PC(USA) recent statistics

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Calvinbeza

Puritan Board Freshman
The PC(USA) published that the its active communicant membership is 1,667, 767, loss by 5,54%, congregations fell well under 10,000. 101 were dismissed to other denominations, 30-40 were dissolved, and closed. 2 Presbyteries were dissolved, or merged.

The statistics are about only active members, how many are PC(USA) total members?

the churches affiliated with mostly ECO, EPC, few churches, dissenting groups joined PCA Some Korean churches joined Korean Presbyterian Ch in America. I saw many went to the Evangelical Covenant Church. Why? Evangelical Covenant Church is not Reformed.

If this trend continues the PC(USA) would case to exist.
 

Captain Picard

Puritan Board Freshman
It's much more likely to become Espiscopalianism without the funny hats than to cease to exist altogether. There was bound to be a spike in losses with the full embrace of homosexuality, but many people just don't care.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
I saw many went to the Evangelical Covenant Church. Why? Evangelical Covenant Church is not Reformed.
Why a Presbyterian Church join the Evangelical Covenant Church
I think the reference to the Evangelical Covenant Church is a typo. The Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians is commonly abbreviated ECO.
 

Calvinbeza

Puritan Board Freshman
I think the reference to the Evangelical Covenant Church is a typo. The Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians is commonly abbreviated ECO.

No its the Evangelical Covenant Church

See http://www.layman.org/Files/churches leaving chart-l.pdf

For example
Sumner presbyterian Church changed name to Faith Covenant
Sumner, Wash. 365 Olympia 90 percent of the members present voted to leave their PCUSA and
join the Evangelical Covenant Church. Presbytery voted to dismiss
church 4/25/12 and church will pay presbytery $61,765. On 4/29/12
the congregation will be chartered as Faith Covenant Church and
become part of The Evangelical Covenant Church on the 135th anniversary
of the congregation’s founding.
ECC -Evangelical Covenant Church

There are some churches that joind ECC
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
ABCNW???

Why would a Presbyterian church join a Baptist body???

The Executive Minister in charge of ABCNW is one of my oldest friends. He is a solidly broad evangelical fellow with a high view of Scripture and commitment to what Lewis used to call "mere Christianity." He strongly opposes homosexual marriage and ordination. But he is NOT Reformed, paedobaptist, or what you would expect of a Presbyterian. Charles is a typical evangelical egalitarian with an appreciation for Barth.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I see a number of liberal churches merging together in the next fifteen years. There isn't any real difference between any of the liberal churches. They are all united in rejecting key doctrines and embracing the platform of the DNC. Further, most of them have huge foundation money and by merging, they could become (for a small time) a small but powerful economic entity with its headquarters at the Washington National Cathedral.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
While most of us on this board tend to categorize churches in terms of doctrinal heritage, and think in such categories when considering how a church might change denominations, many other people no longer think that way as their default. A pastor may urge his church to move to a denomination where he has a good friend, or one that has a prominent pastor whose writings he's come to admire, or one that a new and influential elder recently came from, etc. Such decisions may be based on people and connections, not doctrinal heritage, especially in a church where doctrine may already be de-emphasized.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Jack, I get that. You are, as always, both irenic and insightful. A conservative ABC church might want to become CBA or BGC to avoid the liberalism of the ABC. A PCUSA church might want to join the PCA, EPC, or ECO.

What I don't get is a Presbyterian becoming a Baptist, unless there are some changes in doctrine. We are not speaking about an uninformed lay person selecting the church with the best youth program or special needs resources in town. We are talking about congregations led by elders and seminary graduates practicing infant baptism on one Sunday and believer's baptism the next one.

Again, theological changes are certainly possible in all of these areas. Hey, I started out as a Baptist! But, denominational affiliation swaps without a change in theology sounds fishy to me.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I think a likely scenario is a United Church of the ABC, ECUSA, ELCA, PCUSA, and UCC ala what you see in the United Church in Canada or the United Reformed Church in England.

