agree that those men contradict the official doctrine of the church.
The article itself already mentions a few of the church's doctrines which are denied by these men.
The unwillingness to uphold historic Christian teachings has been lamented by one of their own bishops, but the issue is clear enough without his words. It's not reasonable to demand a church declaration of heterodoxy when a) it has already approved documents that define the bishops as heterodox and b) the thing at issue is its unwillingness to stand for the position taken.
Your questioning of the integrity of Christianity Today says a lot of yourself, but it fails to discredit the publication. It doesn't become clear what the problem with the source is. Did CT quote somebody incorrectly? Is their description of Forrester's views defective? Is their prediction that the election of Forrester will not be confirmed questionable? Or are you just angry to see the name of a publication you don't like? --Årvasbåo (talk) 01:38, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I have said numerous times what the problem with using CT as a source is. It is a biased source. It has a specific anti-mainline, anti-moderate agenda that it is pushing. It makes no attempt to report from the neutral point of view, as Wikipedia does. This particular article you are using is an opinion piece: it expresses the author's opinion about the issue it discusses, rather than simply reporting the facts in a neutral way. Using CT as a source violates Wikipedia's verifiability policy with regard to questionable sources: "Questionable sources ... include websites and publications expressing views that are widely acknowledged as extremist, or promotional in nature, or which rely heavily on rumors and personal opinions." CT expresses extremist views and relies heavily on personal opinions. +Angr 14:16, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
That's not true. CT is a respected magazine that writes news in an objective way. Like all magazines, they represent certain values, in this case evangelical, but they are careful to avoid bias in their reports. Check Google scholar search to see how often they are quoted in scholarly journals. (Not all hits for Christianity Today will refer to the magazine, of course.)
You have not yet explained what the problem with CT is, just repeated your slander. If you have a point, you can explain how the alleged bias is expressed. For instance by answering my concrete questions. Or citing a reliable source that claims it is extremist and relies heavily on personal opinion. --Årvasbåo (talk) 21:02, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Just because you keep saying something over and over again, that doesn't make it true. Do you have a reliable source for your claim that it's respected? Or objective? Or that it avoids bias in its reports? (I had to laugh out loud when I read that!) All I found on Google Scholar were a handful of CT articles warning against the "Yellow Peril" of Buddhism in the US. CT is the Christian equivalent of Fox News: publish your opinion, pretend it's fact, and sling mud at anyone who has the temerity to disagree with you. +Angr 22:43, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
A Google scholar search for articles published in CT renders 1,310 hits, and most link to citations in scholarly journals or academic books or papers. In Conservation Biology, 19(6):1687-1688, December 2005, CT is called "arguably the most prominent and well-respected evangelical publication." Barry Hankins, in American Evangelicals, says it "fairly quickly eclipsed Christian Century as the religious periodical most widely quoted in the secular press."[1] All your defamation of CT achieves is revealing you as an irresponsible person who doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. Sorry to say it, but that's the truth. --Årvasbåo (talk) 02:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, that is the problem. You want to use an "evangelical" magazine to make a theological claim about someone else. The magizine has no authority and thier theological particularity gives the article, at the very least, an appearance of bias. The claim is, also, arguably slanderous and libelous. 66.99.13.225 (talk) 22:03, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

The problem of excluding issues such as an Episcopal priest who is also Buddhist is that this article contains a section that refers to the response to controversies, and yet the controversies are not adequately described, so it does not fairly explain why there are controversies. The effect is to slant this article toward the status quo because it suggests that there are not any material controversies over which anyone would respond in such a strong way as leaving the Episcopal Church.Jwhester (talk) 15:02, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

This is an article on the Episcopal Church; it's not an article on "controversies". It is appropriate to have a small section on controversies, but not one on responses, and responses to responses, minor singular events, with "adequate description". I know to the schismatics the only relevant facts about the Episcopal Church are the ones that express their hatred for it, but that's not an appropriate focus for this article. Tb (talk) 20:38, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
First, I would say since the article refrenced is NOT from either a non-partison group OR the an official organizational press, I would have to say it should be regarded with a serious grain of salt from any aspect in the factual aspects of it's content.
There are minor disagreements in any organization all the time, religious or not. Examples are recent disagreements within both major American political parties. Any spin-doctor can make these look like major rifts, however usually in a realist perspective they just cause a small migration of some people to other groups of similar belief. I would probably just keep a comment in the discussion section to advise authors to look for more nuetral sources on the subject. --Robert Wm "Ruedii" (talk) 05:44, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Official names section[edit]

Wouldn't this section be better placed at the top of the article? Logically, I would think, what an organization is called should be sorted out from the start. One shouldn't have to read a whole article and then find out the many ways a church can be named. I'd move it myself but I don't want to be presumptuous. Ltwin (talk) 05:18, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

On a related front, the article proper says: "But since several other churches in the Anglican Communion also use the name "Episcopal", the phrase in the United States of America is often added, for example by the Anglican Communion's official website and by Anglicans Online."
That practice is in fact in common editorial use. However, as of this writing (2011.03.11), the list of provinces of the Anglican Communion on its Web site lists the church/province as "The Episcopal Church".
I note that of late the Episcopal News Service often first mentions the church in press releases as "The U.S.-based Episcopal Church". Doug Kerr 15:01, 11 March 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Doug Kerr (talkcontribs)

RfC[edit]

Editors disagree about the legitimacy of calling bishops Spong, Pike and Forrester heterodox.[2] Furthermore, one editor disqualifies Christianity Today as an "extremist" magazine, "'well respected' surely only by those who already agree with its opinions." Other editors think it's a respectable publication.

