Saturday, January 3, 2004
Sixteen fastest growing churches.
Updated 1.5.05: The information in this year-old entry is based on data collected through early 2003. The 2003 figures, however, may actually reflect the church membership figures from 2001-02. This list should not be interpreted as a reflection of current rates of growth — and, unfortunately, I don't yet have comprehensive updated figures.
Sixteen congregations have contributed a whopping 24% of the Unitarian Universalist Association's membership growth over the last decade. (These 16 churches grew by 200 or more members between 1993 and 2003.) Forty-six other churches added between 100 and 199 members each, and are responsible for another 40% of the UUA's growth. In other words, 62 of the UUA's 1,000+ churches account for 64% of the Association's growth over the last decade. All the remaining congregations accounted for only 36% of the Association's membership growth. Amazing.
I've been working on extracting some interesting information from the comprehensive tables Peter Morales prepared for the UUA's district executives and others involved in promoting effective strategies for membership growth. This post is the first part of that extraction effort.
The following table lists the 16 congregations that reported more than 200 new adult members between 1993 and 2003. There's no magic here: Peter simply put each congregation's reported membership for each of the last ten years into a district-by-district spreadsheet, and computed the change. (There are some questionable figures in the data, which I've noted. Some of these are probably errors in the congregation's reporting methods.)
For each congregation, the first number is the most recent number of members (voting adults), as reported in the 2003-2004 UUA Directory. The number in parentheses is the difference between the 1993 number and the 2003 number. I've added each congregation's founding date — some are very old, and a few are less than a decade old — each congregation's location and district, and the names of its ministers (with the date of installation in parentheses).
- First Unitarian Society 1300 (+436)
Madison, Wis. 1879 (Central Midwest)
Rev. Michael A. Schuler (1988) - Rev. Scott G. Prinster (assist. 2002) - Rev. Kellyjane Crocker (contract 2001)
- Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation 359 (+359*)
Oak Park, Ill. 1994* (Central Midwest)
Rev. Alan Taylor (2003)
*Unity Temple was founded in 1871; the 2003-2004 UUA Directory, however, gives 1994 as the founding date. Assuming the congregation had not grown significantly between 1993 and 1994, the actual growth rate would be +92, not +359.
- Unitarian Universalist Church 1082 (+277)
Arlington, Va. 1948 (Joseph Priestley)
Rev. Michael A. McGee (1999), Rev. Linda O. Peebles (relig. ed. 2001), Rev. Sarah M. York (interim 2003)
- First Unitarian Universalist Church 716 (+264)
Ann Arbor, Mich. 1865 (Heartland)
Dr. Kenneth P. Phifer (1980)
- First Unitarian Universalist Church 604 (+260)
Austin, Texas 1951 (Soutwest)
Dr. Davidson Loehr (2000)
- First Unitarian Church 1002 (+247)
Portland, Ore. 1866 (Pacific Northwest)
Rev. Dr. Marilyn J. Sewell (1992), Rev. Thomas G. Disrud (assoc. 1995)
- Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 391 (+230)
Appleton, Wis. 1957 (Central Midwest)
Rev. Roger Bertschausen (1990)
- Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 565 (+230)
Raleigh, N.C. 1949 (Thomas Jefferson)
Rev. Julie Denny-Hughes (1999), Rev. Donald E. Garrett Jr. (assist. 2002)
- First Parish 725 (+225)
Brewster, Mass. 1700 (Ballou-Channing)
Rev. James A. Robinson (1982)
- Atkinson Memorial Church 222 (+222*)
Oregon City, Ore. 1844 (Pacific Northwest)
Dana Elizabeth Worsnop (2003)
*The congregation apparently revived its UUA ties in 1997, creating a sudden spike in its reported membership, although the congregation itself appears not to have grown quite so dramatically.
- First Unitarian Society 640 (+217)
Milwaukee, Wis. 1842 (Central Midwest)
Rev. Andrew C. Kennedy (1986)
- Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 213 (+213)
Dayton, Ohio 1998* (Heartland)
Rev. Richard Venus (1991*)
*The 2003-2004 UUA Directory reports that the Rev. Venus has been serving in Dayton, Ohio, since 1991, but reports that the congregation was founded in 1998. If the congregation was founded before 1994, the rate of growth may be slower than shown here.
- Unitarian Universalist Community Church 210 (+210)
Glen Allen, Va. 1994 (Thomas Jefferson)
Rev. Timothy Kutzmark (2000)
- East Shore Unitarian Church 611 (+207)
Bellevue, Wash. 1950 (Pacific Northwest)
Rev. Peter J. Luton (1994)
- Foothills Unitarian Church 493 (+206)
Fort Collins, Colo. 1898 (Mountain Desert)
Dr. Marc A. Salkin (1991)
- First Unitarian Church 841 (+205)
Dallas, Texas 1899 (Southwest)
Rev. Dr. Laurel E. Hallman (1987), Rev. Daniel C. Kanter (2001)
Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 3 January 2004 at 9:44 PM