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  – 12.04.2006

[Austria] Enjoyable Development in Protestant Church: Noticeably More People Joining, Fewer Leaving

Statistic 2005 Published – Bishop Sturm: Inviting Church even beyond the Limits of the Members

Vienna (epd Ö) – During the last year, noticeably more people have joined the Protestant Church than the year before; the number of people leaving the Church has decreased at the same time. According to statistics for 2005, published on Friday, April 7th, the number of entries has increased by 14% compared to 2004, while the number of leavings has decreased by 4% Austria-wide. One can denote a clear “plus” in the official acts as well: the number of baptisms had increased by 6%, the number of weddings had increased by 3.69%, and more teenagers were confirmed (+3.64%). Overall, the Protestant Church can hold its member level steady this way: at the cut-off date, December 31st, 2005, 324,296 people were members of the Evangelical Church A.C. in Austria; 325,429 the previous year (-0.35%). The Evangelical Church H.C. in Austria has 9,947 members (-0.98%); 6,091 people of Reformed confession live in parishes of the Evangelical Church A.C. (+5.42%).

The Lutheran Bishop Mag. Herwig Sturm attributes this enjoyable development to the process of organisation development to which the Church had faced up to the past three years and which runs in the second phase currently. “How we stand has become a strong issue for us. In this positive development, we detect the fruit of an intensive preoccupation with our Church”, said the Bishop to epd Ö. The Protestant Church was an “inviting church”, even beyond the limits of its members. The point was to strengthen the ties to the parish members to “visibly turn to the people outside of the congregation”. The topic “Spirituality” that had defined the past year, as well as the “Child Friendly Church” as current focal point had let the congregations experience “encouragement and strength”.

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