RfC Comment: There are official bodies of the Episcopal church that decide what and who constitutes orthodoxy, are there not? If such an organization has called these Bishops heterodox, or attempted to remove them or declare them as being outside the scope of orthodoxy, then it is right to identify them as such. Examining their their views and comparing them with the views recorded in the official documents of the church and deciding on that basis that they are heterodox is original research, and outside the scope of what a Wikipedia article should do. In any case, whether they are called orthodox or heterodox, who is doing the calling should be clearly identified rather than just applying the blanket label 'orthodox bishop' or 'heterodox bishop'; statements from a particular author or faction should not be taken as representative of an entire community, unless some organ of that community has affirmed the decision, or the author was acting on behalf of the community. --Clay Collier (talk) 03:16, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Is it still original research if it is cited by Christianity Today? I think that is the issue here.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 03:29, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
If the label "heterodox" has been applied by the Episcopal Church itself, and CT is used as a source to show this, that's fine (although it would still be preferable to get a less biased source). If it's the personal opinion of the CT writer that these bishops are heterodox, it isn't. +Angr 08:05, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Terms like orthodox & heterodox are automatically POV, whoever uses them. Policy requires they be cited as opinions, not facts. Peter jackson (talk) 10:07, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I thought they were cited, and were deleted, and that that is the whole problem.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 13:48, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
No. The sentences in question are: "While Spong and Pike made their heterodox proposals after their ordination, Forrester was elected in spite of known heterodoxy. According to Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, only a minority of the diocesan governing boards opposes him because they believe the changes are contrary to Christian teaching[1]" and "Heterodox statements by bishop-elect Thew Forrester has met harsh criticism by leading theologians of other denominations. 'He is an apostate from the Faith; and a church that ordains such a one is also apostate,' said George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler agrees with Wood.[1]" The [1] in both quotes cites the same CT article, [3], where the word "heterodox" never occurs; the word "unorthodox" occurs only in the headline, showing that it is the opinion of CT's editors. In the sentences I removed, it is Wikipedia's editorial voice that calls the bishops' ideas heterodox, and that is non-NPOV writing. +Angr 14:04, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
RfC comment:Christianity Today is clearly a reliable source. The question seems whether that magazine's use of the term "heterodox" is sufficient cause for the article to use it in the main body of the article, rather than in an expressed opinion contained in the article. I would personally think that it is not. Other, less potentially "loaded" words, are also extant, like "unusual", "controversial", etc, and there is no reason that those other, less POV words, could not be used in the place of "heterodox" or other similar loaded words. John Carter (talk) 14:20, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
The magazine itself doesn't even use the word "heterodox". It uses the word "unorthodox", and only in the headline of the article. But I'm still not convinced that CT is a reliable source for anything other than its own opinions. +Angr 20:24, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
It will tend to get "hard news" accurate about as often as most other major magazines, and I think it probably works rather hard to get quotations right, because of the amount of negative publicity it would doubtless receive if it didn't. Considering much of its content isn't "hard news" but some form of opinion or evangelization, that may not be saying that much, but it probably puts it on a par with the better of the other didactic periodicals out there, and I think that's probably enough to meet RS standards. John Carter (talk) 20:48, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Christianity Today appears to be pushing a certain brand of Christianity. I had a look at the edit. Not sure why a quote from a Baptist minister on Anglican theological matters is of any particular relevance, as that is a competitive product. It would be preferable to draw sources from Anglican commentators on Anglican theological positions, and particularly those from within the cultural context of what is being discussed (i.e., different brands, but within the same product stream). There has been plenty of discussion of this sort of thing in periodicals like the Church Times, and I am sure the same is true in Anglican publications in the USA as well. Given the way heterodox vs orthodox is about POV, it would be best to omit those words, and simply leave the material it relates to worded in a neutral way. People can make their own minds up, it is not our job to decide what is truly Christian or not, nor select quotes that lead into seeing something in a particular light. Say a cleric didn't believe in God - it would be worth noting this as unusual, even citing those who think he needs to consider his position, but not do so in a way that endorsed a view that it is right or wrong for a cleric to be an atheist; if the facts are laid out clearly and without pushing a particular POV, then people will make their own mind up about that. There are different brands of Christianity, with differing styles, theologies and practices, but some think their brand is right, while others are wrong. It is not our job to promote one brand as 'right' and others 'wrong'. Mish (just an editor) (talk) 00:27, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
CT - whose executive editors recently included Anglican theologian J I Packer - quotes mainly Anglican theologians. They added a couple of comments from representatives of other denominations, since the issue is big enough to concern outsiders. These comments were used in the section about ecumenical relations, where they are relevant.
There is no brand of Christianity that doesn't believe in God. The fact is crystal clear. Everybody agrees that the bishops in question are out of step with Anglican doctrine - correct me if you find some one who argues that they are within the bounds of the creed - but some don't wish to be reminded of it. To call a cleric who doesn't believe in God "unusual" strikes me as a distortion, since it gives the impression that it is a legitimate minority view. The same goes for a bishop who claims that the crucifixion was not the will of God and Christ's blood doesn't wash away sin and Christ's death doesn't redeem and restore humanity.
The official body of the Episcopal church that decides what constitutes orthodoxy is the triennial General Convention. They have defined orthodoxy in The Book of Common Prayer, which includes various creeds. The bishops are supposed to supervise their dioceses and decide who is orthodox and remove from office those who are not. That is what the rules say. In practice, the rules are rarely employed today. Yet, attempts to change official Anglican doctrine are feeble. Maybe because of ecumenical consequences, maybe because it would raise questions about legitimacy. Paying lip-service to doctrine is the easiest and most pragmatic solution. In this situation, unambiguous creeds (on those points where they are unambiguous) say more about certain prelate’s status as orthodox or heterodox than the bishops willingness to employ the statutes.
In this case, however, the Anglican bishop Paul V. Marshall, who was quoted by CT, reproaches Forrester for not holding "the doctrine of the Trinity as confessed in the Creed and explained in the Catechism", and for having an "understanding of the atonement [that] is not conformable with the liturgy or catechism, but appears to be something like gnostic enlightenment." This is an other way of saying that Forrester is heterodox. The same is expressed by “critics on the theological left and the right”, who, according to CT accused Forrester of “abandonment of church doctrine and liturgy, as contained in the Book of Common Prayer.” --Årvasbåo (talk) 21:02, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Once again, whether they are heterodox or not is not the point. The point is that it is not Wikipedia's place to put that label on them. +Angr 22:34, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Quite. The Anglican church has never been the way these people say it 'should be', that is why some people have a different view, and some people have a view that they shouldn't have that view, but they do, and that is all contained within Anglicanism. CT represents a view that they shouldn't have their view, and so calls them names - but it doesn't mean the names are correct, even if all the people who think they shouldn't have those views call them those names. We can say 'so-and-so argues these views are heterodox' or 'make them heterodox' or even 'heretic' if you have the reliable source - but that doesn't mean we see them as heretics or heterodox. If we did, we would be taking sides. We don't do this, we report what is said.
[deviation here:- The BCP - read the 39 articles. Lots of stuff in the 39 articles about what Anglicans shouldn't do, and yet they happen, even by people who say they conform to the BCP. Venerating the host during the eucharist, eucharistic devotions, processing the host, etc. As with the Bible, people focus on the items that are significant to them, and ignore things they don't have issues with. In Wikiepdia, the only thing that is significant about the BCP is what is found under Book of Common Prayer; and here, what people say about it in attributable sources as relevant to the issue - in the form of, so-and-so-says, not as having any truth-value in relation to the names we call people in an article.] Mish (just an editor) (talk) 23:04, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
This has gotten seriously off track. This issue is whether or not it is "legitimate" for a well-respected publication to call said bishops heterodox. NOT whether they actually are. Stick to the debate.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 02:58, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
And I should say, whether or not that information should be included in the article.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 03:27, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
RFC Comment: It's a weird question. According to the main article, the first Episcopalian service performed in America occurred on June 19, 1579. I don't think it's controversial to say that for four hundred years after that, the Episcopal Church would have considered the views of Spong, Pike, and Forrester as heterodox. Since the 1990s, there has been a heated debate within the denomination as to whether these views should still be considered heterodox or should now be considered orthodox. I don't think the issue is really settled at this point: some within the denomination believe their views are heterodox, some think orthodox, and, from my observations of the church, its leaders have been seeking compromise for some time, but, in the US at least, the opinion that Spong, Pike, and Forrester are not heterodox has largely carried the day, which is why you have all these conservative congregations withdrawing from the denomination.
I agree it's not Wikipedia's place to pronounce on heterodoxy or orthodoxy, so I would favor language like "Spong, Pike, and Forrester's opinions would have been considered heterodox before the 1990s, but they increasingly convinced members of the Episcopal Church to reject Christianity's historic prohibitions on homosexuality, and that their views could be held by an orthodox Christian."
Christianity Today is a voice of traditional Christianity - one's view of the magazine will be flavored by whether one equates historic Christianity with contemporary orthodoxy. Adam_sk (talk) 04:45, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
There's also an issue of WP:WEIGHT can we really claim that there's this big rift on this issue based on one article in one Evangelical publication? There are undoubtedly big strains in TEC, but we already mention the issues over Gene Robinson and the resulting secessions over that in some detail. This information seems completely unbiased and dangerously close to [{WP:OR]] as others have said. The Church has formal mechanisms for judging orthodoxy, and what ever our own views it is not our job here on Wikipedia to try and judge these things for ourselves. David Underdown (talk) 10:11, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Problem is "Spong, Pike, and Forrester's opinions would have been considered heterodox before the 1990s" I don't see how you can even say that - these sorts of theological squabbles have gone on in the communion a long time (Bishops Jenkins and Robinson in the UK, for example), and have roots that go back a hundred years or more. "they increasingly convinced members of the Episcopal Church to reject Christianity's historic prohibitions on homosexuality" - this is POV. They held a rational theological position about scripture and the tradition that developed from it, and this led them to certain conclusions (which included homosexuality), and people understood this and accepted homosexuality rather than going along with prohibitions based on Anglican tradition, older theologies, and more traditional interpretations of scripture.Mish (just an editor) (talk) 10:43, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Adam_sk, can you find a reliable source that says that some within the denomination think the views of the bishops are now in accordance with the creed? Is it not rather that they argue that those views should now be tolerated, or at most that they reflect what they feel God has revealed in our conscience, reason etc.? That's something totally different from branding them as orthodox, a concept that is laid down in a formal and objective way in the creeds.
Mish, the 39 articles don't forbid any one to venerate the host during the eucharist, have eucharistic devotions, or process the host; it says only that this is not done by Christ's ordinance [and thus not compulsory]. --Årvasbåo (talk) 02:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
@Avasbao: To get back to the topic. This is what is contested: "While Spong and Pike made their heterodox proposals after their ordination, Forrester was elected in spite of known heterodoxy." and "Heterodox statements by bishop-elect Thew Forrester has met harsh criticism". There are several issues with this. Saying they are heterodox is a POV. Saying something about somebody like this is subject to BLP policy, it cannot be allowed and has to be removed immediately. Saying this on the basis of a few statements implying this is the case is also WP:OR. If you look at Creationism or Creation according to Genesis, nowhere does it say 'God created the world', it describes what is said about this in a way that whether God exists or not is irrelevant. Communists say that anarchism is petit-bourgeoise, but we don't say anarchism is petit bourgeouise, we say that communists say that anarchism is petit-bourgeoise. It does not matter whether what these people say is heterodox, orthodox, or diabolic - but what people have said about this and them; if it has been said in a notable way, then it is included on that basis, but not as us saying they are heterodox or orthodox. What you can say is along the lines of "While Spong and Pike made proposals after their ordination that have been contested as unorthodox [+citation(s)], Forrester was elected having made statements that so-and-so regards as heterodoxy. [+citation(s)]" and "Statements by bishop-elect Thew Forrester have been critiqued as being heterodox. [+citation(s)]". If you want to say what they say is heterodox, you need to cite a source that states this as such, and then you attribute it to the source, not use this to state that what they say is heterodox. Mish (just an editor) (talk) 08:31, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

