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1999 NCC News Archives

1999 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches Now Off Press
New & Updated Listings, Data & Analysis Make it the "Most Valuable Yearbook Ever"

"Findings" from the 1999 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches
1999 Yearbook an Invaluable Tool for Local Church Ministry

March 5, 1999, NEW YORK – Just off press, the 1999 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches arguably is the most valuable in the book’s 67-year history, with more than one thousand updates and two new chapters enhancing its value for local church ministry.

Already recognized as the most up-to-date, comprehensive available summary of membership and financial data from North America’s churches, the annual Yearbook, prepared by staff of the National Council of Churches, also offers extensive descriptions and directories of national and regional denominational and ecumenical bodies. The 1999 Yearbook lists more U.S. church bodies than ever before – 213 in all.

Trends essays in the 1999 Yearbook include a reflection on "American Religion at the Millennium’s End" by Gustav Niebuhr, Senior Religion Correspondent for The New York Times. Statistical charts and commentaries on a century of church growth in the United States and Canada go hand in hand with data on the continuing "flattening out" of "mainline" membership losses and "non-mainline" gains, along with evidence that giving to churches continues to increase.

In its 408 pages – a more than 30-page increase over 1998 – the 1999 Yearbook also includes:

The 1999 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches is edited by the Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, the NCC’s Associate General Secretary for Christian Unity; published by Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tenn., and available for U.S.$35 (including shipping) through the NCC’s Yearbook Office (212-870-2031) and at local bookstores across the United States and Canada.

"From the pulpit to the pew, from the podium to the press, this is the book for anyone who has anything to do with religion!" said Roger Burgess, director of Friendship Press, New York City, hailing its value for local churches, denominational and ecumenical leaders, journalists, seminary and public libraries, researchers and scholars alike.

Said Sylvia Ronsvalle, executive vice president of the empty tomb, inc., a Christian research and service organization based in Champaign, Ill., the Yearbook is "a vital source for researchers, scholars and any interested church person and consolidates information from many denominations into one central location."

Greta Lauria of Louisville, Ky., secretary/treasurer of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, added, "Over the years, the Yearbook has become like a friend you can always count on to give you the information you need. The Yearbook belongs in the library of anyone who has a serious interest in the church."

The improvements in the 1999 Yearbook anticipate additional enhancements over the next three years, thanks to a $635,000 redevelopment grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. With the grant, the Yearbook will computerize its 67-year database on church membership and finances, develop new user-friendly CD-ROM and Web-based products to supplement its annual print edition, institute electronic data gathering and enhance its marketing.

Here are some other features of the 1999 Yearbook:

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