ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 7, 2009
ELCA Reports 4.6 Million Members, Offerings $2.7 Billion in 2008
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) reported a baptized membership of 4,633,887 in 10,396 congregations in 2008. The ELCA Office of the Secretary analyzed membership and income data obtained from reports that ELCA congregations submit each year.
David D. Swartling, ELCA secretary, said the data indicated a decline in membership of 76,069 and a loss of 52 congregations from 2007. The membership decline was slightly higher than in 2007 but less than in 2006, he said.
Total receipts for ELCA congregations exceeded $2.7 billion for 2008, dipping 2.64 percent from 2007. Average giving per baptized member increased slightly in 2008, continuing an upward trend since 2000. Total assets of ELCA congregations remained constant in 2008 at $20.6 billion.
"Despite the challenging economic times that began in 2008, ELCA members continue to be faithful stewards of the resources that God has provided," Swartling said. "Our challenge in these turbulent times is to find innovative ways to translate the asset wealth of our congregation into enhanced ministry," he said.
The average number of people in worship in ELCA congregations declined slightly from the previous year. An average 1,330,709 people, or 28.71 percent of baptized ELCA members, attended weekly worship in 2008. That compares to 1,362,120, or 28.92 percent of baptized members, who attended weekly worship in 2007.
"Increasing diversity in membership remains a strong commitment of this church," Swartling said.
For 2008, 3.35 percent of ELCA baptized members were identified as people of color or whose primary language is not English, a slight increase from 3.20 percent in 2007.
"It is also worth noting that the number of congregations reporting more than 5 percent multicultural membership has increased by almost 40 percent since 2000," Swartling said. "More and more congregations are coming to appreciate their calling to be more intentionally inclusive."
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Information about the Office of the Secretary is at http://www.ELCA.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Office-of-the-Secretary.aspx on the ELCA Web site.
A table summarizing annual membership data is at http://www.ELCA.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Resources/Stats.aspx on the ELCA Web site.
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