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Workshop on "Ten Interesting Facts on US Orthodox Churches from the FACT Study"
 

Workshop on "Ten Interesting Facts on US Orthodox Churches from the FACT Study"

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    Workshop on "Ten Interesting Facts on US Orthodox Churches from the FACT Study" Workshop on "Ten Interesting Facts on US Orthodox Churches from the FACT Study" Presentation Transcript

    • Alexei Krindatch (akrindatch@aol.com)Ten Facts about US Orthodox Churches from the FACT Study
    • What is FACT (“Faith Communities Today”) Study? Established in 2000, FACT is ongoing survey-based research project which examines various aspects of life of American religious congregations FACT’s work is conducted and publicized by a multi-faith group of religious researchers. FACT partnership includes researchers from 25+ faith groups and denominations. FACT projects are coordinated by Hartford Institute for Religion Research The US Orthodox Churches have been and are full-fledged members of FACT partnership from its very inception Detailed info about FACT work, projects and findings: www.faithcommunitiestoday.org
    • What is FACT 2010 study? Faith Communities Today 2010 national survey is most recent major study of American congregations accomplished by FACT partnership 11,000+ randomly selected religious congregations representing 32 of the country’s largest denominations and faith traditions completed standard questionnaires FACT 2010 surveys were sent to all GOA, OCA, AOCA parishes. 370 parishes completed questionnaires – 30% return rate (including 85 AOCA parishes – 34% return) For various subject-oriented reports from FACT 2010 study look at: http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/fact-2010
    • Fact 1 Orthodox parishes are much more “urban” thanRoman Catholic parishes and Protestant congregations“How would you describe the location of your church building?” 13% Rural area or village or town 41%EasternOrthodox under 10,000 53%Churches 40% 18%Roman Catholic 8%Church Town or city 10,000-50,000 6% 8%Mainline 38%Protestant Downtown or old residential 23%Churches area in city over 50,000 15%Evangelical 22%Protestant 26%Churches Suburbs around city over 12% 50,000 13% 16%
    • Fact 2 Other than English languages are still much more present in US Eastern Orthodox than in Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches % congregations which hold worship services in other than English language or have bilingual services Eastern Orthodox Churches 46% Roman Catholic Church 25% Mainline Protestant denominations 5%Evangelical Protestant denominations 8%
    • But the usage of other-than-English languages varies significantly among major US Orthodox Churches % parishes which hold worship services in other than English language or have bilingual services 0% 20% 40% 60% 80%AOCA 23%OCA 19%GOA 78%
    • Fact 3 Compared to Protestant congregationsand Roman Catholic parishes, demography ofmembership in Orthodox parishes is different: Members of Orthodox churches are better educated: Orthodox parishes have higher % of persons with college degree Members of Orthodox churches spend longer time commuting to their churches Orthodox parishes are less “female” than Roman Catholic parishes or Protestant congregations There are fewer senior (65+) members among Orthodox parishioners than among members of Roman Catholic or Mainline Protestant Churches
    • “Of your total regular participants estimate the percent who are…” Average % of various categories of members: Category of members East. Rom. Mnln. Evng. Orth. Cath. Prot. Prot.College graduates 53 40 43 31Living within 15 minutesof parish’s church building 46 73 75 55Female 54 57 61 57Senior adults: age 65 andolder 26 30 38 24New to congregation /parish in the past 5 years 23 18 19 30
    • Demography of GOA, OCA, AOCA members is also quite different Average % of various categories of members for GOA, OCA, AOCA parishes nationwide Category of parishioners AOCA GOA OCACollege graduates 57 54 49Living within 15 minutes ofparish’s church building 47 53 34Female 53 56 56Senior adults: age 65 and older 21 30 26New to parish in the past 5 years 30 15 27Converts to Orthodoxy 50 26 48
    • Fact 4 Theologically Orthodox parishes are much more conservative than Roman Catholic or Oldline Protestant congregations“How would you describe theological outlook of the majority of your regularly participating adults?” Conservative (somewhat or very) Moderate Liberal (somewhat or very) Eastern Orthodox 70% 26% 4% Roman Catholics 50% 41% 9% Oldline Protestants 47% 34% 17%Evangelical Protestants 74% 21% 5%
    • There is not much difference between AOCA, GOA and OCA parishes in terms of their“theological preferences” (conservative vers. liberal)“How would you describe theological outlook of the majority of your regularly participating adults?” Conservative (somewhat or very) Moderate Liberal (somewhat or very)AOCA 74% 22% 4% GOA 65% 30% 5% OCA 74% 22% 4%
    • Fact 5 But there is significant difference between AOCA, GOA and OCA churches in how much emphasis they place on various programs % of parishes reporting that following programs and activities are given “a lot of emphasis” 74% Sunday school 80% 52% AOCA 44% parishes Bible studies 62% 28% 44% Music programs 25% GOA 41% parishes 52% Religious formation classes 45% 41% 53% OCA Youth programs 68% parishes 27% 35% Community service activities 40% 23%
    • Fact 6 Compared to Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches, the Orthodox Churches do not communicate much with religiously“others:” the level of ecumenical involvement of Orthodox parishes is significantly lower than among Roman Catholic parishes or Protestant congregations
