It is not as if congregational leaders do not recognize the necessity for change. In a major new study, 7 percent of parishes reported things are fine just the way they are.
Among other congregations:
• Thirty-nine percent of parishes reported they were making the necessary changes to ensure a bright future for the congregation.
• Thirty-two percent of parishes said they need to change to increase their vitality and viability, but the parish does not seem to realize it or does not want to make the necessary changes.
• Twenty-two percent said, “We are slowly changing but not fast enough, nor significantly enough.”
“More than half feel they are too bound to Orthodox tradition,” said study leader Alexei Krindatch, research coordinator with the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. “But they cannot change.”
The top two obstacles to change? More than half of parishes reported a lack of resources, particularly energy and finances. Forty-four percent said their congregations lacked a unifying vision or direction.
The unresolved stresses on congregations are taking a toll.