Page 5 - History of the United Methodist Church in Rockingham County
P. 5
History of Congregations of Winchester District June 12, 2016

time, the number of members on the roll becomes quite different from the list of active members who
participate in ministry “by their time, talents, tithes, service, and witness.” Well-meaning church
membership secretaries sometime add back to the membership roll members who have been previously
removed by a charge conference, believing that these persons, whether or not attending church
elsewhere, wish to remain “associated with the congregation.” Worship Attendance. Worship
attendance is often based on estimates made at the end of the year rather than on records of actually
weekly attendance. People who attend worship more than once a week are often doubly counted. The
estimated worship attendance may be based on the experience of the pastor rather than the experience of
a member of the congregation. Sunday School Enrollment and Attendance. Enrollment and attendance
in some churches may be formalized by collecting and recording Sunday school classes lists, but weekly
data may be lacking in many churches. Even when individual Sunday school teachers record who
attends each Sunday, these attendance sheets may not be consulted when it comes time to make the
annual report. The time-honored tradition of quarterly (local) charge conferences has given way to
annual charge conferences, and these meetings do not often take the time and effort to report and amend
statistics. Thus, the editor urges readers to consider church statistics over decades rather than year-to-
year to establish patterns and trends. The editor also suggests that readers not substitute these statistics
for a more effective measure of church vitality.

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