Comments: Scottish religious census results

"many people in Scotland identify themselves as Church of England or Anglican, rather than as Episcopalian, or belonging to the Scottish Episcopal Church"

Does that relate to mobility, and identity? That they're just CofE'er who happens to currently live in Scotland, rather than a Scottish Anglican?

Posted by JCF at Monday, 30 September 2013 at 12:42am BST

I suspect the Catholic figures have been massaged by immigration. The Mormons officially claim just under 27,000 members in Scotland and the census reveal less than 5,000 are active.

Of course the Church of England must be pleased that specific denominational information is excluded in the returns for England.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Monday, 30 September 2013 at 6:14am BST

Having lived in St Andrews for almost a decade, I confess to being surprised by this, "many people in Scotland identify themselves as Church of England or Anglican, rather than as Episcopalian, or belonging to the Scottish Episcopal Church."

To be sure, St Andrews (e.g.) is a very 'english' town in Scotland; and to be sure, many Scottish Episcopalians are English folk living in Scotland. But I was still very surprised to see such a small percentage pick 'Scottish Episcopal Church' as against other choices. That is of course the church of the Anglican Communion in Scotland. There are no 'anglican churches' or 'c of e' churches in Scotland, strictly speaking, which are so-called.

So even allowing for English folk who may think of themselves as 'c of e' in background, I still find the numbers odd re: SEC.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 30 September 2013 at 5:20pm BST

JCF...The same thing happened in South Africa. Many British immigrants listed themselves as Church of England rather than Church of the Province, and so by default were numbered with the Evangelical denomination, the Church of England in South Africa which refused to be part of the Church of the Province.

Posted by robert ian williams at Monday, 30 September 2013 at 9:04pm BST

There appear to be many more Jedi Knights in Scotland than Scottish Episcopalians.

Posted by Claire H at Monday, 30 September 2013 at 11:01pm BST

re the observation of cseitz - about the incidence of English people living in Scotland still calling themselves 'Church of England. This happens in most countries where Anglicanism is established.

Certainly in New Zealand, there are those who still consider themselves 'Church of England'. After all, it was probably the Church in which they were baptised - and they have not been required to re-submit to Baptism in their new Anglican Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 10:25am BST

There is of course no equivalent to the "Church of England in South Africa" in Scotland.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 12:31pm BST

The number of Jedi Knights has fallen considerably since the 2001 census. They appear to have a more serious membership problem than some of the churches in Scotland.

11746 claim to be Jedi whilst over 30000 claim to be Episcopalians. Over 100000 claim to be Anglicans of one kind or another in Scotland.

The Force appears to be with us rather than with the Jedi.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 2:20pm BST

Of course the established church in Scotland is the Church of Scotland, where the Queen worships when resident in Scotland. When the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets, it does so in the presence of the Lord High Commissioner. So I do not understand the comparison to New Zealand.

Does Professor Trevor Hart from Nottingham, who is the rector of St Andrews Parish, St Andrews (SEC) answer this survey and list himself 'CofE'? One would think not.

If I were the Primus of the SEC (himself a N. Irishman) I'd be more concerned to explain this oddity than the low attendance as such. It would be like anglican transplants in the US or Canada not listing themselves as Anglican Church of Canada or TEC.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 2:38pm BST

My recollection of Scottish church history is that there was a time when there very specifically was a 'Church of England in Scotland'. This was during the period when episcopalianism was illegal in Scotland, but provision had to be made for the many English people who lived and worked north of the border. So there were registered chapels of the Church of England. I think these continued eben when the penalties against episcopalianism were abolished and the Scottish Episcopal Church formally organized itself as a separate denomination rather than seeing itself as the Church of Scotland in exile / Babylonian captivity. Only in the late 19th century, as Jacobitism faded into history, was the CofE in Scotland formally folded into the SEC. But even then, I recollect that they were allowed to continue using the 1662 English BCP rather than the Laudian BCP of the SEC.

All this history written from memory: I may have some of the details wrong but I think the broad brush is correct.

Whether it explains why so many people see themselves as 'CofE' in Scotland is another matter.