    • “During past 12 months, has your parish / congregation been involved in any of the following ecumenical or interfaith activities?” % reporting "Yes" 28% 53% Worship services Eastern 77% 55% Orthodox Churches 41% ,Joint celebrations, fairs 53% Roman cultural events 65% Catholic 52% Church 34% Mainline Educational or fellowship 47% Protestant activities 65% Churches 52% Evangelical 59% Protestant 74% Community service activities Churches 80% 62%
    • Overall GOA parishes have higher level of ecumenical involvement than AOCA or OCA churches“During past 12 months, has your parish been involved inany of the following ecumenical or interfaith activities?” % reporting "Yes" 17% Worship services 36% 24% AOCA parishes 40% ,Joint celebrations, fairs 46% cultural events 34% GOA 28% parishes Educational or fellowship 43% activities 28% OCA 59% parishes Community service activities 62% 55%
    • Fact 7 Reportedly, worship in Orthodox parishes is more “powerful” than in Roman Catholic and Protestant churches % of parishes / congregations reporting that following describe their week-end worship service “very well” 70% Eastern 28% Worship is reverent Orthodox 24% Churches 27% 43% Roman 31% Catholic Worship is joyful 31% Church 39% Mainline 42% Protestant 22% Worship is inspirational Churches 26% Evangelical 33% Protestant 39% 22% Churches Worship is thought provoking 29% 37%
    • Reportedly, worship in AOCA parishes is more “powerful” than in GOA and OCA churches% of parishes reporting that following describe their week- end worship service “very well” 80% Worship is reverent 66% AOCA 69% parishes 50% Worship is joyful 36% GOA 47% parishes 51% Worship is inspirational 34% 47% OCA parishes 43% Worship is thought provoking 34% 42%
    • Fact 8. AOCA parishes have higher expectationswith regard to religious practices of their members than GOA and OCA churches% of parishes reporting that they place “a lot of emphasis” on following personal and family religious practices 52% Personal prayer 43% AOCA 49% parishes 42% Family prayer 37% GOA 36% parishes 49% with children 40% about faith 41% OCA parishes 56% Fasting 43% 50%
    • Fact 9 Financial health of Orthodox Parishes is worse compared to Catholic parishes and Protestant Congregations“How would you describe current (2010) financial health of your parish / congregation?”% of parishes / congregations reporting: 100% In difficulty 20% 16% 24% 23% 80% Tight, but 60% 40% 40% 40% we manage 45% 40% Good or excellent 20% 40% 37% 44% 31% 0% Eastern Roman Mainline Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Protestant Protestant parishes parishes congregationscongregations
    • Compared to GOA and OCA churches, Antiochian parishes report better financial situation.“How would you describe current (2010) financial health of your parish? ”% of parishes / congregations reporting: In 100% difficulty 15% 29% 23% 80% Tide but we 60% 47% 47% manage 42% Good / 40% Excellent 20% 38% 29% 30% 0% AOCA parishes GOA parishes OCA parishes
    • GOA churches were hit harder by financial crisis than the OCA and AOCA parishes“How would you assess the impact of 2008-09 crisis onyour parish’s staff and operations?”% of parishes reporting “Moderate or Major impact” oneach of following 24% Staff salary reduction / freeze 37% AOCA 19% parishes 5% Staff layoffs or furloughs 13% 5% GOA parishes 21% Funds available from 39% investments 28% OCA parishes Capital campaign or building 28% 38% program 26%
    • Members of GOA churches were also hit harder byfinancial crisis than the OCA and AOCA parishioners“How would you assess the impact of 2008-09 economic crisis on the members of your parish?”% of parishes reporting “Moderate or Major impact” on Requests ofeach of following 19% parishioners 35% AOCA for cash parishes assistance 18% Requests of 19% GOA parishioners 32% parishes for pastoral counseling 20% OCA Unemployment 31% parishes among parish 36% members 32%
    • Fact 10 US Orthodox parishes are as involved in recruitingnew members as Catholic parishes or Mainline Protestantchurches. But they lag far behind Evangelicals churches.“Overall, to what extent are your parish’s / congregation’s participants involved in recruiting new members?”% of parishes / congregations reporting: 100% Not at all / A 26% little 80% 41% 39% 41% Some 60% 44% 40% 40% 44% 40% Quite a bit / A lot 20% 30% 19% 17% 19% 0% US Orthodox Roman Mainline Evangelical parishes Catholic Protestant Protestant parishes congregationscongregations
    • The stereotype about particular missionary zeal of Antiochian churches seems to be exagerrated.“Overall, to what extent are your parish’s / congregation’s participants involved in recruiting new members?”% of parishes / congregations reporting: Not at all 100% / A little 32% 80% 40% Some 46% 60% Quite a 50% 39% bit / A lot 40% 37% 20% 18% 17% 21% 0% AOCA parishes GOA parishes OCA parishes
    • Source of Information on US Orthodox Churches (available on Amazon.com)
    • A few useful web-sites on church-life in USA:www.orthodoxreality.org : about American Orthodox Churches todaywww.orthodoxhistory.org: about history of US Orthodox Churcheswww.usreligioncensus.org: county level data on religious affiliation, membership and attendance in USAwww.hirr.hartsem.edu: vast and diverse information on various (mainly Christian) religious communities in USA
    • If you are back home and have questions, please, write me at akrindatch@aol.comNow is time for “difficult” questions: please ask!