It has been two weeks since we visited the Ordinariate Google Map and, as usual, the pins have kept coming. As of this morning, the count by country is:
United States: 36
United Kingdom 18
More groups seem to be on the way in the three countries we have on the board and Australia is yet to come.
Most of you know that I am usually reluctant to speculate, but I thought a quick look at some statistics might be reassuring to those who worry about what the future might hold.
Let’s take a look at what these numbers might mean in the United States.
Let’s assume that the 36 groups currently on the map in the U.S. would enter a newly erected American Ordinariate with an average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 2500, which I think would be an incredibly conservative estimate.
This number assumes that:
- no new groups form,
- no more existing groups vote to enter,
- the current groups do not grow,
- Anglicans who have already entered the full communion of the Catholic Church show no interest in the Ordinariates, and
- no cradle Catholics attend Ordinariate services on a regular basis.
All of these assumptions would run contrary to our experience thus far.
Given these Malthusian parameters, here's what an ASA of 2500 would look like in comparison with The Episcopal Church:
- The average parish attendance would be 69, three larger than the 2009 Episcopal Church parochial ASA of 66. (67% of Episcopal parishes had an ASA of 100 or fewer in 2009. Only 5% had an ASA of 300 or more.)
- The average Sunday attendance of the American Ordinariate would be approximately 15% larger than that of the combined ASA of the three Episcopal Dioceses of North Dakota, Northern Michigan, and Western Kansas.
- It would be 25% larger than the combined ASA of the two old Biretta Belt dioceses of Eau Claire and the portion of the Diocese of Quincy that remained in the Episcopal Church.
- The Ordinariate ASA would be more than one-third larger than the TEC Dioceses of Montana, Eastern Oregon, and San Joaquin.
- The American Ordinariate would be one-quarter larger than the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania, the Utah, Idaho, and Alaska
- It would be at least ten percent larger than the Dioceses of Springfield, Spokane, Northwest Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Fond du Lac.
- It would be slightly larger than the TEC Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Northern Indiana.
In all, this would make an American Ordinariate—in a worst case scenario—larger than 21 of the domestic dioceses of The Episcopal Church.
If an American Ordinariate were to launch with an ASA of 3,000, it would be approximately the same size as the Dioceses of Iowa, Lexington, Eastern Michigan, Easton, Vermont, Nebraska, and Hawaii.
If an American Ordinariate were to grow to an ASA of 5000, it would be either larger than or roughly the same size as 59 of the domestic dioceses of The Episcopal Church.
These are still very small numbers in Catholic terms, but, in Anglican terms, I would say that an American Ordinariate looks quite credible.
(For those who want to look at the raw numbers, TEC's 2008 and 2009 ASA data are available here.)
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