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Southern Baptists moving into New England

NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt., July 31 (UPI) -- Conservative Protestant congregations like the Southern Baptists are increasing their numbers in the liberal, Northeastern United States, church officials say.

In less than a decade, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has more than doubled its churches in Vermont from 17 to 37 and established at least 24 new churches in New Hampshire, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

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The Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination, has established at least six new congregations in New Hampshire and Maine since 2006.

This year, New England replaced the Pacific Northwest as America's least religious region, a religious identification survey by Trinity College indicates.

Of all the states in the region, the survey had Vermont at the top of the list.

Terry Dorsett, the SBC's director of missions for Vermont, says the goal of the Baptist Convention of New England is to settle 6,000 new churches across the six-state region.

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