Since we will be learning more about the finalists chosen to run for bishop of our diocese on Friday of this week, I present my estimate of what is going on attendance-wise in the Catawba Convocation of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina for the edification of the candidates. I decided to do this after reading a posting at Cranmer's Curate on his bishop's first 100 days. Julian Mann was writing about his area in the Diocese of Sheffield, England,
"...this inner urban area covering six parishes with eight churches. Church attendance figures rank this 70,000-population area as among the lowest in the UK and parts of it are ranked very high on the government’s indices of social deprivation.
The average Sunday attendance in the eight churches is approximately 300, equivalent to less than 0.5 per cent of the population. With other Christian denominations included, the churchgoing proportion is around one per cent."
As far as our part of South Carolina goes, the following numbers were gleaned from my reading of the church research graphs available in the "Study Your Congregation" page provided by TEC. These are my own approximations because the data was presented in grapghic form. I also apologize for any formatting problems (a blogger issue).
------------------------- Weekly Attendance__Members
Christ Church Lancaster______48_______________101
Good Shepherd York________125_______________215
Our Saviour Rock Hill_______170_______________690
St Marks Chester___________10________________25
St. Matthias Rock Hill_______32________________70
St. Paul's Fort Mill__________90_______________295
St. Peters Great Falls________16________________25
To put this in perspective, here is the population of Chester, Lancaster, and York counties, the counties in which the above listed churches are located.
Chester County US Census Estimates 32,618
Lancaster County US Census Estimates 75,913
York County US Census Estimates 217,448
Total Population: 325,979
% of population attending weekly service in Episcopal churches: 0.15%
All this following something Bishop Henderson called "The Decade of Evangelism."
When anybody says anything to you about "mission and outreach," think about the 325,490 people locally who are not listening to the Episcopal church's version of the Gospel. Shouldn't they be coming in droves to hear the new thang, or are they smarter than the average Episcopalian?
What Gospel will our next bishop proclaim?