ACNA Conclave opens
Jeffrey Walton: ACNA conclave opens amidst good news about membership growth
Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) have encouraging news as they convene this evening to begin the process of selecting a new leader: a growing flock. The fledgling denomination, launched in 2009, has seen membership grow by 13 percent to 112,504 members and attendance by 16 percent to 80,471 attendees.
The numbers contrast with the U.S.-based Episcopal Church that many ACNA members departed from, which has declined in its domestic dioceses from 2,006,343 members in 2009 to 1,894,181 members in 2012, the most recent reporting year. Episcopal Church domestic attendance declined from 682,963 in 2009 to 640,142 in 2012. The Episcopal Church Center usually releases updated statistics for the previous reporting year in the autumn.
In releasing statistics, the ACNA officials note that 74 percent of congregations completed reports. In an attempt to provide a complete picture, the denomination provides two statistical totals: “reported” figures and “projected” figures that substitute median averages for congregations that did not report. In the Episcopal Church, officials roll over previously reported statistics for non-reporting parishes until new ones are received. In the case of both the “reported” and “projected” figures, ACNA posts growth, which is strongest with the “reported” figures.
Archbishop Robert Duncan is concluding a five-year term as the denomination’s top official and will step down next week at the Anglican Provincial Assembly held June 25-28 at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. The province, which aspires to be a part of — but is not formally recognized by – the worldwide Anglican Communion, unmistakably bears the fingerprints of Duncan, a longtime leader in what has been referred to as the “Anglican Realignment.”
The outgoing leader has steered the Anglican Church towards aggressively planting new congregations, especially in urban centers and college towns. Since 2009, the church has seen a growth of 40 percent in net congregations, from about 700 to 983 in 2013. In contrast, church planting efforts in the Episcopal Church have nearly ground to a halt, with overall parishes dropping from 6,895 in 2009 to 6,667 in 2012... Thursday, June 19, 2014