All church is local

Behind the statistics
One of the reports the stated clerk makes to the General Assembly of my church when it gathers for its annual meeting is about statistics: how many members we gained and lost, how many infants were baptized, how much money the people put in the plate. For Presbyterians—and in varying degrees for Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans and others—this is a sobering moment. Gary Luhr, in the communications office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), reported recently that the average net loss of Presbyterians has been 1.2 percent per year for 36 consecutive years, for a total loss of 1.7 million members.


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