Friday, 15 March 2019

Growing the church in London

Across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral for a fascinating study day on 'The Desecularisation of the City' based on a study of the churches in London from 1980 until the present day.

In the 1960s the death of the church in London was confidently being predicted. Secularisation seemed an unstoppable tide, but in the last 30 years something quite unexpected has happened in London: the church has grown.

In 1979 there were 3350 churches in London.

By 2012 there were 4791 - and even this is believed to be an underestimate.

The electoral roll of the Diocese of London declined throughout the 1970s and 1980, but since a low point in 1990 it has grown by 70 per cent.

Sunday church attendance (all churches) since 1989 has grown steadilly in the inner London boroughs, although it has fallen in the outer London boroughs. For example, attendance in Hackney has grown from 9.700 in 1989 to 16,100 in 2012. In Newham the figures are 9,400 and 16,100, while in outer London's Bexley they are 16,200 and 11,100, respectively.

This collection of essays (right), edited by David Goodhew, was the basis of today's conference. I am now looking forward to digesting its contents.

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