There’s been a lot of numbers batted around lately concerning how well – or not – the Episcopal Church is holding up. Something very important to take into account when evaluating the numbers: parish membership rolls tend to be greatly inflated.
This is not just an Episcopal problem, of course. Many churches of different stripes have inflated membership numbers for various and mostly innocent reasons. (Although I think my previous church, Denton Bible, actually has higher actual attendance than membership.)
But let’s say ECUSA says they have a membership drop of x% based on a previous membership of y. If real y is actually much less, then the real loss of x% will be much higher. And if people stop coming but don’t bother to call the church and ask to be taken off the membership rolls, they won’t be reflected in x at all.
That’s some higher math for ya – math that doesn’t add up well for ECUSA.
I agree with Matt Kennedy (and I find myself agreeing with him a lot lately.) – attendance numbers, i.e. real bodies showing up on Sunday, are more telling.