Understanding Orthodoxy in America Today
November 02, 2013 Length: 51:55Alexei Krindatch
Mr. Alexei Krindatch: You know what? I have two bad news and one good news. The first bad is news is the title of my presentation is “Understanding Orthodoxy in America.” I sort of tried to understand Orthodoxy during the past 10 years. The more I try, the less I understand. Second bad news is: normally, if you have real difficult question, like we have for tonight, a lot of those big-word questions can be happily resolved over a glass of wine. So bad news is there is no wine and cheese reception tonight. Well, good news is: I got some new, interesting data which I will share with you tonight, and those are fairly new data.
When I was asked to come here, which was great honor and privilege—I had never been with this audience, so I was quite excited and I had started to think I am given a title but full freedom to talk about something—and I started to think, I mean, I really have plenty of data, but what should be specifically custom-made for this audience?
At this very moment, I was working on a small side project for a big Greek Orthodox parish in Houston, Annunciation Cathedral. One thing attracted my attention. We did a study of all households. They needed it for some purpose. But one of the questions was: How long a time you attend at Annunciation Cathedral? It turned out that more than 50% of households—we are talking about 1,000 households, so more than 500 of them—are lifelong members of cathedral.
What that means to me… It’s great; it’s a very devoted community, but then I have realized: you know what? A lot of people in this country build their perception of Orthodox church life simply based on their local parish experiences. If we make one step further, well, I’m pretty much aware that probably in this audience, most of the people are part of the Antiochian Archdiocese, Orthodox Church in America, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
We all know our jurisdictions, but in many cases we built our perception about other jurisdictions based on certain stereotypes, and we all know those stereotypes. So part of the purpose of my presentation tonight will be to compare different aspects of parish life, how things are done, by Antiochians, Greek Orthodox folks, and Orthodox Church in America. You will see that some stereotypes might hold true; some of them don’t. So I hope it will be useful and entertaining.
But before we will turn into local parish scene, so to speak, I would like to discuss two subjects which are frequently debated and speculated among church members and church leadership, which seems to be hot-button issues, and for which we have reliable data to show how things look like. One is the question as to which extent Orthodox churches in the United States remain ethnic-based communities, or to which extent they’ve become all-American communities one way or another. The second subject which we will be discussing is growth: are Orthodox churches growing, are they declining, are they staying stable, because we’ve got data on both.
Now, in 2011, we did a national survey of all U.S. Orthodox parishes, all jurisdictions’ parishes, so about 1900. In each parish community we asked four questions: estimate percent of English language used as language of Liturgy, same thing for sermon, and same thing of church choir. So what is percent of your parish English, zero to 100. The fourth question was qualitative question: Do you believe in the statement: “Do you believe our parish has a strong ethnic identity we are trying to preserve?” A five-point scale, from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Basically, once you got those four items from each parish, you sort of got a good sense how things look like.
There are data on percent usage of English language in Liturgy for all Orthodox churches together. It’s 73%, so three quarters of our parishes are mainly English-speaking parishes. But then you have significant variations, anywhere from 96% in Carpatho-Russian Diocese which reportedly is the most English-speaking jurisdiction, up to 25% in the case of Romanian Archdiocese, which is most non-English-speaking jurisdiction. Looking at this picture, if we simply think of language, one may conclude that by and large American Orthodox churches are fairly all-American churches; they are not ethnic churches. Mm-mm. If you compare language answers to the answers to the last question, 49% of all U.S. Orthodox parishes agreed with the statement “Our parish has strong ethnic heritage and identity that we are trying to preserve.” So speaking English language and considering yourself as either being ethnic or non-ethnic are not exactly opposite things, but they’re not the same things.
This is for all Orthodox parishes. 49% agreed with the statement, 35% of Orthodox parishes say, “We disagree. We are non-ethnic,” 16% are somewhere in the middle. Now, those three figures are, of course, very different for different jurisdictions, and now we have a picture. In case of Antiochian Archdiocese, those bars show percent of parishes who agreed with this statement. In other words, those bars show percent of parishes who consider themselves as being still ethnic parishes.
