Seminary Adopts Plan of Action
The third page (of four) in the letter from retiring Dean Ward Ewing says,
"This is a crucial time for The General Theological Seminary as the Episcopal Church continues to struggle with decline in membership and dwindling support for its theological seminaries.
Population growth in this country since the early 20th century has been in the urban areas. Rural population has been in decline for at least a century and small town population has been, at best, stationary. The mainline Protestant churches in this country are well-established in rural communities and small towns, as well as suburban areas. However, we are less well-established in our major urban centers. We can only surmise that part of the decline of the mainline churches is their failure to respond to the changing urban populations and urban environment..."
Not sure where to start with this. The bit about "respond to the changing urban populations" usually means a wave at ethnic ministry, but then always comes 'round to how to make an LGBT event or two for the media.
The idea that mainline churches in flyover country are doin' fine and can be left to benign neglect is absurd. I could spend all day pulling together statistical and anecdotal examples of not just decline, but evaporation of churches on the Plains. Here's just one current example.
For a New York seminary to find an example of a thriving mainline church, it needs just an on-foot field trip over to Redeemer Presbyterian, where Tim Keller has reached thousands of young, ostensibly secular New Yorkers with an honest presentation of the Biblical Gospel and a willingness to engage questions with serious Christian perspective and answers - not the empty liberal protestant platitudes that are the real "decline of the mainline churches."