Episcopal church looks for image revival with PR hire

WASHINGTON, DC: Awash in a swirl of controversy, the Episcopal Church is attempting to revitalize its image by hiring its first-ever director of communications.

WASHINGTON, DC: Awash in a swirl of controversy, the Episcopal Church is attempting to revitalize its image by hiring its first-ever director of communications.

WASHINGTON, DC: Awash in a swirl of controversy, the Episcopal

Church is attempting to revitalize its image by hiring its first-ever

director of communications.



The successful candidate - who, according to the church’s Web page, must

be prepared to ’develop a clear and coherent image of the Episcopal

Church in the public media’ - will be immediately forced to confront

some thorny challenges.



The church has traditionally been pegged as a haven for the

upper-class.



Its members are considered to be tolerant but not necessarily

inclusive.



’Like many mainline Protestant churches, (the Episcopal Church) has been

losing members,’ said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute for

Applied Politics at the University of Akron. The church numbered 3.5

million baptized members in 1970 but only 2.3 million active baptized

members two years ago.



Green suggested that the church has been under pressure from within.



Some Episcopalians, particularly baby-boomers, have become more secular,

while older members are more conservative and dissatisfied with the

church’s socially liberal tendencies. In particular, gay rights -

especially as it relates to the clergy - has become a hot-button

issue.



A recent incident involving two American priests accentuates the need

for a more unified PR front. The priests, both from the church’s

conservative wing, were consecrated as bishops in Singapore rather than

elsewhere because they sought to ’reestablish the unity that has been

violated by the ... denial of basic Christian teaching.’ The move

triggered a strong reaction from presiding bishop Frank Griswold who,

according to the Episcopal News Service, criticized the unorthodox

procedure and denied his church was ’in crisis’ as it sought to address

’multiple realities.’



The new director of communications will report directly to Griswold and

be installed as a member of the church’s management team.



- See religion PR feature, p20.



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