The Episcopal Church might soon cease to exist, according to those who describe the denomination’s future as bleak based on plummeting membership numbers.
Attendance and membership numbers at churches within the mainline Protestant denomination have dropped significantly over the last decade, having lost one-quarter of worship attendees.
In 1966, when the church was said to be at its peak in the United States, approximately 3.6 million Americans identified as Episcopalian. The Episcopal Church’s Office of the General Convention reported that in 2018, membership in the denomination had dropped to 1.676 million.
Regular worship attendance in Episcopal churches in 2009 was approximately 724,000. By 2019, the figure was 579,000 on an average Sunday, a nearly 25% drop over a decade.
“The overall picture is dire,” the Rev. Dwight Zscheile, an Episcopal priest and professor, according to ChurchLeaders. “Not one of decline as much as demise within the next generation unless trends change significantly.”