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By Sam Hodges
Getting a handle on the organizational health of a large, worldwide denomination is not easy. But key developments in 2013 indicate vigorous responses to the challenges facing The United Methodist Church.
What’s more, the end of the year saw the General Council on Finance and Administration report that worldwide professing membership in The United Methodist Church reached a record high of 12.5 million at the end of 2012.
“The results for 2012 largely fit within the pattern we already know about, where the primary source for growth in membership is in the Global South. That’s both Africa and the Philippines,” said Scott Brewer, associate general secretary for connectional relations.
In the United States, membership continues its slow steady decline, with GCFA reporting 7,390,691 members at the end of 2012, down from 7,481,383 the year before. That decline of a little more than 1 percent is representative of the trend in recent years.
Both globally and in the United States, the denomination saw better-than-projected growth in church starts.