(JE) Jeff Walton–The Episcopal Church Continues Shedding Members

The church has faced steep losses since the early 2000s with a perfect storm of changing demographics, low fertility and departures by traditionalists.

The 2013 reporting year saw a continuation of the downward trend, with a membership drop of 27,423 to 1,866,758 (1.4 percent) while attendance dropped 16,451 to 623,691 (2.6 percent). A net 45 parishes were closed, and the denomination has largely ceased to plant new congregations.

The new numbers do not factor in the departure of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, of which the church continues to report over 28,000 members and over 12,000 attendees, despite the majority of South Carolina congregations severing their relationship with the Episcopal Church at the end of 2012. If South Carolina departures were factored in, the membership loss would be closer to 50,000 persons.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

6 comments on “(JE) Jeff Walton–The Episcopal Church Continues Shedding Members

  1. dwstroudmd+ says:

    New Math, New Theology, New Growth (growth = change, regardless of positivity or negativity around an oppressive “mean” or “average”) – TEc has it all.

  2. jhp says:

    Really?! … Rhode Island is reporting growth in new members, though a decline in attendance? I belonged to Providence’s oldest and largest parish. This summer a third of the parish quit when the Rector fired the music director before the July 4th holiday weekend (no doubt he hoped nobody would miss somebody who’d been there 25 years). The entire choir and about 30 other folks promptly walked away. Many, like myself, are fed up and won’t be back. On the 34th anniversary of my reception into the Episcopal Church, I’m officially retired from church. Let’s see if Rhode Island’s statistics reflect similar defections. But if not, I wonder why our bishop and clergy would be strongly motivated to conceal it?

  3. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #2 As you say these are very mysterious figures, miraculous perhaps.

    “I’m officially retired from church” – I know what you mean, and in particular churches we don’t always behave in particularly Christian ways. I always think of it as a bit like going to a hospital and being surprised to see ill people. But church is wherever we gather, in some senses maybe even here. By all means take a break and look around even but I hope that you won’t retire from church and even if you don’t attend this particular one, your other friends from church need your and our support and our prayers and fellowship. May God bless and encourage you and them at this time.

  4. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    If the membership figures include the Diocese of South Carolina, then it seems likely that attendance figures have also been included of 12,000 and perhaps other departing dioceses. If that is discounted and also considering the large overseas diocese of Haiti [100,000] then in reality the Sunday average attendance of TEC in the US must be below the half million mark and probably on the way to 400,000.

    We seem to be witnessing very rapid implosion. Is it past the tipping point? Perhaps that will only be apparent with hindsight.

    Oh well.

  5. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    No, I see I am confusing membership for Haiti and the non-domestic dioceses. ASA for them seems to be in the region of 50,000. Haiti supposely has a membership of 84,000 but ASA last year of 14,000, which I suppose in the circumstances Haiti has had to deal with may have a particular explanation beyond any wider church trend. The non-domestic diocese figures are slightly confused because of the inclusion of a number of overseas locations with other domestic provinces. Looking at the figures for membership and attendance for the departed dioceses, it does indeed look as if TEC is still counting them, so it may be that the real situation now is considerably worse than portrayed even with the window-dressing attempts on other figures.

  6. MichaelA says:

    So the trend continues.

    TEC will be around for decades yet, but becoming increasingly irrelevant.

    I wonder if Frank Griswold and Katie Schori will be proud of the achievements of their “leadership”?