Kurt Simons made an interesting assertion in “A Note on New Church Government”:

the Academy split came at the end of the nineteenth century, during which church membership had been approximately doubling every decade, ending in the highest membership the US organized New Church ever saw (7,095 in 1890) ([Marguerite Block, The New Church in the New World], p. 173).  But after the split that growth not only stopped, but decline set in, to the smaller numbers that still apply to both bodies today, a century later.

I found that interesting, so looked up the stats cited by Block:

Year Societies Ordained ministers Members
1820 12 8 230
1830 28 16 500
1840 26 20 850
1850 54 32 1,450
1860 64 42 2,550
1870 90 68 4,150
1880 94 94 5,100
1890 154 119 7,095

Unfortunately I don’t have the numbers, right now, for the 20th century, post-schism. Anyone willing to provide those? I’m looking for all North American numbers, not just General Church.

It is interesting to note not just the rapid growth in number of members, but also the corresponding multiplication of congregations. Here’s the above data on a log scale:

New Church Growth in North America, 1820-1890 (Block, p. 173)

New Church Growth in North America, 1820-1890 (Block, p. 173)

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