Saturday, December 13, 2008

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Massive Decline In Average Sunday Attendance - 1997-2007

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

More than 60% of dioceses in the Episcopal Church USA suffered double digit decline in Average Sunday Attendance from 1997 to 2007 with predictions that the figures will only escalate in 2008 with even greater hemorrhaging.

An official report, drawn from the Episcopal Church's own figures, shows that the Episcopal Church drew 841,445 Episcopalians in 1997, but in 2007 that figure was 727,822, a drop of 113, 623. In 2008 the estimated loss is about 1,000 Episcopalians weekly. With whole dioceses leaving, that figure could well reach 1,200 now that a new North American Anglican Province has been formed. Recently, nearly 7,000 Episcopalians left the Diocese of Ft. Worth.

From 1997 to 2007, the dioceses of Rhode Island, Central New York, Rochester, Western New York, Eastern Michigan, West Tennessee, Northwest Texas, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Navaho Missions, and Northern Indiana declined more than 20 percent in congregational attendance.

Those losing between 10% and 19% of their congregations include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, Albany, Long Island, New Jersey, Newark, Bethlehem, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Southwestern Virginia, Virginia, West Virginia, Central Gulf Coast, Florida, Lexington, Southeast Florida, Chicago, Eau Claire, Indianapolis, Michigan, Milwaukee, Northern Michigan, West Tennessee, Ohio, Quincy, Springfield, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Missouri, Western Kansas, Western Louisiana, California, Eastern Oregon, El Camino Real, Northern California, San Joaquin, Spokane and Utah.

Between 2003 and 2007 the following dioceses lost more than 20% of their flocks: Western New York, Virginia, Florida, Eastern Michigan, Northern Indiana, Northern Michigan, Springfield, Dallas, Kansas, Northwest Texas and the Rio Grande.

The most serious losses between 2003 and 2007 were in the Navaho Missions 34%, Florida 29%, Virginia 21%, Eastern Michigan 22%, Northern Michigan 22%, Springfield, 22%, Dallas 22%, Kansas 26%, Northwest Texas 25%, Rio Grande 21%, El Camino Real 19%, San Diego 18%, Taiwan 19% and Ecuador-Litoral down 16%.

For the years 2006-2007 the following dioceses lost 10% or more of the faithful. They include Lexington, Northern Michigan, Quincy, Springfield, Colorado, Central New York, Western New York, Kansas, Northwest Texas, Oklahoma, Rio Grande, West Missouri, Taiwan and Puerto Rico.

All indicators are that the losses will only increase in 2008. More parishes will leave as the new Anglican Province in North America takes shape. There is now overwhelming evidence that the consecration of V. Gene Robinson, a non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy, has been a huge net loss to the church. His much vaunted "God is doing a new thing" is emptying, rather than filling churches. The Diocese of New Hampshire lost 12% of its parishioners between 2003-2007 and a further 6% in 2006-2007. Losses are expected to escalate in 2008.

In total, The Episcopal Church lost 10% of its parishioners between 2003-2007 and 5% between 2006-2007.

For the full report click here:

1 comment:

Alan Rogers said...

Unless someone was at the door of these churches asking individuals why they were leaving, there is no way to know for sure what the reason is. This article presumes that it is all TEC's fault.

I believe the decline in numbers could also be attributed to the public broadcasting of the battle between TEC and the new Anglican provinces. There are many people, of which I am one, who are violently put off by all the politics. The public jubilation you guys exhibit whenever another diocese leaves TEC puts you equally to blame, I believe, for driving people away.

The Anglican Communion in all its manifestations, has sunk in the last ten years to nothing more than a bipolar political machine. It would be better for everybody if you guys would only preach Christ and leave the politics alone!