Thinking Anglicans

ACNA publishes statistics

The Anglican Church in North America has previously claimed:

“The movement unites 700 orthodox Anglican congregations, representing roughly 100,000 people…”

Today, a file entitled How many Anglicans are there in the Anglican Church in North America? has been published at this Fort Worth website.

How many Anglicans are there in the Anglican Church in North America?

On every Sunday morning, some 81,311 people worship at the 693 congregations of the Anglican Church in North America. These people and parishes are already outside of The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church in Canada. The large majority are temporarily under the oversight of six separate Anglican provinces.

The Anglican Church in North America will unify the parishes and membership of a number of jurisdictions:

• The Anglican Mission in the Americas (Rwanda) reports an average Sunday attendance of 21,600 in 180 congregations (40 of which are churches in formation called “networks”).

• The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (Nigeria) has 69 congregations with a average Sunday attendance of 9,828.

• The Reformed Episcopal Church has 150 parishes and an average Sunday attendance of 13,000.

• There are 51 parishes under the temporary oversight of Uganda with an average Sunday attendance of 7,000.

• There are 55 parishes in The United States under the temporary oversight of the provinces of Kenya and the Southern Cone with an average Sunday attendance of 10,000.

• Four entire dioceses separating from The Episcopal Church, with a combined 163 parishes and an average Sunday attendance of 16,483 (The Episcopal Church congregations and members having been excluded from this count) are temporarily dioceses of the province of the Southern Cone.

• The Anglican Network in Canada (Southern Cone) is composed of 24 congregations with an average Sunday attendance of 3,400.

• One congregation is under the temporary oversight of West Africa.

Based on a firm Sunday attendance average of 81,311 people, it is reasonable to very conservatively project that more than 100,000 Anglicans in North America are active members of a congregation of the proposed province (In many cases, total membership often runs at two to three times average Sunday attendance. For instance, The Episcopal Church reports an average Sunday attendance of 768,476 in 2007 and an active baptized membership of 2,116,749.)

While each individual group is small, as a united body, the Anglican Church in North America stretches from one end of North America to the other and has as many or more (in some cases, significantly more) members than 12 of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces (Bangladesh, Brazil, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Indian Ocean, Japan, Jerusalem & Middle East, Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, Scotland, Southern Cone, Wales)

See the PDF file for further comparison of ACNA with numerous provincial statistics.


  • Pat O'Neill says:

    I find it difficult, if not impossible, to believe that the 150 parishes of the Reformed Episcopal Church have an average attendance of 13,000! Going to my son’s college campus, I pass the only RE church in the Philly area. It advertises two services a week in a building that appears to be no larger than my own parish church (which can legally hold only 225 people at one time). Even if it packed them to the rafters, there’s no way that church–again, the only RE church in the Philly area–averages more than 500 congregants every Sunday. I cannot believe it is at the low end of attendance for the denomination.

    And, at any rate, the REC left the Anglican Communion more than 100 years ago. Why does it want back in, now?

  • jprice says:

    Considering the misinformation that Jack Iker has
    disseminated recently I would take these figures with a grain of salt. ACNA is trying very hard to convince everyone (possibly even their own) of their legitimacy.

  • EPfizH says:

    Since I am aware of the maximum attendance of one of the congregations, 15, how are the numbers computed and do congregations have a minimum number of attendees to be considered “parishes” or “congregations?”

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    The claims of ACNA’s numbers. Very impressive!!!
    However, the numbers game isn’t the complete story. Especially when one considers how many of the people corralled into the newly-forming ANCA sodality are actually ex TEC or ACofC members. It would seem that former dissident Anglicans, plus other assorted free-church bodies have been included in the tally of the new church. This does not mean that their ecclecticism will lead to the sort of united front that Bobby Duncan would like. And then, there is the matter of differences in theology, church government, culture, policy and many other practical matters yet to be overcome – in order to present a truly ‘united’ front as a living organism of the Body of Christ.

    However, if they, in their multifarious and wide-spread jurisdictions, can survive the challenge of ‘being Church’ in their particular environment, then it will have been a lesson to all of us on the triumph of statistics over reality.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Wasn’t it George Bernard Shaw who said, ” there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics!”

    As regards the Reformed Episcopal Church..the figure claimed is the denominational total ( not the number of active adherents) and it includes their African and Indian missions.

