Britain is no longer a Christian country, say frontline clergy

Aug 30, 2023 by

by Kaya Burgess, The Times:

Shifting attitudes of frontline clergy revealed in landmark poll.

Britain can no longer be described as a Christian country, three quarters of Church of England priests believe, according to a landmark survey conducted by The Times.

The most wide-ranging poll carried out among frontline Anglican clergy, and the first survey of Church of England clerics conducted in almost a decade, has found a strong desire among rank-and-file priests for significant changes in church doctrine on issues such as sex, sexuality, marriage and the role of women to bring it into greater line with public opinion.

A majority of priests want the church to start conducting same-sex weddings and drop its opposition to premarital and gay sex, in results described as “absolutely huge” by campaigners.

The survey also uncovered high levels of stress among priests,

Read here

See also, from Religion Media Centre:

CofE clergy urging change in doctrine on sex

A survey of Church of England clergy by The Times has found that a majority want the church to significantly change its doctrine on sex, and that there is a substantial view that efforts to stem the decline in attendance will fail, leading to its extinction. The findings are based on 1,185 respondents chosen at random for the first such survey since Prof Linda Woodhead’s in 2014, a period of rapid change with church attendance declining by 15 per cent. Some findings:

  • 62.6 per cent thought the church should drop its opposition to premarital sex
  • 64.5 per cent backed an end to the teaching that homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture
  • Nine years ago 51 per cent declared same-sex marriage to be wrong, but in this survey 53 per cent would allow clergy to perform same sex weddings according to their conscience
  • 80 per cent would back the appointment of a woman as Archbishop of Canterbury, while two thirds want an end to the system that allows parishes to reject female leaders
  • Three quarters said Britain could no longer be regarded as a Christian country.
  • There was a high degree of stress with almost one third saying they had considered quitting in the past five years due to pressures and workload
  • Two thirds of clergy thought that efforts to stop the decline in attendance would fail

Professor Woodhead said the shift in belief about same sex marriage was a fascinating change in attitudes. She told The Times: “This survey shows the clergy take a more moderate position than their leaders. [Frontline priests] are more in touch with their congregations and ordinary people. If they had been listened to more by leaders . . . the church might be in a better place today.” Survey findings and summary in The Times here

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