Monday, February 18, 2008

Which churches are the country's largest?
February 18, 2008
Julia Duin

It's always intriguing to see which churches have grown and which denominations have faded in the past year. According to the 2008 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches (a Bible of sorts for us religion writers), the fastest-growing religious body in 2007 was the Jehovah's Witnesses at 2.25 percent.

Following them were the Mormons at 1.56 percent and the Roman Catholics at .87 percent. Compare this to last year's states that had the Catholics out front at 1.94 percent, followed by the Assemblies of God at 1.86 and the Mormons at 1.63.

The denomination with the biggest decrease is the Episcopalians at 4.15 percent.There are all sorts of arguments why some of these figures on the list below are bogus. For instance, several of the historic black churches with the "no increase or decrease listed" after their name do not release statistics at all. So the membership figure after their name is a guess at best. Plus churches' standards for membership are different. Baptist groups tend to count only those who have made an adult profession of faith. More liturgical churches include any child that has been baptized.
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