(JE) Alarm Bells as the Episcopal Church (TEC) Decline Accelerates

Episcopalians took a major hit in the year 2020, not only in attendance but also in membership and – unusually – in the pocketbook of the historically affluent denomination.

Statistics released today by the Office of the General Convention show domestic membership in an uninterrupted drop of 61,243 persons to 1,576,702 (-4%) from 1,637,945, while average Sunday attendance declined 60,232 persons to 458,179 (-12%) from 518,411.

These numbers indicate a doubling in the rate of membership decline and a tripling in the rate of attendance decline over the previous year. Median Average Sunday Attendance in the denomination has dropped from 57 persons in 2016 to 50 persons in 2020. Long-term, 61% of Episcopal parishes saw their attendance decline 10% or greater in the past five years.

The statistics cover the year 2020 and are the first affected by COVID-19 restrictions, although the church only reported attendance data for the pre-pandemic period January 1 through and March 1 (missing the traditionally high-attendance periods of Christmas and Easter), similar to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Membership and giving, in contrast, were reported across the entire calendar year.

Read it all.


Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Data