Thinking Anglicans

how many evangelicals in the CofE?

Anglican Mainstream has published the following statistics, under the heading: Who are the evangelical and charismatic churches?.

They start with this comment (my emphasis added):

We are often asked about the numbers that our networks represent. In one sense the question is impossible and unnecessary because we seek to speak for all who uphold and seek orthodox teaching and leadership. However, a prominent researcher in the field of church membership, Peter Brierley, has given these figures:

The numbers then given, which are copied below, are Peter Brierley’s totals for three categories of evangelicals. This is interesting information, but it is not necessarily an answer to the second question posed above.

The English Church Census of 2005

Total number of Anglican churches 16247

Mainstream evangelicals (largely conservative) 1998 1045 2005 1411
Charismatic evangelicals 1998 1002 2005 1308
Evangelical broad 1998 1542 2005 1554

Total in 2005 4273 percentage 26%

Total worshippers

Whole of Church of England 1998 980,000 2005 870,600
Mainstream evangelicals 1998 72,500 2005 77,400
Charismatic evangelicals 1998 114,700 2005 114,900
Evangelical broad 1998 121,400 2005 105,200

Total in 2005 297,500, percentage 34%

Average size of congregation

Mainstream evangelicals 1998 55
Charismatic evangelicals 1998 88
Evangelical broad 1998 68

Of the 160 largest churches, (1% of the total number of churches) with a membership of over 350, who make up 10% of the membership of the CofE, 83% are evangelical.

The English Church Census 2005 is available in Pulling out of the Nose Dive by Peter Brierley and Religious Trends Number 6, by Peter Brierley, published by Christian Research, September 2006.

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James PenningtonNPmynsterpreost (=David Rowett)MerseymikeJPM Recent comment authors
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David Keen
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David Keen

I’m an evangelical, a vicar, and a member of New Wine (one of the signatories to this weeks ‘covenant’), but there is a difference between that and me endorsing everything AM, or New Wine, does and says. I find it odd that an organisation that seeks to speak for me goes to the AB of C with a document I had never heard of, several bits of which I disagree with. AM represents a coalition of leaders of various evangelical groupings, and is an attempt to discover a unified evangelical voice after a generation of fragmentation into conservative, charismatic, post-e… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
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mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

These are interesting figures. The increase in the proportion of ‘evangelical’ worshippers has risen from 31.5% to 34% (although the total number of evangelical worshippers has fallen, I note). A statistician would have some interesting questions of the methodology. Anglican Mainstream could do to publish more meaningful statistics than this if they are trying to make the case that evangelicalism is going to sweep the nation — for a start there are no figures for the number of ‘transfers’ from chapels and house churches within the ConsEv world, a notably volatile one. Not that I want to run down the… Read more »

Charles
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Charles

The “Evangelicals” often claim that they are the growing part of the church – ie Evangelicals are growing and since general membership is shrinking, liberal membership is shrinking. These statistics do not bear this out. While the number of Evangelical churches grew between 1998 and 2005, the actual number of worshippers did not (308600 in 1998 vs 297500 in 2005). It is true that the percentage increased slightly (31.5% in 1998 vs 34.2% in 2005). An argument can be made that since the number of evangelical churches grew in the same period (3589 in 1998 to 4273 in 2005) that… Read more »

canonical
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canonical

Overall CofE declines 12.6% while evangelicals only 3.7%. Wow! That really reversed the trend, didn’t it? I guess those who think evangelical fare is pretty tame better take another look. This could really be the answer! Of course, when reading polls, its always advisable to inquire into the bias of the pollsters and examine the wording of the questions asked and the methodology. Brierley is unknown to me, but in general, I have had every reason to question church ability to gather reliable stats. But if this is for real, I’ll be signing up for Alpha. If not, Omega.

Pluralist
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I always remember that the answers people think they are supposed to say in terms of definition are the answers people are more likely to say. The survey with which I helped, that looked at Church and People on Longhill Estate (Peter G. Forster), had returns that suggested people were queueing outside the churches on Sunday when, instead, the survey was a response to the absence of relationship. Behind all statistics are always value judgments and the problems of labelling. Is there a ‘suppose to say’ value on being orthodox and being evangelical? I’d suggest that there is. I’d suggest… Read more »

Graham Kings
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‘Future gatherings should not include “open folk”, but “must blow out of the water the view that evangelicalism is made up of three strands: open, mainstream and charismatic. Open must be excluded.’

