Diocesan Profile » Who We Are
The Demographics of Our Area
According to a Pew Research study from 2014, New Mexico and the portion of Texas covered by the Diocese of the Rio Grande contained just under three million people. About half of those people live in the two major metropolitan areas around El Paso/Las Cruces and Albuquerque.
People of Hispanic descent make up 58% of the population of the entire area. The border counties run from 65% to 82% Hispanic, while northern counties are 30% to 35% Hispanic. Spanish is the primary language in the homes of 68% of the Hispanic population.
The median age in New Mexico is 37.3 years. It is 31 years for the Hispanic population and 49 for the “other” population. In the Texas counties, the median age is 31 years.
Median household income in New Mexico was $43,872, and in El Paso it was $42,077. In New Mexico, the per capita income for Hispanics was $21,500 and for the other populations $30,000. In Albuquerque, the per capita income was $26,876. In El Paso, it was $20,376.
In New Mexico, U.S. Census Bureau statistics show 48% Hispanic or Latino; 38% white (not Hispanic); 10.5% Native American; 2.6% black; 1.7% Asian; and 2.5% who self-identified with two or more races. The Native American population includes the members of nineteen Pueblos, plus Apache and Navajo peoples.
The military and the defense department plays a big role in the area covered by the Diocese. There are three major Air Force bases and three major defense-related research/test facilities in New Mexico. Fort Bliss, in El Paso, is one of the largest Army posts in the country. Plans are for it to increase dramatically over the next two years. With dependents and civilian support staff that will increase the population of the El Paso area substantially.
Fifty-eight congregations comprise the Diocese of the Rio Grande, ranging in size from fewer than a dozen members to those with two hundred or more. Despite our location in areas with strong Hispanic and Native American presence, our congregations remain overwhelmingly Anglo. The See is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Cathedral Church of St. John is the cathedral of the Diocese.
Over the past decade, the Diocese experienced a reduction in the number of communicants and pledging units, paralleling many dioceses in the United States. Between 2010 and 2015 the average Sunday attendance fell approximately 9% from almost 4,000 in 2010 to 3,650 in 2015.
An examination of data gathered from the annual Parochial Reports prepared by parishes and missions within the Diocese is available through the Episcopal Church national office. The following key measures of size, evangelism, and stewardship provided in the Diocesan Congregational Parochial Reports for 2016 year end, are as follows:
|Active Members||Average Sunday Attendance||Baptisms||Confirmed and Received||Total Plate and Pledge||Total Revenues|
All of our congregations have completed the Asset Map provided by The Episcopal Church. Click here to see our Asset Map.
The parishes and missions of the Diocese can be characterized much like others within the Episcopal Church in the United States: the average age of active baptized members is increasing, while many parishes have declined in membership. There are, however, several congregations growing in size and vitality. As membership declines in many smaller, rural churches, these congregations are less able to support full-time clergy, turning to part-time and bi-vocational priests.
The hope of the Diocese is to reach out to the unchurched and the disenchanted baptized, through active evangelical ministries. With God’s blessing, traditional congregants will invite new and diverse members into the fold of the Episcopal Church, broadening our membership base.
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:27-28)
Average Sunday Attendance
According to the 2016 Annual Reports, more than half our congregations have an average Sunday attendance under 40. Only three churches have an average Sunday attendance over 165.
The See of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Bishop’s Office, with the attending staff, is called Diocesan House.
The year following Bishop Vono’s consecration in 2010, the Diocese purchased a retreat house in Albuquerque, and embarked on construction of what would become The Bosque Conference and Retreat Center. The Bosque facility provides a center for Diocesan House, and a place where all are welcomed to gather and renew amidst the quiet of the cottonwood trees along the Rio Grande. The Conference Room can hold up to 115 people and the Board Room accommodates up to 20. The dining room can serve 100 with a buffet, and 120 with a plated meal, with outside seating for larger groups. There are 39 sleeping rooms for overnight guests. The Bosque Center is important both for accommodating diocesan meetings and outside groups, and is financially self-supporting.
Bishop’s Ridge: Camp Stoney and Recreation Center is outside Santa Fe. Spanning more than 200 acres at 7,400 feet, Camp Stoney and Recreation Center bridges the gap between the serenity of rugged wilderness and the modern conveniences of city life. Situated on the historic Old Santa Fe Trail, it is only 25 minutes from the Santa Fe Plaza and only 45 minutes from the Santa Fe Ski Basin. Bishop’s Ridge: Camp Stoney and Recreation Center has been an inviting presence in the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande for 50 years. When summer camp is not in session, the facilities are available to be rented by families, groups and other programs.