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The Church of England & the Church in Wales aren’t making many converts

The Church of England & the Church in Wales aren’t making many converts

The Church Times online has posted a story regarding Dr Stephen Bullivant’s report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales. Dr Bullivant is director of the Benedict XVI Centre at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Although researching Roman Catholics, Dr Bullivant’s report also gathered statistics on other churches for comparison. He gathered the data from the UK’s annual British Social Attitudes surveys.

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The research showed very similar results for both Roman Catholics and Anglicans in England & Wales, that the membership of both denominations is almost entirely made of folks born & reared in the church.  As you can deduce from this chart from the report (rounding the percentages), of 100 current Anglicans in England & Wales today, 93 were reared Anglican, 5 are from another Christian denomination and 2 are from a non-Christian religion or had no previous religious faith.

The findings also peg Anglicans with almost a 52% retention rate of those born and reared Anglican. Almost 7% have left Anglicanism for another Christin denomination. Less than 1% have left Anglicanism for a non-Christian faith. While 40% currently claim no affiliation to any faith.

Dr Bullivant’s work breaks England & Wales into geographic areas, with different percentages of folks claiming affiliation with a particular faith in each area. The two areas where the largest number of folks claim to be Christian are the southwest and the northeast. There are researchers who would caution the trust one can place in self reported religious affiliation. 60 percent of the folks surveyed in the data used by Dr Bullivant who claimed to be Anglican, also reported never or practically never attending services. However, what is borne out by the research is that the Anglican churches in England and Wales aren’t actively attracting a lot of folks who weren’t born to Anglican families.

The report can be downloaded here.


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MaryLou Scherer

Pastafarians seem to be gaining lots of adapts

Anne Bay

I enjoyed this article. Very interesting. I think all churches are going to change and struggle -now and in the future. I don’t know one young person who wants anything to do with a religious group. The new look is spirituality-and that can be all kinds of things. I was born into the church, but it has changed quite a bit through the years. I’m glad to see the Episcopal Church in the U.S. trying to keep up with modern education,science, and knowledge of the universe. I hope it keeps going. Going online is probably going to happen a lot more-even with things relating to the church and other ways of a spiritual path.

Tom Downs

“the membership of both denominations is almost entirely made of folks born & reared in the church.”
No converts? Each generation reared in the church has to be converted. A baby’s baptism service isn’t the same as a person’s formation in the faith.
There was a time when the whole culture was nominally Christian; only our babies were potential converts. Our problem during the last 50 years is that we haven’t done a very good job converting our babies. For too long we’ve let the Confirmation service serve as a graduation ceremony–graduation from Church.

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