My experience is with Catholicism, not the US Episcopal Church. Unless I am very much mistaken, there is far less centralized authority in the latter. The closest thing to an Episcopal "pope" would be the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Primate, and it is not at all clear that either of this people have labelled the bishops in question as "heterodox". It seems reasonable to me to state who regards these bishops as "heterodox". If the article itself is vague, then the opinion should be attributed to Christianity Today. If that article is more clear, it can be attributed to the persons or organizations holding that view. Savidan 20:09, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

That is correct, the Rowan Williams, the ABC, is 'primus inter pares' - 'first among equals' - and he sees his role as being to represent the consensus views of his fellow-Bishops. So, for example, while he himself has very firmly affirmed lesbian and gay people prior to his appointment, in his pronouncements since he has worked hard to affirm the views of those who are opposed to such acceptance in terms of clergy & civil partnerships, at the cost of his own views. Mish (talk) 21:42, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

This is not the place to label people heterodox or orthodox; it is also, potentially, libelous and slanderous. 66.99.13.225 (talk) 22:09, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Hm, the question seems to be, where do we draw the line between OR and expressing something in other words than a verbatim quote? The Episcopal Church affirms that "we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son...Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ"[4]; yet bishop-elect Forrester "questions whether Jesus is truly the only begotten Son of God"[5] (to take only one example of his heresies). As orthodox means "Conforming to the established, accepted or traditional faith or religion"[6] and heterodox refers to beliefs "that are different from the norm ('orthodox')",[7] simple logic seems to say that Forrester is heterodox.
I find it quite strange to avoid saying what I take to be clear to any one who is familiar with Christian theology and basic creeds. Perhaps WP:Ignore all rules could be applied here? Cross your heart, does anybody here believe that Forrester's theology is an orthodox expression of Anglican theology? --Årvasbåo (talk) 16:40, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what we think. TEC has procedures for declaring people heterdox, they have not been instituted against Forrester, so it is not for us to label him heterodox, however reasonable it appears, we are not theologians. We report waht i sthere in relaible sources rather than drawing contentious decisions from those sources. David Underdown (talk) 16:50, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
"I find it quite strange to avoid saying what I take to be clear to any one who is familiar with Christian theology and basic creeds" - or is clear to anyone who has a particular understanding of Christian theology and the creeds - would this be clear to somebody with no knowledge of these things? would it be clear to somebody with a similar theology to Forrester? If it has not been said, then it is an interpretation, and not neutral. You cannot assume that editors or readers of this article share the Christian, or specifically Anglican, beliefs you seem to take for granted. Mish (talk) 17:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
TEC has creeds that define orthodoxy. Whether those creeds are applied or not is a matter of church politics, laxness/conscientiousness, negligence, wish to avoid bad PR etc. Do you really find the conclusion that Forrester is not orthodox contentious?
I think Forrester's deviations from orthodoxy is clear to any one who has read The Book of Common Prayer, or even the brief quote I adduced above. It is clear also to those who share Forrester's theology. They usually claim that Christianity is not fixed but evovlving; hence, they can substitute new content for old doctrines, but they try to maintain some kind of loose continuity with previous expressions of the religion they think they represent, or at least aspects of it. But yes, they would agree that they are not in conformity with the creeds of the Church.
May I ask again, whether there is some one who believes Forrester is orthodox? If no one can answer affirmatively, it would seem that it does matter what we think, since WP:Ignore all rules is applicable. --Årvasbåo (talk) 21:18, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Or, to put it differently, is there anybody who is not convinced by this argument that he is heterodox, despite lack of sources, and that we don't 'ignore all rules' in order to insert something that cannot be accurately verified from reliable Anglican/Episcopal sources in a way that is contrary to biography and BLP guidelines, and having set that precedent in one case, proceed to apply this to anybody whose theology doesn't conform to what we consider acceptable?
In a nutshell, yes, I am not convinced, and I am not alone, and no, I do not agree with this, and you need complete consensus to do that, and you do not have it. This is not the place to carry out this sort of religious-political campaigning - by all means document how this sort of thing has riven the church, but not use this article to present a biased version of that tragedy. Mish (talk) 22:05, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree with the general consensus (that is, nearly everyone except Årvasbåo): the use of the term "heterodox" is non-neutral and unsupported by reliable sources. There's also a question of undue weight: it is far from clear to me that this criticism from conservative elements within the Episcopal Church and from members of other denominations is sufficiently noteworthy to merit inclusion in the article. Unlike the disputes over homosexuality (e.g. the ordination of Gene Robinson), the disputes over the theologies of Spong, Pike and Forrester have gained little coverage in non-religious media, and even the coverage in religious media has been fairly muted.

Furthermore, the article already indicates that the Episcopal Church places less emphasis on theological orthodoxy than some other denominations do. I'm not sure what is gained by pointing out specific examples of Episcopal leaders whose opinions are regarded as unorthodox by certain parties.

