Episcopal membership loss 'precipitous'

Homosexuality issues fueling departures
After a period of modest declines and gains, the Episcopal Church has suffered a net loss of nearly 115,000 members over the past three years—with homosexuality issues fueling the departures.

The Episcopal Church, whose active membership has slipped to 2,205,376, has built-in deterrents to growth because Episcopalians have the lowest birth rate among U.S. Christians and nearly 60 percent of the people in the pews are over 50, said Kirk Hadaway, the denomination’s director of research.

Though Episcopalians are not known for evangelistic endeavors, the church had offset its death rate and defections with an influx of Catholics and other churchgoers, the formation of new churches and the rising popular interest in spiritual matters. In 2002 the church lost only 8,200 members overall.

 

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