It may take 15 years in the US but a merger of that type would take care of a lot of administrative and overhead and unite resources.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
My observations come from growing up in the mainline churches. The average member, in fact the officers, have no idea about the original confessional standards. If they are moving out of the PCUSA, they are moving awayfrom gay marriage not toward a particular doctrinal standard. From what I could see, the ECO simply moved the calendar back to 1967 (when the PCUSA abandoned a single confessional standard). Perhaps some churches chose a denomination simply because it sounded vaguely presbyterian. In others, they may have taken a harder look at what members believed. My family was in one PCUS church that spread a wide umbrella. While the pastor toed the denominational line, many members were closer to baptist or methodist. (This is the group that likely led to a number of us girls eventually hearing or reading the gospel.) Had that church, at that time, jumped to another denomination, baptist or a generalized southern denomination would not be terribly surprising.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
My observations come from growing up in the mainline churches. The average member, in fact the officers, have no idea about the original confessional standards. If they are moving out of the PCUSA, they are moving awayfrom gay marriage not toward a particular doctrinal standard. From what I could see, the ECO simply moved the calendar back to 1967 (when the PCUSA abandoned a single confessional standard). Perhaps some churches chose a denomination simply because it sounded vaguely presbyterian. In others, they may have taken a harder look at what members believed. My family was in one PCUS church that spread a wide umbrella. While the pastor toed the denominational line, many members were closer to baptist or methodist. (This is the group that likely led to a number of us girls eventually hearing or reading the gospel.) Had that church, at that time, jumped to another denomination, baptist or a generalized southern denomination would not be terribly surprising.

Well said. 25 years ago the Eastern Orthodox in America got excited because they were getting a lot of converts from the Episcopal Church. They soon learned that many of these converts didn't really care about tradition or doctrine. They were just nervous about gay marriage and women priests.
 

PointyHaired Calvinist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Why Evangelical Covenant Church? It is a generally broad evangelical denomination, and I would say many of the good PCUSA churches are more broad evangelical than evangelical-Reformed.
 

Calvinbeza

Puritan Board Freshman
So many PCUSA churches officially use Westminster Confession, but really never read it. My friend in a PC(USA) church sad that they usa the Belhar Confession and never heard this question? Whats mans chief end? The WCF is covered with dust in the church library in the PC(USA).
 

Verkehrsteilnehmer

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes, good riddance PCUSA. When I was growing up, the Presbyterian Layman would come in the mail, reporting on how the UP was supporting the Marxist revolution in South Africa, supporting the USSR throughout the world, preaching liberalism, there were still some congregations with Christians, but that is no longer the case. Back then Ronald Reagan was the "threat" to world peace and the Gospel was something the UP establishment strongly opposed. The PCUSA will go the way of the USSR, and its members, unless they repent and leave the godless PCUSA are on the road to hell.
Dave
OPC
PHX
 

DCAF

Puritan Board Freshman
If this trend continues the PC(USA) would case to exist.

I think there's enough of a market for liberal "Christianity" and enough money in the liberal denominations that they won't completely cease to exist. Sure, they will continue to decline and perhaps merge with each other in the coming decades, but in 50 or 100 years, there will still be a few liberal churches in the downtowns and upper middle class suburbs preaching pablum.
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
If this trend continues the PC(USA) would case to exist.

I think there's enough of a market for liberal "Christianity" and enough money in the liberal denominations that they won't completely cease to exist. Sure, they will continue to decline and perhaps merge with each other in the coming decades, but in 50 or 100 years, there will still be a few liberal churches in the downtowns and upper middle class suburbs preaching pablum.

I'll see your bet and raise you :p If the direction of society is any indicator, the move from orthodoxy to liberalism will only grow. A large factor that will skew those numbers is the move from going to "church" at all to skepticism/atheism.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I had a chance to glance at the summary table for the PCUSA.

I was a little surprised when I did some simple math, and discovered that there are only 696,190 active male members reported. 58%/42% women to men. Of course, looking back, the split was about the same in 2011. Of course, women make up over 2/3 of the 'diaconate' of the PCUSA.

Other interesting tidbits:

41 presbyteries are no larger than one large church that left the PCUSA last year.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
The growth of the EPC slowed down, down,

That's because EPC are too conservative for most of the folks left in the PCUSA. Churches leaving now are pretty much single issue. They'll put up with just about anything else.

