WASHINGTON: The Episcopal Church is attempting to revitalise 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.
’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 baptised members in 1970 but only 2.3 million active baptised
members two years ago.
Green suggested that the church has been under pressure from within.
Some Episcopalians, particularly younger members, 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 major issue. The
appointment marks a sharp contrast with the UK, where one church press
officer recently discounted modern communications methods as ’inherently
dishonest’ (PR Week, 25 February).
The new director of communications will report directly to presiding
bishop Griswold and be installed as a member of the church’s management