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More Statistics from TEC

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 • 2:32 pm


The Episcopal Church has released more statistics for 2007. Very bad news. Take the time to read them all.

My former diocese, Central New York, lost a whopping 10% ASA from 2006 to 2007.


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Comments:

Wow.  Only one diocese grew in ASA: San Joaquin by 0.5%. Nine dioceses lost more than 10% in one year. Even accounting for the loss of the Christmas bump, this is brutal.

Does anybody really think the worst is over?  I think GC2009 has the potential for even greater fall out.

[1] Posted by Ed McNeill on 12-02-2008 at 02:58 PM • top

Looking at the Active members 1997 - 2007 tables, I counted only 7 dioceses that had grown in active members since 1997.  They included South Carolina and Fort Worth. Also Tennessee and some of the other Carolina dioceses grew.  Not surprising to me at this point, but still, incredible.

[2] Posted by Karen B. on 12-02-2008 at 03:00 PM • top

What is “the Christmas bump”?  In our parish (and in quite a few others I have attended), when Christmas falls on a Sunday, attendance plummets.  People come out for Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day is a day to stay home and enjoy a leisurely morning with the family.

[3] Posted by AnglicanXn on 12-02-2008 at 03:10 PM • top

Christmas Eve counts as a “Sunday” service…as do any Saturday evening Eucharists…traditionally, when the Sun goes down it is considered the start of the next day. Jews, I think, begin their Sabbath on Friday at sundown and end it Saturday at sundown.

[4] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-02-2008 at 03:14 PM • top

<sarcasm on> Oh come on Ed, you are looking at this through rose colored glasses, no wonder everything looks red. True it has the potential for greater fallout, but also true that it has the potential for greater ministry. Like in Apollo 13, “This could be our finest hour.” <sarcasm off>

No but seriously, I wonder if it was simply on a whim that she said that the worst is over. Considering what has happened since she said it, I have yet to see anything to support it. Granted there may come a time when TEC runs out of people to run out the door, but I doubt they have reached that point yet. At least, I am unaware of any evidence to back it up.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[5] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-02-2008 at 03:16 PM • top

HEY!!! It edited out my “(sarcasm on) (sarcasm off)” tags to the beginning and end of my first paragraph!!! Sorry Ed, didn’t want to sound like a real jerk, just a sarcastic jerk.

~jacob

[6] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-02-2008 at 03:18 PM • top

#1 I think the San Joaquin numbers are pretty meaningless.  I imagine they are counting the members of the congregations that make up Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.  I have noticed that when a parish does not file a parochial report the data is just carried over from the last reported year.  Therefore, my bet is that the San Joaquin numbers are recording the last reported numbers for -say- St. Paul’s Bakersfield, which is Southern Cone now.

[7] Posted by Richard Yale on 12-02-2008 at 03:22 PM • top

All is well(TM).
Actually, from the point-of-view of bringing folks away from far-left political activism masquerading as religion, and back toward Christ, perhaps all is indeed well.

[8] Posted by rkreed on 12-02-2008 at 03:36 PM • top

#8 rkreed   Congratulations on winning today’s Gold Star for best post.

[9] Posted by Long Gone Anglo Catholic on 12-02-2008 at 03:43 PM • top

HEY!!! It edited out my “(sarcasm on) (sarcasm off)” tags to the beginning and end of my first paragraph!!! Sorry Ed, didn’t want to sound like a real jerk, just a sarcastic jerk.

To put in pretend-HTML, you have to leave a space, e.g. < sarcasm >< /sarcasm >.

The software is set up to ignore most HTML tags (or fake HTML tags) that aren’t in the list.  Colour works, which is great because it allows <font color=”#ff0000”>r<font color=”#c05000”>a<font color=”#f0f000”>i<font color=”#008080”>n<font color=”#0000ff”>b<font color=”#3000f0”>o<font color=”#8000ff”>w<font color=”#000000”>s, so dear to every Episcopalian’s heart.

smile

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

[10] Posted by gone on 12-02-2008 at 03:50 PM • top

You civilians are all focusing on the wrong numbers.  Check this out:

TEC 2006-2007 Operating Revenue Change: $38,830,939
TEC 2006-2007 ASA Change: -37,432

Thus, TEC gains over $1,000 for every person who stops attending an Episcopal Church.

TEC 2007 ASA: 768,476

Thus, TEC stands to gain over $768,476,000 by driving everybody out.  You can sue a LOT of Christians with that amount of money.

