Churches respond to census results

In the 2021 census results released this week, 46.2% of adults in England and Wales said they were Christian, down from 59.3% in 2011. A number of CTE’s Member Churches and friends have responded…

The Methodist Church: “The Church is being challenged to discover new forms and spaces for spiritual exploration…”

President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Graham Thompson, commented: “The figures may show a decline in the number of people identifying as Christian but experience suggests that more people are recognising that which is spiritual and are open to conversations about faith and the difference that faith can make.  This is a space into which we can speak of our faith in Jesus and His call to love God and love our neighbours.  The Methodist people seek to do this each day and we encourage others to try to do the same.”

Read more in The Methodist Church statement, including commentary from Trey Hall, the Methodist Church’s Director of Evangelism & Growth. Trey is chair of CTE’s Group for Evangelisation, and is part of the team organising our third Missionary Disciples Conference, in March 2023.

The Church of England

We are here for you: Archbishop of York responds to Census findings

The Christian church exists to share the good news of Jesus Christ, serve our neighbour and bring hope to a troubled world. That’s what we’ve done for 2,000 years – in times of war and peace; hardship and plenty; revival and decline and it’s what we must do now more than ever.

It’s not a great surprise that the Census shows fewer people in this country identifying as Christian than in the past, but it still throws down a challenge to us not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth but also to play our part in making Christ known.

We have left behind the era when many people almost automatically identified as Christian but other surveys consistently show how the same people still seek spiritual truth and wisdom and a set of values to live by.

This winter – perhaps more so than for a long time – people right across the country, some in desperate need, will be turning to their local church, not only for spiritual hope but practical help. 

We will be there for them, in many cases, providing food and warmth. And at Christmas millions of people will still come to our services.

At the same time, we will be looking beyond our immediate surroundings, remembering we are part of a global faith, the largest movement on Earth and its greatest hope for a peaceful, sustainable future.

CTE’s General Secretary on BBC Radio 2

Sharing on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show (30 November, 1.43pm), CTE’s General Secretary Bishop Mike Royal expressed: “Perhaps the 17% fall in the number of people identifying as Christian, is people maybe being honest rather than nominal about their faith. But conversely, we also know that certainly during the pandemic, lots of people – one third of adults watched or listened to online religious service, that’s in The Guardian on 3 May 2020 – so we’ve got a mixed picture.”

“…There are also some churches that are thriving. All churches generally are coming out of pandemic, so that’s been challenging. But there are many churches that have opened their doors, providing warm hubs and food banks and support groups… so there are some bright spots in amongst some of the statistical gloom.”

Read more from our friends

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