(RNS) As one historically black Episcopal church closes, others face strong headwinds

On a chilly December morning, 100 years and one week after its sanctuary opened, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, an African-American congregation with a proud history, was formally closed.

Bishop Samuel Rodman presided over the Eucharistic service in an elementary school a block away from the church, where weekly services ended more than three years ago. Several longtime members returned to read Scriptures and sing hymns. Afterward, the group of 100, including history buffs and well-wishers from North Carolina and Virginia, shared a meal of fried chicken and baked beans.

All Saints is hardly alone among mainline Protestant and Catholic congregations. Faced with dwindling members, crumbling infrastructure and costly maintenance, some 6,000 to 10,000 churches shutter each year, according to one estimate. More closures may be in the offing as surveys point to a decline in church attendance across the country.

But All Saints is an example of an even sharper decline.

Read it all.


Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

One comment on “(RNS) As one historically black Episcopal church closes, others face strong headwinds

  1. Katherine says:

    A sad story. Majority white Episcopal churches in small-town North Carolina are also in rough shape. I had wondered how St. Ambrose, Raleigh, was doing. According to this story and its website, it’s still a going concern. The only remaining traditionalist parish in Raleigh, St. Timothy’s, has had black congregants for quite a long time, including African immigrants and Bishop Curry’s wife. Our REC 1928 parish is blessed with some African-American, African, and Caribbean worshippers.