The religious affiliations represented in Congress have not changed dramatically during the past decade, though there were relatively more Roman Catholics, Jews and Mormons elected in 1990 than in 1980, and fewer Methodists, Presbyterians and United Church of Christ members.

There will be 142 Catholics in the newly elected Congress, an all-time high. Methodists rank second with 75, while Episcopalians and Baptists are tied for third with 59 members each. This represents a decline for Episcopalians and a gain for Baptists. Presbyterians are fifth with 51 members.

The 41-member Jewish contingent represents a record high. There are 30 unspecified Protestant members, which represents an increasing number of members who are Protestant but who do not identify with a particular denomination. There are 22 Lutherans, 13 Mormons (an all-time high), 12 United Church of Christ members and 10 Unitarians in the new Congress. All other religious communities claim 16 members, and 5 are unaffiliated.

One of the newest religious groups to claim a member is the Pan African Orthodox Shrine of the Black Madonna, the religious faith of Detroit's Barbara Collins.

The election returns showed that candidates of minority faiths in a given geographic area can still win. Pete Peterson, a Democrat from the heavily Baptist panhandle region of New Florida, is a Catholic. Dick Swett, the first Democrat elected to the House from northern New Hampshire since 1912, is a Mormon.

The changing religious character of Congress typifies the changing religious landscape of the nation. Only about 60 percent of the new Congress members are traditional Protestants -- broadly defined -- compared with 77 percent in 1960.

The candidates' religious affiliation caused barely a ripple of interest except in Minnesota's Senate race -- the only one that changed parties in the off-year election. Republican incumbent Rudy Boschwitz sent an appeal to Jewish voters, citing his close-knit family and attacking his Democratic opponent Paul Wellstone, who also is Jewish, for "marrying a non-Jew and raising his children outside the Jewish faith." Exit polls showed that voters of all faiths were outraged, and Wellstone won in a major upset.

..............................Election......Election

Denomination....................1990..........1988............Change

Catholic........................142...........139...............+3

Methodist........................75............76...............-1

Episcopalian.....................59............63...............-4

Baptist..........................59............55...............+4

Presbyterian.....................51............51................0

Jewish...........................41............39...............+2

Protestant.......................30............26...............+4

Lutheran.........................22............24...............-2

Mormon...........................13............11...............+2

United Church of Christ..........12............12................0

Unitarian........................10............10................0

Unaffiliated......................5.............4...............+1

All others.......................16............25...............-9