Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So How Many Are We, Really?

On another thread, a reader we know only as "John" makes an interesting claim, citing an unnamed Roman Catholic and providing no details about that person's data base or methodology:

As to inflating numbers ACC/PCK and UECNA are all guilty: a reasonably accurate 'census' was circulated a year or so ago done by a RC. His numbers have been tested and found reliable.

ACC and APCK both were around or less than 4,000 apiece; the UEC about 300. There are a number of parishes on the web sites that are hardly more than 3 old ladies and a cat. Look I don't believe there 1.2 billion RCs, but then I have not had a chance to count them either.

I have looked myself, and do not recall ever seeing the ACC, APCK or UECNA provide any figures on the number of their faithful, so I am curious about how one can justify accusing those jurisdictions of inflating numbers. Perhaps as a start, John can provide us with the claims made by those jurisdictions that the RC researcher has debunked.

As for the TAC, I can't remember what I last read about their claims, but I do seem to recall them being in the hundreds of thousands. I would very much like to believe that is true, but have difficulty doing so.

So, how many are we, really? For starters, over to you John.


Albion Land said...

As I suspect this post and Fr Hart's comment below passed each other in the virtual night, I have taken the liberty of moving his comment over here:

John wrote:

...a reasonably accurate 'census' was circulated a year or so ago done by a RC his numbers have been tested and found reliable.

I have a few questions. Was this strictly American, or international? Who tested his results? Why is it reliable?
I was in the APCK a few years ago, and I remember nothing about a census. How was this census taken? No one contacted me when I was the Vicar of a church in Arizona, to ask me any questions about our numbers.

Nonetheless, I would guess that it would have been a strictly American thing.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For the APCK, 4,000 at the time sounds about right. The problem is, we all knew that the ACC was considerably larger. With the shifting of populations, the ACA is larger now,and the APCK smaller now, than just over a year ago, because of the APCK losing an entire diocese to the ACA; so the numbers (whatever they are) are not static.

Fr William Bauer said...

As for old ladies and cats, I would need to learn if the cats were baptized. But then if you baptize them, you will never see them again!

My assigned contacts of three jurisdictions (EMC, UAC and HCC/AR) while researching for the latest edition of the Directory of Traditional Anglican and Episcopal Parishes for the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen, indicate that most of those are fewer than 50 in size. My own parish in Fernley, Nevada (middle of the desert) has a stable 15. No cats or dogs, but the 2 toddlers make enough noise.

Anonymous said...

"John" says that this matter of inflated numbers is a matter of "pots and kettles." I canot agree.
TAC/ACA has repeatedly used numbers
like 400,000 and 700,000 for their worldwide membership. The ACC, on the other hand, has made no claims whatever. The current issue to the Trinitarian states that the Diocese of the South last year had a total of 1,129 and the Diocese of the Mid-atlantic a total of 1,356. No comparable figures are given for other dioceses, but they would appear to be smaller. Our figures are, if anything, under-estimated, not inflated.

I believe that a fair estimate for any jurisdiction can be arrived at by taking the number of worshipping congregations and multiplying by 50.

John Dixon said...


You have jumped a conclusion.

I did not mean a census conducted by any of the jurisdictions what I am referring too is better described as a survey perhaps. But the result was the same.

Again if you check each jurisdictions website and count the number of claimed parishes and mission and then figure a couple may be larger than a couple hundred and some smaller than a dozen. Even if the average parish comprised 50 people the APCK lists only 43 churches that would equal 2150. The ACC 88 or 90 that means about 4500 or so.

I will get you the survey I have it somewhere but I will be out of town for a couple days so don't be impatient I am not making a false claim.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I know of parishes with several hundred members, and that keep growing. The most successful priest I know, in terms of parish growth, is Fr. Steven Dart in Carefree Arizona, Christ Anglican Church APCK. It can be done, and that parish is the proof.

John Dixon said...

Ok I found it...

I knew it was compiled by a RC! Turns out to be Tighe!


by William J. Tighe, Ph.D.

I will describe some of these bodies and organizations briefly, confining myself, so far as possible, to the American scene.

The Episcopal Church: The only member of the Anglican Communion in the United States. It received its Episcopal orders from the Episcopal Church of Scotland in 1784 after the Archbishop of Canterbury and other English bishops refused to consecrate Samuel Seabury of Connecticut to the episcopate on the grounds that they had not the legal authority to consecrate anyone who could not take the oath of allegiance to the English Crown. 

