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Church Leaders Pondering Where Are Those Missing Sheep r By Jerry Sheehan Newspaper Enterprise Assn. NEW YORK — (NEA) — The big question before America's church leaders is, "How many sheep have strayed from the fold and where' are they?" The question is prompted by latest figures on church membership which show that the widely heralded back-to- church movement apparently has slowed to a near halt. In past yegrs membership has increased at a faster rate than the general population. Now the rates are nearly even. Two major groups are at this time beyond the reach of pulpits across the land. They could be defined as those: Deduct Youngsters Missing, whereabouts unknown, about 70 million persons who do not claim membership in any organized church. Deducting about 1.3 million children too young to be counted gives a figure equal to the combined population of six large states, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts. AWOL, admitting church . membership but nowhere to be seen on Sunday morning, between 30 and 40 million more persons. Add to the above list of states the rest of New England plus California, New Jersey and Maryland. 114 Million The 1962 Yearbook of American Churches 114 million Americans as members of some religious group. This is an increase of 1.0 per cent over the previous year's figure. Within that increase the Homan Catholic numbers grew by more than 3 per cent .i The general population rose l.S per cent. j According to official esti-| mates, the Catholic popula-' tion now stands at betlcr^ than 42 million; the Protest-' ant, at 63.6 million. .Jewish' synagogue membership is about 5.3 million. ; While these statistics mayi sound solid, the real picliire IS one of confusion for church leaders responsiblo' for building churches where they arc necdc'cl, lor collect ing revenue to keep the or- gaiiizahon running iuid, generally, for bringing the Word to those who arc spiritually deaf. To do lhe.se things lhey| must know who is in church and who isn't. Cite .Survey A recent survey by the National Council of Churches indicated that about half of the Protestant memi)crship at-i tended church regularly. The same sampling indicated that about two-thirds of the Catholics attend fvlass on a regular basis. A sample poll by the t' S lJureau of Census in HiTiT showed about 96 per cent ol the population had a religious picfercme. Questioners did: not in (iuire into attendance Accurate figures on church aiU 'iidaiice or membershii) (irc dilficult to come by f (jr several reasons, .Standard.s Vary In the first pi.ice. some rc li ^'.ious deiiominal ions count ' .IS membpis only those who iu'ive passed their I3ih birtli -i day. Others, like the Roman (al holies, list all baptized faithful. ; 'I he feder.il ).;o\crnnienl, seiisilivc lo the ( hun h sl.ile •'•paration principle, has not brought it.s full resuuKcs In hear (jn the question of (Jiurch Htlcndanee. l^itciii-s on religious practice ucre omitted from the jfiiio (cn .sus. Another clemcnl iipsei i in)^ accurate head • cfjuntiiip, is mistaken repurtmg of membership and uttendanre |.y In (al pastors Su( h mistakes (ould add 'spvf^ral imllion" more people to the Ruman ( atholic rolls, acioiUnir to the Rev, .Iosej)h f, .S( In uei, head of the Fordhani I i;r, ei bily Research Labcjratnty His group 's detailed "sur veys of Catholic churi .'i mem bership are supported tjy the Le Play Research foundation Compiled Yearly Father Scheuer fxiints outi that Catholic membership figures are compiled yearly from reports of every church pastor in the nation. The current tQtal of 43, 104,900. this priest says, is "underestimated." He ex-j plained a possible reason forj the error of "several million":' "Since parish priests are assessed a tax ~ caJJed a cathejjifaticum—by the dio- Church Membership as Percentage of Population in the U.S. terly fails to be a convincing sign to unbelievers." Doctor Wentz, a professor of theology and ethics at Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary, warned: "No one is 'looking at us any more when we dress up on Sunday and parade into the building and sing our hymns. And if they do they think it's just a parade of righteousness and dismiss it as fraternal pageantry or playing at medieval knighthood or simply calculated hypocrisy." The way for the U.S. religious movement to regain its strength, Doctor Wentz said, is for the church to "rediscover the ministry of laymen, a Christian style of life that will provide God's signs for this secular age." State Pilot- Bails Out of Disabled Trainer 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 '55'60 Shadow figures?: Chart shows rise in U.S. church membership as per cent of population. cese on the basis of local die class membership, their figuresljmportant thing is that this naturally tend to be con.serva-i„g^ ^^^^h ^ust be used to help others." Not Convincing five. Cross Freely . "The Protestant faith.s— j and we work closely with them—have a problem as great. Protestants tend toi cross freely to churches out; of their neighborhoods asi they acquire an affiliation ^with a particular preacher. The more rigid parish struc-l ture in the Catholic Churchj simplifies head counting," ! Church membership has' risen in the suburbs, says the; Fordham priest, often be- 1 cause it is the "socially cor-; rect" thing to do as people! acquire more money, "Of course," added Father^ Scheuer, "I won't criticize! countsipeople for moving Into a mid-i OPEN SUNDAY BONNAR'S Sausage Shop open Doily and Sunday 8 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. featuring KllBOURH GARDENS Famous Cabbage Salad rinlH ~(itiarls—(idllonn Smoked Meats, Bokcd Ham, Beer 2615 WASH. AVE. ME 7-6078 WELLS BROS. SUPERMARKET 9 to 12:30 SUNDAY MORNING SPECIALTY ITEMS • Ricotto Cheese • Scuthorn Belle Products • Hogmows and chitterlings PHEASANTS-SQUAB WILD RABBITS 2145 MEAD ME 3-5800 Thrifty Mac, Inc. OPEN 8-5 88' TOOL BARGAINS A^ore Than Juit a Hardware Store 201 1 LATHROP AVE. POLANSKY'S HI-LO SUPERMARKET 8-1 Roundy's OLD TIME CREAM 'I Roundy's Froien Sliced STRAWBERRIES 3 'C' 2501 DOUGLAS ME 3 -3489 EO AIELLO'S RESTAURANT and BAR Open Sunday ttfH\ 1st. t KOM I • NOOV 11) II .10 V .M. NOONOAV I.I M llt.ONS MO.SDAV TiniOl <ill ^ATl«DAy evKMN <i t)IN^IK^ MIOM ft-ll;SO 14th and Grand ME 2-8096 11^. • I Ml, environment. TheiRev. Frederick R. Wentz, is disturbed by the vast numbers of "lost sheep" and by the "AWOL" group. "The trouble with corporate worship in our day, said the theologian, "is that it ut- Sf ate Cheese Unit ^^^^^^ 'SUNDAY BULLETIN Jan, 14,1962 iSec. 1, Page at Names Counsel A Lutheran minister. The MADISON — m — Joseph Balcer of Milwaukee has been named by the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Assn., to be the organization's new executive secretary and legal couri- sel, effective Feb. 1, the board said in an announcement. 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