The music in the malls is always a sign that we’ve hit the holiday season, and people get started making their Christmas preparations. In addition to shopping for the perfect gift, some advance planners go through the process of checking when their neighborhood church is holding its annual Christmas service.
While they might not go regularly, for many those Christmas carols at church are a holiday tradition, so they want to squeeze it in. Sadly, if their neighborhood church is mainline Protestant, they may be surprised to find it’s closed.
Across the English-speaking world the numerical decline of mainline Protestantism is accelerating. The largest mainline Protestant denominations in the United States are the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church. Collectively, membership in these denominations decreases by about 1 million a year, resulting in hundreds of church closures annually.