The Episcopal Church today consists of 111 dioceses, nine of them (Colombia, Convocation of American Churches in Europe, Central Ecuador, Litoral Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Taiwan and Venezuela) outside the United States. In 2000 it claimed some 2,365,000 members in some 7,390 congregations (parishes).

Forward in Faith: The current title of an organization that originated in 1977 in reaction to the Episcopal Church's decision the previous year to ordain women to the priesthood. Originally entitled "The Evangelical and Catholic Mission" it sought to bring together Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical Protestant Episcopalians opposed to the ordination of women to the priesthood. 

After the election of the first women bishop in the Episcopal Church (in 1989) the organization altered its name in 1991 to "The Episcopal Synod of America" as a token of its resolve to be a "church within the church" (ecc lesiola in ecclesia). In 1998 it affiliated with the much more considerable - "considerable" in both individual and parochial membership; FIF/UK counts has 450 parishes of the Church of England formally members of it and another 450 as "sympathizers"; 950+ clergy as members and some 350 more as "sympathizers" - "Forward-in-Faith/United Kingdom" which originated in 1992, in the immediate aftermath of the Church of England's November 1992 decision to ordain women to the priesthood. (There is also a "Forward in Faith/Australia" which was organized in the aftermath of the Anglican Church of Australia's 1992 decision to authorize the ordination of women to the priesthood; this is a small, exclusively Anglo-Catholic, organization of some 60 clergy and three parishes - although another 15 parishes are served by FIF clergy.) 

The American organization consists of about 53 "affiliated parishes" which are parishes of the Episcopal Church, and another 8 "associated parishes" which are Continuing Anglican, Reformed Episcopalian or "Independent Anglican" parishes; three ECUSA dioceses - Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin - with their bishops are also members (as also is the Bishop of the Rio Grande Diocese, Jeffrey Steenson, although not the diocese). The American organization is also largely Anglo-Catholic in its membership, but it has never had a clear or unified outlook about its "ecumenical vision" or, in particular, its attitude towards the papacy and the Catholic Church. (In this respect it differs from both its Australian counterpart [which is exclusively Anglo-Catholic and with a leadership that aspires to an "honorable reconciliation" with Rome] and its English parent [which is dominated by Anglo-Papalists - Anglo-Catholics who affirm all of the defined dogmas of the Catholic Church and who likewise seek an "honorable (corporate) reconciliation" with Rome - but which includes some "anti-papal Anglo-Catholics" (about 20% of the whole) and which attempts to cooperate with the strongly Evangelical English Anglican organization opposed to women's ordination, "Reform."])

Anglican Communion Network: An organization of conservative, mostly Evangelical, Episcopalians organized in November 2003 to oppose theological heterodoxy and moral revisionism, and particularly the acceptance of active homosexuality and the blessing of "homosexual partnerships" in the Episcopal Church. Its membership consists of about 10 dioceses and their bishops (Albany [NY], Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, South Carolina and Springfield [IL]) - plus the Bishop of the Diocese of Western Kansas (although not the diocese), and some 98 and parishes (about 34 of them also members of Forward-in-Faith/North America) and 170 clergy in member and non-member dioceses. Its leaders largely support the ordination of women as deacons, priests and bishops, although three of the four remaining dioceses in the Episcopal Church whose bishops remain opposed to the ordination of women to the priesthood (Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin) are also members, as also is the Forward in Faith organization, whose member parishes and clergy constitute a "non-geographical Convocation" within the Network. 

The organization emerged from the American Anglican Council, an organization of Evangelical Episcopalian clergy and laity dating from the "Briarwood Consultations" of 1995 and 1996 which wished to oppose liberalization of doctrinal and moral teaching in the Episcopal Church, but which was unwilling to break with the Episcopal Church or its bishops.

Anglican Mission in America: This was an organization that arose out of the "Briarwood Consultations" of 1995 and 1996 in the same milieu and to a large extent among the same constituency as was to produce the American Anglican Council and the Anglican Communion Network, although it was more directly linked with a movement entitled "Concerned Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church" - or, more popularly, as the "First Promise Movement." It differed from these other bodies in that it was more willing to take action to break with and defy those bishops of the Episcopal Church whom it viewed as heterodox or apostate. 

In January 2000 two of the leading figures in this milieu, John Rodgers, formerly Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (one of the two remaining relatively conservative theological schools/seminaries in the Episcopal Church) and Charles (Chuck) Murphy, were consecrated bishops in Singapore by the then Archbishop of the Anglican Province of SE Asia, Moses Tay and the then (and current) Archbishop of Rwanda, Emmanuel Kolini. 