[11] Posted by Chazaq on 12-02-2008 at 03:54 PM • top

[11] Chazaq,

Perhaps those not attending, but who are also not leaving for another ecclesial community, are increasing their contributions by way of atoning for staying away. I guess that would be something similar to the outdated Catholic idea about selling indulgences.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[12] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 12-02-2008 at 04:05 PM • top

Adding to Richard Yale’s observation about carrying over the numbers from the previous year for San Joaquin, don’t forget that Bp. Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles have been doing this for FOUR years now for our ex-TEC parishes.  He’s hasn’t had a report from us since 2003 and is still counting about 2,000 people who disappeared in mid-2004. Maybe someone with more math ability can figure what the real percentage of decline is, but instead of 20,686, the real total is more like 18,700.

[13] Posted by Sue Martinez on 12-02-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

< sarcasm > Martial Artist,

You know full well that selling indulgences isn’t outdated, in fact, I think it very appropriate to todays society. I mean, let’s face it: today is a busy world, we don’t have time to go to confession, nor can we afford to loose the face it would cost to make reperation for our mistakes. Simply footing the bill for the spread of God’s kingdom really should be enough, don’t ya think? I mean, think about it from God’s perspective. Forgiveness of sins for the spread of his Kingdom? Isn’t that what the whole “Jesus” thing was about?

Besides, indulgences have been a valued and honored part of the Christian tradition for the past 1,000 years. It would be a shame to let this noble and honorable tradtion fall into disuse, but with proper use, I think it could do well to revitalize and breath fresh life back into this church. < /sarcasm >

YES!!! IT WORKED!!!

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[14] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-02-2008 at 04:20 PM • top

I noticed the same thing as Chazaq.  How jarring to see these truly horrific attendance numbers, yet see revenue continue at quite healthy levels.  We can see, in particular, from the $/person column why that’s so: the remaining people who bother to show up on Sunday are really cranking their giving up far beyond the trend line.

We all know how sustainable that turned out to be with housing prices, and so, the whole picture looks heroic, but in a pathetic way.

By the way, most organizations would release graphical summaries of data like this.  I think, if we picture what those curves would look like, we can understand why ECUSA chooses otherwise.

[15] Posted by Phil on 12-02-2008 at 04:43 PM • top

721 people per week, over 100 people per day left the Episcopal Church last year.

All Is Well! (TM)

[16] Posted by The Pilgrim on 12-02-2008 at 04:44 PM • top

Out of curiosity:  How many are walking out, and how many are leaving via the grave?  Do we have stats that can tell us things like that?

[17] Posted by AndrewA on 12-02-2008 at 04:49 PM • top

One looks down the U.S. provinces and dioceses and sees only a vast majority of negative growth percentages. The bishop of this diocese says that the loss of communicants is due to hurricanes (Central Gulf Coast). Hurricanes must be affecting the entire TEC church going population, huh?

Troublemaker

[18] Posted by troublemaker on 12-02-2008 at 04:49 PM • top

My former diocese, Central New York, lost a whopping 10% ASA from 2006 to 2007.

I was born and raised just to the west of you, in Western New York.  They have lost 33.7% of their active baptised membership over the last decade, and in the same time period their ASA has fallen by 22%.

In another twenty years, the entire annual report will fit on four index cards.

[19] Posted by The Pilgrim on 12-02-2008 at 04:55 PM • top

Awarding a diocese a “Star” for 1) increased ASA 2) increased Membership and 3) for Plate & Pledge increasing at least or more than inflation (16 percent). And the winners are: South Carolina with 3 Stars, Fond Du Lac, Tennessee and West texas with 2 Stars, and Arkansas, Delaware, Easton, Fort Worth, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Western Louisiana, and Western North Carolina with 1 Star. The other 78 dioceses have NO Stars. (TEC San Joaquin is NOT included as the 2007 data are bogus, basically just a false repeat of 2006 data.) I suspect that 2008 data for Plate & Pledge will cancel a lot of Stars and that 2009 data could be a train wreck.    Statmann

[20] Posted by Statmann on 12-02-2008 at 05:04 PM • top

Oops! Forgot to mention that the time period for Stars was 2002 through 2007. And to think I used to criticize my students for this kind of mistake.  Statmann

[21] Posted by Statmann on 12-02-2008 at 05:43 PM • top

Bad news?  This looks like good news to me.  People are not buying the message of a heretical cult masquerading as Christianity.

[22] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 12-02-2008 at 06:01 PM • top

Firstly, 2007 was not a Christmas effect year, 2006 was (as was 2005). This means that the 2006 ASA numbers were artificially inflated. Thus, 2006 to 2007 drop was accentuated. One probably should compare the drop between 2004 and 2007 to compare apples with apples. The San Joaquin numbers are probably meaningful in that the numbers were turned in before the vote in Dec 2007. Thus, the growth is really growth.

