See this one-page statistical summary at the Episcopal Church Web site, saying among other things that, over the past five years:
- average Sunday attendance (ASA) is down 16%
- active baptized membership is down 10%
- 55% of parishes have seen their ASAs decline by 10% or more
- 18% of parishes have seen their ASAs increase by 10% or more
- the increases in plate-and-pledge contributions have been less than inflation
(Hat tip: Kendall Harmon.)
Why this trend? Here's my hunch (and that's all it is):
- Americans are constantly reminded to be prudent consumers, to critically assess what they're offered.
- What TEC has to offer these days is, mainly: a questionable Catholic-Lite theology that has some obvious holes in it; a puffed-up pride that we continue to use a variation on a monarchical-bishop model of governance; and a risible claim of universality.
- To modern consumers, TEC's offering doesn't have quite the same appeal as some of the more streamlined church "packages" out there, with minimal theology and high entertainment value.
- Recall that "none of the above" is one of the fastest-growing religious choices in America.