Why are some Christian churches so massive

Churches are losing members massively

Like many institutions, the Protestant Church is under stress in the current corona crisis. "Unfortunately, we are currently pretty busy," says the press office of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (EKBO). The church offers advice on how to organize everyday family life in Corona times and supports neighborhood help. In addition, digital beliefs are being developed. So that funeral ceremonies for the deceased are still possible, the cemetery administrations have adapted the requirements to the prevention rules. To what extent this important crisis intervention by the church could also affect membership numbers is still unclear. But: "The need for community is strong these days," says Amet Bick, EKBO's press spokeswoman.

The fact is, last year the number of church members in the capital continued to decline sharply. This emerges from the response of the Senate Department for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-Discrimination to a written request from the Member of Parliament Sebastian Schluesselburg (left), which "new Germany" is exclusively available in advance. According to this, the Evangelical Church in Berlin had to cope with 12 196 withdrawals last year according to the provisional status. In absolute terms, the number of members of the Evangelical Church fell from 558 992 to 534 036 members. This continued the decline that began in 2014 - at that time the Evangelical Church still had 611,800 members. In addition, the Berlin district courts recorded 8,719 withdrawals from the Roman Catholic Church in 2019. Compared to the previous year 2018, the number of people leaving the church in the two large regional churches in Berlin increased by over 20 percent. According to the statistical yearbook, the Catholic Church in Berlin still had 326 095 members in 2018.

»The trend of the past few years continues. Fewer and fewer people in Berlin are members of one of the two large Christian churches «, explains Sebastian Schluesselburg» nd «. In the meantime, combined, it is less than a quarter of all Berliners. The Left MP says: "Against this background, some privileges of the Christian churches are increasingly becoming an anachronism."
"The decline in church membership is very painful," says Bick. The causes are diverse: demographic change, increasing secularization, the erosion of approval for large institutions and organizations, according to the press spokeswoman for the Evangelical Church.

But perhaps the practice of the two large regional churches also contributes to the increase in the number of withdrawals? As can be seen from the answer of the red-red-green Senate to a further written question from MP Schluesselburg, the two regional churches in Berlin are tasked with sending out questionnaires with a letterhead "Church tax office at the tax office" in order to clarify the arrival of people with no religious affiliation whether there is a church affiliation, if applicable.

"I find it particularly questionable, also for data protection reasons, that church institutions seem to work largely uncontrolled with the registration data of Berliners," said Sebastian Schluesselburg, the spokesman for law and data protection for the left-wing parliamentary group in the House of Representatives. From the MP's point of view, an examination by the data protection officer Maja Smoltczyk might be indicated. “In addition, as my question shows, the actions of the church tax offices elude any parliamentary control, although they act on the basis of legal authorization. That is unacceptable, «says Schluesselburg.

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