News and notes of interest to the religious, spiritual and
volunteer communities of metro Atlanta
From staff and wire reports
Saturday, April 21, 2001
By the numbers: SBC members near 16 million
Membership in churches of the Southern Baptist Convention is nearing
the 16 million mark.
The total number of members reached an all-time high of 15,960,308
in 2000, the denomination reported.
That total reflects a 0.68 percent increase of 108,552 members,
according to the Annual Church Profile, compiled by the LifeWay
Christian Resources division of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The 2000 total of 414,657 baptisms represented a decline of 4,685
from 1999. Sunday morning average worship attendance increased 2.33
percent, totaling 5,544,439 in 2000, compared with 5,418,348 in
Total receipts were $8,437,177,940, an increase of 8.55 percent.
Sunday school enrollment increased by 38,958, or 0.48 percent,
in 2000. The total enrollment of 8,186,415 followed a 0.01 percent
decrease in 1999.
'OLD ORDER' GROUPS: Amish thriving
Amish communities and other isolated religious colonies are thriving
by persuading their children to continue their largely preindustrial
ways and remain with their churches, according to a new study.
The Amish, the largest of four ''Old Order'' groups examined, keep
more than 75 percent of their children in the fold, according to
Hutterites, the nation's oldest rigidly communal Protestant order,
persuade more than 95 percent of their young to remain in the large
agricultural communes located mostly in the northwestern United
States and western Canada.
''Simply making babies will not ensure growth,'' said Don Kraybill,
co-author of the study. ''Children must be persuaded to stay with
the church as adults. And the surprise is that they are.''
Results from the 10-year study have been compiled in a book published
this month, ''On the Backroad to Heaven'' (Johns Hopkins University
Press). It is billed as one of the most extensive studies ever conducted
of the Old Order religious groups.
UNIFICATION CHURCH: 'We Will Stand' tour
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon culminated a 52-city speaking tour upholding
marriage and traditional families with a Washington appearance this
''The divorce rate of around 50 percent is completely obliterating
the sanctity of the family,'' said the Unification Church leader
in prepared remarks before 2,000 people, including many clergy.
''The fact that black people, white people and yellow people (can
be) married couples is among the most significant factors in accomplishing
The ''We Will Stand'' tour has drawn an estimated 100,000 listeners
nationwide, The Washington Times reported. It began Feb. 25 in the
Bronx, N.Y., and Moon was scheduled to complete his travels with
appearances in West Virginia and Vermont on Tuesday. The tour passed
through Atlanta last month.
Officials have described the tour as a ''substantial interfaith
movement.'' Blacks and Asians from the nation's inner cities have
especially supported the events that have focused on traditional
sexual morality and racial reconciliation.