In the spirit of my tag line – “I never met a data set I didn’t like” – I was thinking about how to drill down a bit further into the statistical results related to the size of churches being dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
In an ideal world there would either be statistical information about the theological leanings of every church in the PC(USA) or I could go to all their web sites and figure that out. Well, I don’t have the time to visit 10,000-plus web sites (and not every church has one) to divine their theological positions and I am not aware of a publicly available statistical study of all the PC(USA) churches. So I had to find something else.
What I will analyze as a related data set is the membership list of the Fellowship of Presbyterians that is posted on their web site. For the record, since this is a bit of a dynamic list, the version I will be using was copied on October 14, 2013.
The list has their member churches in two categories, those that are Fellowship members and those that are members of the related body, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. It also lists individuals who are members and on this pass that was not used but I will probably come back to that in a later post. For each of the churches in the list I searched a couple of sources for their 2012 membership. The primary source was the church directory for the PC(USA). For churches dismissed to ECO this source usually did not have the membership numbers so I turned instead to the presbytery statistics.