Subsequently that date the AMiA was for a time under the supervision of the archbishops of both SE Asia and Rwanda, and is currently under that of Archbishop Kolini of Rwanda. At the present time it consists of six bishops, 102 congregations, approximately 120 clergy and approximately 13,500 lay members.. After it was organized it undertook a study of the issue of the ordination of women and in October 2003 resolved upon a "moratorium" upon the ordination of women to the priesthood (although it continues to ordain women to the diaconate). 

However, female clergy from the Episcopal Church who join the AMiA (as some two or three have done) were allowed until recently to exercise a priestly ministry in congregations with which they are affiliated or which wish to call them to such a ministry, but that policy has now been discontinued. The AMiA is largely an Evangelical organization (with some Anglo-Catholic congregations), and many of its congregations have been marked strongly by the "Charismatic Movement." Although the AMiA was originally conceived as a mission to and within the Episcopal Church, it is now effectively separate from it and draws most of its new membership and congregations from non-Episcopalian sources.

Reformed Episcopal Church: This body was organized in 1873 by Evangelical Anglican Episcopalian clergy and laymen who objected to the spread of Anglo-Catholic ideas and practices in the Episcopal Church and the refusal of the generality of Episcopalian bishops (and of the triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church) to take measures to suppress these practices. The REC adopted as its foundational principles in 1873 a repudiation of jure divino episcopacy, of ordained ministers being in any sense "priests," of the "Lord's Table" as an "altar" on which an oblation of Christ's Body and Blood is "offered anew," of any "Presence of Christ" in the elements of bread and wine, and of Baptismal Regeneration. In 1874 the REC went on to produce a more clearly Protestant version of the Book of Common Prayer, and in 1875 a more clearly Protestant version of the 39 Articles of the Church of England (and of the Episcopal Church, as adopted by the latter in 1789) entitled the 35 Articles. 

The REC initially spread widely in the United States and Canada (as well as acquiring a "sister-church" in England, the Free Church of England [FCE]) but after 1900 it entered a slow decline which by the 1960s had reduced it to some 5,000 members in some 100 congregations in the United States and some 300 in some three or four congregations in Canada. From the 1970s onwards, the REC has experienced a modest revival and increase in numbers in both Canada and the United States (it now claims some 1,000 members in two dioceses and 10 congregations in Canada and some 8,500 members in 140 congregations in the United States, with 175 clergy and three dioceses), as it has attracted both firmly Protestant and "middle-of-the-road" refugees from the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the United States, but this has also led to strife within the REC between those who wish to maintain its clearly and prescriptively Evangelical identity and those who want to find a via media position in which they might recover elements of their Anglican identity. For example, while the REC retained episcopacy as "an ancient and desirable form of church polity" it accepted clergy from other Protestant denominations who wished to join it and minister in it without any form of reordination, and its bishops routinely licensed its own ordained deacons who had not yet been ordained to the presbyter ate to celebrate the Lord's Supper. 

More recently, however, its has ceased to license deacons to celebrate the Eucharist and it has received some Protestant clergy from other denominations as deacons, subsequently ordaining them to the presbyterate (although it appears that the RE bishops do not consistently follow this new practice). It has also produced a revision of its Prayer Book that omits some of the more prescriptively Protestant additions of 1874 and had declared the original 39 Articles to be its doctrinal basis, while relegating the 35 Articles of 1875 to the status of "an interpretation" of the 39 Articles. (It is legally unable to alter its foundational principles of 1873, however, without leaving itself liable to legal challenge to its assets by dissenting groups within it.) 

This has caused contention within the REC and, in addition, has caused its English sister-church, the FCE (a body consisting of some 28 congregations and about 1,100 adherents) to undergo a schism in 2003-04 between proponents of a more visa media stance and those who uphold an uncompromising Evangelical identity. 

The REC itself, in 2006, is in the midst of a ten-year merger process with the Anglican Province of America (APA), a more "centrist" Continuing Anglican body that originated in 1995. Depending upon the persons with whom one engages in conversation, different answers will be given to the question of whether the REC regards itself as part of the "Continuing Anglican" movement (sometimes known also as the "Anglican Continuum").

