Edwards Church, Northampton, MA
Edwards Church started in 1833 by people from First Church Northampton because it had grown too big. Originally called the Edwards society, it was named after Jonathan Edwards, the famous former pastor of First Church, who was involved in the First Great Awakening in the 1700s. The current building is the third and was built in the 1950s. Both churches were congregational and now part of the United Church of Christ. Edwards Church describes itself as an "open and affirming congregation", which is an ideological label that places it on the liberal wing of the church, especially in matters of sexual behaviour. This position is very different from that of Jonathan Edwards, who was one of the most profound evangelical theologians in the Christian church. It shows that churches do not just grow or decline over time but also change their beliefs and practices. These latter changes are much harder to model than numerical ones.