Why on Earth is the Episcopal Church Shrinking?
The church growth experts over at the Episcopal Cafe are scratching their heads. Why is the Episcopal Church shrinking? What could it possibly be?
Apparently, some of the sharper crayons in the box over there suggested a link between the entirely unpredictable decline of the Episcopal Church and the introduction of the 79 Prayerbook over three decades ago.
Seems reasonable. I think most people would agree that the 79 book isn’t all that awesome. But to find out for sure the Episcopal Cafe decided to send the question to statistical researcher Kirk Hadaway. Here’s his answer:
I suppose that someone would have had to look at change at the congregational level in order to determine if there was a correlation. However, we cannot go back in time to do that study.
Our lowest point in terms of statistical decline was in the early to mid-1970s, so things had begun to improve prior to 1979 and continued to do so through the late 1990s. Our short-lived plateau turned into a slight decline in 2002 and got worse thereafter. So I cannot see how HE vs. MP has anything to do with the membership decline. In fact, it probably helped us attract many disaffected Roman Catholics and seekers in the 1980s and 1990s.
Well, that turned out to be a dead end. Back to square one. Now what could it be? There must have been something that occurred after 2002 to cause the decline. But what is it?
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