    As with Chris Sugden there is another deceptive tactic. Wales has an estimated 800,000 people who were baptized in the Church in Wales..yet 70,000 plus attend at Easter and Christmas.

    However when they quote Nigeria they state 17 million..which is nowhere like the figure which actually attend on Sunday. Also it is an African
    trait to be affiliated to several denominations!

    By the way if the same percentage of the Church of England attended regularly as a similar proportion to TEC , there would be 8 million English men and women in Anglican Churches on a Sunday!

    Even Sydney reaches a tiny proportion of the population of New South Wales.

    Furthermore Evangelical Anglicanism has a high turnover of adherents who drift in and out of it. Many who attend its services are not baptized or confirmed Anglicans.

  • MJ says:

    The REC website claims a TOTAL membership of 13,422 in 137 churches. Given that the webpage is dated 2007, and a few APA parishes defected to them since then, it still means that in the space of 1-2 years they claim they’ve gone from 13,422 in total to 13,000 ASA. Either their numbers have remained about the same and virtually every member attends on a Sunday (!) or else the 13,000 represents, say, two-thirds of current total numbers – meaning they’ve gained 6,000+ members in 1-2 years? Even taking the 13,000 as representing three-quarters of total membership would mean a growth of 4,000 in 1-2 years. Given they were only at 13,000 after 130 years, all I can say is – Yeah. Right.

  • MJ says:

    RIW: “However when they quote Nigeria they state 17 million..which is nowhere like the figure which actually attend on Sunday. Also it is an African
    trait to be affiliated to several denominations!”

    At least they’re not quoting the absurd 25,000,000 that Virtue claimed last year!

    Interestingly, the Operation World website states (as of 2005) that the Church of Nigeria had 3,000,000 adult, baptized, communicant members, out of a total of 11,280,000 ‘affiliates’, i.e. – all the adult members plus their children and ‘other attenders considered part of the church community’. Their Church figures are supposedly based on information from the Church itself. Even if their numbers have gone up since then, it shows that the total membership touted for Nigeria need to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • dodgey_vicar says:

    Is the questioning of the numbers given a querying of their probity?

  • PeterK says:

    Will the clergymen of the REC be required to be reordained? I do not believe the REC has a valid succession.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    REC orders have not been recognised since Lambeth 1888. As the REC changed its ordinal. Furthermore the REC allows for non episcopaaly ordained clerics to be received without additional ordination.

    CESA orders are recognised by the Anglican Communion since 1966.

  • John C Powers says:

    I understand that church growth people believe that 38 to 42% of a church’s membership attend on Sunday; if that is anywhere near correct, then these figures are highly inflated. If they have 100,000 members then attendance would vary between 38,000 to 42,000, not 81,000.

  • penwatch says:

    It looks like the ACNA are getting a bit desperate. All Canterbury needs to do is procrastinate and the ‘new’ Province will wither away.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    Oh, PeterK, get with the program! Who cares about the historic episcopate as long as they aren’t gay!

  • Ford Elms says:

    “Many who attend its services are not baptized or confirmed Anglicans.”

    But many who voted to take Falls Church out of TEC were not baptised or confirmed Anglicans either. These people hide behind a false ecumenism that says that “their” differences don’t mean much, since they are all “orthodox”, well at least now. When those long “not in the Communion” were leaving, of course, all those who remained were just as much faithless heathen “reassessors” (or what ever they used to mean ‘different’ in those days) as anyone who disagrees with Uncle Bobby now. They dress it up in all the modern fuzzy language of “we’re all Christians” that does little to hide their smallness of soul and their hypocrisy. All the old anger and hurt is forgotten now, “our” differences don’t mean much, since, whatever we disagree on, uppity women, liturgical reform, divorce, abortion, sacramental theology, Christology, we are all united in our fear that the heathen liberals and their homo cronies are Hell bent on destroying everything that is good and holy about Western society and replacing it with a selfcentred hedonism that will have orgy after orgy until the Muslims, or whoever is the current Most Feared Group, take over and push us all down in the dirt. Then won’t we laugh at those silly liberals? Then we’ll get the chance to say “I told you so.” It’s all very Christian.

  • I think the issues regarding the numbers are two-fold. First, we may or may not accept the numbers themselved.

