A decrease in Lawrence’s black population has affected attendance at the St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal church in town. Weekly attendance used to hit around 250 people. Now, the Rev. Verdell Taylor Jr. said the church sees about 40 to 50 people a week.
This significant drop reflects demographic data from censusviewer.com: the black population in Lawrence has decreased by 3.5 percent since 2010. According to American Factfinder, Lawrence’s black population was 4,126 people in 2015. College-aged attendees are leaving Lawrence after graduation, contributing to a loss in members, said the Rev. Taylor.
“I believe that’s one of the biggest reasons that you see the decrease in church population or attendance,” said the Rev. Taylor. “Is with younger people in smaller communities such as Lawrence.”