Perhaps it's like Ireland (Downpatrick??) where there is an 'English Church' (i.e. the Church of Ireland), a 'Scottish Church' (i.e. Presbyterian) and an 'Irish Church' (i.e. Roman Catholic).

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 3:31pm BST

Simon Kershaw has a few bits of accurate history swirling around in his memory. However the idea of a Church of England in Scotland isn't really terribly helpful - it was never quite so.

What he is thinking of is the distinction between Qualified Chapels (who agreed to pray for the Hanoverians) and the Non-Jurors who didn't. Generally, it might be said that the Qualified Chapels looked more towards England whilst the Non-Jurors were of Jacobite heritage.

However, it is important not to generalise too much. Recently it was discovered that the land for the Qualified Chapel in Glasgow was paid for by the Non-Jurors in what may well have been a rather elaborate legal ruse to get around the persecution of Non-Juring clergy.

Important not to get muddled up with the English Episcopal Churches in Scotland - a small Victorian group of congregations which were rather low church and very much looking over the border. They either died out or were assimilated (some always terribly successfully) into the Scottish Episcopal Church one by one.

It is the case that the 1662 communion was bound into the Scottish Prayer Book alongside the Scottish Communion Office. This "tradition" or means of keeping the peace continues with current attempts to devise a more protestant modern communion office for those few churches which find the 1982 liturgy too far up the candle for the good of their souls.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 5:12pm BST

Simon Kershaw, the Qualified Chapels were pretty much in the SEC by 1920 when Montrose became part of the Diocese of Brechin (hence the dedication of the Church to Ss Mary & Peter a Qualified Saint and a jacobite). However other 1662 using churches came out of later splits like the Drummondite Schism in the 19th century and the likes of St Thomas's Corstorphine in Edinburgh and St Silas's in Glasgow only used Scottish rather than English Bishops for confirmation into the 1990's.

Posted by John Penman at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 6:04pm BST

"Whether it explains why so many people see themselves as 'CofE' in Scotland is another matter."

Precisely (even leaving aside the historical corrections helpfully supplied above).

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 7:53pm BST

The issue with the qualified chapels was one of churchmanship.They were evangelical, and still are. St Thomas is conservative evangelical with the largest congregation in the SEC... They resented the high church nature of the Scottish Episcopal Church and that is why it took years before they joined the SEC. St Thomas wish they had never joined.

Posted by Robert ian williams at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 8:49pm BST

I believe P's and G's in Edinburgh is bigger.

St Thomas, St Silas (Glasgow) and P's and G's also were ecumenically open. That was at the time considered taboo.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 10:04pm BST

Robert Ian Williams - it is easy to suggest that the issue with Qualified Chapels was one of churchmanship. However, that can scarcely be proved by reference to St Thomas, Corstorphine. It was English Episcopal, not a Qualified Chapel.

There was considerably more interaction between the Jacobite congregation and the Qualified Chapel in Glasgow than is usually supposed possible. It isn't just about churchmanship and is isn't as simple as two rival denominations, one English and one Scottish.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Wednesday, 2 October 2013 at 3:32pm BST

I suspect the Catholic figures have been massaged by immigration

O well, we can ignore them then.

Posted by ian at Thursday, 3 October 2013 at 2:44pm BST

Does anyone know what was the form of the original questionnaire? If respondents were asked simply "what denomination do you belong to", and given a free choice to write in the responses, then I am
as mystified as everyone else that so many people called themselves C of E. But if they were offered a number of suggestions, including C of E and Episcopalian, then the range of answers makes a lot more sense.

After all, despite the many fine points above, many people who attend Episcopalian/Anglican churches in Scotland would regard the terms as almost synonymous, and perhaps there were only a relatively small number of respondents who wanted to be sufficiently accurate to write in "The Scottish Episcopal Church".

I have no way of knowing if this is correct, but it would make sense of the data. It all goes to illustrate the common principle of Social Science data collection: be very careful to phrase the question properly.

Posted by Edward Prebble at Thursday, 3 October 2013 at 10:59pm BST

Edward - the full census questionnaire is at Question 13 asked: "What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?" and the boxes it gave for Christian were Church of Scotland/Roman Catholic/Other Christian, with Others being asked to write down details. So neither C of E nor SEC were mentioned.

