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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Largest Pittsburgh-Area Houses of Worship

Last week The Pittsburgh Business Times published their list of the largest Pittsburgh-Area Houses of Worship.  The ranking was based on "Individual Members".  However, "Family Members" and "Average Weekly Attendance" were also listed.  The largest was St. Ferdinand Roman Catholic Parish in Cranberry Township with 10,949 individual members, 3,655 family members and an average weekly attendance of 3,443.   Interestingly only one Protestant Church was listed among the largest 30 churches - ranked number seven is Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in East Liberty, a predominantly African American congregation with 9,000 members.  Mt Ararat is the largest church listed in terms of average weekly attendance at 4,800.  Interestingly 29 of the 30 largest houses of worship in the Pittsburgh area are Roman Catholic and almost all of them in the suburbs.  I would have thought a few United Methodist or Presbyterian churches would be on the list and certainly non-denominational powerhouses Northway Christian Community or Victory Christian Fellowship both in the North Hills and the Bible Chapel in the South Hills would have made it but obviously I mis-thought.


  1. That is 10,949 jeopardized souls; to say the least.

  2. Of course, the size of Roman Catholic parishes is more a function of a dearth of clergy than an abundance of adherents. People are hardly flocking to Catholic churches for the excellent pastoral care.

  3. You're right Lionel there is some correlation between the size of the parishes and the lack of clergy. However, Roman Catholic has very high denominational loyalty and the Pittsburgh area has a high number of adherents to the Catholic tradition. There also are a high number of ex-Catholics in most Protestant churches.