...So far, the heads, or primates, of Anglican provinces overseas have taken under their wings 200 to 250 of the more than 7,000 congregations in the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism. Among their gains are some large and wealthy congregations -- including several in Northern Virginia -- that bring international prestige and a steady stream of donations...As Jan Nunley notes, most likely this number of 250 congregations comes from a recent statement from Abp. Akinola of Nigeria:
...It should be noted that there are now more than 250 congregations in North America related to Global South provinces through a growing number of missionary and pastoral initiatives...That is quite different from 250 congregations leaving the Episcopal Church, it seems to me. Here's how this error is explained by Jan:
...The misleading part is that uninformed readers naturally assume--from what's implied in Cooperman's lead--that "congregations" in these cases means "full duly constituted congregations of TEC, with their physical plants": in other words, just like St. Swithin's-in-the-Swamp down the street.There's another curious bit in the WaPo article regarding AMiA congregations:
And that's just not the case. They're either splits off existing TEC congregations (which continue as TEC congregations), or new church plants, or "house churches" meeting in homes or hotels under lay leadership, or--in a great many cases--"continuing Anglican" congregations long outside Canterbury's official fold and seeking a way back in...
It has grown at the rate of one church every three weeks and now numbers about 120 congregations, with five bishops...So, established seven years ago, AMiA has added a new church every three weeks? 7x52=364. 364/3=121.33. For this to be true, AMiA must have started out with just one congregation. But, as Jan points out, that seems not to be the case:
...the majority of those churches were factions of TEC congregations, new plants or "house churches" founded in the first year or so of AMiA's existence...Someone's using creative math, again.
So where did Abp. Akinola get that 250 number? Once again, EpiScope points us to one possible source:
The Anglican Province of Kenya has appointed its own bishop to oversee about 30 churches in the United States...There may be "200 to 250" congregations aligned with a foreign bishop in the US. But most of these are part of the "continuing" churches, new churches, or house churches. There are about 45 congregations, less than 1%, that have claimed to have left the Episcopal Church. Almost all of these congregation have been reconstituted by a group from within the congregation that remains faithful to the Episcopal Church.
...The churches, together with 37 belonging to the Nigerian-affiliated Convocation of Anglicans in America and 116 under the Rwanda-connected Anglican Mission in America, constitute at least 183 houses of worship under African leadership. Several Ugandan bishops also oversee former Episcopal churches...
When you hear such creative math being stated as fact, please correct such erroneous statements. And reporters, please take a little more care in checking out your sources.
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