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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Fastest growing congregations in 2005.

Here are some of the fastest growing UU congregations in 2005-2006:

Large congregations (550 members+)

  • First Unitarian, San Diego, CA 728 members (+100), 15.9% growth
  • First UU Church, Columbus, OH 636 members (+86), 15.6% growth
  • All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK 1260 members (+160), 14.5% growth
  • All Souls Church, Washington, D.C. 636 members (+76), 13.6% growth
  • White Bear Unitarian Church, Mahtomedi, MN 560 members (+59), 11.8% growth
  • Mid-size congregations (300-550 members)

  • Olympia Brown UU Church, Racine, WI 320 members (+95), 42.2% growth
  • UU Church of Nashua, NH 334 (+61), 22.3% growth
  • Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL 440 members (+64), 17.0% growth
  • First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI 439 members (+59), 15.5% growth
  • UU Church West, Brookfield, WI 401 members (+52), 14.9% growth
  • Fox Valley UU Fellowship, Appleton, WI 458 members (+58), 14.5% growth
  • Mid-size congregations (100-300 members)

  • UU Congregation of Gwinnet, Lawrenceville, GA 134 members (+30), 28.8% growth
  • James Reeb UU, Madison, WI 127 members (+25), 24.5% growth
  • Pacific Unitarian Church, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 252 members (+44), 21.2% growth
  • UU Cong. South County, Wakefield, RI 121 members (+21), 21.2% growth
  • High Plains UU Church, Colorado Springs, CO 125 members (+21), 20.2% growth
  • Small congregations (50-100 members)

  • UU Church, Santa Clarita, CA 68 members (+20), 44.7% growth
  • UU Fellowship of Marion County, Summerfield, FL 78 members (+20), 34.5% growth
  • UU Cong. of Whidbey Island, Freeland, WA 65 members (+16), 32.3% growth
  • UU Fellowship, Salisbury, MD 56 members (+11), 24.4% growth
  • UU Fellowship of Plattsburgh, NY 92 members (+18), 24.3% growth
  • Are you a part of a congregation that grew and should be recognized? Leave a note in the comments section or send me an email. I apologize in advance for any omissions.

    Copyright © 2006 by Thom Belote | Posted 7 February 2006 at 5:44 PM

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    Scott Wells:

    February 7, 2006 08:07 PM | Permalink for this comment

    I've done a different work-up at my blog.

    Jamie Goodwin:

    February 8, 2006 05:22 PM | Permalink for this comment

    I have no idea if it has anything to do with the growth of that Church, but the Minister at First UU in Columbus is Mark Belletini.. one of the most popular ministers out there.


    February 8, 2006 06:43 PM | Permalink for this comment

    The current minister in First San Diego is Arvid Straube, previously the minister of Eno River Fellowship in Durham, NC, which also had phenomenal growth while he was there. This man must have a gift.

    Pat McLaughlin:

    February 8, 2006 07:11 PM | Permalink for this comment

    No slight to Rev. Straube, whom I've met and admire. We're close enough to First San Diego that I'm schlepping my son back and forth for the Jr. High OWL program at First right now. It's not an hour away... but close.

    I've a friend on the board there, as well.

    First suffered a significant decline in membership for two reasons. The first is that they were... um... liberal in their counting methodology. I say that coming from a congregation that borders on the anal-retentive about such things. So once people tightened things up, First shrank. At the same time, more or less, First had its ministers, the Owen-Towles, leave after 25 years. Some people who were fans of Tom and Carolyn and had never really had any other minister... anywhere... fell off the rolls. The interims weren't bad, they were just not Tom and Carolyn. It was a tough, needed experience -- I believe -- for First.

    Now, some of those folk are coming back; they've had enough time to get over it... and Arvid's a capable preacher and pastor.

    So, to be fair? Yes, the man does have a gift. But don't put him on a pedestal yet, because I fear it might be setting him up for a fall. See where the numbers are in another year or two.

    I'd be happy (delighted!) to eat my words. But I'm going to hazard that at least half of First's growth is "regrowth". I believe that they're now getting close to recovering to their real size of a couple years back (accounting for the change in member-count...) and so... if they're at or close to 1000 (or more!) in a couple years, then I'll be really impressed. GIven Rev. Straube's history, however... I'm not discounting the possibility that he'll keep it up.

    One year stats are deceptive--or can be. I'm chortling over the 18 new members we just brought in... but unless that's more than just a statistical blip, it's not very meaningful. Growth over time will count more. 5% annually over 4 years will mean more, and mean more growth too, than 20% all in one year.

    Joe Stone:

    February 8, 2006 10:32 PM | Permalink for this comment

    I don't see mention of my congregation, Jefferson Unitarian in Golden, CO. I'm curious to see if there are any numbers out there. This is the church where Peter Morales has recently come back to. We have seen phenomenal growth in the past year. I wish I had the numbers but I'm afraid I don't. I'm told that we are now the largest congregation in the Mountain Desert District. Does anyone have stats to validate that?

    Joe Stone:

    February 8, 2006 10:42 PM | Permalink for this comment

    Sorry Scott,

    I didn't see the numbers you've put on your site. Thanks for the stats.


    February 10, 2006 03:13 AM | Permalink for this comment

    I have met few American UU ministers, for obvious reasons, but I feel privileged to have met both Straube and Morales in my trips to the US. I have attended Eno River a few times while Straube was there, and I can call Peter Morales a good friend. I admire them both for their talent and their hard work to make their congregations grow.

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