Monday, May 08, 2006

Parsing the PSW Plebiscite; No Hanging Chads Here

Valley Forge has made much of the fact, cited in the second sentence of their press release, that "just over 50% of the member churches registered to participate in the vote." Here are the facts, as presented by a PSW board member in a message to Dr. Roy Medley:

PSW states in promotional pieces that it has about 300 churches. Since you know about 150 churches voted is understandable that your press release stated "just over 50% of the member churches registered to participate in the vote." The accurate facts are as follows. About 250 churches were actually eligible to vote. We have churches that are affiliated and cannot vote on matters pertaining to ABCUSA, a number of churches in a "mission status or new church plants" and others who were not eligible to vote for other reasons.

There were 98 others who were eligible but didn't vote. Of these several didn't make the deadline to register to vote. Two of our largest churches were in the middle of major capital fund drives and did not want to as one pastor said "rock the boat in that process. We are aware of about 12 of these 98 churches that did not vote for various reasons but have clearly communicated (some in writing) that they do support the PSW's Board's recommendation.

Of these 98 there are about 56 that have been inactive for several years or more. Inactive meaning no involvement in association or region activities and have not given ONE CENT to ABCUSA or PSW.

So, what does "just over 50% of the member churches registered to participate in the vote" mean when American Baptist News Service says it?

It means that ONLY 98 eligible congregations failed to vote. Of these, 12 communicated their support for the PSW position. Of the 86 remaining, 56 "have been inactive for several years . . . and have not given ONE CENT to ABCUSA or PSW."

So where does that leave us? There were only 30 active churches (with either PSW or ABCUSA) eligible to participate that did not bother to express their opinion one way or the other. Some may have sat out the vote in protest. In addition to the 16% vote to reamain with the ABCUSA, there are another 30 active congregations from which The Association of American Baptists in the Pacific Southwest may solicit support. Since, some congregations in every region bear only a mild connection to the national body, particularly in California, "active" only indicates some measure of financial involvement. Good luck fashioning a viable region out of these 30 and the dissenting congregations.

[His Barking Dog is better at barking than counting; still my counts do not speak for the official position of the PSW, even when quoting a board member]

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