A commenter raised the question on the Café about there relationship between The Episcopal Church’s current decline and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Was the change from Morning Prayer to a more Eucharistic centered worship a cause. Ever curious about statistics we asked Kirk Hadaway, Program Officer: Congregational Research, Evangelism & Congregational Life Center, the church’s keeper and collator of all things statistical. His response (shared with permission):
I suppose that someone would have had to look at change at the congregational level in order to determine if there was a correlation. However, we cannot go back in time to do that study.
Our lowest point in terms of statistical decline was in the early to mid-1970s, so things had begun to improve prior to 1979 and continued to do so through the late 1990s. Our short-lived plateau turned into a slight decline in 2002 and got worse thereafter. So I cannot see how HE vs. MP has anything to do with the membership decline. In fact, it probably helped us attract many disaffected Roman Catholics and seekers in the 1980s and 1990s.