I suspect much of the answer comes from English people living in Scotland. I have relatives who retired to Scotland and attend an Episcopalian Church, but would probably still consider themselves C of E.

Posted by magistra at Friday, 4 October 2013 at 3:30pm BST

"I have relatives who retired to Scotland and attend an Episcopalian Church" -- fine so far as it goes, but how it accounts for 66K+ selecting 'Church of England' and only 8K the SEC is far from clear.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 12:36pm BST

Come, come, cseitz, we've already established that people did not select these answers from a list, they wrote them in.

And it was nearer 30K who thought they were Episcopalians not 8K. I know of no-one who would seriously think that those who wrote in Episcopalians and those who wrote in Scottish Episcopal Church thought of themselves as belonging to two different churches. I can't even remember which one I wrote in.

It is surprising that so many wrote in C of E. However, that may be very little to do with the Scottish Episcopal Church and a great deal to do with the C of E not telling people what Anglicanism is about outside England and about the C of S not doing very well at convincing English folk who join it that they've joined a different denomination.

Either way, it speaks of significant numbers of people in Scotland who probably think of themselves as belonging to the parish church of wherever they are but not actually turning up at any church for long enough to know one denomination from another.

There's certainly a lot for Episcopalians to think about. However, it isn't a clear cut picture however you look at it.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 8:04pm BST

"it isn't a clear cut picture however you look at it" -- who said otherwise?

66K people declaring 'Church of England' within Scotland is extremely odd.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 6 October 2013 at 1:33pm BST

Interesting discussion: but misses the real point. 54% of the population are Christian. Let's consider how that percentage can be increased by 2021 irrespective of denomination.

Posted by Brian Rattray at Monday, 7 October 2013 at 10:16am BST

Recently I attended a weekday Holy Communion at St John's Episcopal Church in Perth, in the 19th century an English church, long since a part of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Bishop locum used the 1662 service as found in the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book - perhaps a relic of that old association.

However, on my visits to Scotland this year and last, I saw references only to the Scottish Episcopal Church. I might add that despite difficulties faced by the mainline churches there and in my own country, I was impressed by the Episcopal and Church of Scotland churches I visited, so many of them open, and which in quite a number of cases I was able to attend.

The centre of Edinburgh has a surprising number of Episcopal churches (and, for instance, an excellent Christian book-shop), and its great S.Mary's Cathedral with its well-attended main Sunday service combined simple, reverent, cathedral worship with warmth, welcome, and participation by the children.

Here in Australia, many would still identify themselves as "C.of E." - for example, the majority of perhaps 10,000 Anglican patients, young and old, whom I have met in the large hospital where I have been an honorary chaplain for 14 years. Not least in the hospital, I identify myself in the same way, rather than adopting the comparatively modern, official Latinate designation still not recognised by many people who rarely attend church but who nonetheless are still fellow members.

I myself much prefer "Episcopalian" to "Anglican", like "Protestant Episcoplian", quite often used in Australia in the 19th century. (And I certainly do not believe in anything called "AnglicanISM".) However, I think it a pity that we have not claimed the name "Church of Australia" as proposed, for example, in the 1880s and again by Archbishop Fisher in the 1950s. Ours was the first Church established in Australia, I think we have as much right to such a title as e.g. the Church of Ireland has to its name, and I think it would certainly benefit the mission of our Church in our "south land of the holy Spirit".

Posted by John Bunyan at Monday, 7 October 2013 at 1:56pm BST

The name Anglican can refer to anyone living in
any part of the world, it would denote a member of
the Anglican Church or Communion.
In Scotland, the correct way would be Scottish
Episcopalian, like with the Welsh, Church in Wales
or in Ireland, Church of Ireland.

Posted by Richard Coutts at Thursday, 10 October 2013 at 2:06pm BST

I was baptised and confirmed a Scottish Episcopalian and object to being classed as Anglican or C of E. While I have no problem worshipping with any Christian Faith I am first and foremost Episcopalian. I have English relatives but feel that when English people come north they try to change Episcopalians into something they have never been. I have in fact stopped going to church because I no longer know in what way my church is worshipping or what message they are putting out. No criticism intended.

Posted by anne rennie at Monday, 25 January 2016 at 7:10am GMT
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