Methodist Church

United Methodist varsities score high in rankings

NASHVILLE — Nearly 30 United Methodist-related schools are listed among America’s top institutions in the 2005 edition of US News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges”.

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, tied for fifth place (with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University), behind Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. The report compared 248 national universities.

“We’re pleased to see Duke ranked once again in the top tier of national universities and cited for so many of its programmes,” said Duke Provost Peter Lange.

“This is wonderful recognition for our faculty, programmes and students, who are arriving back on campus to begin a new semester.”

Emory University in Atlanta is ranked 20th. Other United Methodist schools on the top national list are Syracuse (New York)University (tied for 52nd); Boston University (tied for 56th); Southern Methodist University, Dallas (tied for 71st); and American University, Washington (tied for 86th).

“Each time the US News and World Report (guide) is published, I look eagerly to see where the United Methodist-related colleges and universities are listed, and I am proud when I see rankings that indicate the quality of our educational institutions has improved or been maintained,” said Ms Wanda Bigham, staff executive with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

“At the same time, I realise that academic institutions are diverse, as are students, and that it is important for prospective students and their families to sift through the data to determine what’s important to them — small classes, graduation rates, full-time faculty, and costs, for example.”

The establishment of schools has been part of the Methodist tradition since the earliest days of the movement. Today, there are 123 United Methodist-related schools. Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is the highest-ranked United Methodist- related school among the 217 US liberal arts institutions. It is tied at 40th.

United Methodist-related DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, is 43rd. Other denomination-related institutions among the top liberal arts schools are Drew University, Madison, New Jersey; Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Alabama; Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas; Albion (Michigan) College; Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, Virginia; Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi; Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio; and Randolph- Macon College, Ashland, Virginia.

Among universities providing doctoral degrees, three United M e t h o d i s t – r e l a t e d schools rank in the top 10 of the Midwest: Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minnesota (8th); Baldwin-Wallace University, Berea, Ohio (10th, tie); and University of Evansville, Indiana (10th, tie). Centenary College, Shreveport, Lousianna, ranks 11th in the South.

Duke University (8th) and Emory (27th) were also listed as best values among national univerities.

“As much as we welcome such news, we recognise the limitations of these kinds of surveys and urge high school students and their families to use them as only one factor in deciding where to apply to college,” Mr Lange said.

For more information on United Methodist-related schools contact the Board of Higher Education and Ministry at 615-340-7406, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, Tennessee 37203; Web site: — United Methodist News Service.


US Protestants losing majority: Chicago survey

NEW YORK — A long-standing feature of US religious life — a Protestant majority — may become a thing of the past, a new survey has concluded.

“Since colonial times the United States has been a Protestant nation. But perhaps as early as this year, the country will, for the first time, no longer have a Protestant majority,” the survey by the National Opinion Research Center, based at the University of Chicago, found.

The number of those identifying themselves as Protestant, already declining in recent years, is expected to drop below 50 per cent if present trends continue, said the survey.

Protestant majority may have already vanished in the two years since the survey was conducted.

The church groups covered included Anglican, Baptist, Congre-gational, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Quaker denomina-tions.

“The recent Protestant decline comes in large part from the loss of younger adherents and a related drop in the retention rate,” the survey said. The survey of more than 2,650 respondents in 2002 found the number of those identifying them-selves as Protestant dropped from 63 per cent to 52 per cent between 1993 and 2002.

Other factors cited in the study for the Protestant decline included increased numbers of immigrants from non-Protestant countries and the fact that fewer people in the US are being raised as Protestants.

The “retention rate” for Protes-tants has also been dropping. From 1973 up to 1993, nine out of 10 Protestants raised in a Protestant home remained Protestant. Now less than 83 per cent remain Protestant as adults. — United Methodist News Service. Ecumenical News International distributed this article.