Talk:Episcopal Church (United States)

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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."[1] (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"[2]. It will be interesting to make a board with the main differences between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in controversial issues. (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 [3]: "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: I know, it is a very controversial question but it should be discussed in here and added to the entry. (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. (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.” <>

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.” <>.

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. (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)

Primates Communiqué[edit]

Something regarding the recent Primates Communiqué should go in the article, but we must be careful to give it balanced and accurate coverage. It is not correct to say that TEC is suspended from the Anglican Communion. Exactly what the statement says is "for a period of three years TEC no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity." Since the suspension relates to participation on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, it should go in the ecumenical relations section, not in the lead, which is for summarizing the entire article. Jonathunder (talk) 01:58, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

please do restore an improved version :) Springnuts (talk) 18:52, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Fools go .... well I have had a go. Springnuts (talk) 22:18, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Looks good IMO. I made a slight change--I added quote marks where possible, to indicate that the text is a direct quotation from the Bishops' statement (with an ellipsis and a couple of bracketed rephrasings), rather than just an editor's opinion. — Narsil (talk) 01:36, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you both. This is a difficult thing to report correctly. Jonathunder (talk) 04:20, 20 January 2016 (UTC)