Continuing Anglican Churches: Most "Continuing Anglican Churches" emerged as a result of the 1976 decision of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to authorize the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. In September 1977 the "St. Louis Congress," which gathered some 2000 Episcopalian clergy and laity (as well as a few bishops) to take stock of the situation in the Episcopal Church, pledged to oppose the ordination of women and, at the appropriate moment, to erect a "Continuing Anglican Church" which would maintain "the Catholic Tradition" of Anglicanism. It also issued the "St. Louis Declaration" which pledged adhesion to traditional Anglican doctrinal formulae and practices, but went on to situate them in a broadly "historically Catholic" context, by (for example) indicating unconditional adhesion to the definitions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils (whereas previously Anglican formulae had limited such explicit adhesion to the first four councils only: while the fifth and sixth councils were in practice without opposition in historic Anglicanism, the Seventh Council and the iconodulia that it both endorsed and prescribed has been rejected by the more Protestant figures and constituencies in many Anglican churches). By 1978 an Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) was in the process of formation, and four bishops were consecrated on January 28 of that year in Denver, Colorado. 

The retired ECUSA bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Albert A. Chambers (Bishop of Springfield from 1962 to1972) and a bishop of the Philippine Independent Church (a body that obtained its episcopate from the Episcopal Church in 1947), Francisco Pagtakhan, together consecrated to the episcopate a priest of the Episcopal Church, C. David Dale Doren (b. 1915), and Doren than joined with the two other bishops to consecrate Robert Sherwood Morse (b. 1924), James O. Mote (1922-2006) and Peter Francis Watterson (1927-1996) to the episcopate. 

In addition, a letter from the Korean Anglican bishop of Taejon, Mark Pae, was read at the consecration ceremonies, in which the bishop both regretted his inability to be present and to participate in the acts of consecration and endorsed the consecrations. However, a "constituent assembly" for the ACNA, which met in Dallas in October 1978, ended in deadlock over issues of church government, and in particular the authority of its bishops (the assembly also voted to change the name of the new church body to the Anglican Catholic Church [ACC]). Bishops Morse and Watterson refused to adhere to the decisions of the Dallas assembly, thus effectively separating themselves from the ACC, and formed a body then, as now, entitled the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK), of which Archbishop Morse remains the Archbishop and Primate (the APCK currently has five dioceses, 57 congregations, 110 clergy and 8,000 to 9,000 members). Bishop Watterson, however, subsequently became a Roman Catholic , was ordained a Catholic priest under the later "Pastoral Provision" and died some years later, in 1996. 

A short time afterwards, in early 1980, Bishop Doren withdrew from the ACNA and formed a more "low church" body entitled the United Episcopal Church, which still exists, although it is rather small in numbers (one diocese, 26 congregations, 45 clergy and about 600 members). In 1983 Louis Falk, who was consecrated a bishop in 1981, became Archbishop and (first) Primate of the ACC. In the late 1980s, under Falk's leadership, the ACC entered into discussions with the American Episcopal Church (AEC) to effect a union between the two bodies. The AEC had originated in 1968 as a protest of some Episcopalian clergy and laity against the growing theological and social liberalism of the Episcopal Church, and it was generally less Anglo-Catholic than the ACNA. 

The two bodies united in October 1991, and after the mutual reconsecrations of the bishops of both bodies, the Primate of the AEC, Anthony Clavier, yielded the primacy to Archbishop Falk (Clavier subsequently resigned his office of bishop and entered the Episcopal Church, where he is currently Rector of an Episcopal Church parish in Arkansas), and the newly united body adopted the name of the Anglican Church of America (ACA), which it retains to this day (the ACA membership statistics that I have been able to obtain record four dioceses, 84 congregations and 138 clergy; for lay membership the record that I have is both incomplete and records only communicant members, which it numbers at 5,240). 

However, a considerable portion of the bishops, clergy and laity of the former Anglican Catholic Church rejected the union with the AEC and repudiated Archbishop Falk as their primate, and these subsequently took the name of the Anglican Catholic Church (Original Province) (ACC - OP) which it retains to this day (the ACC-OP claims six dioceses, 88 congregations, approximately 110 clergy and approximately 4,000 to 5,000 members). In 1997, personality disputes among the bishops of the ACC-OP resulted in a split in that body; the minority formed a small body which terms itself the Holy Catholic Church - Anglican Rite (and that body, in turn, split in 1999, when strongly Orthodoxophile elements within it, who wished to repudiate Anglicanism altogether, formed the Holy Catholic Church - Western Rite). 

