ELCA numbers drop, contributions grow

Decline in membership for 14th straight year
The largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. has reported that its baptized membership was 4.85 million in 10,549 congregations last year, a one-year decrease of about 1.6 percent and the 14th straight annual decline in membership.

Income continues to grow, however, for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, up nearly 3 percent from the previous year to more than $2.67 billion, according to statistics released this month by the Chicago-based denomination.

Though the ELCA’s confirmed membership also decreased in 2005—to 3.63 million people—the average regular giving to the church grew to $598, an increase of 4.8 percent over 2004. Regular “mission support”—monies passed from congregations to their regional synods and to national programs—declined less than 1 percent.


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