Finally, it seems from the discussion above that Årvasbåo does not understand that as editors, our opinions about what constitutes an orthodox or heterodox opinion are completely irrelevant. If we do not have reliable sources identifying a specific doctrine as heterodox, it is original synthesis to say that it is heterodox, regardless of how much it appears to contradict traditional creedal interpretations. And because "orthodox" is a term open to interpretation, any source can be used only to say that "source X says that so-and-so's theology is heterodox", not to say "so-and-so's theology is heterodox." It is not Wikipedia's role to interpret what is and is not orthodox. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 03:26, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I've been watching this argument for a while. One thing is clear and that is that no one is really talking about the issue of whether statements made in Christianity Today, a well-respected publication, should be included in the article. It keeps reverting to an editors opinion. That is not the issue and has never been the issue. It may be his opinion, but the issue is whether the statements from the publication should be included, NOT the editors opinions. This point has never really been discussed and probably will not be discussed due to the three or four editors who do not want this information included in the article. That in itself is unfortunate because it is basically censoring outside opinion under the guise of neutrality, editor opinion etc. If this were really argued appropriately the focus would have remained on the editor's inclusion of statements and conclusions from the article and not on the editor's perceived opinion.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 03:40, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that in his initial edit, Årvasbåo did state opinions expressed in CT as fact, rather than presenting them as CT's opinion. He was also putting words in their mouth, as the CT article never uses the word "heterodox". If he had presented the material neutrally, then the issue would be whether that material can be included, but he didn't. The reason the inclusion of his opinion in the article is the main issue is quite simply that he did include his opinion in the article, but he presented it as if it were fact, and he used an op-ed piece from CT that expresses the same opinion as a source. What Årvasbåo did is no different from going to a political candidate's article, adding a statement saying "This politician is going to do wonderful things for our country and everyone should vote for him" and then using an editorial from the newspaper that endorses that candidate as the source for the statement. No matter how reliable a source the newspaper is in general, you can't use an opinion piece to back up a statement presented as fact while still obeying WP:NPOV (see WP:RS#Statements of opinion). Now, the issue of whether CT is actually a "well respected publication" or not, whether its opinions about a denomination it has been philosophically opposed to since its founding (long before anyone had heard of Spong, Pike, Forrester, or Robinson) are notable, and whether it can be used as a reliable source for anything other than its own opinions (see Wikipedia:Verifiability#Questionable sources), is also important, but it isn't the main issue here. +Angr 06:31, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you completely, Angr, and object to the comment by Sweetmoose which is distorting and contentious. The points about the source by Angr were all made to the editor concerned, at which point he shifted from the simple question about the source to the complex question about whether we could take an interpretative view on theological orthodoxy to allow his edit to stand. It has been persistently pointed out that we do not take such positions, and he has persisently argued we should. So, instead of being uncivil to the editors who keep pointing out this out to him, and impugning their motives for pointing this out when he asks, please point this out to him, advise him that he cannot do this, because the CT article has been dealt with, and there is no point him trying to find some other way of inserting his personal opinion. As both the question about the source and the use of 'heterodox' are in the RfC in two separate sentences, if the editor persists in discussing one and not the other, it is reasonable to persist in re-stating the answer - until (hopefully) he takes his fingers out of his ears and hears the answer. Mish (talk) 09:55, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
"Distorting", I really don't think so, unless I am distorting what other people would like to make this. What I am trying to do is focus the argument on the real issues that matter. Contentious, maybe, but here the problem is that a conclusion by a secondary source was edited out for some reason. Is that reason that the publication is irrelevant (no), is it that the publication is not notable (no), is it that the information itself is irrelvant (no -it is at the forefront of much debate), is it that the author's conclusions are controversial (I think this is the answer). An opinion is simply a conclusion (hopefully) taken from facts. Someone who looks at a pot and notices it was in a particular strata, then dates it is making an opinion or conclusion. People do it all the time. Then it is cited. People obviously make conclusions all the time based on other things, but that all goes to the issue of whether a publication or secondary source is reliable and trustworthy. Here an author's conclusion was cited. How this is any different than any other secondary source material, I don't know, and I don't think that has been addressed or answered and I think that is the heart of this debate. There are obviously people on here who feel passionately about excluding this information, and I doubt it will ever be included, but I don't like arguments that are not focused on the real issues. One proposal would be to add So and So at Christianity Today, a moderate/conservative publication states _____. Another problem is that everything from that article was deleted, not just the statement at controversy here. I should caveat that I am aware I'm human and can be wrong. Let's not get hotheaded here and think we know everything or are always right. And let's not impuning other editors as Angr pointed out. We may disagree but I'm not going to let a Wikipedia discussion make me upset.Sweetmoose6 (talk) 20:33, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Sweetmoose6 has a point; we could have discussed statements made in CT, rather than WP:IAR and taking up the issue of where to draw the line between OR and expressing something in other words than a verbatim quote. I thought, however, that there might be openness for a hospitable and resonable discussion, which could end in consensus for my view or in turning it down. Now I see that I have misjudged the attitudes.
Angr, if I was "putting words [heterodox] in their [CT:s] mouth" it was because they headlined their article "Too unorthodox even for the Episcopal Church?". To me, that seems equivalent.
It's not true that CT has been "philosophically opposed to [TEC] since its founding." It represents a stream of Christianity that is well established in TEC and it has drawn prominent editors and writers from that church. It has never, to my knowledge, turned against the church per se, only against the fraction that has come to dominate it. That's a reason why it has a wide readership within the church.
Mish, you are distorting my point. I don't ask if any one is convinced that Forrester is heterodox "despite lack of sources", nor do I ask to 'ignoring all rules' in order to "insert something that cannot be accurately verified from reliable Anglican/Episcopal sources." I have provided the proper Anglican/Episcopal source, and it seems to be chrystal clear in its implications. I think you all share my conviction that he is heterodox - despite Mish's claim that he doesn't. I'm sorry Mish, but your way of ignoring my sources makes it hard to believe you. Neither can I, for that matter, fathom what an argument might look like that tries to vindicate Forrester's orthodoxy. --Årvasbåo (talk) 21:58, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Årvasbåo, as has been stated several times, nobody's making an argument that Forrester is orthodox because that's not an appropriate ground for Wikipedia. Even if everyone here agreed that Forrester was heterodox, it would still be inappropriate for the article to say so, because it's a statement of opinion, not fact. Even Sweetmoose6 (who does indeed seem to be impugning the motives of other editors, though that's a side argument) acknowledges that the article can't simply say that so-and-so is heterodox. That's a non-starter. Furthermore, when you say that the source is "crystal clear in its implications", you show that you're missing the point of WP:SYNTH. An implication isn't good enough for Wikipedia: what's needed is a direct statement. The headline isn't good enough either, because it presents "unorthodox" in the context of a question, not a statement.
As Sweetmoose6 suggests, the CT article could be used to support a sentence saying "the evangelical Christian magazine Christianity Today stated" so-and-so; I agree that CT is a noteworthy source, reliable for its own opinions, akin to a political opinion magazine like The New Republic or National Review. But the article in question can be used only as a source for the opinion of CT or the opinions of the individuals cited in the article.
And there are further questions which would need to be resolved before including the material Årvasbåo wants: is the election (or non-election) of Thew Forrester sufficiently important to merit inclusion in the article, or does it give undue weight to a minority view? (I'm open to opinions on this subject.) Does this CT article really support a claim that "there is a growing rift in the Episcopal church over what critics call a retreat from orthodoxy", as Årvasbåo wrote here? (I don't think it does: at the most it says that some conservative individuals have expressed concern over the election of bishops who advocate non-traditional theologies.)
Årvasbåo, why not propose a more neutrally worded version of what you'd like to see in the article? "Heterodox" won't fly, because it's inherently in conflict with WP:NPOV (unless you can find a source which explicitly, not implicitly, uses that term). Let's all try to work together on this, instead of separating into opposing camps. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 22:36, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
@ Arvasbao. I wouldn't be in a position to say whether he is or is not orthodox - because until I was drawn here by the RfC, I knew nothing about him. Perhaps this is why I have less issues about CT - it is a magazine that simply does not feature as having any significance in this country. I am a disinterested party, because I only repsonded because of the RfC, and have no connection with the Episcopal Church. This is why I find it offensive that you impugn my motives. All my contributions have been civil, and I have sought to explain my reasoning throughout, in relation to policies and guidelines, irrespective of personal beliefs. In the RfC you raised two points:
  • Editors disagree about the legitimacy of calling bishops Spong, Pike and Forrester heterodox.[8]
The response was that without a source that stipulated this as a fact within the Anglican communion, it is not acceptable. What some Baptist minister said, which suggests he sees him as unorthodox, is irrelevant. Baptists themselves are unorthodox, by Anglican standards.
  • Furthermore, one editor disqualifies Christianity Today as an "extremist" magazine, "'well respected' surely only by those who already agree with its opinions." Other editors think it's a respectable publication.
This is another issue, and you are confusing the two issues. As has been said, if CT thinks people are unorthodox, then you say that, but that does not make the person heterodox. If the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Lambeth Conference, stated that he was such, and this was reported in the Church Times or a National Newspaper, then I would be inclined to go along with it - but if some magazine that has a particular point of view, aligned with a certain agenda, calls people names, I tend to take a different view; that it is their opinion, not a fact, and if it is included should be included as an opinion, not a fact. I am an Anglican who sees no reason why I have to believe what you keep telling me I must believe. I have no idea whether Forrester is orthodox or heterodox, and to be honest, I am not concerned; I am more concerned about accuracy and reliability, as a Wikipedian.
I don't know why people put these questions out for comment when people take the time to come here and respond to them, only to then find their motives impugned. I have now said all I intend to say on this matter, and am withdrawing from the discussion. Mish (talk) 23:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Is orthodox/heterodox a statement of opinion rather that fact? I don't agree with that. The Anglican creed (on this point shared by virtually all churches that call themselves Christian) seems to be chrystal clear in this case, and a bishop-elect who deviates from the creed of his church is heterodox. Of course, you can point out that the church's creed need not be true, and hence, from an outsider's perspective, it may be disputable whether any one is orthodox or heterodox. The terms are, however, usually used with reference to the religious body in question, and don't imply that you have to agree with them in order to use the terms. For instance, I'm ready to state that it's not an orthodox muslim position to call Jesus the Son of God.
My point was that an implication (if it's indisputable) is good enough for wp per WP:IAR. Anyway, I think we'll have to concentrate on what the sources explicitly say, since I don't see the openness here that is required for consensus regarding WP:IAR.
I think the headline is good enough, because when it presents "unorthodox" in the context of a question, rather than a statement, it's because the article reports that the expected failure to confirm Forrester's appointment is due to several reasons; not all delegates who oppose him find his heterodoxy too troubling.
Mish, it's hard to see how you can "have no idea whether Forrester is orthodox or heterodox" when you have access to the creed which lays down the issue unambigously. --Årvasbåo (talk) 08:40, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Sure, but having never heard of him, nor read what he has written, how would I know? I am not the judge of orthodoxy. That is why you need a reliable source for this - you cannot assume readers will have read him either. Mish (talk) 09:59, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Words like orthodox & heterodox, in normal usage, are always opinions: "orthodox" means the beliefs of the person using the word. Peter jackson (talk) 11:05, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. It is also a matter of opinion whether a given opinion is in conflict with a creed; in the absence of an episcopal ruling, two disputants may regard each other's views as heterodox, but neither opinion has the sanction of the Church. (For example, although the Arian controversy predates formalized creeds, I'm sure that Arius and Athanasius regarded each other as heterodox; the matter was not decided until the First Council of Nicaea.)
Furthermore, you're misunderstanding IAR. See Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means#What "Ignore all rules" does not mean. Generally, if someone invokes IAR, there's a discussion about whether the rule-ignoring action does, in fact, improve the encyclopedia. If nobody supports your opinion that the situation called for IAR, it probably didn't.
Seriously, "heterodox" isn't going to work as a neutral characterization. You should probably re-read WP:NPOV to see why. If you try for an alternative wording, you might have a chance of reaching consensus on including some of this material. But continuing to argue for "heterodox" is pointless. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 19:40, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Just a minute I want to defend my earlier comment. Particularly against User:MishMich's comments. I totally disagree with this wishy-washy, namby-pamby view that we can't determine who is orthodox and who is heterodox within a particular religious tradition. To me, this is an objective, not a subjective question. I can say objectively: (1) if, in the year 1150, a Catholic walked into a church in Rome, and said "I don't believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God", that would have been a heterodox opinion; (2) if a Protestant walked into a Protestant church in 1650 and said "I believe that prayer to Mary and the saints is necessary for salvation" that would be a heterodox opinion; (3) if a Unitarian walked into a Unitarian congregation in 1900 and said "I believe in the Trinity" that would be a heterodox opinion; (4) if a Muslim in Saudi Arabia today walked into a mosque and said "Mohammad was not a prophet" that would be a heterodox opinion; and (5) if an Episcopalian had walked into an Episcopalian church in 1950 and said "Homosexuality is not a sin", that would be a heterodox opinion. That's a description of social circumstances at the time, not a value judgment. By the 1990s, that was changing and maybe no longer the case. But it's ridiculous to suggest that we cannot identify the prevailing hegemonic opinion in a given time and place and determine whose opinion was markedly different from the prevailing norm. Adam_sk (talk) 05:53, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Couple of points - that is uncivil ('wishy-washy', 'namby-pamby') and this clearly demonstrates you are expressing your POV. The active words here are 'I totally disagree', 'To me', etc. I agree that this is an objective question - and nobody has said it is subjective, only that your POV is subjective. Citing historical cases is irrelevant - these would also need reliable sources. I understand what you mean, but have to point out that these are historical rather than contemporary examples - maybe you should come back in 50 years when there is a verifiable record of an opinion such as yours having been stated, and insert the comment then? Given you have been unable to furnish such a source, preferring to engage in tortuous discussion about why it doesn't need a source, suggests to me that there is no such source, and makes the case for not including the comment even stronger. Mish (talk) 09:33, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