The lowest proportion is among Antiochian Archdiocese. Only 17% consider themselves as being still ethnic. Orthodox Church in America, 25[%]. Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese, 31%, so you see Carpatho-Russians are on the top in terms of English-language use in the church. They’re still fairly at the top of being non-ethnic, but not as high as Antiochian [and] Orthodox Church in America. GOA, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, 62% of parishes still consider themselves being ethnically based, despite the fact that most of them indeed use mostly English language.
When we debate questions like ethnicity, ethnic culture, ethnic identity, it depends how you measure it. Be careful which measurements you use. You have to take into account both to get adequate picture.
When we also put on the map… Because, you know, in each given state you have different combination of those more-ethnic and less-ethnic parishes. You have different combinations of jurisdictions. So basically, what this map shows… When you take into account both language and strength of ethnic identity, how parishes report themselves, you can produce mathematically one index. How technically it is done, it doesn’t matter, but technically you can do this. Then you can look at how strong is this index of ethnic identity, Orthodox ethnic identity, for each state, looking just at the parishes which are present at each state.
Bottom line is: the states which are in that blue are the states where, all Orthodox parishes combined, you have the strongest ethnic identity and heritage. Well, actually, the lightest colors you have in the middle, so parishes which are established relatively recently, which are much more convert-populated, if you will. And all lands of Orthodoxy: Northeast, Great Lakes, Florida, Alaska, and, surprisingly, California—those are still fairly ethnic Orthodox communities. Again, this is average picture for each state. Sure enough, in each state you may have the whole range of parishes, but your chances are much more great of finding not ethnically based Orthodox parish here in the middle, or in American Southeast, Bible Belt, if you like. Yes?
Q1: Are these not just converts, but churches that are pan-Orthodox in their establishment?
Mr. Krindatch: Correct. For example, here you have a lot of situations when you have church in between. You have some obscure Town A in Utah, and you have one single Orthodox parish. Well, sure enough, by default it will be pan-Orthodox parish. So there are many factors which contribute to this fact, but just it’s just interesting when you look at geographic situation.
What is also interesting: if you compare Orthodox folks, they live not exactly in the same area where general American population lives. 45% of our people are living in just five states: New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Powerful fact. Compared to only 29[%] of American general population.
Here is interesting map. [Laughter] If each size of each state will be reshaped according to our presence, that’s how America would look like. Sort of give you a visual presentation of where we are and how American can be overblown in certain areas if it were filled with just us.
We have fairly good data, county level data on church membership and on presence of different parishes. So this is our American counties, and it gives you number of parishes and of monastic communities in each county. Those data are available and maps are included in the Atlas of American Orthodox Churches, so you have the same map in this Atlas of American Orthodox Churches.
Another interesting thing about us is that, compared to general population, we tend to be urban people. 77% of all Orthodox church members are located in metropolitan areas of one-million-plus population. Normally if you have metropolitan area of one-million-plus, that means it’s a heavily urban area, with certain exceptions, but mostly. Only 54% of American general population lives in those metropolitan areas; us, 77%.
But then there is certain variation between different Orthodox jurisdictions. For example, Romanian Archdiocese and Patriarchal parishes of Russian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, that’s most urban churches. Their parishes are more likely to be located in those one-million-plus areas. Carpatho-Russian Diocese, Orthodox Church in America, are most rural. Only 43% of members of Carpatho-Russian Diocese and only 59% of Orthodox Church in America members are in those metropolitan areas [of] one-million-plus. Even in case of Orthodox Church in America it’s higher as compared to general population, but it’s less compared to other folks. So some of us are more urban, and some of us are more rural, which has strong implication for Orthodox church life. The life of urban parish is realized in different way as life of rural parish.
Growth. Everyone is concerned: Are we growing? Are we declining? Well, I don’t have really reliable data on church growth in terms of members—I have some estimates—but what I do have for sure [is] I have data comparing 2000 and 2010 in terms of number of parishes. So just between 2000 and 2010, there was overall increase of 15%, 1-5. Compared to 2000, in 2010, there was plus-15% of all American Orthodox parishes and monastic communities. To my mind, it’s fairly dynamic growth, at least in terms of congregations. The states which were growing faster are those darker states. The bluish states indicate places where there was no change in Orthodox presence or there was even slight decline. So those states which are dark states, they’re growing fastest in terms of Orthodox parishes.
