This report on church attendance and religious affiliation in the United Kingdom is pretty discouraging, especially regarding the Church of England. From Christian Today, by Ruth Gledhill:
The decline in religious affiliation is hitting the Church of England particularly hard, according to the survey. Just 15 per cent of people in Britain consider themselves Anglican.
This is half the proportion who said they were Anglican in 2000.
A lot of this will be the result of deaths of members of the baby boomer generation. But this signals problems for the Church of England, which is clearly failing to replace this older generation with younger members.
Just three per cent of those aged 18-24 described themselves as Anglican, compared to 40 per cent of those aged 75 and over.
The figures in the survey contrast with the numbers claimed by the Anglican Communion, which claims membership of more than 85 million members. This is based on figures compiled by the World Council of Churches which puts membership of the Church of England at 25 million – even though far fewer than one million actually go to church each Sunday.
By contrast, the Roman Catholic church is remaining relatively stable.
The proportion of people describing themselves as Catholic has remained at around one in 10 over the past 30 years. Around one in 20 (six per cent) of people belong to non-Christian religions.
The fall in religious affiliation has been driven, at least in part, by young people. In 2016, seven in 10 of young people aged 18-24 said they had no religion, up from 62 in 2015 – a massive decline over just one year.
Roger Harding, head of public attitudes at the National Centre for Social Research, said: .
‘We know from the British Social Attitudes survey that religious people are becoming more socially liberal on issues like same sex relationships and abortion. With falling numbers some faith leaders might wonder whether they should be doing more to take their congregation’s lead on adapting to how society is changing.’
More cowbell! Right, Mr. Harding? Could it be the falling numbers are the result of the Church of England’s having already bowed to the zeitgeist?
Up higher in the article, Ruth Gledhill writes:
Figures released earlier from the same survey showed that that religious people are becoming more socially liberal on issues like same sex relationships and abortion.
This is in sharp contrast to the Church of England, where the conservative evangelicalism currently in the ascendancy is resolutely committed to an interpretation of the Bible opposed to same-sex marriage.