Which is really the largest Unitarian Universalist congregation?
With the majority of congregations reporting membership and attendance figures, I looked at the online list of congregations to see which are the three largest congregations, measured in terms of average attendance (although Unitarian Universalists tend to measure size of congregation by number of certified members, experts on congregational growth at the Alban Institute recommend measuring average attendance).
Here are the top five congregations as measured by the size of their membership:
(1) First Unitarian Church (Portland, OR), 1068 average attendance, 1041 members.
(2) All Souls Unitarian Church (Tulsa, OK), 914 average attendance, 1900 members
(3) Unity Church Unitarian (Saint Paul, MN), 774 average attendance, 859 members
(4) First Unitarian Church (Rochester, NY), 687 average attendance, 955 members
(5) All Souls Church, Unitarian (Washington, DC), 646 average attendance, 878 members [corrected from original post]
Thus, by the standard definition of a mega church (average weekly attendance of over 2,000), there are no Unitarian Universalist congregations that even come close to mega-church size. Just to remind you, there have been Unitarian megachurches in the past — the Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society in Boston in the 1850s, Theodore Parker, minister (possibly the first megachurch anywhere); the Liberal Religious Fellowship in Prague in the 1930s, Norbert Capek, minister; People’s Church in Chicago in the 1920s, Preston Bradley, minister.
For the record, here are the top five Unitarian Universalist congregations in terms of membership (note that two of these congregations have not reported average attendance, which I find very curious):
(1) All Souls Unitarian Church (Tulsa, OK), 1900 members, 914 average attendance
(2) Unitarian Church of All Souls (New York, NY), 1529 members, no reported average attendance
(3) First Unitarian Society (Madison, WI), 1463 members, no reported average attendance
(4) The First Unitarian Church of Dallas (Dallas, TX), 1097 members, 457 average attendance
(5) First Unitarian Church (Portland, OR), 1041 members, 1068 average attendance
A list of Bay Area congregations, listed in order of average attendance, appears after the jump. Continue reading “Playing the numbers game, pt. 2”