- - Saturday, June 27, 2015

Three out of the four major Presbyterian denominations in North America experienced growth over the past year. As reported at The Layman:

While the Presbyterian Church (USA) is in a decades-long membership decline, two other Presbyterian denominations are growing, according to their respective statistics, and a third, while having a slight decrease in its membership totals, grew by five churches during the year.

ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians — In 2014, the newest member of the Presbyterian family of denominations, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, had 77 churches join the denomination. Between January and May of 2015, 17 more churches had joined. On June 5, the web site listed 208 congregations and 305 pastors in the denomination. Dana Allin, synod executive of ECO, told The Christian Post that “Roughly 190 congregations were formerly PCUSA. Some have been church plants and some have not been connected to a denomination previously but have seen how being a part of ECO can help their mission.”

Evangelical Presbyterian Church — As the Evangelical Presbyterian Church prepares for its 35th General Assembly this June, denominational reports show that 46 new churches have joined the EPC since last year’s General Assembly. As of May 26, 2015, the EPC has 566 churches, compared to 520 on May 30, 2014. The EPC tracks church movement from May of one year until May of the next, with the list being revealed at the annual June General Assembly meeting.

Presbyterian Church in America —The Presbyterian Church in America also experienced an increase in the total number of churches in 2014 — from 1,494 churches at the end of 2013, to 1,499 by the close of 2014. However, membership decreased in 2014 by 1,318 members. Total membership in 2014 was 358,516, while in 2013 it was 359,834.

Presbyterian Church (USA) — The PCUSA’ 2014 comparative statistics recently released by the Office of the General Assembly reported that the PCUSA dismissed 101 congregations to other denominations in 2014 and closed or dissolved 36 churches. However, the statistics also show that there are 209 fewer churches in 2014 – 9,829 – than there were in 2013 when there were 10,038 PCUSA churches. No churches joined the PCUSA in 2014.

Read the entire story here. The journalist, Paula Kincaid, gathered the facts from statistical information self-reported by the various denominations. Kincaid is a colleague at the Presbyterian Lay Committee.

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