    That, however, is not often the issue raised. The second issue, more often addressed, is what these numbers represent in terms of folks dissatisfied and leaving the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. In that light, these numbers are less important than they appear, even if accurate.

    – It has been a tenet of AMiA for some time that they are growing with newly reached unchurched folks – and, so, not folks departing TEC or ACC.

    – Many of those in the churches under Kenyan oversight might have left TEC 30 years ago, but they can hardly be considered in numbers of recent losses. Almost all are new congregations that were never part of TEC, albeit some members and clergy were.

    – The same can be said of a significant number of the congregations under Ugandan oversight.

    – Since the REC departed the Episcopal Church almost 130 years ago, only a few of their members might be considered in current losses to TEC or ACC.

    – Notwithstanding that “The Episcopal Church congregations and members having been excluded from this count” of congregations in dioceses that have formed to leave TEC, it’s becoming more and more clear that these numbers are not yet settled. Folks are still making up their minds in those areas.

    So, even to the extent we might trust the numbers in general (and I’m not saying I do), they say much less about impact on TEC and ACC than proponents want to claim.

  • peterpi says:

    Pat O’Neill, regarding your first post: 13,000 Sunday attendees per 150 churches is less than 90 people per church. That to me sounds like very small congregations. The attendance figures overall being reported by ACNA are probably exaggerated, but are you saying you don’t think that the REC can average 90 people per Sunday per church?

  • Joe Busfield says:

    As has been noted, some of the numbers may be “inflated”. Experience with the REC specifically indicates many churches with attendance of 20-30 folks. These would have to be counter balanced by “mega” churches. Since mega churches tend to care little for theology, doctrine, or truth, there may be some in the Neo-REC, but. . .

    BTW, regarding the first poster’s comments: There are certainly more than one REC in the Philadelphia area. Making claims that are not truthful puts one in the same camp as those making claims regarding inflated attendance.

  • Rosemary Hannah says:

    And anyhow,when did Christianity become a numbers game?? Really? Sorry, know it’s been said again and again but …

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    As I stated previously the 13,000 includes the REC’s Indian and Liberian missions. The US figure is more like 6,500..with about 200 in Canada. there are less than 1,000 in the UK.

  • Pat O'Neill says:


    My error…I read it as each parish having an average attendance of 13,000, not 13,000 for the entire denomination.

    As to whether the one I know is the only one in the Philly area…my mistake. The others must be very small and out of the way. I’ve never seen them, and one–according to the REC website–is less than five miles from my home.

  • Although I frankly don’t believe these numbers that ACNA claims, I’m not particularly interested in contesting them. Despite the whining and foaming at the mouth by the dissidents, the fact is that The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are orthodox in their faith. (Yeah, sure, we have a few strange birds, but there have always been a few strange birds in Anglicanism.) The only genuine issue is how the church should deal with people who are in committed same-sex relationships. I’m not in favor of throwing anybody out, but if Bob Duncan wants to be Archbishop of a gazillion gaybashers, so be it. I’m sure a church based on No Gay Cooties will attract a large number of members. At least for a while. (As may a church that clings to a glass ceiling. +Rowan, please copy.)

  • Anon says:

    Hmmm…a lot of fear represented in these comments. “the figures must be wrong”; “no they can’t possibly be that big”; “well they are not really Anglicans are they?”

    Folks, they are part of your church. They are growing. Rejoice, Anglicanism is not dying in North America as everyone keeps saying it is! Welcome your brothers on the mission field! Build them up, don’t tear them down! They are your brothers not your enemy! Partner with them! Teach them compassion and love and mercy. Learn holiness from them. Together you can do much. Divided you will all fall.

    Have you forgotten what church is all about?

  • Andrew says:

    This must be a very small denomination. There is not a single church in the San Francisco Bay Area, population 6 million. The closest is in Vacaville, halfway from San Francisco to Sacramento.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    Whatever the truth about the accurate figures there are a significant number of people in this loose association – some have a claim to be former Anglicans while many others have presently little to support such an attachment.

    With careful leadership and the proper encouragement there might well be some grounds to suppose that in a generation or two this vehicle (or its successors) might act as a real missionary tool and a future TEC might be able to absorb it possibly in the first instance as a second Province.

