KANUGA: Washington Bishop Drops Bombshell on House of Bishops


By David W. Virtue DD

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, dropped a bombshell on the HOB meeting in Kanuga this week. A sermon she gave became the talk of the bishops and the ‘elephant in the room’, according to Springfield Bishop Dan Martins.

According to Martins, the ruckus started when Budde, a theologically lite bishop whose fantasy theology comes from her favorite “theologian”, New Age master David Whyte, and who once said liberal Christianity can be saved, told the assembled bishops that her diocese was in deep trouble and offered up the following.

“There are 88 congregations in the Diocese of Washington. Many are small, with a worshipping congregation under 200. Looking deeply at the trends and internal realities of each, only 12 of them, at most, are on a path of sustainability and growth; another 12-15, at the other extreme, are in precipitous decline–most of them in our most vulnerable or rapidly transitioning neighborhoods or communities. The rest, despite working as hard as they can, will most likely be, without some intervention or significant change, almost exactly where they are now 10 years from now in terms of size and capacity for ministry—-is in a part of the country that is experiencing significant population growth and where other expressions of the Christian faith are thriving. I can’t bring myself to count the number of congregations I cannot, in good conscience, recommend to those who are seeking a vibrant expression of Christian community.”

She went on to say, “There’s no doubt in my mind that the Jesus Movement is alive and well in the Diocese of Washington. I cannot say the same about the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement in all of its expressions. And on my watch, I will do everything in my power, redirect every resource I can, examine every assumption about how we do things and why, in order to promote greater spiritual health, joy, and capacity for ministry throughout the diocese. That includes evaluating all that it costs the diocese for me to be part of the House of Bishops. I must evaluate my efforts, and ours, based on the fruits they produce.”

Has the bishop suddenly become the canary in the coal mine, or is she standing on the crumbling ramparts of TEC shouting that the emperor (Michael Curry) has no clothes (the Jesus Movement is working for her) and TEC is slowly withering and dying? Has the realization dawned that there is no future for her diocese, and by implication The Episcopal Church?

“I find myself saying ‘no’ to a lot of interesting things and important work that I could do because I’m the bishop of the Diocese of Washington, precisely because those things keep me from the real work of being the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington. And I do my best not to be thrown off course for too long by the storms, but deal with them as effectively as possible, and then redirect my focus on the slow, steady work of revitalizing the church.

“Many of the issues holding us back in the Diocese of Washington are spiritual. We, like Nicodemus, need to be born again. Many of the congregations in the Diocese of Washington offer a tepid expression of Christian life, with almost nothing to offer the very people congregational leaders say they want to “attract,” she said.

Budde said many of the issues holding the diocese back were structural and cultural, embedded in personal preferences masked as core values. She further opined that many obstacles were the result of institutional weakness, as congregations feel constrained to put their best energies to their buildings rather than the ministry the buildings exist to serve.

“If we don’t address these weaknesses, it doesn’t matter how earnestly we want to join in God’s mission in the world, how prophetic our calls are for justice. For our capacity to go where Jesus calls and do what Jesus needs us to do is hindered by our weakness, just as any physical weakness hinders our personal capacity to fully engage our lives.”

She concluded, “I cannot accept this as God’s preferred future for us. And I know that you don’t either….I want nothing more than to learn from you, to hear about what you are discovering, experimenting with, all the new ways you’re learning of being the church. Wouldn’t it be amazing, if on our watch, we could turn the trends of decline around?”

That is not going to happen. The Episcopal Church has been sliding down the primrose path of pansexuality for over 40 years imbibing sodomy, changing its canons on marriage to support same-sex marriage, supporting abortion, euthanasia and a whole host of culture war issues in the name of “justice”, “rights”, “radical inclusion” and “generous orthodoxy”, that many believe is driving America to the brink of spiritual suicide indicated by the rise of Nones and the slow death of Protestantism.

Bishop Budde will draw zero strength from other dioceses as 98% of them are in much the same position as her own…slowly withering and dying.

The Episcopal Church has sown to the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind, and it took a revisionist Episcopal bishop to finally stand up and tell the truth.


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