Meanwhile, upon the retirement of Anthony Clavier as Bishop of the Diocese of the Eastern United States (DEUS) of the ACA, a dispute over the election of a successor resulted in 1995 in the secession of a considerable portion of that diocese from the ACA. These were lead by a bishop of the ACA, Walter Grundorf, and the body formed by this secession adopted the name of the Anglican Province of America (three dioceses, 69 congregations, 126 clergy and roughly 6,000 members): it has Archbishop Grundorf as its primate and is, as noted above, currently in the midst of a gradual merger with the Reformed Episcopal Church. 

There are, of course, numerous other "Continuing Anglican" bodies in the United States and elsewhere that originated either from splits within some of the bodies mentioned above, or from subsequent departures from the Episcopal Church. (An example of the latter might be the Episcopal Missionary Church which was formed by the retired bishop of the Diocese of Dallas of the Episcopal Church, A. Donald Davies, in 1991, and which, after Davies' subsequent retirement, is now headed by William Millsaps [himself formerly a bishop of the ACA]; Davies later emerged from retirement and created another Continuing Anglican body, the Christian Episcopal Chu rch.) I might note here that, by contrast with the situation in the United States, Continuing Anglicans in Canada and Australia have managed to remain for the most part united. In Canada, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada was originally a part of ACNA/ACC in 1978, but became an independent body as the bishops of ACNA began to go their separate ways in 1979 It remains the only significant Continuing Anglican church in Canada, although, as noted above, the Reformed Episcopal Church has a presence in Canada as well. 

In Australia, the decision of the Anglican Church of Australia to accept the ordination of women to the priesthood in 1992 resulted in the formation of a Continuing Anglican church, the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia, which remains the only organized Continuing Anglican presence in that continent. Archbishop John Hepworth is its current bishop, as well as Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Statistical information on the various Continuing Anglican bodies, especially concerning lay members, is of variable reliability. 

Still, it seems reasonable to postulate a total lay membership of the three most considerable Continuing Anglican bodies in the United States, the ACC-OP, the ACA and the APCK of 25,000 to 30,000 members (of whom perhaps 5,000 live without ready access to the pastoral ministrations of Continuing Anglican clergy or congregations), and perhaps 250,000 to 500,000 worldwide. In the United States alone, there are probably between 40 and 45 Continuing Anglican bodies, many of them tiny in size and some of them perhaps containing more clergy than lay members.

The Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) was formed in 1990 by Archbishop Louis Falk of the ACA. It brought together various Continuing Anglican church bodies throughout the world. In 2006 the TAC consists of 14 bodies: the Anglican Church of America, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (one diocese, 45 congregations), the Missionary Diocese of Central America, the Missionary Diocese of Puerto Rico, the Anglican Church in Southern Africa - Traditional Rite, the Church of Umze Wase Tiyopia (South Africa), the Continuing Anglican Church in Zambia, the Anglican Church of India, the Orthodox Church of Pakistan, the Nippon Kirisuto Sei Ko Kai (Japan), the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia. The Church of Torres Strait (Australia), the Traditional Anglican Church (England) (12 congregations), and the Church of Ireland - Traditional Rite (three congregations). Archbishop Falk of the ACA was the first primate of the TAC. In 2002 he was succeeded in this position by Archbishop John Hepworth of the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia, but Falk remains archbishop of the ACA, although he has recently announced his forthcoming retirement, and in October 2006 its bishops chose the Rt. Rev'd George D. Langberg, Bishop of the Northeast, as Falk's successor.

The International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC or CEC) is not an Anglican body, either in its origins or its current stance, but as it has had an attraction for conservative Episcopalian clergy and laity sympathetic to the "charismatic movement" and yet with a liturgical and sacramental orientation it is worth mentioning in this paper. The CEC formed out of for the most part independent churches with roots in the Charismatic, Pentecostalist and Wesleyan traditions which, influenced by the so-called Convergence Movement, between 1976 and 1990 began to blend charismatic worship with liturgical and sacramental elements drawn largely from Anglican sources. As time went on, those individuals and churches involved in this milieu began, through contacts with Evangelicals who had found a home in Anglican churches and with Catholics with whom they shared in anti-abortion activism, to have an increasing sense of the traditional (Catholic and Orthodox) view of the Church's sacramental nature and apostolic structure. In June 1992 one of the leaders of this movement, Austin Randolph Adler, was consecrated a bishop by Bishop Timothy Barker of the International Free Catholic Communion - a body of decidedly heterodox and theosophical views - and went on to found The Charismatic Episcopal Church of North America, of which he became and remains Primate (and, later, Patriarch); subsequently Bishop Adler consecrated Randolph Sly to the episcopate. In 1993 Bishop William Millsaps of the Episcopal Missionary Church (formerly a bishop in the ACA) consecrated Dale Howard as a bishop of the CEC and reconsecrated Bishops Adler and Sly. 

