Saturday, June 03, 2006

PC(USA) - News Service - PC(USA) membership declines, giving up

PC(USA) - News Service - PC(USA) membership declines, giving up:
"...Of the 48,474 lost members, almost 35,000 were women. The number of elders, male and female, declined by almost 1,600 to just more than 97,000. The number of female deacons increased by 74, to 47,121, while the number of male deacons declined by 424 to just under 20,000.

Adult baptisms declined by 1,216 to 9,243. Child baptisms declined by 2,889 to 30,727. Church school attendance declined by more than 36,000 to 1,081,084. ..."
Jerry Van Marter has written an analysis of the recently announced membership losses by the Presbyterian Church (USA).

These numbers are broken down into a variety of categories to assist in understanding just where the changes are taking place. Answering the question "why?" was not in the scope of this news release.

The membership loss broken down by type of loss and by age and gender were interesting and to me, fairly pessimistic. Adult baptisms dropped by about 11% and child baptisms dropped by about 9 % -- while the denomination dropped by about 2%.

The figures on where the giving (which is up by 7% in adjusted figures) is going was somewhat of a suprise to me. 71% is going to local mission and program; 16.5% is going for capital improvement; per capita going to higher levels is 1.5%; PC(USA) validated mission is 4.7%; and non-PC(USA) mission is 3.3%. (this accounts for 97%, so something's missing). I had expected that the non-PC(USA) mission percentage would higher.

It does not bother me that the percent of local mission and program is by far the dominant expenditure, since whant makes the Church The Church is happening in local congregations. The PC(USA) is recognizing that, and I look forward to the implementation of the 2007-2008 Mission Work Plan, which has as one of its goals the empowerment of presbyteries and local congregation to carry out the mission of the Church.

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