Now, this is interesting map, because now we go to county-level. It shows where we are present or we were present. Most in these states are dark reds and dark blue counties. Dark blue counties on this map indicate places where we were in 2000, but we are not there any more. Those are mostly missions: there was a parish mission, did not survive, parish was closed. Now red counties are exactly opposite way: we were not there in 2000; we are there now. It balances sort of nice. There are 32 counties where we were in 2000 but not in 2010, and there are 140 counties where we are in 2010, but we were not in 2000. Total, out of about 3,200 counties (that’s the total number of counties in the United States), we are present in 626 counties. We have our churches. In some counties quite a few, in some counties just one, but this is our geography; this is our presence.
Now we are coming to the parishes. You can ask me as we will go to the long slides where the data are coming from, and I will spend a few minutes to talk about it, because it can be something to put further down and to look for more data for yourself, because data are available and they are present online.
The data for the long slides are coming from the so-called “Faith Communities Today” project, FaCT, and you can Google it; its website is faithcommunitiestoday.org. Faith Communities Today is corporation of about 50 different denominations. Faith Communities Today is corporation of researchers working for these denominations was established in late ‘90s, and SCOBA was among those groups who were original founders of Faith Communities Today. As it works, we Orthodox were present at this interdenominational research project from the very beginning. Originally Fr. Nick Apostolos also—maybe someone knows the name of Fr. Nick Apostolos—he was representative of SCOBA to Faith Communities Today. When I started to work in this country, logically, because of my training, I was sort of put in this position, first as a representative of SCOBA and now of Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops.
In case of Faith Communities Today, every ten years they do a major survey of American congregations. Normally you have a number of questions which go from survey to survey so you can see trends, but then you have a few questions which are specific for each decade. The last survey was 2010. 11,000 American congregations, religious congregations, participated in this survey. In case of Orthodox parishes, 370 Orthodox parishes participated, representing three majors churches: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, 160; OCA, 123; and 85 Antiochian parishes. For a random sample, it’s not bad. Whatever will be discussed, whatever will be on the long slides, will be from this 2010 survey in which 160 GOA, 123 OCA, and 85 Antiochian parishes participated.
We will go through eight facts from FaCT study, and once in a while I will compare all us Orthodox as compared to Roman Catholics and Protestants, again, based on the same survey, because, remember, 11,000 American religious congregations participated, so we can compare Orthodox to them. But then we can go further and look how much of a difference are between us, which means GOA, OCA, and Antiochians.
Fact 1: If you look simply at demographic breakdown of membership, nationwide, we Orthodox are different from Roman Catholics and Protestants in several ways. We are better educated. On average, our parishioners have higher-level education. We are spending longer time commuting to our churches. Logically, they are far in between. There is lesser chance…
Orthodox parishes are somewhat less female than Roman Catholic parishes or Protestant congregations. Here are the data which confirm this statement. That sense here shows average percent of various categories of church members. In case of college degree, in our average parish—again, there is no such thing as average parish, but if you look nationwide—53% of our parishioners have college degrees. That’s quite a bit higher compared to Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, or Evangelical Protestants in particular.
Living within 15 minutes of parish church building. Well, only 46% of our folks have the luxury of being real nearby of church building. 15 minutes, either by walking or by car, we did not specify, but the bottom line was, within 15 minutes you can be at the church. Those proportions are significantly higher for Roman Catholics and Protestants.
Female. We still have slightly more than half of female among our parishioners, which is typical for every church. Females tend to be a little bit more likely present in the pews. But in case of Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, Evangelical Protestants, you have even higher proportions of females, so we are better balanced gender-wise. In this regard we are different.
Now this is for all of us Orthodox. Now we have all of these pictures comparing GOA, OCA, and Antiochian Archdiocese. College graduates, well, not really much of a difference. You have a somewhat higher proportion among Antiochians, and somewhat lesser proportions among OCA, with GOA in the middle.
But here are really huge differences. In case of GOA, more than half of their folks are really close to the church. In case of OCA, only one-third, so you have a huge difference between these three groups, between these three jurisdictions. What that means, on average, if you are member of Orthodox Church in America, there is a greater chance that you will be commuting longer compared to people who are members of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
Presence of children, youth, and young adults. The highest proportion of young folks is in case of Antiochian Archdiocese. Not much difference between GOA and OCA, but Antiochians have more younger folks than they do.
