Executive Council decides it is disappointed

I’m glad they can agree on something. Full story from Episcopal Cafe here. It includes both the politburo’s official communique and a memo to the committee responsible for creating the budget.

The meeting took place in a week when we learned more about the disaffection of millennials from religion. Among the key results:

While only 11% of Millennials were religiously unaffiliated in childhood, one-quarter (25%) currently identify as unaffiliated, a 14-point increase. Catholics and white mainline Protestants saw the largest net losses due to Millennials’ movement away from their childhood religious affiliation.

  • Today, college-age Millennials are more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated. They are less likely than the general population to identify as white evangelical Protestant or white mainline Protestant.
  • Millennials also hold less traditional or orthodox religious beliefs. Fewer than one-quarter (23%) believe that the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally, word for word. About 1-in-4 (26%) believe Bible is the word of God, but that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally. Roughly 4-in-10 (37%) say that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.

We know too well by now about the dramatic decline in mainline Protestantism, and the overall decline in institutional affiliation and respect for institutions. An organization like the Episcopal Church has to work very hard to rebuild that trust. When a debacle like this week’s budget debate occurs, we do nothing to regain that trust. Indeed, it undermines our message and has a significant impact on our message. When, as others have pointed out, this disfunction occurs over a long term (apparently the budget debate was even worse leading up to GC 2009), there may be permanent damage to the institution.

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