EPC had a shorter window of rapid growth than did the PCA. They are now going to have to grow organically. Maybe we can send them a few PCA congregations to help.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The growth of the EPC slowed down, down,

That's because EPC are too conservative for most of the folks left in the PCUSA. Churches leaving now are pretty much single issue. They'll put up with just about anything else.

EPC had a shorter window of rapid growth than did the PCA. They are now going to have to grow organically. Maybe we can send them a few PCA congregations to help.

I know I say this each time this is brought up, but I do not think most confessional Reformed people understand how theologically liberal (and ignorant) the conservatives in the PC(USA) are.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Ben, you can rewrite the initials for just about every one of the 7 mainline denominations and the story will be the same. They all have conservative congregations and orthodox people. But, whether from ignorance, denial, wishful thinking, or willful blindness to reality, they stick with their denominational "family" in all of its dysfunctional splendor. For some of the older pastors, I speculate that retirement pension plans enter into the calculus. But, in most cases there is an unwillingness to face up to how bad it really is.

Ten years ago the judicatory (aka district) that my congregation belonged to withdrew from a mainline denomination. This amounted to about 150-200 congregations, some of them with 5k to 8k on a weekend in attendance. We thought that some of the other 34 judicatories might follow suit. They did not. During that same decade, the chair of our educational ministries department (the strucutre had three boards: international missions, national ministries, and educational ministries) on the national board was an openly gay associate pastor in one of the congregations. He was also a member of the planning committee for several of the national conventions, on the executive committee of the denom, on the search committee that selected the paid head of the denomination, etc. His story was documented in the secular press where he volunteered quotes. So this was not a case of "outing" a closeted gay man. The president of the ministers council in one of the state associations for the denomination was an open lesbian who got married to her same sex partner while serving in her post. More than one of the judicatory execs assuaged their disgruntled pastors and laity by assuring them that the claims of gay ministers in the hierarchy were untrue and assured them that nothing of the kind was happening. So who do you blame, blind sheep or blind leaders?

In most of the mainline denominations, the situation is worse than the critics claim. Yet, biblical admonitions of unity are regularly invoked to quiet the critics, dismiss the evidence, and temporize the circumstances.

The solution for survival in this particular denomination involved mortgaging the corporate headquarters (a valuable piece of real estate) to the pension board and the international ministries board of the denomination coupled with a restructure plan that allowed for the balkanization of the denomination. Individual regions became more independent, the central office became less powerful, and regional execs were able to distance themselves from the more controversial aspects of the denomination.

To date, the denomination continues, weakened, but still functioning after a fashion. Conservatives hem and haw when asked why they stay. The blessing of unity, the opportunity to bear witness, the hope of "making a difference," fear of becoming a fundamentalist schismatic, and sheer inertia all drive the impulse to remain. Ben, you are so right.
 
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Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
how theologically liberal (and ignorant) the conservatives in the PC(USA) are.

That may turn on what is meant by 'conservative'. If conservative is used to mean those who don't like change and disruption, then most remaining PCUSA pew sitters are conservative. They won't move across the sanctuary, much less across town, no matter what comes out of the pulpit.

If we are talking about theologial conservatives, I'm not sure that I'd concede that there are many, if any, left.
 

Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
I know I say this each time this is brought up, but I do not think most confessional Reformed people understand how theologically liberal (and ignorant) the conservatives in the PC(USA) are.

I have contact with a PC(USA) member from time to time, and my wife was in one for about 33 years. They are conservative, in their eyes, because they love others. They do all kinds of things for other people. They do not turn anybody away. [They do..., notice Christ is missing from this word-picture]. They trivialize sin to be overcome by positive psychology [just think positive and share the love of Christ with them (again notice Christ's love comes from them - not Christ)]. There is no understanding of repentance because that is not of their loving God that is of the God that judges (notions of Marionism).

The Belhar Confession is on the table in the PCUSA currently. It did not pass this last time, but it is egalitarianism with an emphasis on imposed unity. It is a more centralized confession from what little I understand in which a more imposed unity is demanded. The next wave of churches to leave may revolve around the issue of independency which actually lines up with much of what has happened in some churches already from the look of Dennis' post.
 
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