Episcopal Life Convention Daily
Thursday, 13 July 2000  

This is a web version of the ECUSA General Convention Daily. Anglicans Online has produced this web version, from the official PDF edition, for your reading convenience. Other days' issues are here.

Must Stay Ahead of Curve:
the Episcopal Church WILL welcome singles


"We have to stay ahead of the curve when we speak of evangelism and mission --- and that means paying attention to changing demographics. There has been an assumption that we minister primarily to families. [Much of the conversation regardingheterosexism] reflects our relationship with single folks of all kinds." The speaker is the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, Bishop Suffragan of New York. "I heard a quite astonishing figure on the radio just before I came to Denver," the bishop stated. "It was reported that 54 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 35 are single, and that percentage is growing."

In a hearing on resolutions on Domestic Mission and Evangelism, Deputy Ted Mollegen of Connecticut quotes slightly different statistics, listing 44 percent of the adult population of the United States over the age of 25 as single. Mollegen is determined to double the population of the Episcopal Church by the year 2020, and he sees the evangelization of singles as an important piece of the process. While many in the church continue to consider the "family unit" as coupled and married in a "nuclear" sense, statistics indicate the paradigm has shifted. The church now needs to recognize the many and varied configurations of Christian households as well as reach out to the multitude of single adults outside the church.

So what's a church to do?

Resolution A037, On Expanding Ministry to Single Adults, passed both houses last week and allocates monies for training in the evangelization of and ministry with single adults for the next three years. Passing A037 is the first of several steps that need to take place in order to "stay ahead of the curve" in reaching and evangelizing single adults. Others include hearing and respecting the truth of single life, funding relevant programs for singles and providing training for effective ministry to this large population.

Jim Smoke, author of several books on singles ministry, stresses that increased understanding by senior pastors will help the church move forward. Raising awareness and expertise in this particularly fertile mission field offers an opportunity for seminaries to make training a major component of their curriculum to prepare leadership equipped to minister to singles.

Bishop Roskam has said that the church is only serious about programs to which it is willing to commit dollars. Deputies and bishops have taken a giant step with the passage of A037. It remains to beseen if funding will begranted in recognizing single adults as a mission priority.

Kay Collier-Slone, Ph.D. is communications officer and director of Ministries with Single Adults for the Diocese of Lexington and president of Solo Flight Ministries, a national Episcopal ministry for singles.

This web page is a converted copy of information from the ECUSA General Convention Daily, produced by the staff of Episcopal Life for people at General Convention 2000. If you have any issue with its content, please refer to the original. Many times we later find better-quality photographs than those from the Convention Daily, and we replace the original photographs with them if we believe that they are equivalent for the purposes of the story.

Anglicans Online is not affiliated with Episcopal Life, ECUSA, or any other official part of the church. It is not official in any way. Our staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact <a href="mailto:editor@AnglicansOnline.org">editor@anglicansonline.org</a> for more information.