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The 2008 Yearbook of Churches:
don't leave home without it

New York, February 15, 2008 It may not be escapist reading, but the National Council of Churches'  2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches can certainly improve your grasp on reality.

Researchers and scholars have relied on the annual Yearbook since 1916 as the most complete and accurate source available of church membership statistics and financial information. Many religion writers keep a copy of it on their desks for ready access to histories, descriptions and contact information for 224 national church bodies. And each year, pastors and congregation lay leaders discover more reasons the Yearbook should be in their libraries.

"I've been in church settings for a long time, as a pastor, ecumenical staff person and seminary professor," says the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. "My appreciation for the Yearbook continues to grow. When I want to be sure about facts ranging from a date in a communion's history to the address of a city council of churches, it's the first place I look."

There are many other reasons church leaders will find themselves consulting the Yearbook. Among them:

You have been approached by a local pastor of the Apostolic Christian Church. His congregation wishes to discuss with your congregation the possibility of using your sanctuary on Sunday evenings for worship. You wish to present this request to your church board but you are not familiar with this church and its traditions and beliefs. You consult the directory for U.S. Religious Bodies, to read about this denomination. For follow-up questions you contact the church headquarters at the number listed in the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

Tornadoes sweep through a neighboring state and your congregation wants to provide relief supplies and a youth work camp to assist victims. You open the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches and consult the directory of U.S. Ecumenical Bodies, to obtain the name and contact numbers for the councils of churches in the stricken area so you can forge a partnership in a ministry of relief.

There is a large Muslim community in your town. Your church is planning to host a community health fair in the year 2007. You want to be certain that the date will not conflict with any Muslim holidays. You consult the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches to find a date that is respectful of all religious traditions.

Your Stewardship committee is planning a presentation to the congregation to develop financial pledges to the church. Last year per capita giving in your church was $613. The committee is interested in how this compares to giving nationally within your denomination and in others. You consult the statistical information in the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, which allows you to see your pattern of giving within a larger context.

Your congregation will soon celebrate its centennial. A group is working on writing a history of the parish. The group needs to locate some records for your denomination, which are nearly 100 years old. You consult Depositories of Church History Material in the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, which provides the group with the contact information for your denominational archives.

Your congregation, working with other congregations in a local ecumenical agency, recognizes the need to establish a local ecumenical youth ministry. Many ideas about program, focus, cost, and organization are put forward. Consulting the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches chapter index for U.S. Ecumenical Bodies, you note that nearly 40 ecumenical agencies provide such programs. With the contact names and addresses, you suggest your group collect some information about what others are doing.

A young woman in your congregation is interested in pursuing a vocational call. She doesn't know which seminary she should consider and wonders how many women are engaged in theological study. You refer her to the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches where she finds in the directory of U.S. Theological Schools and Bible Colleges, a complete listing of schools with contact information and denominational affiliation. In this section she is able to review seminary enrollment statistics for women over the last decade.

The 2008 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches costs $__ and may be ordered at


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228,
Order the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches at


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