Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Look at the Local Numbers

The 2008 numbers for the Episcopal church are being compiled and there has been some Internet chatter about why they have not been released.

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).

-------------------------2008 Approximations------------

------------------------- 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?


  1. robroy7:57 AM

    The numbers for individual dioceses can be found here. The diocese of USC lost 3% membership and 1.6% in attendance in 2008. In contrast, the diocese of SC lost -0.6% in membership but gained 2.2% in attendance.

    Churches are free to leave in South Carolina. I wonder if any USC will bolt.

  2. Robroy,

    Your comments at SF on the national numbers trend over the past 10 years "a moving average" as you say,

    "Ten Year % Change in Active Members (sort of a moving average) from 2004 to
    2008: -7% -8% -9% -10% -11%

    Ten Year % Change in ASA from 2004 to 2008: -4% -6% -9% -13% -16%

    Accelerating to oblivion!"

    And I don't want to hear any quality over quantity arguments.

    A decade of evangelism indeed.

  3. I wonder if there's been a proportionate increase in other denominations within your bailiwick?


  4. Anonymous11:18 AM


    You all had best get with the Anglican Catholic Church and leave the "cult" once and for all.

    Former COS Member