Titus Presler: 60 Episcopal missionaries today: What does this figure say about a church?

Abu Daoud and family have a sort of dual citizenship in the Anglican world. We are members in good standing in both The Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) and the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. However, we are own work is not coordinated through the national Episcopal Church in the USA. Ergo, we are not among (and do not want to be among) the 60 people Presler mentions.

Presler speaks of the decline of EUCSA when it comes to sending out missionaries, and laments the situation, which I think is right. But ECUSA is spending all of the missions money on lawsuits, thanks to the bold leadership of Kate Jefferts Schori, the presiding 'bishop' of ECUSA. Presler makes some great points:

The Episcopal situation stands out even among the historic mainline denominations, all of which have far fewer missionaries than they did in, say, the 1950s.  Yet today [2011] the Presbyterian Church (USA) has the same membership total as the Episcopal Church  – about 2.2 million, maybe even fewer – but they field 3.5 times as many missionaries: 217 serving in over 50 countries.  That works out to one missionary for about every 10,150 members – still not good, but a lot better than 1:35,500.

Moreover, missionaries of other churches are financially much better supported than are Episcopal missionaries.  Declining Episcopal support over the years has meant that the General Convention budget offers only travel, health insurance, pension premiums and $500 a month (sometimes less) for a missionary.  Other denominations such as the Presbyterian, Lutheran and Reformed churches offer a realistic stipend that bears some resemblance to a stateside salary and a number of other benefits.  Thus, compared with that of other churches, the Episcopal Church’s investment in missionaries is even smaller than the differential in missionary numbers would suggest.

Read it all at his blog.

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