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From 2012 to 2022, United Church of Christ Experienced a Loss of 286,000 Members and 550 Churches

United Church of Christ Lost over 286K Members, 550 Churches between ’12-’22

As per a recent report from the UCC Center for Analytics, Research & Development and Data, the United Church of Christ (UCC) witnessed a decline of over 286,000 members between 2012 and 2022. Over the span of this decade, the mainline Protestant denomination, known for its theological liberalism, saw a net loss of 286,610 members and 551 congregations.

According to The Christian Post, the UCC experienced a reduction in congregations, dropping from 4,794 to 4,603, and a decrease in membership from around 773,000 to approximately 712,000 during this period. Notably, the 2022 membership figures marked a significant contrast to 1960, when the denomination boasted around 2.24 million members, more than three times the present count.

In 2022 alone, the UCC removed 128 congregations from its records, indicating a 50.6 percent increase compared to the previous year, where 85 congregations were removed.

The report attributes this rise in congregation removals to a new policy implemented by the UCC’s Board of Directors, which removes inactive churches from records after two years unless the Conference requests an extension or updates the inactive designation.

The report acknowledges that the inaugural year of this policy may lead to a higher number of removals and suggests that future data collection will reveal whether removals return to previous levels.

Another substantial decline occurred between 2005 and 2007, marked by the UCC losing nearly three congregations per week on average. This period coincided with the passage of a resolution supporting same-sex marriage during the 2005 General Synod.

CARDD Director Erica Dollhopf, in a recent statement, expressed her hope that the report would assist local congregations in identifying strengths and finding inspiration for new pathways to flourishing.

Dollhopf also highlighted the report’s observation that smaller UCC congregations exhibited the highest percentage of volunteer engagement for various projects and ministries, emphasizing their close-knit and highly involved communities.

The report revealed that 83.1 percent of the UCC identifies as white, with 4.8 percent being African American, 4 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent Hispanic. Last year, during the 2023 General Synod meeting, the UCC elected its first female president and general minister, Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, who expressed hope and resilience in her nomination speech.

Milton Quintanilla, a freelance writer and content creator, contributed to this report and is known for his work with Christian Headlines and the For Your Soul Podcast, exploring sound doctrine and biblical truth. Quintanilla holds a Master of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

The podcast also features a discussion with Christian artists Shane and Shane on family, faith, and mentoring in a culture seeking fulfillment. The views expressed in the podcast are those of the speakers and are not necessarily reflective of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

A video titled “5 Signs Your Church Might Be Heading Toward Progressive Christianity” is available for viewing. It features stock footage and music courtesy of Soundstripe.com, with a thumbnail by Getty Images.

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