US: Most Protestant churches are open but attendance has stalled
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A new survey from Lifeway Research shows that while almost all Protestant churches have resumed in-person services, most churches say the rate of actual attendance is less than half what it was before the pandemic, the Washington Times reports.
The Lifeway survey shows that in January 2021, 76% of churches were meeting in person, but that figure has now reached almost 100%, the Time said. “Despite a new variant wave of COVID-19, 97% of U.S. Protestant churches met in person during January 2022, while 3% say they did not gather for in-person services,” the report said.
In a statement, Lifeway Executive Director Scott McConnell said: “Many more churches are working to restart all their important ministries and continuing to encourage people to resume in-person participation.”
However, the survey showed that in more than 80% of churches, in-person attendance was “at least half of what it was prior to the pandemic.” This means that 25% of churchgoers have not been attending, the Times said.
“People’s return to in-person worship services has stalled,” McConnell attested. “There has been virtually no change in average attendance since August 2021. Some of this is the direct impact of COVID with people getting sick, needing to quarantine or being at high risk. But this also likely includes healthy individuals choosing to not return.”
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