By Martha Crawford
Secretary, Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
Presented to the 212th Annual Meeting, June 18, 2011
The numbers in the following statistical review for 2010 assist in telling us how many we are, where we worship, who we are by title, and how we have changed numerically from prior years.
Our Conference has 378 active churches and 2 churches in care of an association. All are asked each year to respond to a standard list of questions issued by the national setting of the UCC. The information supplied to us and the national setting of the church assists in decision-making, and is vital for drawing correct conclusions. This year, at the date this report was written, 239 out of 378 churches had responded. The information here summarized yields an incomplete picture, but the best available at this point.
What is happening in our churches?
238 of the Conference’s 378 active churches reported membership figures for 2010. For the remaining churches, we use the most recent reported figure. Based on this procedure, we estimate Conference church membership to be 73,875 as of December 31, 2010. This represents a loss of 3,032 members, or 4%, over 2009.
It is instructive to take a closer look at the details. Of the 206 churches who reported for both 2009 and 2010, 17 reported no change in membership. 108 churches reported membership losses ranging from 1% – 57%. However, 81 churches reported membership increases of between 1% and 24% over 2009.
Twenty-four percent of the total membership loss of 3,032 was attributable to three churches who withdrew, a loss of 238 members, and three other churches who reported a total decrease of 494 members – almost certainly a result of ‘clearing the rolls’, rather than the actual departure of hundreds of parishioners.
What is happening in our church schools?
220 churches reported youth church school enrollment and 147 reported adult enrollment for 2010. For those not reporting, we used the most recent reported figure, yielding a total church school enrollment of 20,910 children, youth and adults. This is a decrease of 343 from the 2009 figures, or 2%, consistent with overall membership loss. Some churches listed having a church school but gave no enrollment data. 222 churches reported having a youth group.
Information reflecting ministerial standing:
There are 11 Associations within the Mass. Conference, U.C.C. Holding standing these there are:
825 UCC Ordained Ministers
5 Congregational Christian Ordained Ministers
20 Licensed Ministers
5 Commissioned Ministers
21 Clergy with Dual Standing in the UCC
10 Clergy with Partnership Standing-Disciples of Christ
110 In-care students.