The church grew rapidly from 1995 onwards, but by 1996 its bishops had become concerned at the problematic sources of their Holy Orders and episcopate. In that year they made contact with the Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil (Igreja Catolica Apostolica Brasiliera [ICAB]), a church which had been founded in 1945 by the excommunicated Roman Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa (1888-1961), who became first Patriarch of the ICAB (he had been Bishop of Botucatu from 1924 to 1937 and after his resignation in that year was made Bishop of Maura in partibus, remaining such until his excommunication in July 1945). Duarte Costa's successor as patriarch, Luiz Fernando Castillo Mendez, agreed to an intercommunion agreement between the ICAB and the ICCEC, and on November 5, 1997 Castillo Mendez and two other bishops of the ICAB reconsecrated five bishops of the ICCEC (later all the remaining ICCEC bishops were reconsecrated, and subsequently all the priests and deacons of the ICCEC were reordained; and a the request of the ICAB the ICCEC agreed to use the Roman Pontifical for all future ordinations and consecrations). The CEC in 2002 claimed 400 clergy and 136 congregations in the United States, numerous congregations and clergy in Kenya and Uganda, and congregations and clergy in Brazil, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Portugal and Switzerland. Early on in its history, the CEC took a strong stand against the ordination of women to the episcopate, priesthood and diaconate, a stand which it firmly maintains. This stand, however, alienated some of the individuals and congregations involved in the Convergence Movement mentioned above, and in 1993-94 these elements formed the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC), a body which derives its Episcopal succession from the same pseudo Old Catholic and episcopi vagantes sources from which the CEC obtained its initial Episcopal consecrations in 1992 and which allows "diocesan option" as regards the ordination of women to the presbyterate and diaconate. As of the present year (2006) the CEC in the United States has been experiencing a painful period of division among its bishops, leading to resignations and separations, and in one case the conversion to Catholicism of one of the original CEC bishops (Randolph Sly).

--William J. Tighe, Ph.D. is a professor of Church History at Muhlenberg College Allentown, Pennsylvania

D. Straw said...

All I can say is that using these numbers in less than a year from it's founding our parish already has well over 10% of the entire UECNA membership. Wow! At this rate in another three to four years our parish should have over 50% of the entire Continuum's membership among all jurisdictions put together!

Let me say...I'm not too shy to brag!:)

John Dixon said...

Fr, Wells

"TAC/ACA has repeatedly used numbers
like 400,000 and 700,000 for their worldwide membership."

I have never seen a claim of 700k! But I have seen 450k claimed. I have questioned this myself asking for some proof.

Generally though I am only concerned with the USA in the comments I made. As to any jurisdiction gaining converts to Christ we can hope it is true and growing. I understand the ACA has some good things going in India perhaps you can tell us what those numbers are.

Anonymous said...

John challenges my allegation that TAC/ACA has claimed 700,000 membership. I would refer him to a comment made by Fr Dean Stewart of Plymouth NH, 8-14-07, on VOL, in a thread entitled "Anglo-Catholics Face Isolation and Demonization."

"Most of the membership of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) is actually located in Asia and Africa. Of the seven most used languages in the TAC, English is the 7th. So it is that the American portion of the TAC's 700,000 members is one of the smallest."

I have seen the same assertion made in printed literature of TAC/ACA.

Here was my response on VOL to Fr Stewart:

Fr Stewart: Since you are so very positive that TAC has a huge overseas membership, perhaps you will favor us with some real statistics. There have been many vagantes sects which consisted of numerous bishops and their handful of followers who claimed to have huge numbers in other lands. It is regrettable that TAC/ACA has fallen into this pattern; you have nothing to gain by it and these astronomical figures only erode your credibility....There are many good priests in the ACA; I regard you as one of them. Likewise many splendid parishes large and small which witness gallantly to the authentic faith. But you are doing yourselves no favor with outlandish claims of astronomical membership."

It should be observed that 400,000, 450,000, 700,000 are all very round numbers. Why stop there? Why not claim 450,000,000?
Those who believe 450K will easily swallow 450M.

Anonymous said...

