By KIMBERLEE HAUSS RELIGION NEWS SERVICE
Feb. 18, 2010, 4:22PM
U.S. membership has increased in the Catholic Church — the nation’s largest Christian body — but the No. 2 Southern Baptist Convention, along with most mainline Protestant denominations, reported continuing decline, according to new figures released by the National Council of Churches.
Both the Southern Baptists and Catholics reported membership losses in last year’s Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches; in the 2010 edition, however, the Catholics reported a rebound, with a 1.5 percent growth rate, to more than 68 million members.
Southern Baptists held on to the No. 2 spot, at 16.3 million members, but that figure represented a 0.2 percent drop from 2009 and the second consecutive year of decline. The Presbyterian Church (USA) experienced the greatest loss among the top 10 denominations (3.3 percent), down to 2.8 million members.