Active membership in The Episcopal Church has dipped below 2 million, after a three percent decline in 2010. The numbers are here.
I know it is fashionable, and possibly theologically correct, to say that numbers don’t tell the true story of a church’s value or fidelity, and I am aware that there are signs of vitality all over the Episcopal Church, but these numbers suggest an abbreviated future for our brand of Christianity, at a time when it seems to me that the world needs it more than ever.
Rather than devote ourselves to reversing this trend, we seem to be on the verge of spending the next four or five years arguing about more pressing matters, such as the size of the House of Deputies. And, while I am as eager as the next person to test the proposition that people searching for meaning and transcendence in a materialistic post-modern culture are powerfully attracted to increased ecclesial efficiency, I wonder if we have chosen the best time for an extended examination of our belly buttons.
For as spiritually invigorating as the debate over whether 880 people should meet every three years, or 660 should people meet every four years, will no doubt be, I don’t think it is going to save us.