Wesleyan Church Denomination In North America Sets New Record In Worship Attendance

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Another evangelical denomination is posting strong growth figures. The Wesleyan Church in North America announced this week that the denomination set a new record in worship attendance. With 234,427 persons attending weekend worship, the denomination registered the highest average attendance in its history. According to Ron McClung, Assistant General Secretary at The Wesleyan Church, attendance in the past decade has increased by 21 percent.

The announcement places the Indiana-based Wesleyan Church among growing denominations such as the Assemblies of God, which last year reported growth in adherents, membership, attendance, baptisms, conversions and credentialed ministers. The report also counters assertions that all churches in America are shriveling.

The growth appears to be more than just members switching from other Christian churches. According to McClung, the 1,680 churches in the denomination reported 32,782 conversions over the past decade, up 44 percent from ten years ago, and 10,842 baptisms, an increase of 48 percent over ten years ago.

The Wesleyan Church is one of a number of theologically conservative Wesleyan denominations that have posted growthover the past generation. The denominations contrast with the Protestant mainline, which has steadily lost members over the same time span.

The Wesleyan Church is part of the holiness movement and has roots in the teachings of John Wesley. Wesleyan and Arminian in doctrine, the church has a missionary and revival emphasis. Organized in 1843, the church split from the Methodist Episcopal Church, a predecessor body of the United Methodist Church, primarily over objections to slavery. According to the bookReformers and Revivals: History of the Wesleyan Church the denomination was also an early proponent of women’s rights, endorsing women’s right to vote in 1867 and ordaining the first woman ordained to the Christian ministry in the United States in 1856.

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SOURCE: Juicy Ecumenism
Jeffrey Walton

 

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