Over 100 clergy and lay leaders attended the second offering of “The Future and Your Church” workshop, June 2, at the Church of the Redeemer, Orangeburg. They heard about the changing societal landscape churches face and what they can do to fulfill the gospel-mandate to make disciples while stemming the tide of declining church attendance and involvement.
“The world isn’t the way it used to be,” said the Very Rev. John Burwell, Rector of the Church of the Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island and Daniel Island, during a presentation in which he used visuals to illustrate changes in culture. “What people want from their church is different. If we want our churches to thrive we can’t do things the way we used to do them.”
Bishop Lawrence told of the disturbing decline in average median Sunday church attendance in the Episcopal Church, from 74 in 2002 to 66 in 2009. “That statistic is stunning,” he said. “It used to be that a typical Episcopal congregation of 70 could afford a full-time clergy person…but because of demographics that’s becoming increasingly difficult. When you can’t afford a full time priest a church begins to just maintain. We work to keep the doors open, so someone’s here to bury me.”