This quotation is from the minutes of a Post NEAC4 meeting of representatives from the Church Society, the Fellowship of Word and Spirit, and Reform, dated October 2003. It was reported in Rachel Harden’s article “Conservative Groups ‘two faced’ says bishop”, The Church Times, 9 January 2004.

See:
http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2006/newsletter09.cfm?doc=137#_edn22

Dave
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Dave

The perceptions of evangelicals are not helped by the obviously unrepresentative make-up of the House of Bishops, and Synods. No diocesans are “conservative” evangelicals, and very few are charismatic evangelicals. Open evangelicals are represented fairly well. On the other “side” liberal catholics and liberal low church diocesans are completely disproportionate to success – as measured by “bums on pews”. This is, I understand, said to be a careful political balance [=liberal elite’s perception]! What’s worse, evangelicals don’t even get proportionate representation at General Synod because of the sliding scale of representation – bigger churches get proportionately fewer representatives -, and… Read more »

Rob Hall
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Rob Hall

The question still remains: how many do these [the “Covenant”] networks represent? It has for a long time been obvious that these so-called “networks” – who as David King points out are not good at genuine communication amongst themselves! – do NOT represent “all who uphold and seek orthodox teaching and leadership.” Fulcrum, for example, certainly represents one strand of “all who uphold and seek orthodox teaching and leadership” which these self-proclaimed leaders deliberately exclude. The characterisation of the question as “impossible and unnecessary” and the highly defensive nature of the posting is very revealing: it means that these so-called… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Here’s the glorioys offer of a whole thread dedicated to Numbers. And only 6 comments…

;=)

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Dave – the question is, given the role of an English diocesan bishop, how could a member of Reform work with those they consider not Christian at all, which they would have to do in that role.

Nazir-Ali is pretty much a conservative evangelical, James Jones used to be but he has shifted towards a more open position – he doesn’t believe that sexuality is a first-order issue.

cryptogram
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cryptogram

Though Brierley’s census may be the only real census of church attendance there is, there are some indications that it isn’t very accurate. First, its origins are in the evangelical nexus. It is not therefore observably unbiased. Indeed, recently there have been strong protests from both RC and Orthodox churches that the methods led to an unfair representation of their figures Second, I guess there are many churches like those I serve which pay little attention. We collect figures for the diocese in October as we are required to do, but the church census stuff gets filed under WPB as… Read more »

Simon Morden
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Simon Morden

Dear All (especially David Keen *waves*), I’ve just sent this email to Anglican Mainstream: “Dear Sir, Regarding your quote: “We are often asked about the numbers that our networks represent. In one sense the question is impossible and unnecessary because we seek to speak for all who uphold and seek orthodox teaching and leadership.” I feel it my duty to point out that, as far as I know, I have never met you, never discussed theology or ecclesiology with you, never subscribed to your organisation, never attended any meeting organised by you, never taken part in any election for you… Read more »

laurence
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laurence

‘No diocesans are “conservative” evangelicals,’

Off the top of my head -Chester, Liverpool and Rochester for a start.

But all this number crunching leaves me cold.Would Jesus count ‘bums’ and charge so much per ‘bum’ ?

How naive of me

Tim
Guest

Well said Simon Morden.

When I was a member of the CoE down south, the 1830 show was probably evangelical but the 11am service was quite sane.

Do AM think their churches’ leaders really want to split their congregations in (at least) two?

laurence
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laurence

Simon Morden’s missive is terrific. I feel better for reading it , an all !

It’s disgraceful if they fail to reply.