What Adam says is in principle correct. However, for Wikipedia to decide such questions for itself would be original research, which is banned. Also, citing Christian sources for this doesn't get you anywhere, as each side claims that it is the orthodox one. So only ouside scholars could be cited for such statements. Peter jackson (talk) 10:23, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Furthermore, it can often be a really hard question what exactly is orthodoxy. Example:

  1. the 39 articles are the "official" doctrine of the Church of England, by Act of Parliament
  2. article 35 says the 2nd book of homilies "contain a godly and wholesome doctrine"
  3. homily 7 (library.org/homilies/bk2hom07.htm, 3rd part, next underlined heading, 4th para on) condemns the practice of prayers for the dead
  4. in WWI the archbishops authorized prayers for the dead
  5. some of the alternative services authorized by the General Synod include prayers for the dead
  6. so what's the "official" position of the C of E? what's "orthodox"?

Peter jackson (talk) 10:42, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

One possible way around this would be, instead of getting caught up in whether he is orthodox or not, to state what it is that concerns other Anglicans, briefly. Having looked into it, I see that this is discussed in places like this [9][10][11] (I am not familiar with these sources myself, so am unclear how reliable they are); here he is described as being a Zen-Buddhist, and this was given as one of the reasons both liberals and conservatives were concerned about his election to Bishop. This suggests that referring to him as a Zen-Buddhist is both accurate and verifiable, gets around BLP issues, and most Christians will be able to make their own minds up about where that places him in relation to orthdoxy, without our needing to present such a synthesis ourselves. Mish (talk) 19:52, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Interesting, but some ordained Catholic priests are also authorized Zen Masters (citation at User:Peter jackson#Christianity). If the Vatican doesn't think their particular brand of Zen is "heterodox" ... Peter jackson (talk) 10:41, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
That is true, Bede Griffiths would be example of a Catholic religious who remained orthodox while integrating Hinduism into his Christian faith and practice. Examples of this fusion in the Anglican communion go back to between the world-wars with the work of missionaries like Charles Andrews and Jack Winslow and the establishment of the first Christian Ashram Christa Prema Seva Sangha[12] in India, (which became of of the strands that led to the creation of Anglican Franciscanism). My point was not about making a synthetic point about the orthodoxy or heterodoxity, but that it was a way of stating a verifiable source in a way that would be uncontroversial, and give individuals some indication of his theological location. I don't see any insertion as valid simply because it establishes a theological POV - but because it can be verified and indicates to the reader why some have issues with his election to Bishop (or not, as the case may be). The reasons for this do not appear to be clear cut, but none of the reasons given (I have seen so far) describe him as being heterodox, but he is seen by those who resisted his election as unsuitable to be a Bishop. He has not been defrocked, however, which one might expect if he was culpable of some serious transgression of doctrine. People expressing views like his have been Bishops in the communion before - Bishop David Edward Jenkins, for example, so it is hard to know for sure how he could be regarded as heterodox, rather than being located within a stream of Anglican theology that has pedigrees that are both Evangelical and liberal, and has been around for a substantial part of the communion's existence, and includes notable theologians like John A. T. Robinson. Mish (talk) 11:08, 18 July 2009 (UTC)


