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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Christianity is finished in Britain, says CofE bishop

A long-serving Church of England bishop has predicted that the CofE will cease to exist within a generation. In an article in the Sunday Telegraph, the Rt Rev Paul Richardson said declining church attendance and the rise in multiculturalism meant that “Christian Britain is dead”.

The Church is rapidly declining, with attendances at its services in freefall, a proposal on the table at the next General Synod meeting to cut the number of bishops, and huge holes in its finances due to the economic downturn and a lack of congregants to donate to the collection plate. Read the article in full here.  

Mr Richardson said that the Church had lost more than one in ten of its regular worshippers between 1996 and 2006, with a fall from more than one million to 880,000. “At this rate it is hard to see the church surviving for more than 30 years though few of its leaders are prepared to face that possibility.”

While seven in ten people described themselves as ‘Christian’ in the last census, the fall in church marriages and baptisms confirmed that the census could not be taken as a true guide to the situation. Britain was no longer a Christian nation.

The number of babies being baptised has fallen from 609 in every 1,000 at the start of the twentieth century to only 128 in 2006/7 and church marriages have also dropped.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “Bishop Richardson says that the Church should start the process of disestablishment before politicians get there first. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, the only real prospect that the Anglican Church has of surviving is to free itself from the state’s shackles. Its claim to speak for everyone in the country — including Muslims and non-believers — ring more hollow every time it is uttered.

“It is time for the Church and state to go their separate ways.”

See also:

Hindus and Jews call for separation of church and state in Denmark 

Published Fri, 03 Jul 2009