New to the parish in the past five years. Again, in the case of the Antiochian churches and in case of OCA, you have many more newcomers to your parish as compared to GOA. New people bring new ideas, but they also need certain time to be integrated properly into the parish life, so it gives you idea that in case of Antiochian Archdiocese more attention should be given to integrating new members, or vice-versa, maybe Antiochians are better in integrating new members, and this is why they have more new members than Greek Orthodox. So more research needed, but what we know for sure at this point: you have more fresh blood in the parishes of Antiochian Archdiocese and OCA as compared to GOA.
Converts to Orthodoxy. This is somewhat predictable. In case of Antiochians, half their parishioners are converts. Almost the same in case of Orthodox Church in America. Only one-quarter in case of GOA. Again, those figures are nationwide, average. You may have huge variations, but it gives you sort of snapshot. The demography of members is fairly different between our three major American Orthodox jurisdictions.
Theologically, Orthodox parishes are much more conservative—that’s fact number two—than Roman Catholic and old-line Protestants. So one of the questions in this survey Faith Communities Today asked: How would you describe theological outlook of the majority of your regularly participating adults? By the way, we asked the questions of these clergy, so each congregation or Roman Catholic parish was providing information based on responses of clergy. In case of Eastern Orthodox parishes, 70% of our clergy said, “You know what? I would say that a majority of my parishioners have conservative theological outlook.”
So you might say we are in the same boat with the Evangelical Protestants. Of course, being theologically conservative for Evangelical Protestants and for us are different things, different theology, but we think of ourselves similar to Evangelical Christians as being theologically conservative. There is huge difference in this regard between us and Roman Catholics and old-line Protestants, who tend to think of themselves as being theologically moderate or even liberal, in case of old-line Protestants. So we are in the same boat with Evangelical Christians with our perception of being conservative theologically.
Q2: Were there any questions that would define this a bit more?
Mr. Krindatch: No. There was no way, because the survey was addressed across a spectrum of American Christian denominations. Once you get to those specific questions, they would be interpreted differently, so you have to put together now. But if you look at the breakdown of the same questions between three American major jurisdictions, you’ll see that Greek Orthodox parishes are somewhat less conservative or they think of themselves as being less conservative as compared to Antiochians and OCA. You have more people who have conservative theological outlook in Antiochian Archdiocese and in Orthodox Church in America, and somewhat less folks who are theologically conservative in case of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Also difference is not huge. It is statistically significant, but not huge.
Fact number three: among three major jurisdictions, Greek Orthodox parishes are most and OCA churches are least active in various parish-based programs. The question was like that: Please tell us to which extent you place emphasis on such or such or such program. What we are having here is we have the list of those programs, and here are percentages of congregations of parishes which say they place a lot of emphasis on this or that program. As you see here, Greek Orthodox parishes many more of them reported on all of those programs that they place a lot of emphasis on this or that program. In case of OCA, in all of those programs you have much lower proportion of parishes which say, “Well, you know what, we place a lot of emphasis on such or such ministry.”
So basically, this chart suggests that besides worship—we are not talking here about liturgical worship; we will come to liturgical worship, but what we do besides liturgical worship—so this chart suggests that Greek Orthodox parishes are actually doing a better job compared to OCA or Antiochian parishes developing various ministries and spending significant time, efforts, and resources, either developing Sunday school or Bible study, for theologics or adult education classes. That’s what data tell us.
Fact four: compared to Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, Orthodox churches do not communicate much with religions of others. One of the questions in Faith Communities Today survey explored question of religious ecumenical involvement. Ecumenical involvement may or may not have good connotation. This is why we look at four aspects of ecumenical involvement. We talked about ecumenical worship services, joint celebration and cultural events, educational fellowship activities, and community service activities. The red bars represent proportion of Orthodox parishes which say, “Yes, during past twelve months, we did ecumenical worship, we did joint cultural events, we did some fellowship activities, or we did some community service activities.”
Now, what is interesting in case of all four measures, not only worship services, you have much smaller percent of Orthodox parishes compared to Roman Catholic parishes or Protestant congregations, which reported as being ecumenically involved. Again, not only on worship, but, for example, community service activities. There is really nothing wrong participating with other Christian denominations in your town or in your home area, but for whatever reason, we prefer somehow to keep to ourselves compared to other Christian denominations.
