I was browsing over at Terry Martin's blog. He and his commenters spend a great deal of time vilifying Bishop John-David Schofield, especially in reaction to Bishop Schofield's announcement that he will no longer fund the vicar of St. Nicholas Church.
There are two aspects to this story they seem to totally ignore. First, it seems undisputed that the attendance at the church has fallen into the twenties. This is unsupportable in any denomination under any circumstances.
Second, and most importantly, if the Episcopal Church is serious about maintaining a presence in the Diocese of San Joaquin, then they should have already announced a determination to financially support the congregation. This has not happened. It may happen in the future, but that it has not happened shows just how inept the 815 leadership is. They have thrown away a terrific PR opportunity.
I think I know the reason for the lack of support. The accounts over at Rev. Martin's put the attendees at around 90 for that service. A church in crisis, facing a confrontation with a bishop, can only muster 90 odd people? That's pretty pathetic. And it bears out my belief that the support for the policies and practises of the Episcopal church are there because of habit, rather than conviction. Were the opposition motivated by true belief rather than other motives, the church would have been standing room only, with attendees milling around on the lawn.
Our opposition has command of the official organs of the church, with all of it's money and offices. But they lack the skills to use them properly and they lack the conviction to motivate the masses.
Addendum: To put things in perspective: If I really wanted to draw a crowd, I am absolutely certain that I could get at least 200 people together for a one-shot. I would have to make a fair number of phone calls, and I'd need to get organized, but I could do it. I suspect many, many people could get 100 people together for a single occasion. For a church to not be able to draw 90 is sad.