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Membership in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) declined again last year          Send a link to a friend

[June 18, 2007]  LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Membership in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) declined again last year, dropping by more than 46,000 in 2006, the denomination says.

The number of active Presbyterians fell from 2,313,662 in 2005, to 2,267,118 in 2006, according to an annual church survey released June 7. Baptisms in the same period also declined -- by 946 for adults to 8,297, and by 234 for children to 30,493.

In addition, the number of congregations fell by 56 to 10,903.

Like other mainline Protestant denominations, the Presbyterians have seen membership rolls shrink over the last couple of decades. In 2004 and 2005 alone, the denomination lost 48,474 active members.

The latest drop comes as fighting intensifies within the church over how Presbyterians should interpret Scripture. Congregants are divided over whether the Bible bars gay relationships, among other theological issues.

The largest congregation in the Pittsburgh Presbytery, Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in McCandless Township, recently voted to leave the denomination and join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, a smaller, more conservative group.

[Associated Press]


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