Is there any difference between OCA, GOA, and Antiochian parishes in terms of degree of ecumenical involvement? Any educated guess in the room, who is more involved and who is less involved? GOA, OCA, Antiochians.
A1: GOA is more involved.
Mr. Krindatch: You got it right. So again, if you look at the same measures: community service activities, educational fellowship activities, joint celebrations, worship services. And now blue bars represent GOA parishes. On all four measures, high proportion Greek Orthodox clergy reported: “Yes, we did something with the religions of others, either community services or fellowship activities or educational activities.” And the parishes which are least likely to be involved in ecumenical activities are OCA parishes, Orthodox Church in America. So between three of them, between those three major jurisdictions. Antiochians are in between somewhere. But Greek Orthodox parishes tend to be more involved with religious others.
Fact five. I really like this one. Reportedly worship in Orthodox parishes than in Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. The way question was asked in the survey: Please tell us how well each of following descriptions describe your major worship service. In our case it is Liturgy. The answers can be anything from very well to not at all, five-point scale. So what we have here is percent of parishes or congregations which say that this or that definition describe our parish very well. 70% of our clergy believe that the statement “Worship is reverent” described their parishes very well. “Worship is joyful,” 43%. “Worship is inspirational,” 42%. “Worship is thought-working,” 39%. And on all four majors, we see that there is much higher proportion of Orthodox parishes as compared to Roman Catholic parishes or Protestant congregations. When our clergy say, “Well, indeed worship is reverent, joyful, thoughtful,” I say, “Looks like our worship is more powerful than Roman Catholic and Protestant.”
But if you compare our jurisdictions between ourselves, Antiochians are ahead of Orthodox Church in America and especially Greeks in terms of how powerful worship is. So Antiochians, while they are not exactly developed in different ministries, according to our data, and not exactly ecumenically involved, but they are ahead of other jurisdictions in terms of quality of worship. Again, this is how people report to us. You have to take answers of respondents for granted, even if they are lying. I have no reason to believe that Antiochian clergy are more likely to lie than Greeks. So if someone is lying, across the board, the data are still comparable. Again, over and again, this is fact number five; we still have three more facts to go, but you see we are all Orthodox, and yet, how our local parish life is very different. It is not better, it is not worse, it is just different. Someone emphasizes this aspect of our church life, and someone places more greater emphasis on something different.
Fact number six: with regard to personal religious practices of their members, GOA have more relaxed while Antiochian parishes have high expectations from their parishioners. We asked clergy how much of emphasis in your everyday parish life you place on following practices which go beyond worship practices: how much emphasis is placed on the telling parents that they need to talk with children about faith, how much emphasis is given on the importance of family prayer, how much of emphasis is given on importance of personal prayer and fasting? And again, we see that in case of Antiochian parishes, significantly higher proportion of clergy say, “Well, yes, we place a lot of emphasis on necessity of talking with children about faith, on family prayer, on personal prayer, on fasting.” In case of Greek Orthodox parishes, you have significantly lower proportion of clergy who say, “We place a lot of emphasis.”
Now that doesn’t mean that they don’t emphasize this. No, but apparently in Antiochian churches you have greater emphasis, stronger emphasis, a repeatedly delivered message to people in the pews: “You should do this. You should talk with children about faith. You should pray as a family. You should pray personally. You should fast.”
Fact number seven: financial health of Orthodox parishes is worse compared to Roman Catholic parishes and Protestant congregations. We are already over with session, but not quite yet, so you remember the time. It’s of course a little bit different than now. How would you describe in 2010 the financial health of your parish congregation? The red bars show proportion of parishes or congregations which say, “Our financial health is good or excellent.” Only 31% of Orthodox parishes, U.S. nationwide, described at that time their financial health as being either good or excellent. In case of Roman Catholics, 40%; mainline Protestants, 37%; 44% in case of Evangelical Protestant congregations. So compared to mainstream American religion—if I may use this word, because we are not mainstream—we are not, or we were not, doing as good financially in 2010. The data for 2013 could be a little bit different, but I don’t have that data, so in 2010 this was the picture.