Views on Abortion[edit]

There are many american episcopalians who are certainly pro-life, like George H. W. Bush. The stance of this church on abortion needs more expansion. Most bishops are really pro-choice ? It´s really shocking for many Christians to see it.81.193.223.66 (talk) 17:29, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

The ECUSA has a lenient view on abortion unlike the CofE and most of the Anglican Communion church members. They really had a important pro-life wing who left recently to form the Anglican Church in North America, even if it wasn't mostly for any life issue. The ELCA who is in full communion also has a similar stance, but like the article about the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod shows their members tend to also have many pro-life supporters and it's rather possible that the same happens with the ECUSA. In fact, the ECUSA belongs basically to the "liberal" wing of Protestant Christianity in the United States, so this stance for those who are familiar with their mentality isn't surprising at all.213.13.243.95 (talk) 02:07, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

There are certainly some bishops remaining that are pro-life and are more in agreement with the Church of England. At least two of them took place in the Fourth Anglican South to South Encounter, in Singapore, on 23 April 2010: "We were pleased to welcome two Communion Partner bishops from The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and acknowledge that with them there are many within TEC who do not accept their church’s innovations."[13] Unfortunately none of them is named. The absence of more openly pro-life bishops probably has to do with the official nuanced position of the ECUSA on the matter. Should be noticed that officially the ECUSA still believes that "life begins at conception".85.240.23.6 (talk) 01:22, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Talk:Personal Ordinariate[edit]

Apart from the Traditional Anglican Communion, the article should really consider verifying whether groups within the Episcopal Church (United States) have ever sought a similar canonical structure to the proposed personal ordinariates. ADM (talk) 18:08, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Exactly what do you mean? Are you asking if Episcopalian groups have sought to join the Roman Catholic Church? I'm not sure. Ltwin (talk) 02:53, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

History Section[edit]

This section is too long and is replicated by the article devoted purely to the history of the Episcopal Church that is already linked to. -Vcelloho (talk) 01:52, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I will be editing the both the history section and article to improve the quality and clarity of both. What we need consensus for is whether it would be best to include the recent controversies in the history article and drastically summarize the entries in the main article? Ltwin (talk) 04:43, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

[edit]

File:Episcopal Arms.svg (17kb svg) is superior to File:Episcopal Church Logo.gif (3kb, 109×137 gif) because it is a vector image. There is also the possible matter of copyright: While the copyright status of both images is unclear, the latter image lifted straight off the Episcopal Church web site and as such that particular file may contain a copyright even if the general design does not. These issues are being hashed out at Wikipedia:Non-free_content_review#File:TEC_arms.PNG as we speak. Even if both images are in the public domain, the vector image is better to use on wiki than a small GIF. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 06:07, 12 December 2009 (UTC) portions struck by davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) at 06:43, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

And yet, the problem is that the non-free guidelines require the use of as small an image as practicable, and a vector graphics image is not such. File:Episcopal Arms.svg is lifted from the Episcopal Church website too, and here's the @*(#$* problem. Any admin could declare, with neither notice nor discussion but his own momentary judgment, that a vector graphics image is not allowed because it isn't low resolution, as the non-free guidelines require. And the wheel turns again. I get it: you want a perfect thing. Here's what I predict: you won't get it. And, you'll tire of this, soon, and your desire to get a perfect thing will once again move this annoying little wheel around. Will you promise to deal with this once your interest has faded and you no longer care? Tb (talk) 06:11, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm delighted that y'all are taking an interest, but File:Episcopal Arms.svg isn't even from the website which it claims to be (that page has only .EPS and .AI files). So what's going to happen is File:Episcopal Church Logo.gif is going to get deleted as orphaned, and then File:Episcopal Arms.svg is going to get deleted because it's too high res, and doesn't come from the source claimed. This is golly just awesome. User:davidwr, do you see that just what I predicted is coming to pass, just as you assured me it wouldn't? Thanks so much for "helping". I hope you'll actually fix it, instead of just continue to make it worse. So far, nothing good has happened, but you've gotten plenty of activity. Can you now solve it, as you were initially so confident you would? Tb (talk) 06:16, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
I was unaware that the vector came from that web site until a few moments ago. I assumed that since there was no SVG at the web site, that it was a user-created vector image. See my comments on the non-free-image discussion page. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 06:43, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

"Correct acronym"[edit]

I am perfectly aware that ECUSA was never the official name of the organization. That's not why it was placed in the names. The reason I placed it at the beginning of the article is because, however unofficial it maybe, that doesn't change the fact that it is very often used as an acronym for TEC. Just because it isn't in the constitution doesn't negate the fact that it is well known as ECUSA. Ltwin (talk) 02:51, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

I absolutely agree, and so does the Church's website. Neither PECUSA or ECUSA is "official"; acronyms rarely are. The acronym "ECUSA" appears 13,200 times on the Church's official website, including usage in official documents. "PECUSA", however, appears only 35 times. Despite the Church's re-branding efforts the acronym "TEC" only appears 437 times on the official site.
It's also worth noting that the URL ecusa.anglican.org is an official website for the Church, the same is not true of pecusa.anglican.org, although both ecusa.org and pecusa.org are maintained as placeholders by anglican.org; both point to ecusa.anglican.org as the official website for the Church.
If any acronyms are used in the (I think they should am neutral regarding use in the lead), then ECUSA should be used; to exclude ECUSA in preference for PECUSA makes no sense whatsoever. I've restored Ltwin's addition of ECUSA, per WP:COMMONNAME and WP:COMMONSENSE, pending further discussion.
As I see it, the acronym options are:
  • (PECUSA or ECUSA)
  • (ECUSA)
  • The Episcopal Church (TEC) ... Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (PECUSA or ECUSA)
  • The Episcopal Church (TEC) ... Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA)
  • No acronyms at all

General style is not to use acronyms in articles (they don't abbreviate enough to be worth it; often you see an acronym introduced only to be used once). Sometimes acronyms are important to have for other reasons. Here I would prefer to have none; it's not like NASA where the acronym is used more than the name itself. As for "rebranding", it's worth noting that none of the acronyms is official, actually (unlike, say, PCUSA, which is official). Tb (talk) 17:25, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

You make a good point, I guess my opinion regarding appearance of acronyms in the lead is neutral. If any appear in the lead, ECUSA should be included, but I really have no objection to them being removed from the lead entirely. I do feel that the wording below under Official names (The alternate name Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) is commonly seen... ) should remain. Wine Guy~Talk 00:25, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Bear in mind that both ECUSA and PECUSA redirect to this page, so people may come here via those routes, so mentioning them in the lead will reassure people that they have com eto the right page. David Underdown (talk) 09:16, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't think redirects are an important guide here: there are a jillion redirects to many pages, covering every possible misspelling or mistaken old name or whatever. Tb (talk) 17:16, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Tb's Revert[edit]

Actually look at my edits. I added boldface to the acronyms that were already listed as is standard Wikipedia practice. The PECUSA acronym is already being used in the article, I just added it at the first use of the actual title so readers know what PECUSA stands for. Your revert actually needlessly repeats the ECUSA acronym twice, so who is littering the article? Thanks. Ltwin (talk) 00:22, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't object to boldface, but the discussion above showed that we don't need acronyms at all. Tb (talk) 18:02, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Focus on US and provide perspective[edit]

The article has far too much early trivia on events that did not happen under US jurisdiction and neglects almost entirely the period 1865-1965. I will try to delete useless stuff of no value to readers and add some appropriate history, and some fresh sources. 04:57, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

