Wherever Catholics go when they leave, all the evidence is that they aren't heading to the Episcopal Church in significant numbers. And it doesn't look like that many evangelicals are on "the Canterbury Trail" as we used to say back when becoming Episcopalian still looked wildly cosmopolitan and cutting edge. As a young evangelical Quaker (there are maybe 300,000 Quakers in the whole world), Anglicanism looked immense and globe-spanning and in the hiearchy of non-fundamentalism, Episcopalians were (in our eyes) at the far end of the other side of the spectrum, right next to Catholicism. Large, historic, liturgical, established, exotic.
Now the apt word seems "life support".
The average Episcopal Church attendance dropped a staggering 23% in the ten year period between 2000 and 2010 (via Whispers) In 2010, just under 700,000 attended TEC Churches in the whole world.
In the Seattle area, (Diocese of Olympia) where St. Mark's Cathedral still looms and KING FM has broadcast their lovely Sunday evening Compline for many years, average attendance in the whole diocese was 9,500. 9,500? I've worked in Catholic parishes with larger weekly attendance than that.
The Episcopalian Diocese of Quincy, IL attendance has dropped 71% and averages 363 people in attendance at 9 parishes. I've taught Called & Gifted workshops that were larger. No wonder they are openly talking about reuniting with the Diocese of Chicago (attendance: 12,925).
To compare, CARA estimates that on a given Sunday, there are about 22 million Catholics in the pews in the US vs. approximately 657,000 Episcopalians. In other words, there are roughly 33 times as many practicing Catholics as practicing Episcopalians.
This is not a time to gloat but to thoughtfully ponder. A group I spoke to recently about evangelization wanted to look to the experience of mainline Protestants to see what they were doing. Seriously?
If we are serious about evangelization, we would far, far better look to the experience of our evangelical brothers and sisters. 49% of American evangelicals weren't raised as evangelicals while Catholics have the second lowest number of converts of any American religious faith.