Religion: Methodist Malaise

The United Methodist Church is a case of a great American success story that is going bad. Once a movement that leaped like brush fire along the 19th century frontier, the U.M.C. has suffered a net loss of 518,000 members in the past four years—the biggest of any church in U.S. history. Over a longer time span Sunday school attendance has slid by onefourth, the once-prized foreign missionary force by one-fifth. A recent survey by U.M.C. program planners found that grass-roots Methodists bitterly distrust church officials.

At the church's General Conference in Atlanta, which...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!