A seminary president has warned The Episcopal Church’s leadership that with the current rate of decline, they will cease to have any Sunday worship attendance in 30 years.
Kristine Stache, interim president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-affiliated Wartburg Theological Seminary, gave a presentation Friday before the denomination’s Executive Council.
Stache drew from the most recent parochial report data which found that, from 2008 to 2018, the denomination experienced a 24.9 percent decline in average Sunday attendance and a 17.5 percent decline in baptized members.
“It depicts a church that appears to be dying,” said Stache, as reported by Egan Millard of Episcopal News Service, labeling the statistics “very sobering.”
At the current rate of decline, according to Stache, the denomination will have no Sunday attendance in 30 years and no baptized members in 47 years.
Despite the somber report on statistics, Stache also said that the decline might be less showing a dying church and more one that is becoming “something we have yet to imagine.”
“This kind of thinking looks nothing like we’ve ever done before. We don’t have the current knowledge or solutions to address this work,” she said.
“In fact, we can’t even define the problem. But that’s the point. Living in this space is about a mental shift to a focus on questions instead of answers.”
As with most religious groups in the United States, the Episcopal Church has experienced a considerable decline in membership over the past several years.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski