A new leader took the helm of the Episcopal Church during an elaborate service in the iconic neo-Gothic Washington National Cathedral on Sunday. Episcopalians under new Presiding Bishop Michael Curry face the dire reality of demographic extinction. To put it in perspective, the Detroit-based Diocese of Michigan reported a 37 percent decline in baptized membership from 2000 to 2013.
While numerous factors have contributed to the denomination’s stunning collapse, the main schism occurred after the openly gay Gene Robinson became bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. The embracing of same-sex blessings and eventually liturgical rites for gay marriage only made matters worse.
Since then, at least $42 million has been spent by the Episcopal Church in lawsuits against dissenting parishes and even entire dioceses that decided to quit rather than remain a part of the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, which traces its roots to the Church of England.
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