Skip to comments.Average Sunday Attendance Falls for Third Straight Year [ECUSA]
Posted on 11/16/2005 3:37:25 PM PST by sionnsar
Average Sunday attendance at Episcopal churches declined for the third consecutive year, a situation which Kirk Hadaway, director of research in the mission program office at the Episcopal Church Center, described as worrisome and troubling.
Average attendance declined from 823,017 in 2003 to 795,765, a 3.4 percent decline. Active membership also declined by 2 percent to 2.25 million. Although there was encouraging news that almost one third of all Episcopal churches grew by 10 percent or more during the past five years, and that the average annual pledge increased church wide by nearly 5 percent to $1,881, Dr. Hadaway said the overall trend should be a wake-up call to anyone who cares about the Episcopal Church.
We were a bit complacent for about a decade before the decline began, he said. We were doing quite well in relation to other denominations for a while.
The Episcopal Church reported a 1.4 percent decline in average Sunday attendance in 2002, the year before the 74th General Convention. Dr. Hadaway said some of the 62,801 attendance decline during the past three years is attributable to the controversial decisions of the General Convention, but by no means all of it. Most denominations in the United States are also reporting declining attendance, he said.
General Convention exacerbated what was already underway, he said. Something is happening in our culture that is affecting us more than others. There is not a lot here that is encouraging.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm what could it be.....?
"But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34
If I were playing poker with that boy, I'd call.
Membership growth 1965 - 2003
Southern Baptist - 52.6%
Roman Catholic - 45.4%
Assemblies of God - 377.1%
Presbyterian Church in America about 10% growth in the last 5 years.
The funny thing is that the comment implies the perception that the world is changing and it is ECUSA that has remained constant. I suppose that to a progressive, constancy implies constancy (or inertia) in a progressive direction Fidelity to a timeless truth is reactionary to this inertia, and thus is viewed by the ECUSA apologists as a societal change.
What would be even more interesting would be to study the nature of the ingress and egress. The overall one-year decline was 3.4%, but how many who really left because of the church's liberalism were counterbalanced by incoming liberals? In other words, what is the true percentage of theological exodus?
It would be interesting, but my guess is that the outflow is by far the vast majority of the change. My own limited experience ('79 - '83) saw a number of departures, but zero "arrivals" from outside.
That's too bad. It suggests not many are very upset with the church's trend, since only 3% or so are leaving yearly.
There are two aspects to this:
1) A good number have already left
2) Many of those remaining are really unaware of what's going on
Case in point for the latter, read this story that's less than a year old: Episcopal Church, I Weep for Thee
Maybe they should call Inspector Clouseau...
Some other useful facts:
The average ECUSA parish gets only 77 a Sunday.
The largest ECUSA parish in America (Christ Church in Plano, TX) gets just under 2100 a Sunday. There are several dozen churches of denominations ranging from Assembly of God to Roman Catholic in my city alone that top 2100 a Sunday. And you guessed it, Christ Church is highly evangelical.
The average active Episcopalian is over 55.
It's a budgetary device: no need to provide extensive/expensive children's ministries, especially true with the denomination's increasing outreach to queers.
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