One of the figures that I find interesting is the Plate and Pledge ASA ratio. These numbers are found here. These numbers are almost all up, some significantly so. TJ’s diocese of Northern Michigan is up 17%. What this means with falling ASA numbers is that less people are giving more, which is not sustainable especially with the economic down turn. Matt+ wrote about the the TEO’s statistician analysis that churches in crisis have giving go up…to a point. People try to throw money at the problem till they finally give up.

[23] Posted by robroy on 12-02-2008 at 06:06 PM • top

I thought all was well in TEc-ville! Truth usually has a way of showing itself one way or the other!

[24] Posted by TLDillon on 12-02-2008 at 06:12 PM • top

#18:

Do they really have hurricanes in North Dakota?

smile

[25] Posted by Bill C on 12-02-2008 at 06:22 PM • top

Three other possible explanations for increased per member giving.  First, with decreasing membership those that stay are simply being called to contribute more to maintain the status quo.  Second, as the percentage of younger families decreases, per capita giving increases due to the relative wealth of an increasingly older congregation. Third, these are exciting times for those who support TEC’s political agenda. The liberal base is “energized”.  If you want to promote a liberal social agenda, you can get a pretty good bang for your buck by investing in TEC.

Whatever the explanation, TEC has obviously done a good job with its stewardship efforts. It also deserves credit for publishing all of its data.

What will happen down the road? A recent interdenominational survey reveals a significant drop in church giving during the last quarter, with donors contemplating further decreases next year. Among donors, the wealthy have been impacted the most, that is the “asset” as opposed to “income” givers.  Young families, who had little to lose in the stock market, are relatively unaffected as long as they kept their jobs.  On balance, the bad economic times should negatively impact the older wealthier parishes more than the younger ones.

[26] Posted by Going Home on 12-02-2008 at 06:50 PM • top

#23 The parochial reports go in after the new year.  I doubt any Southern Cone San Joaquiners sent their materials in to 815 after the vote in late 2007.  While some turned in reports, the majority did not.

[27] Posted by Richard Yale on 12-02-2008 at 06:58 PM • top

OK, so I really should be doing something else.  But I did check out the data on the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and discover that those nifty charts now only show 12 congregations with an ASA in 2007 in the vicinity of 950.  The site also shows the existance of seven other congregations too new to have any ‘07 data.

The diocesan chart, however, does not reflect this data.  Statistically for San Joaquin I figure this is like the year they had a strike in baseball: you might have data on the page but you have to put an asterisk next to it.

[28] Posted by Richard Yale on 12-02-2008 at 07:14 PM • top
[29] Posted by Richard Yale on 12-02-2008 at 07:18 PM • top

Hey Jacob,

No worry, I got your intent without the tags.

[30] Posted by Ed McNeill on 12-02-2008 at 07:45 PM • top

I just looked at the San Joaquin charts, and I see at least two congregations where 2007 numbers are 2006 numbers repeated, and they are probably lower.
It would have been difficult to get a good feel for departures during the December month.  I know our parish lost quite a few active folks, but that won’t show up until the 2008 report, since their departure was in February of this year. 
I’m guessing current ASA in the diocese is probably around 700 to 800.  Holy Family in Fresno is the only one showing a growth pattern over the last 4 years; although they’ve been trying to reach out to the community around them, most of their ASA I believe is from urban migration, that is, Episcopalians in Fresno moving from one urban parish to another.  In this case, liberals and some moderates were moving from conservative parishes to the only parish in town waving the Remain Episcopal flag.  There are some conservatives there, but the parish and rector identity has been clearly linked with the agendized RE.

[31] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 12-02-2008 at 08:23 PM • top

The plate and pledge went up 1.3 % for the domestic diocese. Total operating revenue went up 2.4%. But they would have needed to go up by 2.8% to meet the rate of inflation. Of course, to meet increasing lawsuit costs and propping up rump diocese costs, they would have needed to go up even further.

[32] Posted by robroy on 12-02-2008 at 09:19 PM • top

As the subject came up in this thread,
I was reminded of Matt Kennedy’s posting on why pledges increase as membership and attendance decrease.

[33] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 12-03-2008 at 03:14 PM • top

Maybe the press will put to rest the oft quoted 2.4 million member number and start using the 2.1 million number shown in the tables and ask “Where have all the Christians gone?”

[34] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 12-03-2008 at 03:22 PM • top

ECUSA doesn’t sell Indulgences, it sells Indulgence.

[35] Posted by nwlayman on 12-06-2008 at 01:32 PM • top

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