The Church in Britain’s Future

The Church in Britain’s Future January 11, 2016

The Economist reports on “an immigrant-led surge in London churchgoing. Weekly participation in Christian services in the capital has grown by 16% since 2005. Most devout Londoners (88%) worship outside the ranks of the established church whose spires pierce the skyline; about a third are Pentecostal.” It is the same story in New York and other cities where not so long ago the church seemed tired.

But the growth isn’t all from immigrants, in London or New York. Christianity is declining in Britain overall: “The proportion of people calling themselves Christian fell from 72% in 2001 to 59% in 2011.” Yet “some Anglican churches are bucking the downward trend in membership. London is one of several dioceses within the Church of England that are growing, if only a little.” 

These tend to be “network churches” that “meet in pubs and offices outside the parish system. Most are evangelical, emphasising a personal faith based on conversion.” These are activist churches in the mold of William Wilberforce, ministering to prostitutes and to forgotten children in inner cities.

David Goodhew at Durham says that “What is dying in England is not Christianity but nominal Anglicanism.” And, well, good riddance to that.

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