Like many congregations in the wake of pandemic-era restriction, the first Black church founded in the San Fernando Valley has seen significant declines in membership, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. Membership at Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church in Pacoima has fallen from 200 to 45. The paper turned to CRCC’s Richard Flory to understand the decline:
“The larger context is the increase in religious disaffiliation and people dropping out,” he notes. “The pandemic just put another layer on top of that and made it easier. It’s way easier to drop out if you literally can’t go, than if people are expecting to see you in person there.”
Flory said among experts there’s no consensus about what may happen going forward.
“People will want to go back if for no other reason than a personal contact,” Flory said. “That’s important. In some segments of the population, it will be more important. Such as the Black church. That is much more important (than white churches) because Black churches have been a community institution forever and (do) way more than Sunday mornings. We also know, unrelated to the pandemic, that the Black churches are suffering losses just like any other church, temple or synagogue.”
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