(Ryan P. Burge – Religion in Public) Last November, I wrote a post for Religion in Public with the title, “The Data is Clear – Episcopalians are in Trouble.” In it, I used survey data to paint a portrait of a denomination that was on the brink of collapse. One of the most troubling things about the future of the Episcopal Church is that the average member is incredibly old. The median age of an Episcopalian in 2019 was sixty-nine years old. With life expectancy around 80, we can easily expect at least a third of the current membership of the denomination to be gone in the next fifteen or twenty years. That’s problematic when membership has already been plummeting for decades.
But, I came across some data in the last few weeks that I just had to look at in more depth. Before I get into the graphs I have to give some serious kudos to the data team that works for the denomination. I have looked at the websites of all kinds of Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic traditions over the last few years. The Episcopalians blow them all out of the water in terms of accessibility and ease of use. Don’t believe me? Well, they have an interactive dashboard of all their churches in the United States. You can sort based on a map, church size, or amount of offering. It’s incredible and can be accessed at this link.
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