St. George’s Episcopal Church in Denver is closing it doors, the Denver Post reports. Its vestry voted on July 14 that the church could no longer continue financially. Read the Post story here.
The Colorado Episcopal Diocese has lost 4,000 members since 2000, according to the Post, with Sunday attendance falling from 15,000 to 12,000.
In recent years, two Colorado Springs Episcopal churches have closed.
Given this, I was surprised by numbers sent to me Aug. 7 by Colorado diocese spokesperson Beckett Stokes to my query on how many Episcopal churches have closed over the last decade.
Stokes checked Episcopal convention journals, which, she wrote in an email, “provide a good snapshot of the active congregations (which include parishes, missions and special congregations) during a given year.”
At the 1998 convention, 104 parshes participated, Stokes wrote. In 2003, 103 participated.
For the October 2009 convention, 101 congregations are expected to participate.
“We also have another five diocesan institutions in Convention — this is a group of ministries that are not necessarily worshipping congregations that were not clearly defined at previous conventions,” Stokes said.
By those stats, it would seem that the Episcopal Church in Colorado is hardly in a freefall.
What is your view? Is the death of the Episcopal Church, which has lost about 400,000 members nationally over the last decade, greatly exaggerated?
Or is it inevitable?