And here is interesting picture of difference between three of us. Only 29% of Greek Orthodox parishes describe their financial health as being good or excellent compared to 38% of Antiochian parishes. Now that’s sort of fine linings. You say, we all have those perceptions of those big Greek parishes and why they are complaining? What happened? Well, guess what? If you have, indeed, a giant parish with a lot of ministries running and you are involved in this huge capital campaign, you are hit by recession much harder, and maybe you perceive your drop. You are still doing reasonably well. You still probably pay your clergy somewhat higher salaries as compared with OCA or Antiochians, but once you hit, you hit real hard this financial recession, and you have this perception: “We are not healthy anymore. We were doing really great; we are not doing great any more. We are just okay.” Well, if you are operating on a shoestring budget, you are not hit as hard. You are already fairly at the bottom or not exactly at the top. So again, perceptions and reality could be different; I don’t have here data exactly on, for example, per capita donations or per capita investments, something like that, but this is how people perceive their lives. So someone think of Greeks as being all this wealth and flourishing, well, it’s not necessarily their perception.
Like I said, when we asked, “How would you assess the impact of 2008 or 2009 crisis on your parish, staff, and operations?” here a percent of parishes say impact was moderate or major. Capital campaign or building program: 38% of Greek parishes believe that they were hit reasonably hard, as compared to only 28[%], 26[%] among Antiochian and OCA parishes. Funds available from investments: again, Greeks felt that they were hit much harder. Staff layoffs or fall-off, same thing: staff salary reductions or freeze. So on all those four financial measures, despite the fact that Greek Orthodox parishes might have bigger staff, bigger number of parishioners, they felt as being hit by this financial crisis much harder.
Fact eight: U.S. Orthodox parishes are as involved in recruiting new members as Catholic parishes or mainline Protestants, but we lag behind Evangelical churches. The question in survey was: Overall, to what extent are your parish congregation participants involved in recruiting new members? Well, what interesting is this red. The red ones are percent of parishes which reported quite a bit, a lot, in other words: we’re actively looking for new folks. We are going out. We are not just waiting out. We are going out. We are looking for them somehow. As you can see, 19% of U.S. Orthodox parishes said that they’re actively looking for new members, pretty much the same proportion of Catholic parishes or mainline Protestant congregations. As much as 30% of Evangelical congregations reported that they are actively looking for new members.
Again, question to you: any educated guess if you compare Antiochian Archdiocese, OCA, and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese? Is there any significant difference in proportion of parishes which are actively looking for new members? Any educated guess?
A2: The Antiochians are more outgoing.
Mr. Krindatch: Wrong. That’s one of [the] stereotypes. Not much statistically significant difference. 18, 17, 21. Statistically, it is insignificant, so bottom line is: if you think about number of parishes who go out actively looking for new folks, there is not much difference between Greek Orthodox parishes, Orthodox Church in America, and Antiochians.
Now, you may say, “Wait a minute. We just have seen that in case of Antiochian parishes you have more converts.” Right? We discussed it in previous slide. And we also have seen that in case of Antiochian and OCA parishes, there is many more people who are new to the parish within five past years. That would [be] looking more than Greeks. What happened? Well, probably Antiochians or OCA folks are not actively engaged in looking for new members, but they might be slightly more welcoming to new members, so once you already have someone who stepped in your church—you know, people are running into Orthodox churches—you might be more willing to integrate new members. So what this picture suggests—we need more data, but for me this gives a hint—well, all three jurisdictions are not exactly involved in looking for new members, but maybe OCA and Antiochians are somewhat welcoming to the folks who spontaneously find them. That’s open for room for discussion. Yeah?
C1: You were showing one graph about amount of English in the service, and Antiochians and OCA were very high. It would be much more welcoming to come to that service…
Mr. Krindatch: Correct. That’s part of what I understand as being welcoming. But again, what is interesting in this slide—I’m not discussing question of being welcoming, because I don’t have at this point data for it, and I don’t like to speculate; I’m not a person who speculates—this is one of [the] stereotypes: “Antiochians are more active [in] searching for new members.” No, they are not. In terms of searching, actively searching for new members, OCA and GOA are equally good or equally bad, whatever this picture suggests, but there is really not dramatic difference between GOA, OCA, and Antiochian parishes.
