The Associated Press reports today that an annual tally of church membership in the U.S. found gains by the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, and the Assemblies of God in 2009, while mainline denominations continued their decades-long decline.
The data was published in the latest Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, released this month by the National Council of Churches, based in New York.
Membership in the Catholic Church rose nearly 1.5 percent to more than 68 million -- the largest denomination by far in the U.S.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- also known as the Mormon Church -- saw a 1.7 percent increase in its U.S. membership to just under 6 million, while the Assemblies of God -- a Pentecostal faith group -- recorded a nearly 1.3 percent increase, to 2.9 million members.
The Southern Baptist Convention -- the nation's largest Protestant group -- reported a slight drop for the second consecutive year by 0.25 percent to about 16.3 million.
Membership in the United Methodist Church dropped by nearly 1 percent last year, to 7.9 million members, but the denomination remains the third largest in the nation.