Skip to comments.Research Director Calls Membership Loss ‘Precipitous’ [TEC]
Posted on 11/07/2006 10:47:49 AM PST by sionnsar
The Episcopal Church has suffered a net loss of nearly 115,000 members since 2003, but the Very Rev. James B. Lemler, the churchs director of mission, said those numbers are not more than we expected.
In an interview with The Christian Century magazine, Dean Lemler said that church officials were in fact encouraged that average Sunday attendance (ASA) in 2005 did not decline as much as it had in 2003 and 2004. ASA in 2005 was 787,000 people, 8,500 fewer than in 2004.
C. Kirk Hadaway, the director of research for The Episcopal Church, told the magazine that we were actually doing better than most other mainline denominations in the 1990s through 2002, with a few years of growth. So it is a precipitous drop in losing 36,000 in both 2003 and 2004, and now 42,000 in 2005. The losses bring the churchs reported active membership to just over 2.2 million.
Dr. Hadaway said The Episcopal Church faces significant deterrents to growth in that Episcopalians have the lowest birth rate among U.S. Christians and nearly 60 percent of members are 50 or older. However, a study that Dr. Hadaway conducted with Penny Long Marler of Samford University and presented in October to the Religious Research Association also noted that 48 percent of Episcopal congregations said they had experienced moderate to very severe conflict over the 2003 decision to permit the consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
The theology of inclusion in the Episcopal Church is drawing in unchurched people from ethnic minorities who have historically been marginalized in American church and society, said the Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara, national missioner for Asian American Ministries of the Episcopal Church.
"I think the message they are getting is that if the Church is capable of welcoming and empowering women, gays and lesbians as equal members of the Body of Christ, then it is capable of welcoming and empowering almost everybody," Vergara said. "It is a radical form of hospitality that says, you are accepted whoever and whatever you are and you dont need to be like us. It is a closer approximation of Gods unconditional love."
Duh...a gay church won't have much growth.
thats interesting ive seen ethnic minorities quit coming to my episcobaalian temple
Especially when you encourage the heteros to abort at any time for any reason.
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