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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Digital divide in the ELCA?

Does your congregation have a Web site? Internet access? Staff e-mail addresses? Your answers may reflect membership size and economics, according to surveys of ELCA and other U.S. congregations.

Martin Smith of ELCA Research and Evaluation sees a technology gap between large- and small-membership congregations. He says multicultural congregations are at a disadvantage too. Here’s a look:

• Twenty percent of all ELCA congregations have no Internet access. Phoenix-based Ellison Research says this figure is 27 percent for U.S. congregations as a whole.

• Roughly 88 percent of all ELCA pastors and three-quarters of congregations have an e-mail address—compared to 77 percent of multicultural pastors and 43 percent of congregations with 50 or fewer members. Ellison says only half of U.S. congregations provide staff with e-mail, and a bit less than half have a Web site.

• While half of ELCA congregations reported having a Web site, 81 percent of small-membership and 73 percent of multicultural churches do not.

• Congregations with more than 800 members were more than twice as likely as those with 150 or fewer members to have a high-speed connection, rather than dial-up.


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