Churchgoing on its knees as Christianity falls out of favour

May 8, 2008 by

By Ruth Gledhill, The Times Church attendance in Britain is declining so fast that the number of regular churchgoers will be fewer than those attending mosques within a generation, research published today suggests. The fall – from the four million people who attend church at least once a month today – means that the Church of England, Catholicism and other denominations will become financially unviable. A lack of funds from the collection plate to support the Christian infrastructure, including church upkeep and ministers’ pay and pensions, will force church closures as ageing congregations die. In contrast, the number of actively religious Muslims will have increased from about one million today to 1.96 million in 2035. According to Religious Trends, a comprehensive statistical analysis of religious practice in Britain, published by Christian Research, even Hindus will come close to outnumbering churchgoers within a generation. The forecast to 2050 shows churchgoing...

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A commitment to keep faith in the public space

Apr 17, 2008 by

By Ruth Gledhill for Timesonline The Pope’s visit to the US is testimony to one of the most unexpected transformations that has taken place in the public image of a religious leader. It goes hand in hand with the renewed importance of faith in public life in the West, in an era when predictions of its decline or even extinction have notably failed to materialise. Benedict XVI took office three years ago with a fearsome reputation as John Paul II’s doctrinal enforcer. Liberal Roman Catholics in the West, in particular in Britain and the US, already suffering a loss of confidence because of the scandals over paedophile priests, trembled further. As indicated by his first two encyclicals, on love and hope, Joseph Ratzinger the “rottweiler” has become “Benedict the benign”. He has admitted that he is “deeply ashamed” of the sexual abuse scandals that have devastated the US Church...

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Judge rules for Virginia 'orthodox' – Ruth Gledhill

Apr 4, 2008 by

"It seems bizarre that TEC tried to argue there had been no division, apparently using the term ‘division’ so narrowly as ‘to effectively define the term out of existence,’ according to the judgement." Judge rules for Virginia ‘orthodox’ The Rev Martyn Minns is seen here at the press conference after his church, Truro in Fairfax, voted to affiliate with Nigeria in 2006. I never believed the subsequent statements from both sides that all attempts would be made to avoid legal action. The first important ruling about this and ten other parish secessions has been made, and seems to be on the side of the conservatives. However, before they claim a victory, they should be aware that there are several more legal hurdles to leap over and it seems unlikely in the end that the US courts will intervene in TEC affairs in this way. Also, the relevant statute in Virginia does not...

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