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Church Growing Despite Declining Trendlines

ARLINGTON, MA (February 22, 2011) – Highrock Covenant Church continues to grow rapidly in a state ranked among the lowest in terms of church attendance and in a community that has seen a decline in the number of local congregations.

A Gallup study in 2006 ranked Massachusetts 44th in the country in terms of average weekly worship attendance. Only 31 percent of the population surveyed said they attend a service every week. In Arlington, there are 13 churches – three fewer than 50 years ago.

Pastor David Swaim says Highrock’s multicultural membership has grown continually since it began as a small Bible study group in 1999 and formally organized as a church in 2001. Members come from surrounding communities as well as Arlington.

Today the church averages around 600 adults and 125 children each week. The church also has helped plant Highrock Covenant Church in Brookline, Worship Frontier Covenant Church in Lexington, Massachusetts, and a Sudanese Evangelical Covenant Church in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The congregation had rented several locations, but purchased the St. Athanasius the Great Greek Orthodox Church facility in 2006. At the time, Highrock had roughly 400 people in weekly worship. The sellers bought other property.

Part of the reason for the Highrock church’s growth is its focus on addressing current issues in a contemporary worship format, Swaim says.

About the Author

  • Marianne Peters is a freelance writer, master gardener, and environmental educator. She lives in Plymouth, Indiana with her husband, two teenage daughters, and two mischievous ginger cats called Fred and George (after the Weasley twins of Harry Potter fame). From 2008-2013 she wrote the Creation Care column for Covenant Companion magazine. In 2011, her family decided to downsize by half, a decision that led to the publication of her book Declutter for Good: Share Your Life and Reclaim Your Life. She blogs about green living and gardening at www.freshwordswriting.com.

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