Archive for Saturday, February 21, 2009

Church to mark 150 years of diocese

February 21, 2009


In Lawrence today, the newest church in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas will help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the diocese’s founding.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St., will play host to a celebration and service at 4 p.m. for all of the diocese’s congregations in northeastern Kansas, including the Kansas City area.

And Bishop Dean E. Wolfe will lead the service from the 1789 Book of Common Prayer, which settlers used in services during the time of the diocese’s founding.

“We decided it would be perhaps interesting to use the service that would have been used at the time the diocese was founded in 1859,” said Melodie Woerman, director of communications for the diocese.

The service is open to the public. People are also welcome to come in period dress from the 1850s.

“We’re trying to recall some of the flavor of what those early worship services would have been like,” Woerman said.

Today’s service will be the fourth across the state this year, and it’s the final one to kick off the diocese’s yearlong celebration of its founding in 1859. The actual founding date is in August.

The diocese today has about 12,000 members in 50 congregations across the eastern half of the state.

Also as part of the founding celebration this year, the diocese’s members will work to build a house in Coffeyville through Habitat for Humanity after a 2007 flood devastated the area.


robroy 9 years, 2 months ago

The diocese is marking 150 years. But will it make another 20? That is very dubious.

Attendance in all the parishes has fallen 37% since 2000, 13% last year alone, and now stands at just over 4,000. I note that Dean Wolfe (who stated that he would have voted to consent Gene Robinson) has only been bishop since 2003. He can only be credited with the fall since 2003, where the attendance has "only" fallen by 26%.

Mr. Wolfe had tried to focus on membership (which has many people on rolls that have dropped out or died) rather than attendance when he said in October, "We BELIEVE our membership is growing. Over the past two years we MAY have gained more than 500 new members!" Well, there was a slight uptick of members in in 2006 by less than 400 after a disastrous drop of over 2,000 in 2005, but the final numbers in 2007 showed a 466 drop more than erasing the uptick.

Four thousand attendees is a large church to some. Is it enough to justify supporting a bishop and his staff?

And for the really bad local news: The parish dropped an incredible 65% in attendance last year alone.

Angel Gillaspie 9 years, 2 months ago

At the end of your commments, you say "the parish..." Which parish are you talking about, specifically? There are two in Lawrence, and a total of 46 in the diocese. Also, if you know so much, why don't you know that when addressing a bishop, you use the salutation "The Right Reverend" instead of "Mister?" That's just a little disrespectful, don't you think? And if you're going to talk about Gene Robinson, why not include at least enough detail to explain why that is an issue? Lastly, where did you get your information, so I can see it for myself? Thanks for just enough info to stir the waters but nothing else.

robroy 9 years, 2 months ago


Why don't I use the respectful title Right Reverend instead of bishop? Bishops in the ordination service swear to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church. Mr. Wolfe has failed miserably. Hence, I don't use titles that imply respect that I don't hold.

As for the source of my statistics, you can find links to the official Episcopal statistics pages if you go to

In the right hand column, there are links to the "Episcopal Church: Diocese & Parish charts" where you will find the statistics for St. Margaret's Lawrence KS and to "Episcopal Church Statistics" where one can find the diocesan membership and attendance totals. The precipitous drop in members and attendance at St. Margaret's, Lawrence is quite remarkable. Perhaps, you could fill us in for the reasons?

BTW, the 2008 stats list only 45 parishes, not 46. This is down from 50 in 2004.

robroy 9 years, 2 months ago

Agilla, your post made me look at my numbers, and I do have a (small) correction. The data for St Margaret's, Lawrence is only in graphical form, so one needs to estimate the numerical quantities. Looking at the graph, it appears that the attendance for 2006 was about 590 and about 240 in 2007, hence that would put the per cent drop at 59.3% (not 65% as stated above). Of course, this is still a huge drop.

If you have other requests for clarifications, I would be glad to help.

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