A report from the statistical arm of Englandâ€™s Bible Society claims that within a generation the number of people attending Church of England services will be a tenth of the currentâ€”and already plummetingâ€”amount. Peter Brierley, former executive director of Christian Research, says that based on a â€śsnapshotâ€ť church census and an extrapolation of recent church attendance trends, only 87,800 people will be attending Anglican services in 2050 â€”down from almost 1 million today. Critics say the study is incomplete and doesnâ€™t factor in the growing sector of para-church worship. Many also argue that itâ€™s extremely difficult to form an accurate prediction in such religiously tumultuous times for the country.
Yet the downward trend of Englandâ€™s longstanding religious establishment is undeniable. â€śChurch attendance has already been in decline for over 60 years, all over Britain, in all major denominations and across all age groups, except the over-65s,â€ť said Keith Porteous-Wood of the National Secular Society. â€śIndependent statisticians now have enough data to predict confidently that the decline will continue until Christianity becomes a minority sect of largely elderly people, in little more than a generation.â€ť [guardian.co.uk, 12/21/08]