Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ten Year Trends by Pastor Rebecca

The Conference on the Past is almost upon us, and we have been spending quite a bit of time focusing on our distant past, things that happened in this place 100 years ago or even 50 years ago. Part of our conversations on Sunday will also be about what has happened in our most recent past.

One of the great resources that we have at our disposal as a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are the statistical reports available on the denomination's website, specifically ten years of stats on every PC(USA) congregation.

Sunnyside's numbers in many ways reflect trends within the larger church, but also speak volumes to the strengths of our congregation.

All of our numbers: our membership, our worship attendance, our Sunday School enrollment, our giving have been higher than average for all PC(USA) congregations. While other congregations are in gradual or deep decline, Sunnyside's ten year trends show that we are somewhat static in our numbers our membership in 2009 of 610 is relatively the same as our membership in 1999 of 605. If you dig deeper into the numbers provided though, you will find that in 1999 we has 68 children in 8th grade and below (non-confirmed members of the congregation) and in 2009 we had close to double at 128. What does that say about our recent history and values as a congregation?

One of the most interesting numbers to me is reflected in the graph that is pictured above. This bar graph breaks down our annual giving averaging it over both the membership and the number of people in worship. It is heartening to see how much giving has grown over our recent past, especially relative to those who are in active membership within the worshiping life of our congregation. To me this indicates a willingness, evening in difficult economic times, for Sunnysiders to invest themselves in the ministries of our congregation.

Before this Sunday's Conference on the Past, I would encourage you to take a closer look at all of the data provided in our Ten Year Trends to gain your own insights into our recent past, the growth we have seen, and ways that Sunnyside fits into the larger picture of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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