    Their biggest problem remains their own ability to stay together – I am bound to agree with the American FIF priest Robert Ian Williams quoted to me – presently, they are not orthodox and they are not a cohesive or credible Church – if they can overcome these massive internal problems and not fragment into even more splinters than there were originally and as the years pass acquire a new less self absorbed leadership– then, indeed our Anglican fellowship might well be enriched by their fellowship.

    Sadly, I doubt that I shall live to see that happy day.

  • BobinSWPA says:

    I think it’s more important to bolster our numbers than worry about ACNA. Last week the new pastor of one of our local Presbyterian Churches said “only 17% of American’s now attend church on a given Sunday.” I can’t tell you how many people I work with who are no longer active in any church (Special Ed School Teacher here with 90 some staff in my building). Most of my colleagues will tell me they belong to such and such church but can’t tell me the last time they attended a service/mass.
    We need to be addressing this issue.

  • “Rejoice, Anglicanism is not dying in North America as everyone keeps saying it is!”

    But surely, it it the people who spurt these inflated figures as some kind of truth, who claim it is. None other.


  • A phrase in the article has gone unnoticed:

    “The movement unites 700 orthodox Anglican congregations, representing roughly…”

    The important word is “representing”.

    From the very beginning of these shouting-matches we were presented with false sums, claiming to “represent”.

    I distinctly remember Husbands (in the 2 thousands) claiming to “represesnt” their Families, Priests/Vicars/Rectors claiming to “represent” their Parishes, a couple of Bishops claiming to “represent” their Dioceeses, and one primate claiming to “represent” his Province…

    The sums piled up. What was very little suddenly looked GRAND ;=)

    And, indeed, “roughly”…

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Evangelical Anglicans resisted all efforts by Anglo-catholics to introduce Roman catholic rituals and practices into nineteenth century Anglicanism… benediction,reservation prayers for the dead,vestments etc. They pulled all the same tricks that ACNA are now cases.
    In fact they were a little harsher actually sending clergymen to prison.

    In 1873 the Reformed Episcopalians left over these issues. They never amounted to much numerically..

    Now they are joining with Anglo-Catholics of the most advanced kind.

    Says it all, that their one rallying point is opposition is the gay issue. for like the TEC refugees they are all liberal on divorce and re-marriage.

    Someone should write a book on the birth of this new denomination…. what about a title.. “leaving Sodom, but saying in Gomorrah”

    STOP PRESS..Church Society have just issued a booklet on the qualifications for a presbyter. he must be male….but no mention of divorce!

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    PS …the article that Martin mentions is by Walter Tanghe and is available on line. Go to Forward in faith and publications. It appears in the January 2009 edition of New Directions.

    He is disturbed by the compromise on womens ordination and the ability of Anglo-catholics to continue with their eucharistic practices.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    “Folks, they are part of your church. They are growing. Rejoice, Anglicanism is not dying in North America as everyone keeps saying it is! Welcome your brothers on the mission field! Build them up, don’t tear them down! They are your brothers not your enemy! Partner with them! Teach them compassion and love and mercy. Learn holiness from them. Together you can do much. Divided you will all fall.”

    Somewhat playing around with Groucho’s line: “I would not join a church that would have them as members.” Yes, they’re growing…but how? By bringing in new people, or by stealing whole congregations from others? And for how long? All the demographics are against them, as polls show younger people have a higher degree of tolerance for their gay peers than the generations that preceded them.

    Oh, and how do you separate compassion and love and mercy from holiness?

  • Ford Elms says:

    “Folks, they are part of your church. They are growing.”

    Oh please, get over yourself! “We” are not saying “they” are not part of the Church, “they” have declared that for themselves.

    “Welcome your brothers on the mission field!”

    But “they” claim “they” are NOT “our” brothers. What’s more, they lie about us, revile us, and on and on, accusing us of attaching strings to aid money, and trying to “buy” conservatives away from their conservative positions, all the while taking huge amounts of funding from shadowy, behind the scenes American Bushite conservatives whose interests are solely in paralyzing any opposition to their ultraconservative political agenda.

    “Build them up, don’t tear them down!”

    We are not tearing them down. No-one has threatened them with schism, nor denied their faith, nor threaten to kick them out if they do not comply with our wishes, nor refused to share Communion with them, nor denied the validity of their orders, nor schemed against them, nor formally declared them apostates, despite their open affirmation of heresy. All that comes from them.

    “They are your brothers not your enemy!”

    I agree with you. They do not.

