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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Membership steady, income up

Membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America remained steady in 1998, says ELCA Secretary Lowell G. Almen.

Membership in 1998

* Current baptized membership is 5,178,225, down 6,830.

* About 1.6 million (30 percent) of the baptized members worship each week, which has remained fairly consistent since 1988.

* Child baptisms decreased by 876 to 81,224, but adult baptisms increased by 219 to 8,468.

* The number of congregations dropped by 27 to 10,862, largely as a result of consolidation.

* The average congregation has:


480 baptized members.

356 confirmed members.

236 communing, contributing members.

* The number of members of color rose across every ethnic community to 2.3 percent of ELCA membership.

Income in 1998

* Total income for congregations exceeded $2 billion for the second year in a row, up 6 percent.

* $1.5 billion was received in regular offerings, up nearly 5 percent.

* Giving to world hunger and disaster efforts totaled nearly $12.5 million.

* The average congregation spent its income:

66 percent for operating expenses.

11 percent on capital improvements.

8 percent for debt retirement.

8 percent to fund synodical and churchwide ministries.

* Average annual giving per confirmed member was $448.


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