Stephen Bates
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Stephen Bates

This sounds rather similar to Anglican Mainstream’s great Dec 2003 internet petition, organised by the same cast of characters including Canon Sugden, which demonstrated a shaky command of mathematics and an even weaker grasp of authentic – or should we say orthodox? – polling methodology. If you recall, it was an appeal for the Archbishop of Canterbury to provide alternative oversight for congregations that could not stomach the idea of Gene Robinson’s consecration (sound familiar?) and claimed that its alleged 13 million signatures, achieved by primates of several African dioceses signing up their entire communities, represented “a majority” of the… Read more »

NP
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NP

So, Stephen Bates – is the picture given on nos the opposite of reality in your view – or is it generally accurate?

If it gets the big picture right, there is no real issue here (given estimates have to be made to make any picture at all)

Rob Hall
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Rob Hall

On the subject of Sugden’s shaky maths, I recall Stephen Bates sharing on this site an example of Sugden’s odd grasp of the concept of membership. As it seems relevant to this thread’s discussion of how many (or how few?) Sugden and cronies really represent, hope Stephen doesn’t mind my posting again part of his post from 18 November 2005: “The last time I saw Chris to speak to face to face was at a Reform conference in October last year, when he told me that he was not a member of Reform. But I then noticed that he went… Read more »

Stephen Bates
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Stephen Bates

I think the point is, NP, Anglican Mainstream’s claim to speak on behalf of most evangelicals. As Fulcrum’s response to their covenant wheeze today shows, they simply don’t – and they don’t seek to consult even those they do claim to represent before presenting their plans to the world and Archbishop Williams. We just don’t know, do we?

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
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mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

‘Maybe they allow non-members to vote, or maybe Chris doesn’t know that you are not supposed actively to participate in the decisions made by organisations of which you are not a member. Or maybe he really is a member. Or perhaps they have a closet membership?’ If the Reform mob are allying with that exemplar of transparent opinion-taking ++Abuja, there must be good Scriptural precedent for it. Handy Bible quotes supportive of vote-rigging etc, anyone? Perhaps we could start with the election of Matthaias in Acts, but it’s not particularly good, since it seems to leave the decision up to… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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The holy ghost and US…

;=)

Dave
Guest
Dave

Probably too late to get a discussion going on this now, but I’ve noticed elsewhere in human societies that ruling classes are very slow to realise when change is coming, and to cede power to the “other”. I think that the pattern is: ignore minorities that are below about 2%, ridicule them when they grow but still below about 5%, then try to actively assimilate or eject them when they grow larger. At about 20-30% the conflict breaks out that first asserts the minority’s rights and then eventually overturns the ruling class.

JPM
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JPM

The number of fundamentalists varies according to their leaders’ political needs at the moment.

Sometimes they are a very small “faithful remnant” when that is to their advantage.

At other times they are an overwhelming wave that will crush their foes like insects.

It all depends on what best benefits their propaganda at any given moment.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Its not a case of ‘overturning’, Dave. A pluralist situation allows different groupings to co-exist. However, in the case of the church, this needs to be done within separate organisations, as they can no longer co-exist.

Although I wonder what people would expound energy on should they no longer have their internal divisions to row about!

What is clear is that people are not going to change their minds, so trying to find a point of consensus is folly.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
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mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

MM said
Although I wonder what people would expound energy on should they no longer have their internal divisions to row about!

The lesson of Church History (and of political history etc etc) is that the new grouping then proceeds to find something internal to row about…. Hence things like “The Mount Tabor United Free Presbyterian Dissenting Connection of 1885”

NP
Guest
NP

Merseymike is right on the futility of agreeing to disagree / pretending their is unity

All get hurt and frustrated that way

The best thing about KJS as PB is that she does not seem determined to broker a doublespeak-fudge – sadly some other senior people seem bent on doing just that

James Pennington
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James Pennington

Clearly not everyone in a church is the same, but it’s not a bad idea to give a rough guide of how people fit into the spectrum of opinions in the C of E.. clearly not everyone who goes to a liberal church is a liberal either, and clearly having more numbers is not evidence that you’re right in an argument, perhaps evidence of spiritual blessing??.. maybe.. maybe not. Having heard Giles Frazer laying into Chris Sugden and saying the C of E wouldn’t split over JEffrey JOhn’s because almost everyone in the C of E has no objection to… Read more »