Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Growing Unitarian Universalism: Growth and Decline: A Numerical Snapshot

A snapshot not getting much attention as far as I can tell. Rev Morales has some explaining to do in Phoenix.

Here’s how our congregations have fared over the last decade:

  • The decade-long trend shows that 22% of our congregations have declined in adult membership by more than 20% over the past decade and an additional 12.7% have declined by between 10% and 20%, which means that fully one-third of our congregations have declined beyond a level that can be attributed to normal fluctuation. The percentage of declining congregations peaks among fellowships (1-60), with 43.4% reporting declines in excess of 10%.  The best-performing category is that of large churches (550+) but, even among these congregations, one-quarter have reported declines of 10% or more.
  • 37.8% of large churches (550+) have reported increases in adult membership exceeding 20% during the past decade, followed by small churches (61-160) at 29.1%.  Fellowships (1-60) and awkward-size churches (301-400) bring up the rear at 17.7% and 19.6% respectively.

Growing Unitarian Universalism » Blog Archive » Growth and Decline: A Numerical Snapshot - Sponsored by the Office of Growth Strategies

1 comment:

JMP said...

I was a member of a UU congregation for a few years, but am no longer as I felt more comfortable simply being a Friend of the congregation. The main reasons?

1. I don't like the political posturing going on in the UU. By the way, I didn't like it in the evangelical church I used to attend either, so it's not a left-right thing. Though I've found the UU even worse than my old denomination at picking sides.

2. Distaste at the power jockeying between theists and humanists. I had joined thinking that UU tolerated a multiplicity of beliefs, but was turned off by some bloggers and bigwigs who seem to feel the UU needs to turn back to a form of Christian spirituality, and scold those who resist, even to the point of calling resisters attitudes "pathological". There are buzz words adapted from the Christian evangelicalism/emerging church movement that are used by headquarters, that are now working their way into my local congregation's sermons with increasing frequency. I realize that in the past, the Humanists dominated and perhaps did the same thing, but some of us don't want to be pulled in either direction. Really, if we can't have peace among ourselves, how can we be for peace in the world?

3. Not really feeling like I fit in. This may be no fault but my own, as I am an introvert anyway, but I was simply seeking a place to develop my own ideas, follow my own way, plus aid and support others who follow their individual path; instead I feel there are as many "shoulds" as in the evangelical church. They may not be verbally directed ("Why aren't you a vegetarian? Do you vote Green/Progressive Democrat? Buy organic? Attend the protest rally? Watch/listen to only PBS/NPR"), but simply being around people talking about doing these things is a turn off; plus it smacks of self-righteousness that rivals the most rigid fundamentalist rule keeper. I don't mean that people should not do these things; just please don't imply that I need to do these things to be ethical.

4. I'm of a different class than many in my church. I use class in the sense of opinions and attitudes, not necessarily just income, as I realize that there are some in my church who earn a similar amount to me yet have adopted these positions, which I can only describe as "politically correct." Maybe I should use the word culture rather than class. I resist mentioning that I sometimes listen to country music, shop at a big box store rather than the farmer's market, buy water in plastic bottles, or have friends who have guns. Looking over this entry, I realize that points 3 and 4 could actually be blended together.

5. I am tired of the focus on all of the above, instead of what I feel needs to be the main aim: assisting and supporting people of all types in their personal development of a philosophy of life. Period. It's that simple. And I will stop with that point, as this comment has grown way to long! Sorry 'bout that:)