Author Topic: Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: a Parish Life Study  (Read 221 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: a Parish Life Study (pdf)

(A lot more information available at the link)

...The key question that needs to be answered is: ʺHow are Orthodox Christian parishes faring today among the many other American local religious communities?ʺ ...The studyʹs main goal was to obtain an accurate and comprehensive picture of Orthodox parish life in todayʹs America, including such aspects as membership, worship, programs, religious education, finances, usage of electronic technologies, and much more... 

40% of currently existing U.S. Orthodox parishes are ʺoldʺ churches that were founded prior to World War II. “Youngʺ  churches (founded in 2000 or later) comprise 15% of U.S. Orthodox parishes...

Nationwide and for all jurisdictions combined, the median age of American Orthodox clergy is 57 years old...

The total number of adherents of all American Orthodox Churches (i.e. all persons associated, however loosely, with the lives of local parishes) is 798,000; If measured by the number of regularly participating church members, the total membership of all American Orthodox Churches is about 326,000; For five individual jurisdictions, the number of regularly participating church members is: AOCA ‐ 35,400; ACROD ‐ 5,700; GOA ‐ 179,500; OCA ‐ 58,100; Serbian Orthodox Church ‐ 22,900...

Between 2010 and 2015, the GOA and OCA grew in the number of regularly participating church members, whereas the Antiochian Archdiocese declined in the number of parishioners who are actively involved in the lives of their parishes; Senior citizens (age 65+) constitute about one quarter (24%) of all regularly participating American Orthodox church members. Young people (children, preteen, youth) and young adults up to 35 years old comprise 35% of those who regularly participate in American Orthodox church life...

In only 18% of American Orthodox parishes, the parishioners pay serious attention to bringing new members into their parishes. In nearly half (46%) of the parishes, current members are involved in finding and bringing new members only ʺa little/not at all;ʺ...



According to the survey, the vast majority of priests in the Antiochian Archdiocese (78%) and the Orthodox Church in America (90%) support the creation of an administratively united American Church. Nearly all of them envision such united Church as a full‐fledged autocephalous Church. The overwhelming majority of clergy in the Carpatho‐Russian Diocese (72%) and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (65%) also favor administrative Church unity in America. However, unlike Antiochian and OCA clergy, most Carpatho‐Russian and GOA priests think that this united Church should have a status of an autonomous Church in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The clergy of Serbian Orthodox Church are nearly equally divided between those who support administrative Church unity in America (44%) and those who reject this idea (41%)...

Young adults (persons ages 18‐34) constitute 12% of active Orthodox church members. This figure (12%) is only half of the presence of young adults (23%) in the US general population. In only 8% of Orthodox parishes the percentage of young adults is equal or higher than 23%...

41% of Orthodox clergy participating in the survey described overall financial health of their parishes as  ʺgood or excellent.ʺ 40% of the priests reported that financial health of their churches is  ʺtight, but manageable.ʺ One‐in‐five respondents (19%) indicated that financial health of their parishes is ʺin some or serious difficulty.ʺ... From 2010‐2015, the overall financial health of US Orthodox parishes has improved significantly. The proportion of Orthodox clergy evaluating financial health of their parishes as  ʺgood or excellentʺ  increased from 32% in 2010 to 41% in 2015. The proportion of parishes whose finances were described as ʺin some or serious difficultyʺ decreased from 35% in 2010 to 19% in 2015...

Compared to non‐Orthodox religious congregations, American Orthodox churches are better users of more established online technologies. More Orthodox parishes than non‐Orthodox religious congregations use email communication (98% versus 91%), websites (95% versus 80%), and e‐newsletters (65% versus 46%). However, in the case of newer technologies, American Orthodox churches generally lag behind other U.S. religious congregations. Compared to non‐Orthodox religious congregations, fewer Orthodox churches use Twitter (22% versus 12%), live streaming of sermons (19% versus 12%), blogs (17% versus 12%), online meetings (22% versus 17%), WiFi access in the parishʹs buildings (71% versus 64%) and texting20 (76% versus 53%);...

Offline biro

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Re: Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: a Parish Life Study
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2018, 09:00:57 PM »
Interesting, thank you.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: a Parish Life Study
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2018, 01:53:10 AM »
Self-reports are the last refuge of the scoundrel!
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Re: Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: a Parish Life Study
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 01:55:33 PM »
Interesting, thank you.
+1


It seems it's "not so bad", except the average age of American Orthodox clergy... It's surprising. I suppose the main reason is that very few young men decide to become priests. But the reason is: why? Is it also true for other Christian denominations in America?

ACROD parishes, that seem to have some problems, remind me (maybe because of the cultural tights) Lemko parishes in Poland: they usually have poorer offer of services (especially as it goes for weekdays) and they're more concentrated on their cultural identity than on spiritual issues, they have also less activities beyond services (except vatras - summer parties around bonfire, and singing carols).
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Re: Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: a Parish Life Study
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 01:59:57 PM »
Interesting, thank you.
+1


It seems it's "not so bad", except the average age of American Orthodox clergy... It's surprising. I suppose the main reason is that very few young men decide to become priests. But the reason is: why? Is it also true for other Christian denominations in America?

My intuition is, "Yes. Because when religion in general is on the slow decline in a country, it's not surprising that even less numbers of people would want to make it their career." I don't have numbers, though.
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