UMC 101: How many United Methodists are there?
United Methodist Church membership in the U.S. now stands at 8.3 million. Figures have declined since the 1968 merger of the Methodist Church with the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
But in recent years attendance at worship and church school membership figures have increased. For example, in 1993, attendance at the principal weekly worship service averaged 3,394,002.
In 2001 (the latest figure available), attendance averaged 3,546,695, an increase of more than 152,000. In 1999 and 2000, the figures dropped slightly, but attendance figures for the other seven years are higher.
The average United Methodist congregation now has 231 members with an average attendance of 99, up two from the previous year. The average church school membership is now 101, up one.
Statistical reports from churches outside the U.S. show 1,176,000 members in Africa; 79,000 in Europe; and 57,000 in the Philippines.
—The Rev. J. Richard Peck, Nashville, Tenn., is a freelance writer.