Friday, December 05, 2008

¿Qué somos? ¿Hígado picado?

One thing I love about the fellows who founded the Anglican Province of North America is that they so darned earnest. And they count creatively. Everyday a new number!

During the newsconference after the formation of ACNA, The Rev. Peter Franke said:
"700 churches are clearly involved that are not part of Anglican Church of Canada or TEC. That’s 100,000 people in pews on Sunday morning."
The 100,000 number has been repeated over and over again in the press. But is that membership or is it average Sunday attendance (ASA), and how did they arrive at that figure?

How many of them actually departed from the Episcopal Church rather than were gathered from other already existing denominations. And how many are from interest groups that are not churches but whose membership lists overlap? And how many of these folks are in a diocese or parish that claims to be a part of one of these groups, but haven't themselves signed on?

As Jim Naughton writes on the Episcopal Cafe:

Five of the nine members of the groups in this new Anglican body make no claim to be churches. Hence, members of the American Anglican Council, Forward in Faith, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Network in Canada and the Anglican Coalition in Canada are not, by their membership in these groups alone, members of the new province because they are still members of the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada. Counting them once is overcounting them.

On the other hand, if a member of one of these five groups is a member of one of the churches within the new gathering, they are, in all likelihood, being counted twice—once as a member of the AAC and one as a member of CANA or its ilk. And just to confuse matters a bit more, it is entirely possible, and perhaps even likely that thousands of people belong to the American Anglican Council, Forward in Faith, the Anglican Communion Network and one of the breakaway churches.

Are these folks being counted once, twice, four times? Anyone who has ever managed a mailing list knows how difficult it is to “de-dupe” that list when names from multiple sources are combined into a single database. It seems extremely unlikely that Bishops Duncan, Minns, et. al., have done this work.

We won't talk about the strange kind of counting that has attracted the attention of the constabulary in a certain Colorado county towards a certain priest.

But there is a more basic kind of counting that they appear to have a hard time with. The kind of counting that one can do one one hand.

They call themselves (among other things) the Third Province Movement. They want to be the third province in North America.

Uhm, guys. We already have three provinces in North America. Remember La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico? ¿Qué somos? ¿Hígado picado?

As Canon Robertson said:
We will not predict what will or will not come out of this meeting, but simply continue to be clear that The Episcopal Church, along with the Anglican Church of Canada and the La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, comprise the official, recognized presence of the Anglican Communion in North America.
If all your plans work out, this would make you a fourth province. Or the only province. Depending on how you count.

1 comment:

Robert said...

That means every parish has an ASA of 143. Pretty amazing and also extremely doubtful!