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Many publications — online and print — have discussed the effect of Bishop V. Gene Robinson on attendance and membership figures of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States.  Bishop Robinson’s appointment was in 2003.

Episcopal_church_flag_stamps_postage-p172400325813997610anr4u_400Stand Firm has a post on the mystery surrounding the 2008 figures, due in September.  The general consensus among readers is that the news must be bad, otherwise TEC would have published the numbers pronto.

Finally, a Fast Facts page has become available, which you can see here.  In the last five years, there has been:

– a 10% drop in active baptised members

– a 14% drop in total average Sunday worship attendance

– a median average Sunday worship attendance of 69 people, a slight decrease from 75 in 2004

TEC currently has just a little over 2m members, a decline from 2.2m in 2004.

If you would like to see individual diocese’s 10-year charts, click here.

The decline reminds me of the 2007 UK smoking ban.  All those lobbying for it said, ‘Just wait — you’ll get so many non-smokers through the doors.’  The ban resulted in pubs closing at an unprecedented rate.  And, TEC’s appointing Bishop Robinson had much the same message, ‘Just wait — you’ll get so many more LGBTs through the doors.’  Still waiting, meantime losing members every year.

Shhh — could that be the rattle of the death watch beetle approaching the red doors near you?  Possibly not, because, in the cases of the individual churches I checked, pledges are up despite the decline in active membership.  So, there’s hope yet, but not if TEC permanently loses its way.


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