So, where is our sense of urgency in the Episcopal Church? Consider this: in 2007-08 our average Sunday attendance declined by 60,000 people. Ponder that reality: 60,000 people who were worshiping in Episcopal churches in 2006 were no longer there two years later. That represents losing the combined dioceses of Atlanta, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Upper South Carolina.Anglican Curmudgeon also has some thoughts on the recent financials. Can we stop the litigation now?
Or, to place those losses in the Western part of the United States, those losses represent the combined attendance of the dioceses of Alaska, Arizona, California, Eastern Oregon, El Camino Real, Hawaii, Idaho, Navajoland Area Mission, Nevada, Olympia, Oregon, and Spokane.
Gone. Buildings might remain, but no real churches. Imagine all those people, the equivalent of eleven whole dioceses, walking out of church one day and not returning. That is what has happened in the Episcopal Church in the space of two years.
Several of our dioceses face questions concerning their future viability as independent, self-sustaining dioceses. Of course, we know that the dioceses of Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin need financial support as a result of departures from the Episcopal Church of the majority of their churches and leadership. In addition, the dioceses of Eau Claire and Fond du Lac have discussed merging; the Diocese of North Dakota is lending its bishop to the Diocese of Louisiana as an assisting bishop for one week per month to help pay his salary; and the Bishop of Western Kansas has resigned and returned to parish ministry partly because of the financial strain that a full-time bishop’s salary places on that diocese. These dioceses represent a warning to us that more consolidations and mergers are on the way.
Friday, January 08, 2010
The stats are in. From here: