Bishop James Pike of the Diocese of California is one icon of the decline of the Episcopal Church. His book, "A Time for Christian Candor," published in 1964, said the doctrine of the Trinity was heavy "luggage" the church didn't need. It was "not essential to the Christian Faith" (Pike, Candor, p. 124). Coverage the same year of a sermon on the Trinity was carried by the New York Times, bringing Pike widespread attention.
Heresy charges were brought against Pike in 1965, but in 1966, these were reduced to a censure from the House of Bishops for the "tone" and "manner" of Pikes sermons and books. His teachings themselves were never censured. It can be argued that Pike was the first public heretic in the Episcopal Church and that the failure to correct him opened the gates for much of what has followed.
Pike resigned as bishop, left the organized church, and died tragically in Israel soon after.
1968-marks the peak of membership for the Episcopal Church (latest adjusted figures). The crisis of faith among the clergy during the 1960s is often cited as part of the cause of the drastic decline in membership. 500,000 were lost from 1968 to 1974. After that the rate of loss slowed, but the total net loss has been around one million out of a peak around 3.2 million (adjusted).
Created by: adminlast modification: Thursday 01 of February, 2007 [15:29:34 UTC] by