|Front 2011 to 2018, Grace Church shed more than 31% of its average Sunday
attendance. The upcoming results from the 2019 annual parochial report
are expected to show further declines.
One of the oldest traditions of The Episcopal Church is the annual parochial report. Submitted annually, the report documents the state of the church, focusing on key metrics such as average Sunday attendance (ASA) and giving.
In recent years, the results for both the denomination as a whole and Grace Church have not been good. Overall, The Episcopal Church has dropped below 2 million members, and the rate of decline has accelerated. Even so, giving has increased for the denomination, as older members provide additional resources to shore up what looks more and more like a dying church.
A similar pattern prevails at Grace Church. Attendance declined precipitiously following Bob’s accident in 2014, never fully recovering. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the much of this was due to the childish bickering, bullying, and mobbing that took place during Bob’s extensive leave of absence.
Further abrupt declines in attendance hit when when Bob started trying to pursue me and Mom in the courts with his claims of “domestic terrorism.” This was accompanied by the ugly rhetoric coming from Leslie Malm, Lisa Medley, and others, which undoubtedly was not helped by the decision of the vestry to lie to the parish with its claims that Mike and I left on our own.
Similarly, the number of pledging units at Grace Church collapsed during this time, dropping from 324 in 2011 to less than 200 in 2020.
Even so, total plate and pledge has been relatively steady, albeit not keeping up with inflation. hovering right around $890,000 over the past few years. Indeed, total income climbed in during the past year due to the one-time income from the school of funds for replacement of the HVAC.
Results from perjuring priest Bob Malm’s last year at Grace, 2019, should be publicly available from the national church by September 15. My belief is that the continuing conflict within the parish, the efforts by the church to simply ignore the conflict and its other problems, and perjuring priest Bob Malm’s departure will all result in further declines. Next year’s report will undoubtedly reveal further sharp declines, exacerbated by the pandemic, the deaths of several long-time parishioners, and the ongoing litigation at the church.
I’ll post details as soon as they are available.