Church membership for more than a third of the nation's largest churches took a hit last year while non-Orthodox Christian churches are on the rise, a new report on denominations finds.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's second largest denomination, reported a .42 percent decline in membership to 16,160,088 members, according to National Council of Churches' 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, released Monday.
Still dominating the list of the nation's top 25 mainline churches is the Catholic Church, which posted a .57 growth at 68.5 million members. more >>
The reality of sexual misconduct and abuse within the church has prompted United Methodists to come together this week to confront the problem and discuss ways to make the church a safe place.
Though the denomination has already taken steps to address the issue, more has to be done to help heal those hurt by the church, said M. Garlinda Burton, the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women, according to the denomination's news service.
"I estimate that at least one-third to one-half of the dozens of victim-survivors I’ve counseled during the past eight years have left the church, either in shame or frustration, because they found no justice or healing," she told hundreds of lay and clergy leaders during the Do No Harm 2011 sexual ethics summit in Houston this week. more >>
Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson is leaving the Episcopal Church for the Catholic Church to distance herself from the pro-choice agenda.
Johnson, along with her husband, Doug, and 4-year-old daughter, are in the process of joining the Catholic Church in Bryan, Texas. Her decision was fueled by her Episcopal church’s reaction to her conversion from pro-choice to pro-life.
“They weren’t all that supportive of her decision to leave Planned Parenthood,” said Shawn Carney, campaign director for 40 Days for Life, to The Christian Post. Carney was the first person Johnson reached out to from the pro-life movement after she rejected the pro-choice stance. She is also attending the Catholic Church that Carney had attended while living in Texas. more >>
The United Methodist Church's highest court recently denied requests to reconsider a 2005 decision that granted a pastor the right to bar a gay man from becoming a church member.
The Judicial Council ruled last weekend to leave the decision alone.
"Let the decision rest where it may. Changing metaphors, let us not resurrect a dead horse which, by all indications, may be further beaten up," wrote Ruben T. Reyes in a concurring opinion. "There is no need to reconsider, abandon, overturn or withdraw [the decision]." more >>
The United Methodist Church has begun to see an increase in the number of young clergy after decades of decline, a new report reveals.
There are now more young local pastors than at any time in recent history, according to the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.
Up from 3.4 percent in 1985, local pastors under the age of 35 now make up 5.8 percent of all 7,341 UMC clergy, including part-time pastors. more >>
WASHINGTON – Christian and Jewish leaders are standing with the Islamic community to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry.
At an "emergency interfaith summit" on Tuesday, a broad group of prominent religious leaders expressed deep distress and sadness against recent incidents of violence and the desecration of Islamic houses of worship.
"In recent weeks, we have become alarmed by the anti-Muslim frenzy that has been generated over the plans to build an Islamic community center and mosque at the Park 51 site near Ground Zero in New York City," the group told the media. "Our concern here is not to debate the Park 51 project anew, but rather to respond to the atmosphere of fear and contempt for fellow Americans of the Muslim faith that the controversy has generated." more >>