Declines Soften a Bit

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Newly released figures from the Episcopal Church show that membership and attendance continued to decline in 2016, although in each case the rate of decline was lower than in recent years.

The church’s annual Fast Facts compilation, which focuses on domestic dioceses, shows the church ended the year with 1,745,156 active baptized members, down 1.9 percent from the prior year, and down 19 percent from 10 years earlier.

Average Sunday Attendance (ASA), which is probably the most reliable form of measurement, was 570,453, down 1.6 percent for the year and down 25 percent compared to 10 years earlier.

Plate and pledge income — which is affected both by membership and by the strength of the economy — totaled $1.312 billion, essentially flat with the prior year (down 0.1%).

The largest individual parish in the country remains St. Martin’s in Houston, which reported 9,258 active members and ASA of 1,871.

The data is gathered from the parochial reports that each congregation is required to submit every year. The church has a web-based tool that will provide bar charts showing trends in all three of these metrics for each congregation in the country.

The tool also provides access to a 16-page report, generated separately for each congregation, with data on the population within a three-mile radius of the church.

Kirk Petersen


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