Citing the findings from a just-completed national survey of 2033
adults that showed only 4% of adults have a biblical worldview as the
basis of t heir decision-making, researcher George Barna described the
outcome. "If Jesus Christ came to this planet as a model of how we
ought to live, then our goal should be to act like Jesus. Sadly, few
people consistently demonstrate the love, obedience and priorities of
Between March 2002, when the news of the scandals broke, and February
2003, weekly church attendance among Catholics fell nine percentage
points to 35%, the lowest measurement since Gallup began asking the
question in 1955. By November 2003*, however, the figure had climbed 10
percentage points to 45%. Protestants' levels of church attendance,
meanwhile, remained fairly stable during this same period.
"Our people believe that they really have not become disaffected, but
rather they have adhered to the faith and tradition that's always been
there. They're continuing that and their feeling is that the church
they once knew and attended has left them," said Bishop John Hamers,
who is leading worshipers at the new church.
Over the past three years, while attention has focused on Israeli and
Palestinian casualties of the current war, at least one hundred
Christians who live in areas ruled by the Palestinian Authority have
been arrested and imprisoned for holding church services or conducting
public Christian practices without authorization.
Despite the closure, the priest at Holy Cross, the Rev. James Wagner,
vowed yesterday to celebrate mass on Christmas Day with parishioners.
"As far as the diocese is concerned we do not exist. We are a non-
entity," Mr. Wagner said yesterday. "But I will not abandon these
people. I will continue to pastor and pray for them in the midst of
He said the decision to close the church was a surprise because "it's
so close to Christmas."
His approval and consecration, and the ensuing threats of schism in the
U. S. church and the wider Anglican Communion, were collectively cited
as the top religion news story of 2003 -- a ranking shared with
criticism of the Anglican bishop of Vancouver, British Columbia, who
approved same-sex unions.
On the Mainline
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