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Rabe - Church in Turmoil FINAL

Rabe - Church in Turmoil FINAL

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Published by Eric Rabe
Split by controversy over the leadership of its bishop and divided by political struggles, the people of the Diocese of Pennsylvania of the Episcopal Church are in turmoil. Struggles for power abound. Churches and individuals are withholding financial support and withdrawing from active involvement in their diocese. The bishop of the diocese was charged with but not convicted of improper conduct stemming from the sexual abuse of a teenaged girl by the bishop's brother in the 1970s. Sharp disagreement over a church camp, Wapiti, further complicates the diocese problems. From the perspective of organization dynamics and change, this paper describes the Diocese of Pennsylvania in early 2011, and it explores the root causes of the current situation and possible next steps.
Split by controversy over the leadership of its bishop and divided by political struggles, the people of the Diocese of Pennsylvania of the Episcopal Church are in turmoil. Struggles for power abound. Churches and individuals are withholding financial support and withdrawing from active involvement in their diocese. The bishop of the diocese was charged with but not convicted of improper conduct stemming from the sexual abuse of a teenaged girl by the bishop's brother in the 1970s. Sharp disagreement over a church camp, Wapiti, further complicates the diocese problems. From the perspective of organization dynamics and change, this paper describes the Diocese of Pennsylvania in early 2011, and it explores the root causes of the current situation and possible next steps.

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Published by: Eric Rabe on Jun 12, 2011
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06/13/2011

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CHURCH IN TURMOIL:THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA byEric W. RabeSubmitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamicsin the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciencesin Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at theUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania2011
 
CHURCH IN TURMOIL:THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIAApproved by: _________________________________________________ Larry M. Starr, Ph.D., Program Director  __________________________________________________ John H. Fielder, Ph.D., Reader  __________________________________________________ The Very Rev. Judith Sullivan, M Div., Reader 
 
ABSTRACTThe Diocese of Pennsylvania of The Episcopal Church in early 2011 and itsorganizational challenges are examined in this thesis. Various factions have been at oddswith one another on matters of finance and governance for several years. Themanagement of the current bishop has polarized clergy and laity. The recent history of the diocese is reviewed, and I present the perspectives of ten key leaders of the dioceseduring preceding decade on the current effectiveness of the diocese as an organizationand as a community. The observations are synthesized and analyzed to provide acomprehensive view. The leaders believe that the diocese is ineffective, some saydysfunctional. Furthermore, the findings suggest that challenges of shrinkingcongregations, an oversupply of church buildings and clergy, controversy over the current bishop and an inability to agree on a common direction are creating a complex problemwith no easy or immediate solution likely This thesis captures a view of the diocese as itoperates in early 2011, examines how this situation came to be and offers options that areavailable to the diocese.iii

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