I would like to conclude my presentation, and before I will start on questions and answers, and you can tear me apart and say, “Whatever you say is entirely wrong. Try to change it,” but I wanted to show a few slides which you can use for yourself, because there is plenty of data on web. Let’s see, are we connected? Yes, we are. Great. Let’s see…
This is official website of Assembly of Canonical Bishops, and they put online some of my stuff, and they put it reasonably nicely, which means things are in one place. So basically there is a page which says “Research and Statistics.” There [are] several reports posted there. They are short. They are written for wide audience,. They are written more in the style of big bullet points, a lot of charts, a lot of maps. There are short descriptions of each report available online. So they’re all in one spot; you can find them easily.
Another website is Orthodoxreality.org. It’s basically my website. It’s easy to remember, and I’m not going there. You can look for yourself. In addition to what you find in officially approved Assembly of Bishops website… I cannot put on Assembly of Bishops what I please; have to put on stuff which is officially approved. Well, there are certain stuff which is not exactly approved, so this stuff is on Orthodoxreality.org. You won’t find any sensational data, but just something in addition to what is on official website.
I always recommend people excellent website: Orthodoxhistory.org. It is run by a very, very talented Orthodox scholar, Matthew Namee. He’s part of Antiochian Archdiocese. He’s a young lawyer in Wichita. From a very, very early age, he really devoted himself to studying history of different Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States, and he did it nicely, because basically his website is not just about him. It’s a huge forum of people who contribute to this website, and I’ll show you. Simply bunch of really interesting data, and it is constantly updated and contribute to it, so if you are really interested in contemporary history or in the more distant history, Orthodoxhistory.org is excellent website.
Two more sites, which are not Orthodox sites, but I think you will benefit greatly from using those sites. One is usreligiouscensus.org. In 2010 there was a major effort to count members and congregations, state by state and county by county. It was big national project sponsored by Lilly Foundation. I was the guy responsible for Orthodox data, but all American denominations were involved. What is nice about this website: it is interactive, and you can build your geographic maps, specifically Orthodox maps, and I will show you how you can do this.
Q3: Do you have any data for Canada?
Mr. Krindatch: No, I don’t. It was asked several times, and I guess I should really change it.
So this is how it looks like: website [of the] 2010 U.S. Religion Census. On your left-hand side on this orange, you have a lot of beautiful maps and charts. What I will just show you as an example what you can do with maps: you go to “2010 Maps,” and here you need to select a religious group. Let’s see Antiochian Archdiocese. Drop-down menu, and here, sure enough, is Antiochian Orthodox Christian Orthodox Archdiocese in America. Let’s see what we have for Antiochian Archdiocese in terms of maps. You have change in adherents, between 2010 and 2000; you have community type; you have locations. How about locations? Probably smaller file, because it will take a while to download. So you click on “Locations,” “Confirm selections,” “Click here to download.” And here you have a map with these dots. These dots show location of all Antiochian Archdiocese congregations. You can do the same for all Orthodox jurisdictions, six-seven maps, and you can play for yourself. It’s excellent website: usreligiouscensus.org.
And finally, one more site which is site of Faith Communities Today. Remember, all data which were presented in the second part of my presentation, parish data, they are coming from this Faith Communities Today study. Here is official website. Faith Communities Today project is operated out of Hartford Seminary, which is in Hartford, Connecticut. Here is website of Hartford Institute for Religion Research. To my mind, if you look at any information about American religion, this is the best website to start your search. You have data, denomination by denomination, and subject by subject. There is a reason why Hartford Institute for Religion Research, which is part of Hartford Seminary, is very famous for conglomerating this data, with this excellent website.
Again, just out of curiosity, check it out, and I’m sure you will find a lot of stuff. For example, they host my website: Orthodoxreality.org. Basically, you can go like this. Right here in front. Here it is: Research on U.S. Orthodox Churches, for example. So you click on it and you are basically on my website, which is Orthodoxreality.org. So they post links to other folks’ website, and the site is really nicely organized, so you can find relatively easily some piece of wisdom in the field and that is available, probably looking through Hartford Institute for Religion Research you have greater chances of finding these small pieces of wisdom which I did.
Well, I better shut up. I spoke away for one hour. I am ready!
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