I got a chuckle out of this headline: Church Forced To Split, in today’s York Daily Record. At first blush, at least just reading the headline, one thinks of a church be forced to flee, or perhaps divided by force. Of course, once you get into the article you see that one of the local wards there in the York, PA Stake has grown large enough that they are “spliting” the ward into two wards, rather than the one.It’s nice to hear of the Church’s growth back east, where the Church traditionally has not had as many members or growth as out West. Some highlights:

Memberships will be transferred, tasks reassigned and friends missed.

A few are likely to get lost on the way to church and sit in someone else’s favorite pew.

A 542-member Mormon congregation in northern York County will divide in two next weekend – the consequence of growth from new converts and new members moving to the area from Maryland . . .

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon church, is the second fastest growing church body in the country, according to data the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches reported in March.

Church leaders decided last month to create a new ward, or congregation, in part to ease crowding at the 800 Pleasant Drive building. Thirty-six converts have been baptized there since January.

The change is also responding to growth in two wards that meet in York Township, where parking is short.

If the pace keeps up, the Latter-day Saints might build a new chapel between York and Shrewsbury as early as 2009, said Dennis Tyson, president of the church’s York Stake, a group of nine LDS congregations.

The article also pointed out some interesting PA facts about the Church:

MORMONS IN PA

There weren’t always so many Mormons in Pennsylvania.

In the mid-1940s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counted about 400 followers between Lancaster and State College, said Don Shoemaker, who was baptized in Chambersburg in 1942 and later served as president of the church’s York Stake.

Nine local congregations, called wards, constitute the York Stake, including two that meet in York and two in Lewisberry, as well as Hanover, Gettysburg, Chambersburg and Waynesboro.

The stake has about 3,750 members, according to current stake President Dennis Tyson.

Statewide, the LDS church counts roughly 43,000 members among more than 100 congregations in Pennsylvania.

It appears the two wards in question are the Lewisberry First and Second wards.