Europe

Norway state church sees exodus after allowing online exit

  • This July 25, 2016 photo shows Bragernes Church in Drammen, Norway. Norway’s state church has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically. (Lise Aaserud / NTB Scanpix via AP)

    This July 25, 2016 photo shows Bragernes Church in Drammen, Norway. Norway’s state church has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically. (Lise Aaserud / NTB Scanpix via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Norway’s state church app is displayed in a mobile phone in this undated picture. The Church of Norway has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically thru this app. (Hakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB Scanpix via AP)

    Norway’s state church app is displayed in a mobile phone in this undated picture. The Church of Norway has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically thru this app. (Hakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB Scanpix via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This July 25, 2016 photo shows Bragernes Church in Drammen, Norway. Norway’s state church has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically. (Lise Aaserud / NTB Scanpix via AP)

    This July 25, 2016 photo shows Bragernes Church in Drammen, Norway. Norway’s state church has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically. (Lise Aaserud / NTB Scanpix via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Norway's state church has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically.

The Church of Norway says almost 25,000 members left in August by using a new function on the church's website. Meanwhile, about 1,200 new members joined online.

Even though the church has seen a steady decline in membership in recent decades, that's by far the biggest monthly loss in recorded history.

The Church of Norway counted about 3.8 million members in 2015, about 73 percent of the population.

Like neighboring Sweden and Denmark, Norway is among the most secular countries in the world. In all three Scandinavian countries, membership in the main Lutheran church is falling, while Catholic and Islamic communities are growing, mainly due to immigration.