Christianity in Britain

I write this from London on Christmas Eve. The Christmas spirit of Dickens is strong here and there is no shortage of Christmas events. We attended a Christmas Carol service at Trafalgar Square (I would not have chosen ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ to kick off the singing) and we might attend St Paul’s Cathedral this evening. Which is unusual for the group of people we are with – all of them are believers in Christ but none of them attend a regular church service weekly. They are part of a growing segment of Christianity that don’t appear on the radar and don’t show up on surveys. Like this one just released [click to enlarge]:


Interesting to see in these numbers:

– the rise of Pentecostals, in part due to the number of African immigrants to Britain, and

– The numbers show that Britain now has, for the first time, more Catholic attenders than Anglican, thanks to the large wave of immigrants from Poland and Lithuania.

“The statistics show that attendance at Anglican Sunday services has dropped by 20 per cent since 2000. A survey of 37,000 churches, to be published in the new year, shows the number of people going to Sunday Mass in England last year averaged 861,000, compared with 852,000 Anglicans ¬≠worshipping”. Telegraph

I think we need to take into consideration that many Anglicans and many Protestants of all stripes are finding alternative expressions of church and worship, some of which do not include attending a service in a parish church. It would be an exaggeration to say, as did the Telegraph, that Britain has become a Catholic country.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Mark says:

    Here in the Diocese of Lichfield… Average Sunday Attendance (ASA = still the standard measure of church “membership”) has been falling year on year for some time now… but… The number of people attending Church, if you count over the whole week is rising! 1) this shows that the measure used is ineffectual and does not paint an accurate picture 2) that we really do have to think bigger/wider than Sunday attendance when we talk of being “Church” and 3) we should be asking questions such as “If people who do come are increasingly finding it more appropriate/possible to be engaged on days other than Sundays, how much more is this true for those who don’t come!?”

  • Mark says:

    sorry for double comment… I notice that Telford and Wrekin is in the bottom ten… tbh Telford the town would be quite a bit lower where it not for the rural part of the borough that is “The Wrekin” which surrounds the town (not surprisingly that part is a safe Tory seat, whereas the town is a safe Labour seat)

  • Awwww… i’m missing you guys and feeling close all at the same time….
    Hmmm got me thinking…..
    This tribe needs a Christmas in New York.. w/skating at Rockefellerrrrr (southern translation) Center….check out the TREE and a trip to St. Pat’s Cathedral – after speaking to Tam…. i kept thinking that would be the American Version..- (don’t think the Brit’s would get snubbed in a bar though)
    Alright it’s already Christmas on your side of the pond… and ~ 2hrs. away here…
    So bless you dear one!!
    Send another round of kisses to the crew for me..!!
    xooxo K8

  • Steve Hayes says:

    Changing democraphics are interesting.
    Could the number of Anglicans be dropping because of all the infighting in the Anglican Communion? They seem to spend more time fighting each other than fighting the many evils in the world.
    Eastern Europeans going to Britain — perhaps the godless communists bringing faith to the West? And Brits emigrating to Bulgaria, as I’m told, though I doubt that Bulgaria will become more Anglican as a result.
    And Congolese neopentecostals engaging in witch hunts of children — and there are an increasing number of Congolese immigrants here in South Africa — I wonder if that will being child witch hunts?

  • Paul Tilley says:

    It would be interesting to see age breakdown of these stats.

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