In previous posts, we covered Leslie Steffensen, the sneaky, two-faced liar who now serves as Canon to the Bishop for Armed Forces. With the departure some time ago of her boss, bishop Carl Wright, Steffensen’s trying to increase her visibility, having returned to social media and resumed posting pieces in the news media. Our guess is she’s going to try for either a so-called cardinal parish as her next gig or try for a bishop slot.
But Steffensen’s doing no one any favors, including the church or her reputation, as she refuses to tell the truth about the dismal state of the Episcopal Church today. And that illustrates why Steffensen would be a mistake for a role of any importance in the church.
In a recent article on Sea Isle News, Steffensen talks about the history of the Episcopal church. In doing so, she draws on her work editing the “The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Anglican Communion,” which she worked on with Virginia Theological Seminary Dean Ian Markham.
A warning sign should be that the article starts off using the adjective “Episcopalian” as the name of the church versus the noun “Episcopal.”
Steffensen correctly notes that the Church of England had a quasi-independent relationship with the See of Rome long before Henry VIII pulled the plug.
But where Steffensen steps right in a great, big steaming pile of caca is her closing comment, which is unhelpful, to say the least:
Today, the Episcopal Church is a vibrant and diverse denomination that embraces its Protestant and Catholic roots, while always striving to be welcoming and affirming of all.
To be clear, the Episcopal Church as we know it is dying. And while it is a mistake to automatically assume that its current decline will continue in a straight line, the lack of integrity we see among bishops, priests, and other church officials suggests there is no end in sight to the church’s woes. Indeed, the only good thing in this situation is that the denomination is transparent about its dismal numbers.
Thus, Steffensen’s claim that the church is vibrant is a fabrication.
Yes, there are pockets of health and growth in the church, but they are few and far between and insufficient to offset the church’s many woes. And it does neither the church nor those who may wish to learn more any favors by misrepresenting those facts.
As to Steffensen’s bit about being welcoming and affirming to all, her lies about parishioners undercut that claim. Nor has she taken responsibility for her deceit, so there’s no reason to give her a pass.
In short, Steffensen’s highest-level conclusion, which is that the church is vibrant and inclusive, is not simply not supported, even by her behavior.
The church needs to find a friendly, quiet rural parish with an ASA of about 20 where Steffensen can “serve,” while minimizing the damage her lying and two-faced, sneaky conduct does to the larger church.