Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin...

For those of you not familiar with the story and Daniel 5, that's "The Writing on the Wall". And its there for all to see in the latest statistics of United States Christian denominations collected by the US National Council of Churches, and published in their Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches for 2007.

ENI reports that membership in the "old line mainline" (as Fr Neuhaus calls them) denominations are continuing to decline, while membership in Catholic, Mormon and Pentecostal churches continue to grow at figures of around 1-2% a year (the Baptist's barely scrape in any recorded growth). Here's the list of the top 10 - the red ones are growing, the blue ones are decreasing (Nb. the Episcopal Church doesn't rank on this list -- it only comes in at number 15).

1. The Catholic Church (69 135 254 members, an increase of 1.94 percent).
2. The Southern Baptist Convention (16 270 315 members, an increase of 0.02 percent).
3. The United Methodist Church (8 075 010 members, a decrease of 1.36 percent).
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (5 690 672 members, an increase of 1.63 percent).
5. The Church of God in Christ (5 499 875 members, no increase or decrease).
6. National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (5 million members, no increase or decrease).
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (4 850 776 members, a decrease of 1.62 percent).
8. National Baptist Convention of America (3.5 million, no increase or decrease).
9. Presbyterian Church (USA) (3 098 842 members, a decrease of 2.84 percent).
10. Assemblies of God (2 830 861 members, an increase of 1.86 percent).

Here are the "also rans", similarly coded:

11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
13. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
14. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,440,864, reporting a decrease of .93 percent.
15. Episcopal Church, 2,247,819, reporting a decrease of 1.59 percent.
16. Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, reporting an increase of 9.30 percent (This increase reports the church's growth since its last reported figures in 1999.)
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
18. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,440,405 members, reporting an increase of .53 percent.
20. American Baptist Churches in the USA, 1,396,700, reporting a decrease of 1.97 percent.
21. United Church of Christ, 1,224,297, reporting a decrease of 3.28 percent.
22. Baptist Bible Fellowship International, 1,200,000, no increase or decrease reported.
23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 1,071,615 members, no increase or decrease reported.
24. The Orthodox Church in America, 1,064,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
25. Jehovah's Witnesses, 1,046,006 members, reporting an increase of 1.56 percent.

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