In the last two blogs I told you about the revival of the churches of Germany via the influx of refugees seeking the “religion of freedom”. A similar thing is happening in England, but from a different angle. The English have not seen a massive influx of Muslim refugees fleeing their homeland, but a steady stream of economic migrants from all over the world seeking a better way of life.
Popular opinion and the media tell us that the church in England (not to be confused with the Church of England) is on its spiritual knees and about to die out, unable to stand the rise of humanist atheism. However, wave after wave of Caribbean, Indian, African, and other “colonial” immigrants are bringing new life to their adopted communities. Even The Economist has picked up the trend.
So, while an old branch of the Christian faith in old wineskins shrinks, another in new wineskins grows…and about time too.
For example, King’s Cross Church has grown from a handful in 2010 to 500 now, mainly through Ethiopians believers. Weekly participation in Christian services in the London has grown by 16% since 2005 and 88% of them worship outside the ranks of the established Church of England. They are far more flexible, evangelical and happy to meet outside a traditional church building. About a third of these churches are Pentecostal. They are also not swayed by the humanist and homosexual agenda that dominates liberal theology in older denominations.
The Church of England continues to shrink overall, but those congregations within it that have become evangelical are not. The share of evangelicals in the Church of England rose from 26% to 34% between 1989 and 2005. Anglicanism is dying, but not the Christian faith. Four of the Church of England’s five top bishops are now evangelical. Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton and creator of the Alpha course, is the leader of London’s most influential evangelical church. They have planted many churches in London and are doing so in the rest of England. The Church of England finally appears to be gathering the will to change and is even now talking about church planting as an obligation of every church.
An international team of leading researchers, based at Cranmer Hall, Durham, have just published a study entitled “Church Growth in Britain from 1980 to the Present”. Here are just a few of the extraordinary statistics that have been unearthed:
At least 5,000 new churches have been started in Britain since 1980 – and this is an undercount. The true figure is probably higher
There are one million Christians in Britain from black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities
The adult membership of the Anglican Diocese of London has risen by over 70 per cent since 1990.
There are 500,000 Christians in black majority churches in Britain. Sixty years ago there were virtually none.
Pray for England. Both the Muslims and atheists of England need to see the true face of Christianity. The country has lost its spiritual direction and forgotten its world-changing spiritual legacy. Immigration is bringing major threats to its way of life, but also bringing new life to the true universal body of Christ. There has been a national awakening almost every century for the last 800 years in England. Is this the beginning of the next one?