Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Numbers: 2014

Plenty of other people are trumpeting that the number are, as usual, bad, with domestic Average Sunday Attendance down 3.7% this year, so there seems little point in going over what has been a consistent decline for over a decade. Instead, I'm going to look into the South Carolina situation.

Last year I observed that the Diocese of South Carolina numbers ignored the departure of most of the diocese. This year the departures are no longer so hidden, except that for some reason you cannot get a chart for the diocese as a whole. Excepting the money, however, I can produce a substitute chart, which as you can see shows a cliff-like loss in 2014.

The schism continues to produce detailed statistics which show just how bad the departures hurt. Looking at ASA, the loss of nearly 9,200 attendees represented over three quarters of the previous year's attendance, and 39% of 2014 losses in domestic ASA. Now, the schism reported ASA of 9,325 in 2014, which when added to the rump diocese gives an increase of 132 over the previous year; but doing the subtraction on the 2013 numbers indicates that the rump diocese itself had an increase in ASA of 99. Had the schism not occurred, the unified diocese would have grown by 1%, and the loss in domestic ASA would have been reduced to 2.2%.

And departures continue to be the name of the game. Baptisms and receptions together exceed burials by some five thousand people, to say nothing of what portion of the ten thousand adult confirmations represent new members. The Episcopal Church is shrinking because people are leaving it.

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