The colonial period is of considerable importance: this is not about "US jurisdiction", but about the history of the Episcopal Church, which is continuous with the Anglican churches of the colonies before the revolution. Please don't regard that as trivia: it's the foundational stuff. But I agree with the spirit that there is a massive focus on post-1965, as if the century before that was empty of interest. Ideally, however, what needs to happen is the history needs to be done in the separate history article. Then perhaps a pruning here can happen. Tb (talk) 17:16, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The colonial period is very well covered in the article, with no need to bring in trivia not related to the 13 American colonies Indeed, a separate history article is a good idea here. Rjensen (talk) 21:22, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Can you be specific in talk about what sort of trivia you think is at stake? Perhaps we are not disagreeing. The separate history article already exists, by the way. History of the Episcopal Church. Tb (talk) 21:24, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the historical trivia in this article has been cleaned up; numerous minor events can be shifted into the History article--thanks for the good idea! Rjensen (talk) 00:18, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Broken link[edit]

The link in the first sentence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.80.103.117 (talk) 00:36, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Move "Modernization and controversy (1976 to the present)" to History article[edit]

I doubt this will be controversial, but I'll post it here anyway. I'm going to start moving the bulk of the post 1976 history to the History of the Episcopal Church (United States) article. Ltwin (talk) 18:24, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Views on Controversial Issues[edit]

I know these are very controversial topics but our personal views are absolutely irrelevant. This is not a forum and some people can debate this in other places. I think the Episcopal Church USA, unlike the mainstream Church of England and the newly formed Anglican Church in North America, does have a permissive view on abortion. I ask to someone with a better knowledge of this, to please add the current stance of the Episcopal Church on the matter. Do they also support euthanasia and steam-cell research? This also could be added to the entry.81.193.215.3 (talk) 01:06, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

The Episcopal Church was once pro-life: "as late as 1958 held a strong pro-life position, stating, "Abortion and infanticide are to be condemned." In 1967, the 62nd General Convention of the Episcopal Church supported abortion law "reform," to permit the "termination of pregnancy" for reasons of life, rape, incest, fetal deformity, or physical or mental health of the mother. In 1982, the 66th General Convention condemned the use of abortion as a means of gender selection and non-serious abnormalities." Unlike the rest of the Anglican Communion their official stance took a different path afterwards: "By 1988, the 69th General Convention had developed a position that stated, "All human life is sacred. Hence it is sacred from its inception until death." The statement goes on to call for church programs to assist women with problem pregnancies and to emphasize the seriousness of the abortion decision. In 1994, the 71st General Convention expressed "unequivocal opposition to any ... action ... that [would] abridge the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of her pregnancy, or that would limit the access of a woman to a safe means of acting upon her decision." In 1997, at the 72nd General Convention, the delegates approved a resolution that did not condemn partial-birth abortions but expressed grave concerns about the procedure, "except in extreme situtions.""[14]85.241.230.135 (talk) 22:54, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Ordination of Non-Celibate Gay and Lesbian Clergy[edit]

This is another major issue with the mainstream Church of England. The Episcopal Church unlike the mainstream Church of England and Rowan Williams himself approves same-sex unions and even non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy and bishops. I am just stating facts. The entry should also mention these recent events, related to the first lesbian bishop, Mary Glasspool: "The future of the worldwide Anglican Communion was in jeopardy last night after the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the election of a lesbian bishop in the United States raised “very serious questions”. / Dr Rowan Williams added that the choice of Canon Mary Glasspool to be a suffragan bishop in Los Angeles had “important implications”. The election of Canon Glasspool, who has lived with the same female partner since 1988, is the second appointment of an openly homosexual bishop in the US Episcopal Church. It confirmed fears among evangelicals in the Anglican Communion of more than 70 million people that crucial votes at last summer’s General Convention of the Episcopal Church had in effect ended the moratorium on gay bishops."[15]81.193.215.3 (talk) 01:15, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

This article also shows Rowan Williams open criticism to this recent move: "Dr Rowan Williams criticises election of lesbian bishop, Mary Glasspool"[16]. It will be interesting to make a board with the main differences between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in controversial issues.81.193.215.3 (talk) 01:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Eventual Exclusion from the Anglican Communion[edit]

The recent ordination of a non-celibate lesbian bishop, in a direct violation of the Lambeth Conference statements made in 1998 and 2008, and their departure from the Church of England over this and other controversial issues seems to raise the question if the Episcopal Church USA might be excluded from the Anglican Communion or to become autocephalus from it. Rowan Williams already criticized several times their moves but I don't know if he already expressed openly what he thinks about their eventual break or exclusion from the Anglican Communion. I found some links that discuss this question [17]: "Dr Philip Giddings, Convener of Anglican Mainstream, England, and Canon Dr Chris Sugden, its Executive Secretary, issued a joint statement on MAY-15: "In her letter to the Primates, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC) Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, confirmed that the consecration of the openly gay Mary Glasspool is not a random event but comes from the settled mind of her church./ Sadly, this shows that TEC has now explicitly decided to walk apart from most of the rest of the Communion." "Since that decision by TEC has to be respected, it should result in three consequences. First, TEC withdrawing, or being excluded from the Anglican Communion's representative bodies. Second, a way must be found to enable those orthodox Anglicans who remain within TEC to continue in fellowship with the Churches of the worldwide Communion. Third, the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) should now be recognized an authentic Anglican Church within the Communion." 1 (Statement from Anglican Mainstream following the consecration of Mary Glasspool as Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles, USA," Anglican Mainstream, 2010-MAY-17, at: http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/) I know, it is a very controversial question but it should be discussed in here and added to the entry.85.244.227.132 (talk) 17:06, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Inappropriate introductory paragraph[edit]

I have removed from the introductory section a lengthy paragraph dealing entirely with modern social issues such as abortion and gay rights. These matters, while important, are fully addressed in the appropriate body section. But by elevating them to the introduction, an article on a church with a 200+ year history is reoriented toward being a forum on which individuals can express their views on modern political matters or emphasize their pet causes. This trivializes the church and its long history, and implies that the most important facts to know about a religious organization, with its own extensive history, theology, structure, and membership, is its position on some current -- and, for all we know, transitory -- social controversy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rsquire3 (talkcontribs) 04:36, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

I see Rjensen has restored the offending paragraph, and I agree with its restoration. There are sizeable portions of both the History and Doctrine and Practice sections which discuss the church's stand on social issues and the controversies surrounding those stands. WP:LEAD states:

The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies.

Therefore, the paragraph you removed is very appropriate for the lead section. Ltwin (talk) 23:59, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

I note that the lead paragraph had not one, not two, but *three* sentences devoted to the question of the Episcopal Church's stand on gay rights. By contrast, only one sentence was devoted to the entirety of the church's 19th century history, while an additional sentence had to cover by itself the entirety of the death penalty and affirmative action. I think it fair to say that this reflects a rather severe imbalance in the lead toward a modern political issue that is likely to be of intense interest to some readers but hardly a central aspect of the church's very long history and complex theology and structure. I thus intend to reduce these three sentences in the lead to one to establish some degree of balance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rsquire3 (talkcontribs) 00:01, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I think the historical importance of the Episcopal Church's actions concerning homosexuality are still to be determined. I doubt it will be less than a footnote in the Episcopal Church's history, especially considering that it may have been part of a series of events that will damage the Anglican Communion permanently. Ltwin (talk) 12:03, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Not to mention also that the ECUSA is facing a possible exclusion from the Anglican Communion because of his departure from orthodox Anglicanism on the issue of homosexuality.81.193.215.60 (talk) 18:44, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Social Gospel reference in the introductory paragraph[edit]

