Jehovah’s Witnesses are the fastest-growing church body in the U.S. and Canada, now with more than 1 million members, according to new figures that track church membership in the U.S. and Canada.Although Jehovah’s Witnesses ranked 24th on the list of 25 largest churches, they reported the largest growth rate — 2.25 percent — of all churches. The badly divided Episcopal Church, meanwhile, reported the largest drop, at 4.15 percent.
The 2008 Yearbook of Canadian and American Churches, produced by the New York-based National Council of Churches, recorded growth trends in 224 national church bodies, with a combined membership of 147 million Americans.
The 2008 Yearbook is based on self-reported membership figures for 2006, the most recent year available.
The Roman Catholic Church, with 67.5 million members, remains the largest U.S. church body, with a 2006 increase of 0.87 percent. The second largest church, the Southern Baptist Convention (16.3 million) has more than twice the number of members as the United Methodist Church, the third largest, which documented 7.9 million U.S. members.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at 5.7 million U.S. members (1.56 percent increase) and the Church of God in Christ, with a steady 5.5 million, round out the top five.