Sunday Morning Attendance Update
We’ve received some questions over the past several months about shifts in our Sunday morning attendance, and we want to provide some background and context for everyone in our community about this topic.
If you’ve been around for a few years, you may recall a time that we regularly welcomed over 200 people on Sunday mornings. In 2016, our Sunday attendance exceeded 200 almost half the time. There is some curiosity about whether two Sunday services are needed with our current attendance. A big part of the answer to this question is the capacity of our Sunday morning meeting space, which can comfortably accommodate about 180 chairs. WellSprings moved to two services when our attendance began to regularly exceed 80% of that capacity, or about 140 people, to ensure that we always had space to welcome and include newcomers at our services, including enough open seats for families to sit together.
Our average weekly attendance for the twelve months ending October 31, 2019 was 140 people. While this average weekly attendance is down about 17% from the prior twelve months, it is still right at 80% of our seating capacity. While we continue to monitor our Sunday morning attendance, your Board is committed to welcoming not just our current members and attendees – but those who have not yet found us. We believe that continuing with two Sunday services is critical to honoring this commitment.
Another common question is whether the decline in attendance is cause for concern. In short, we don’t believe so. All congregations have ups and downs in attendance, and often we can’t explain the reasons – they are as unique as the lives of each of the people who come. We also view attendance in the context of larger national trends. The Pew Research Center has found that in recent years, the percentage of U.S. adults who say they regularly attend religious services has been declining, while the share of Americans who attend “only a few times a year, seldom or never” has been growing, even among those who report that their religion is important to them.
Sunday morning attendance is only one metric of our community’s health. We also consider attendance in the broader context of participation in our small groups and teams, trends in contributions (see the Treasurer’s report for the quarter ended September 30, 2019 below), and engagement with other aspects of our community including HeartWorks projects and guest speakers – all of which are positive indicators of WellSprings’ strength.
We are always glad to see you, whenever and however you join us!
Treasurer’s Report for the quarter ended September 30, 2019
The first quarter of our fiscal year, the quarter ending on September 30, was financially strong for WellSprings Congregation. While our budget anticipated a deficit of over $3,000, actual income came in slightly positive. This was driven by slightly higher contributions offset by lower expenses than expected. Please see the attached chart for details.
The Board of Trustees worked hard to create a realistic budget for this fiscal year. We are happy to see such positive early results.
Thank you for all the ways you contribute to WellSprings. Each of us, in so many ways, makes it possible for WellSprings to open doors and change lives.
Connecting with Us
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us with your questions or feedback.
Sharon Bader (Secretary), Chris Chepel (President), Julie Choi (Vice President), Ted Howe (Vice President), and Josie Waldman (Treasurer)