WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it, including how and if we worship. A lack of religion nationwide is concerning to the faith-based community and beyond.
In fact, as we approach Easter Sunday, church membership in the U.S. has reportedly fallen below the majority for the first time in a century.
It’s a topic we’ve discussed on The Good Word podcast for the last several weeks. How a lack of religion is impacting society.
More than a year after the coronavirus struck, new reports indicate the number of Americans who consider themselves a member of any congregation has dropped below 50 percent.
For the last year, many have watched church online due to the coronavirus pandemic and many have not.
"Yes, it’s true that the lack of religion is difficult right now but the issues we’ve been working with in the recent year have really driven people back to their roots of faith," but not all says Museum of the Bible CEO Harry Hargrave. "You may be going through a very dry spell in your life. At the Museum of the Bible, we think the answer lies within the Bible."
A recent Gallop Poll says the decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference.
A sentiment possibly intensified during the pandemic.
"A lot of that frustration at the Capitol had to do with frustration born out of people not listening to each other. To say we have a lack of religion, perhaps, people are not practicing their faith," said Hargrave in an interview with FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis.
"There are individuals who are very comfortable with being online. Some people have made up in their minds that I’m never going to go back to a church building," said Kingdom Fellowship Church pastor Dr. Shakinah Dunbar Rawlings.
Rawlings says virtual church services are the new norm and reality.
Gallop says in 2020, 47 percent of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50 percent in 2018 and 70 percent in 1999.
Co-Pastor Susie Owens from Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church says, "With every crisis there are also opportunities. We found that people during this time are searching for some type of comfort, some type of calm, some type of peace."
In Northeast D.C. at Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, Bishop Alfred Owens and co-pastor Susie Owens are preparing to welcome back members for the first time since the pandemic started on Easter Sunday.
"This will be a fresh start for Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church with a new opportunity to reach those as you mentioned who don’t know the Lord," said Bishop Alfred Owens
Gallop Poll says church membership was 73 percent when Gallup first measured it in 1937. It remained near 70 percent for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline.