Between 2012 and 2014, the proportion of Britons identifying themselves as Anglican dropped from 21% to 17%–a fall of about 1.7 million people.
Over the same period, the number of Muslims in Britain grew by nearly one million.
Previously the church hoped to turn the decline around within five years. Now it’s 30 years — at least.
The Church of England is facing at least another 30 years of decline according to internal projections revealed for the first time.
Even if it sees an influx of young people to services, the sheer numbers of older worshippers dying in the next few decades mean it is unlikely to see any overall growth in attendances until the middle of this century, officials now believe.
The stark calculations were revealed during discussions at the Church’s decision-making General Synod, which has been meeting in London, about ambitious plans to tackle declining numbers.
It is preparing to pump £72 million into a “reform and renewal” drive which includes plans to ordain 6,000 more clergy in the 2020s to build a younger priesthood which is less male dominated and less white.
So approaching the year 2050, after generations of decline, the Anglican church will somehow spring back to life.