Date: September 25, 2023
One gift of the social sciences is that we can learn a little about ourselves that we don’t necessarily know. This recent study from the PRRI is rich, textured, and interesting. We learn that politically, we are overwhelmingly liberal (both as clergy and as members of congregations); we learn that of all the mainline denomination, we are group that is most satisfied with our leadership and that we are proud to be associated with The Episcopal Church; and we are surprisingly optimistic about our denomination. There are also some disquieting statistics – 30% of Episcopal clergy have thought about leaving our denomination, with two-thirds of the Republican clergy in that group. So, I invite you all this morning to spend some time with this report.
Many of us will recognize the truth of this data. VTS is at the heart of The Episcopal Church. We have a good sense of the dynamics inside our tradition. Therefore the opportunity afforded by this report is to think about in what ways we can learn from this data. We have faculty specialists who can help us all understand how to interpret this report and think a little about what it will mean for our ministry in the Church.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President, Virginia Theological Seminary and President, The General Theological Seminary