The Episcopal Church in the United States recently released its latest reports on denominational membership, attendance and giving. The research tracked numbers for the decade 2000–10 and for the year 2009–10. While the overall numbers reflect the downward trend seen in most Protestant denominations in the U.S., positive numbers were reported by several Episcopal dioceses, including the Diocese of Arkansas.
The Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas was one of 16 domestic dioceses (there are 99 total) that reported growth in membership during the year 2009–10. The diocese saw a 1.2 percent increase in its number of baptized members, from 13,303 in 2009 to 13,469 in 2010. The Diocese of Arkansas was also one of only eight domestic dioceses with a rise in average Sunday attendance—0.5 percent—during the same time period.
“The Episcopal Church in Arkansas has focused on opening our doors so that the newcomer feels welcome,” said Bishop Larry Benfield in response to the positive numbers. “The increase in attendance is evidence that our work is bearing fruit across a wide variety of congregations, both in smaller towns and in Arkansas’ larger cities. You can expect our commitment to continue.”