The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Numbers tell a tale of change

Some up, down — always onward

Every so often it's worth taking time to consider a few numbers. The figures below were shared by the ELCA Office of the Secretary at the spring Church Council meeting.

While death hasn't exactly taken a holiday, there has been less of it in the ELCA. Since 1997, deaths of congregation members peaked in 1999 at 51,496, gradually declining over the ensuing years to 42,281 in 2010.

Bequests received by congregations have bounced up and down since 2000. That year, 6,674 congregations received bequests. That figure jumped to 8,409 in 2004, dipped to 2,991 in 2007 and climbed back to 3,517 in 2010. The total value of the bequests followed a similar pattern. In 2000, the total value of the bequests equaled $95.6 million. It dropped to $83.9 million in 2004 and remained flat at $82.8 million in 2007 before rebounding to $94 million in 2010.

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February issue


Embracing diversity