Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Phillip Jenkins: "America’s last Episcopalian walks among us today"

The Midwest Conservative Journal directed my attention to this article at Patheos.

"My own Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) just released its annual statistics, showing a rate of decline that would be truly amazing if it were at all unexpected. Between 2012 and 2013, the denomination’s membership fell by 1.4 percent, to 1.87 million, while Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) fell by 2.6 percent. Those percentages may not sound like much, until you realize that these are figures for a single year, and they closely echo the percentage drops for several preceding years.  
If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination. It won’t reach zero for a while, but in effect, the church will cease to exist. 
That mid-century date is really not far off. In fact, the baby baptized at my church last Sunday will by that point only be a young adult in her 30s.  
Non-attending notional members will persist for a few years longer, but by the end of the century, we should be talking total disappearance. 
In that scenario, America’s last Episcopalian walks among us today." - Phillip Jenkins

As I have mentioned before, the causes of the rush off the cliff are legion, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the calculations as to the trajectory of the Episcopal church.

My comment at the MCJ,

The shift is nearly complete from being called the Republican party at prayer to being the Democrat party without a prayer. Playing dress up on Sunday with phony clerics who don’t really believe the source documents of Christianity just won’t bring people to Christ.

Is there a way to reverse the trajectory? Of course there is, but nobody on board the starship Episcoprize seems willing to toss the captain and crew out into the vacuum of space and make the passengers study the owner's manual in order to find out how we should have been flying this thing in the first place.


  1. A cradle Episcopalian, I walked out of my last service a few years ago at age 58. It was without a doubt he hardest decision I have ever made. Now, except for the occasional visit to the columbarium where my parents are interred I never think of it. I doubt if it will die off completely, but it will become a boutique denomination, severing a clientele similar to the Unitarians, but for people who want more show.

    1. I agree. There already are a lot of boutiques available for window shoppers. I don't think TEc will put up much of a fight for customers either.

  2. Will the last person to leave TEc please turn on the lights.

    1. If you turn on the lights in an empty space and nobody is there to see them, do they produce light?

  3. Pewster,
    Dang it you got me again!