In the introduction, it is claimed that the Episcopal Church was active in the Social Gospel movement in the late nineteenth century. In the article on the Social Gospel, it does not mention the Episcopal Church at all until it considers the question of what effect the Social Gospel movement might have on today's churches. Furthermore, it claims the movement peaked in the early twentieth century. If the Episcopal Church was involved in the nineteenth century, and potentially involved today, why wasn't it involved at the peak of the movement? Or is the Social Gospel article wrong? It talks more about other strains of American Protestantism, like Rauschenbusch, and does not mention F. D. Maurice, who despite being Anglican was not Episcopalian. Perhaps we are being a bit too imprecise in our application of terms related to Christian social concerns here?--Bhuck (talk) 22:06, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with this topic, but given that "social gospel" doesn't appear in the article body, I think we could safely remove that sentence from the lead. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 00:29, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
I think it would be better to find a more appropriate way to describe the relationship of the church to social questions, rather than to just ignore the subject entirely. But, of course, that requires more effort and skill than a mere deletion. I myself am not intimately familiar with the details and would not feel certain about possible formulations without further research, but my gut feeling tells me that there is a good reason to address the subject, just with more appropriate words.--Bhuck (talk) 12:33, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure it would, but I don't know where to go for that information. And if there's something in the article unsourced and questionable, is it better to leave it than to remove it? carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 18:04, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
This book, for example on page one, might serve as a source for the statement that the Social Gospel movement was not just in the twentieth century, but also active in the nineteenth, and that the Episcopal Church's involvement in that movement also spanned the turn of the century. It might also be something that could be used in the Wikipedia article on Henry Codman Potter. But the Social Gospel article could also use some revision on the basis of this book as well. So perhaps you should not remove the sentence here but instead remove something from the other article.--Bhuck (talk) 20:38, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Rates of membership loss and the period 2003-2005[edit]

Currently in the membership section, there is a reference to an article from the Christian Century, reporting a membership loss of 115,000 for the period 2003-2005. This does not agree with the figures here. These statistics show a membership in 2003 of 2,433,340; for 2005 the number is 2,372,592. By my arithmetic that is a difference of 60,748, not 115,000. Even if we only look at the US membership, the decline is slightly less than 80,000 over the same time period, though arguing that the ordination of Gene Robinson would cause a growth in membership in overseas dioceses of 20,000 baptized members would also seem a bit far-fetched. Furthermore, looking at the figures from 2003 (the first year that overseas dioceses were included in the statistics) until 2010, the two-year period selected does not seem to stand out as having a higher or lower rate of loss than any other two-year period. I therefore do not quite understand why that period is picked out. I added some statistics for 1967-69 to try to balance this, but it still seems that someone has picked these two years as a way of trying to make a political POV argument, which is not appropriate for Wikipedia.--Bhuck (talk) 13:01, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Title of this entry, "The Episcopal Church (United States)"[edit]

In 2009, the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed Resolution 2009-D010, which requests: “ . . . that all documents, communications, legislation, and publications that refer to The Episcopal Church use terminology that consistently reflects our international character, rather than using inaccurate and non-inclusive terms and names such as ‘the National Church . . . etc.”

The explanation of this resolution goes on to state: “The terminology used to refer to the Episcopal Church should reflect the fact that the Episcopal Church is truly an international, multilingual and multicultural body that can no longer be understood merely as a national, monolingual, or monocultural organization.” <http://gc2009.org/ViewLegislation/view_leg_detail.aspx?id=945&type=Final>

The first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for the Episcopal Church outlines this international nature, as do official media releases that are issued from the denominational headquarters: “ The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.” <http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/episcopal-presiding-bishop-archbishop-desmond-tutu-discuss-mission-live-webcast>.

In consideration of this, the Communication Office of the Episcopal Church denominational headquarters respectfully requests that the title of this Wikipedia entry be changed to simply “The Episcopal Church”. If that is too ambiguous, can anyone suggest a more appropriate alternative? Please advise - Thank you. Matisse412 (talk) 15:45, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia its own naming guidelines, and The Episcopal Church is not the only Episcopal Church out there. The vast majority of members of TEC are in the United States, it is the US province of the Anglican Communion and referred to as the "American church" regularly in Communion culture, and its full official name is the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
I will refer you to Wikipedia's policy guidelines for article titles, which you can find at WP:Title. Briefly, I would call your attention to this paragraph:

Wikipedia does not necessarily use the subject's "official" name as an article title; it prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. This includes usage in the sources used as references for the article. If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes then more weight should be given to the name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change.

It's not a question that "Episcopal Church" is the most common name. We already have an article at Episcopal Church, which lists all churches with "Episcopal" in their names. I would not be opposed to adding the definite article to the title, but Wikipedia's guidelines give us certain things to consider, namely:

If the definite or indefinite article would be capitalized in running text, then include it at the beginning of the page name. Otherwise, do not include it at the beginning of the page name. — Wikipedia:Naming conventions (definite and indefinite articles at beginning of name)

I'm not sure if The Episcopal Church is used by most sources outside of official use within the Church. That is something that can be decided by consensus. However, even if we changed the title to include the definite article, we would still need a disambiguation because The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Church are so similar that it would cause confusion if they were not clearly distinguished.
Also, bare in mind that The Episcopal Church already links directly to Episcopal Church (United States). It is simply the need to use a name that is easily recognized and can distinguish it from multiple Episcopal Churches that necessitates the (United States). Of course, consensus can always be achieved if a more reasonable alternative is presented that is compatible with Wikipedia naming conventions.
Finally, I will refer you to the archived discussion that went into choosing the current article title, which can be found here. Ltwin (talk) 18:41, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for this information. If we are able to come up with a reasonable alternative name, I will be back in touch via this talk page. Matisse412 (talk) 15:13, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

"The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society" removed from lede.[edit]

As an Episcopalian, I was quite surprised to see that my Church is "formally known" as "The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society"...because it isn't. After searching the archives, I noticed that this was brought up previously in the past, but correctly rejected as an archaic full name for the Church's national corporate body. In other words, it's both irrelevant to the introduction and misleading (it makes the Episcopal Church sound like an evangelical one, which it on the whole is not.) Furthermore, the only instance that occurs in the body of the article isn't even redlinked, and the two provided references do not provide support for it being the church's "formal name." In fact, the 2006 constitution clearly states "Canon 3 (Of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society), Article 1: This organization shall be called the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and shall be considered as comprehending all persons who are members of the Church" (emphasis added); making a clear distinction between the Church itself and one of its governing organizations.

As such, I have removed it from the lede, and replaced it with the proper long form name. Please don't regard this as a POV edit, but simply as a correction by someone who has firsthand experience with the Church. Cheers, Zaldax (talk) 15:25, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting that. Your edit is not controversial at all. In fact, the lede only mentioned the TEC and PECUSA labels until August 9. Then someone changed PECUSA to DFMS. So no worries. Ltwin (talk) 17:08, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Errors in Parishes and dioceses section[edit]

I'm seeing some errors in the "Parishes and dioceses" section. I believe a parish does not elect a bishop's committee. Eligibility to a Vestry depends upon the cannons of the particular parish and diocese etc. 174.52.43.207 (talk) 05:25, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Officials, misc[edit]

After reading this article, I am surprised it is rated B class. The whole section on high and low is unreferenced OPINION. "Very" high??? Come on! It either needs a reference that it is somehow different qualitatively from High Episcopal or should be removed. I, personally, have never heard of it (but then again I've not been an active member for decades). I challenge the existence of a recognized body of "very high" churches. The use of the word "very" in describing the most formal of the "High Episcopal" hardly justifies a separate category (in my opinion, its more about size of the Church (and how deep its pockets are) that distinguishes how "high" a High Church service is). The structure description is really bad, all it does it toss jargon around. Actually, I came to this piece to find out what the status is of priests. I find it odd that that term is not contrasted with other priests (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, etc.). I also find it odd that the formal title of the various Church positions are not spelled out. I guess if a Bishop is a active homosexual, then the reader doesn't have to be told that priests are allowed to marry? (Why not? Why not spell out major differences with other priesthoods?). It might also be useful to contrast priests with ministers and reverends and spell out the differences. Also, who is and who is not "clergy" needs explanation. FWIWAbitslow (talk) 20:34, 3 June 2014 (UTC)