Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chicago Candidates and The Numbers

The Diocese of Chicago has announced its five candidates for Bishop, and the Anglican world is all excited that one of the candidates, the Very Rev. (Dean) Tracey Lind of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, is a partnered lesbian priest. Among the more interesting comments is by Father Greg Jones of Anglican Centrist, who points out Rev. Lind's quite impressive work at Trinity:

Most of the successful priests I know have seen both spiritual and numerical growth happen in their ministries. It is by no means the only measure of success in ministry -- but it matters. Of course it does.

Looking at things the way I do, and not knowing everybody in the world personally, I often will look at episcopal elections in terms of what kind of numerical patterns can be associated with the candidates. In the case of the Diocese of Chicago episcopal election, of the five nominees, only two had particularly impressive charts in their current ministries. One of the nominees works at 815, so she doesn't readily fit into this analysis. Of course there are so many factors involved in church growth, stability and decline. However, it is very telling, I think, when somebody posts some impressive statistics. And I will just leave it at that.

The two priests with very impressive growth numbers are the Rev. Timothy Stafford and the Very Rev. (Dean) Tracey Lind.

And, contrary to what many on the far right will suppose, the partnered gay priest's numbers are the most impressive. Again, numbers aren't everything, but many on the far right often point to the poor numbers in many 'Liberal' parishes as a sign of their poor proclamation. Furthermore, if a servant of the Lord may be evaluated in some sense by the harvest reaped, Dean Lind is doing very good work indeed.

In five years, it appears she has doubled the size of the worshipping congregation at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, and both membership and pledging are also way up.


Read it all here.

Without doubt, Rev. Lind faces an uphill battle in both being selected as a Bishop--and in receiving the necessary approvals--in light of the passage of B033 at the last General Convention, and the demands by the Anglican Primates to the House of Bishops. Nonetheless, the impressive work of Rev. Lind has certainly gotten her this far, and it is impressive indeed.

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