I used to be in the APCK and I know they greatly exaggerate their numbers when they're not simply trying to avoid discussing them. For many years, I heard numbers like 10,000 and 8,000 and "rapidly growing." They have, according to their own website, thirty-nine parishes and something like three missions. The average membership in their parishes is somewhere close to forty - Archbishop Provence's own home parish has an average Sunday attendance somewhere between thirty and forty people. If one is being generous, the APCK might have 1500 members and that is being quite generous indeed. In other words, the opinion widely held in the APCK that they're the only legitimate continuing Anglican jurisdiction and that all the others are vagantes is laughable.

None, I repeat none, of the continuing jurisdictions have anywhere near the numbers they claim to have. You all belong to groups which are splinters of splinters and which will continue to splinter. It's the Anglican way.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart's claim that Dart's parish in Carefree has several hundred members is completely absurd. His actual membership is slightly over one hundred and average Sunday attendance is well below one hundred.

Anonymous said...

The person who said multiply the number of parishes by 50 probably has the right idea.

Anonymous said...


Prof. Tighe is Ukrainian Catholic not Roman Catholic.


Anonymous said...

Did Jesus Christ die on the cross for the salvation of Americans only? Are not the souls of people
in Africa, India, and Central and
South America unworthy of God's

I believe the answer to both questions is a resounding "NO".

Christ died for the sins of all of us, all around the world - red, yellow, black and white - as the
Sunday School song says.

I believe any "cencus" of members of any church that has missions around the world should include all the communicants no matter what
country they live in.

1928 BCP Supporter

William Tighe said...

s far as the numbers given in my account are concerned, I had the figure of 600 for the UECNA from Bishop Reber himself and that of 5,240 for the ACA from Archbishop Falk himself.

I had numbers for membership in the ACPK, APA, AMiA, ACC and REC furnished me by leading clerical members of each of those bodies. I found myself unable to believe any of them, except for the figure of 13,500 for the AMiA; but I ma ybe wrong in this, of course. That of 8,500 for the REC is about two-thirds of the figure that Bishop Riches gave me in a telephone conversation. That of 6,000 for the APA was what one of their most enthusiastic priests gave me; I find it hard to believe. That of 8-9,000 for the APCK was before the departure of Bishop Florenza and most of his diocese to the ACA/TAC, but in retrospect I regard it as, even then, manifestly absurd. The figure of 4-5,000 for the ACC came as an "estimate" from Archbishop Haverland, not a "claim." Make of them all what you will.

Anonymous said...

I second Fr. Hart's remark about Fr. Dart's parish. Fr. Dart is a remarkable man who relies on the Lord and has definitely recieved certain gifts of the Spirit.

As for the numbers game, I am not very worried about it one way or the other.

Indeed, dear readers, you may have noted an excellent quote from T.S. Elliot that appears on the front page of the APCK website, which essentially suggests that the Continuum's role, is primarily a "respository" one. We are keeping the big-T Tradition, as well as, the small-t English-Speaking traditions alive in anticipation of the other side of the present dark age, which may last many centuries should the Lord tarry).

Of course, ideally, we would STILL like to have functional parishes within reasonable driving distance of all North Americans -- "for those who have ears to hear." We are not by any means a secret society of esoteric curators!

John Dixon said...

Ouch! Sorry Dr. Tighe.

I was in Australia last year and was often refered to as a "Yank". My wife would politely explain while she had no problem with the moniker it would draw protest from me, born and bred in God's Country.

I explained that everyone universally knows the South is a place and the north is just a direction;-).

So I did not mean to step on any toes there! Anon number 3.

BTW Fr. Wells I am at Synod and there must be a thousand or so of us here! Really.

John A. Hollister said...

Just to set the record straight:

1. "In the late 1980s, under Falk's leadership, the ACC entered into discussions with the American Episcopal Church (AEC).... The two bodies united in October 1991...."

Not true. In fact, this claim was so patently spurious that within a few months after October, 1991, even Louis Wahl Falk had stopped making it.

2. "[A] considerable portion of the bishops, clergy and laity of the former Anglican Catholic Church rejected the union with the AEC and repudiated Archbishop Falk as their primate, and these subsequently took the name of the Anglican Catholic Church (Original Province) (ACC - OP) which it retains to this day...."

The only true statement here is that a considerable number within the ACC -- in fact, by far the majority of the ACC's bishops, clergy and laity -- absolutely refused to consider the project of merging with the AEC, not the least ground for which was the notorious character of the AEC's principal leader.

It is also true that the Province within the ACC which was previously entitled "the Original Province" is still so titled. The remainder of this passage is false.

