Monday, July 16, 2012


From Patheos- (Philip Jenkins)

I am a member of the Episcopal Church, USA (hereafter TEC). I am increasingly worried that in a few years, I might be THE member of the Episcopal Church, USA, the last of my kind.

As Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat and others have pointed out, the church has just issued a summary of its attendance statistics from 2000 to 2010, and they are incredibly bad even by the standards of liberal mainline denominations. Nationwide, average Sunday attendance fell by 23 percent in that short decade, from 857,000 to 658,000. In some dioceses, though, the contraction was far worse – 72 percent in Pittsburgh, 73 percent in Fort Worth, 80 percent in San Joaquin. Now, there is limited comfort in these statistics, because some at least of the factors causing decline will not recur in the next decade. As these three dioceses show, part of the fall in numbers involved the defection of Episcopal believers to new and more conservative Anglican denominations, formed in protest against TEC’s liberal stance on issues of sexuality and morality. As these traditionalists have already gone, they no longer survive to flee again.

Dare we hope that if those ideological battles are not exactly over, yet the worst is probably past?
Having said this, in other ways the figures are actually worse than they appear, as the attendance figures represent a net, combining losses and gains. In fact, many Episcopal churches actually added members in the decade from Catholics fleeing that church – usually on those familiar matters of gender and sexuality. So the overall fall of 23 percent includes those new additions, minus a catastrophic exodus of more traditional Episcopalians.

More here-

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