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Funerals outpace all other Episcopal Church Statistics in 2017

Funerals outpace all other Episcopal Church Statistics in 2017
Death becomes her

By David W. Virtue, DD
October 8, 2018

In one Episcopal diocese after another, the raw truth can no longer be ignored. There are now more funerals taking place in the vast majority of Episcopal dioceses, even supposedly orthodox ones, than any other single statistic, outpacing new confirmations, baptized or those received into the Episcopal Church.

In 2017. the Episcopal Church buried over 27,000 Episcopalians, and there is not a shred of evidence that now or in the foreseeable future, that that will change, or that they will be replaced by new younger generations of Americans ready to fill Episcopal pews. Over time that figure will only increase as churches now build columbariums to house the dead.

The average age of an Episcopalian is now in the mid-sixties; the average age of an Episcopal priest is now in the low sixties. Within a generation. the vast majority of priests will be forced to retire with no one to fill their shoes except non-stipendiary priests who will do little more than open and close doors on a Sunday morning. The number of priests under the age of 44 is less than 10 percent.

Neither Nones, Generations X, Y or Z are stepping up to the plate, or through red doors to fill pews, despite the fact that the Episcopal Church has earmarked $8 million for new church plants.

While the Episcopal Church has a lot of money to throw around, it has no life-saving gospel message to proclaim; one would have to look to the Anglican Church in North America for that message. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Jesus Movement revival calls, along with calls for an end to racism, are not selling well in a church that is 98 percent white. Add the embrace of pansexuality and scandals like Bishop Heather Cook...picking from the bottom of the episcopal barrel one learns, is not a winning ticket to draw in new converts. Being a woman priest or woman bishop has conclusively not added to church rolls, if anything it has diminished them.

The Rev. Michael Michie, the Episcopal Church's staff officer for church planting infrastructure, told ENS that an important way to grow is by starting new congregations, and said the Church had approved more than $8 million to start new congregations and regional ministries from 2013 through 2021. But he then admitted that even the 86 new ministries planted from 2012 to 2017 likely wasn't aggressive enough.

Jeff Walton, writing for Juicy Ecumenism blog observed, "Despite the prominence of marriage in the church's public conversation, statistics made available by the church's Executive Office of the General Convention reveal that the number of marriages taking place in the denomination has collapsed nearly 60 percent in the past 15 years, and the addition of same-sex marriage has done nothing to halt the trend."

The 2017 DOMESTIC DIOCESES statistics revealed the following:

FUNERALS topped the list at 27,355.

BAPTISMS totaled 23,006
Child: 20,269
Adult: 2,927

CONFIRMATIONS totaled 15,638
Child: 7,043
Adult: 8,595

WEDDINGS totaled 7,687

Combining confirmations and weddings, the total is 23,325, over 4,000 less than the total number of funerals. Baptisms still came in less than funerals by 4,349 and there is no evidence that these baptized will grow up to become part of the Episcopal Church to carry the torch of Episcopalianism into the future.

Average Sunday Attendance in 2017 totaled 556,744. In 2016, the ASA was 570,453 a loss of 13,703 or 2.4%. That figure is only destined to increase.

The number of converts received in 2017 was 5,506. In 2016, TEC received 5,813, fewer than 307, for a loss of 5.3%.

OVERALL MEMBERSHIP in 2017 WAS 1,712,563. In 2016 Baptized Membership was 1,745,156 for a loss of 32,593, nearly 2%.

COMMUNICANTS: In 2017, communicants totaled 1,368,631. In 2016, Communicants totaled 1,399,523, a loss of 30,892 or 2.2%.

CONFIRMATIONS: In 2017, Confirmations totaled 15,638. In 2016, confirmations totaled 17,302, a loss of 1,664 of 9.6%.

BAPTIZED MEMBERSHIP. In 2017, Baptized Membership totaled 1,712,563. In 2016, Baptized Membership totaled 1,745,156, a loss of 32,593 or 1.9%.

BAPTISMS: In 2017, Baptisms totaled 23,006. In 2016, baptisms totaled 25,282, a drop of 2,276 or 9%.

The percentage of baptized who attend Sunday services in 2017 was 32.5%. In 2016, the percentage of baptized who attend Sunday services was 32.6%, a marginal difference of 0.1%.

Marriages in 2017 totaled 7,687. In 2016, that figure was 8343 a drop of 656.

The number of Congregations in 2017 was 6,447. In 2016, that number fell to 6,473 for a loss of 26 congregations. This does not include the final count after the Diocese of South Carolina is figured in or the total loss in the Diocese of Ft. Worth.

There were 175 fewer parishes and missions reporting parochial data than in 2013.

A number of dioceses are on life support including Nthn. Michigan and Easton. Major juncturing and the merging of dioceses will be in the denomination's future.

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated, noted Mark Twain. In the case of the Episcopal Church, it might just be true.

Full Episcopal Church Tables of Statistics can be accessed via the links below:
2002: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/2002TableofStatisticsoftheEpiscopalChurch.pdf
2007: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/2009_Red_Book_Table_of_Statistics_by_Prov__Diocese.pdf
2016: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/documents/2016_table_of_statistics.pdf
2017: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/documents/2017_table_of_statistics.pdf


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