    “Partner with them! Teach them compassion and love and mercy. Learn holiness from them.”

    They have refused to partner with us, have sent back “gay tainted” aid money, for instance. They will not learn compassion, love, nor mercy. And ‘holiness’? What holiness? Show me the holiness in anything they have done in the past 5 years.

    “Have you forgotten what church is all about?”

    Seriously, do you really think it is liberals who have forgotten what the church is all about? I agree, we all need to repent. But how do you work with people who refuse to work with you? Who lie about you, slander you, and deny your faith? Who actively practice bigotry and call it “orthodox Christianity”?

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “As a follow up on the aspirations and desire of the Bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference “to develop a worldwide vision and strategy of church planting, growth and mission”,[1] taken forward by the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates,[2] the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, The Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, invited a small but diverse group of people involved in evangelistic and church growth ministry, from around the Communion to a consultation to take forward the recommendation of setting up an Evangelism and Church Growth Network.” – Anglican Communion Network web-site.

    From the above statement arising out of a new mission strategy meeting in the UK, chaired by Canon Kearon, it will be seen that there is no need for fear of assorted groups of disaffected Anglicans overtaking the mission of the Anglican Communion at large.

    Perhaps the advent of CANA and ACNA has prompted the mainline Churches of the Communion towards a more effective missionary strategy – which we would probably all agree, is urgently needed. A Church in decline can either be the cause of a renewed vision or of faint-hearted despair.

    I do believe that we have something of such worth in our Communion that we need to regain our energy in ‘opening up the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers’, not by coercion into any out-dated theological concept of Biblical Literalism, but by a wide-spread re-appraisal of the inclusiveness of initiatives of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. The positivity of affirmation of the good in all people – rather than looking for the evil – is, I believe the only basis for mission.

  • Robert Leduc says:

    Based on the reported numbers, I see about 100,000 in ACNA (including a number not drawn from the Episcopal Church, at least any time recently) and just over 2 million in the Episcopal Church. That makes this group just under 5% of the size of the Episcopal Church. No wonder I’ve never met any of these dissidents. They’re as rare as hens teeth.

  • Cheryl Va. says:

    The debate about numbers is a red herring.

    If the hearts or loving and nurturing, then the church is good.

    If the hearts are selfish and sociopathic, then it doesn’t matter how many souls subscribe to their theology.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    And the 3,500 Canadian members out of an Anglican community of 2 million plus in Canada..

  • Ford Elms says:

    “No wonder I’ve never met any of these dissidents.”

    Consider yourself lucky. Here, they have caused division in three parishes, all of which are now, thanks be to God, healing. They have connived and schemed behind the bishop’s back, even lying about him online. They have formed into two parishes, from which some have trickled back, I understand. They were at Synod last year, “observing”, taking furious notes, about what I don’t know, since much of the discussion was about problems in rural parishes, one in particular, in Labrador. They aren’t much interested in that, preferring to stay in their comfortable pews in St. John’s where it’s easier to scheme against their bishop than actually ministering to rural people whose only priest is so overworked he only gets half a day a week with his family, being on the road and in boat to get to those places that have no road, or on Skidoo in the winter getting from place to place so that his flock can have SOME clerical support. One of their leaders, rumoured to have been “out” in his younger days, made a big show of getting married AT THE MAIN MASS OF SUNDAY, not that his parish would be happy calling it Mass, but you get my point. A rather grandiose show of his heterosexuality if it’s so important as to preclude the theme of the Sunday. So, count yourself lucky. It might be a good Lenten discipline to go live in such a parish, just to test your Christianity.

  • Re: the REC, the 13,000 figure may include non-REC churches affiliated with them through their association with the APA. They list APA churches on their website alongside REC parishes, should one be travelling.

  • Jacob Pierce says:

    The Anglican Church in North America, brought to you by the Church of the Presumptuous Assumption. It may work now, ACNA, but its only a matter of time. TEC need to get serious about evangelism (and I don’t mean “born again” evanelism.) I mean that TEC is not being rejected because of the “gay” issue; TEC is being rejected because its becoming irrelevent. In 1950 with over 150 million Americans TEC had a membership of 3 million. Now with over 300 million Americans TEC has a membership of 2 million. TEC has declined not just proportionally, but in real numbers. We must address this. We must speak to younger generations. We must start talking about what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century.

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