Falk was not repudiated as Primate; he never was the Primate but only the acting Primate. He was not "repudiated" by the ACC; he voluntarily resigned all of his Offices within the ACC in a plea bargain that he offered in the course of a canonical trial which would, almost certainly, have convicted and deposed him as Metropolitan of that same Original Province. (I am personally familiar with that trial and its outcome as I was involved in the preparations for it.)

Then, as a private member of the ACC, Falk went and joined the AEC, wherein his rise to prominence has been elsewhere chronicled, as has A.F.M. Clavier's precipitous descent.

John A. Hollister+

D. Straw said...

Quote- "s far as the numbers given in my account are concerned, I had the figure of 600 for the UECNA from Bishop Reber himself"

The original quote I was referring to was the one that started all of this...Quote-"ACC and APCK both were around or less than 4,000 apiece; the UEC about 300". My parish has over thirty members..Thus, we would have over 10% of the UECNA's membership if we were to use the original statement on this board that started all of this....But I don't guess over 5% is too shabby.

Fr. John said...

I believe Archbishop Haverland's estimate of 4 to 5 thousand for the ACC is a ball park figure.

In the Diocese of the South alone there are over one thousand members. I am the Prolocutor of the Senate of Clergy, I know all the priests and their parish reports are honest like my own.

I have also served in the Diocese of the Middle Atlantic States and can testify that it has well over one thousand souls.

These two entities alone account for more than half of the ACC membership. It is not hard to believe that the remaining dioceses contain 2,000 or so more people.

These figures do not include our second province, the Church of India, or the very large overseas churches such as in Sudan, South Africa, and Haiti.

And yes, we are growing, albeit slowly.

Anonymous said...

The ACC dioceses of the South and the Mid-Atlantic States have a combined membership of 2,485, according to opfficial figures published in the lst issue of the Trinitarian. The total domestic membership of the ACC is at least twice that number.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

His actual membership is slightly over one hundred and average Sunday attendance is well below one hundred.

Really? Which service? When were you there last? He's been receiving something like 30 new members a year for the last few years.

Nonetheless, we all know that the Lord said, "Where two or three thousand are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them- otherwise I'm too busy."

Fr. John said...

Canon Hollister,

Many thanks for setting forth the events surrounding the botched coup at Deerfield Beach, Florida.

I hope that people will understand that Archbishop Falk et. al. abandoned us because he and his faction could not work their will in unifying with Anthony Clavier.

I had prayed for Falk daily for a long time and felt personally betrayed by his leaving us over this ill advised merger. Time has proven that the Anglican catholic Church was right in this matter.

Falk and others violated their oaths of office in more ways than one, did considerable damage to the ACC by the schism they caused, and have yet to say I am sorry, or shown any remorse whatsoever as far as I know.

Some say the ACC should forgive, but how can we forgive them if they don't ask for forgiveness?

If they believe that there is nothing to apologize for, then let them state their case. I am writing here about a few highly placed individuals in the ACA, not the entire communion of course.

At any rate, no existing situation should preclude talks between the ACA and the ACC.

I know nothing of any lawsuits being filed by the ACC against the ACA/TAC, but even if there is property in dispute between subgroups, that should not stop talks but rather compel them.

Our Archbishop has graciously approached the ACA, but his open letter to Archbishop Hepworth remains unanswered.

After thirty years of hard work and sweat, I would be reluctant to put any of our achievements at risk for reunion with Rome under murky circumstances.

Forgive me for being leery of the ACA/TAC leadership. Remember, this is the same leadership that brought us Anthony Clavier.

Anonymous said...

William Tighe: The APCK was called "The Diocese of Christ the King" when my husband and I joined St. Augustine of Canterbury (Chico, CA) in 1986. It was not renamed "The Province..." until several years later.

Fr. John: You said,

"Time has proven that the Anglican catholic Church was right in this matter. "

I'm sure the ACC has been right in the past, as well as wrong (we were members of Christ Church, San Mateo CA, when the ACC appropriated the church by an unfair vote, a church that the Diocese of Christ the King had relocated from Frement and restored). Fortunately, we are not called to be right, we are called to be One.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that there is no real way to count Continuing Anglicans, because many of us live too far from a 1928 BCP parish to attend regularly. We join other churches in obedience to Hebrews 10:25, but our hearts (and our mailing addresses) are with the Continuing Anglican Church. Perhaps the disparity between a church's membership and its mailing list contributes to the difference in perceived attendance.