Sunday, 27 September 2009

Stop the Exodus: Anglicans issue rallying cry

An extra half a million people are expected to help fill the pews in churches across Britain today. Regular worshippers are being asked to help swell congregations by bringing friends or the lapsed faithful back into the fold as part of the Church of England's Back to Church initiative.

Although there are around 41 million self-described Christians in the UK – three quarters of the population – a mere 10 per cent of them actually attend services regularly, and that number is falling.

Most people find themselves in church only at Christmas, Easter, or for weddings, funerals and baptisms.

The Christian Research organisation, which gathers information on religious trends, said that in 1990 more than 5.6 million people in the UK – then 10 per cent of the population – were active church members. By 2000 this had fallen to 4.3 million; and by 2015, the organisation estimates it will be down to barely more than three million people.

Eileen Barker, emeritus professor of sociology at the London School of Economics and founder of the Information Network Focus on Religious Movements (Inform), said that the decline in congregations reflected "increasing social diversification". Read more
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