Thursday, March 5, 2009

Church ruins

Church membership is in decline in the United States, but that is not news. Here's the news: churches that have taken a stance against the inclusion of gays and lesbians, and the ordination of women, are also in decline. 

Those who claim that The Episcopal Church is losing numbers because we have taken an inclusive stance are simply not looking at the data across the board. 

There are deeper reasons for church decline, and we need to get serious in addressing this at the local and national level. But scapegoating has no place at the table. Here is the story from Ekkelsia:
The 77th annual edition of the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, long a highly regarded chronicler of growth and financial trends of religious institutions, records a small but significant decline in membership of the nation's largest Christian denominations.

Membership in the Roman Catholic Church declined 0.59 percent and the Southern Baptist Convention declined 0.24 percent, according to the 2009 edition of the Yearbook, edited by the National Council of Churches and published by Abingdon.

The figures indicate that the Catholic church lost 398,000 members since the appearance of the 2008 Yearbook. Southern Baptists lost nearly 40,000 members.

To read the full story, click HERE.


Anonymous said...

The Episcopal church is the fastest declining denomination in terms of attendance, but not membership:

Have a look here for some shocking facts:

And read this for a dose of reality about the state of the church:

"A majority (62%) of Episcopal parishes and missions
report that more than half of their members are age 50+."

Unless you look at those facts with some honesty and realize there is a problem, the Episcopal church will be consigned to the pages of history long before other Christian denominations, and the pace of decline is accelerating.

This is not the time to spin that there is not an issue. Its a time to wake up to the issue, identify the causes and change direction so that the church does continue into the next generation. Pretending there is not issue will just ensure the decline continues.

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Agreed. I think I said that.