Thinking Anglicans

Profile of Anglicans

Updated Saturday evening

Yesterday’s Church Times has an article by Linda Woodhead about a survey that “suggests that non-churchgoing Anglicans may be much more important to the Church and its future than the dismissive word “nominals” implies.”

The article is only available to Church Times subscribers, but British Religion in Numbers (BRIN) has a summary in Profile of Anglicans and Other News. The survey shows that self-identifying Anglicans divide into four categories.

Godfearing Churchgoers (5% of Anglicans)
Mainstream Churchgoers (12% of Anglicans)
Non-Churchgoing Believers (50% of Anglicans)
Non-Churchgoing Doubters (33% of Anglicans)

The BRIN article also reports on surveys on St George’s Day and Student faith.

Update
Jonathan Clatworthy has written about the survey of Anglicans for Modern Church: On not going to church.

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Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
8 years ago

I’m interested in how they define that first category–what makes one a “God-fearing believer” as opposed to a “mainstream believer”?

Peter Owen
8 years ago

Pat – The BRIN article does include the definitions of the four categories.

rjb
rjb
8 years ago

Another week, another tendentious survey telling us not-very-much about the state of the church. I don’t know how many people are kept in work creating these bloody things. In an age of austerity, Anglican market-research must be one of the few growth areas of the British economy. No doubt it single-handedly kept us out of recession this quarter. Who says the Church of England no longer has anything to offer the people of the UK? While I don’t particularly disagree with Linda Woodhead’s summary (one of the few occasions, I note, when I haven’t profoundly disagreed with Professor Woodhead), one… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
8 years ago

Thanks, Peter.

OK, I guess my problem then is that “God-fearing” translates (for the BRIN folk) to “very conservative”. I’d like to think that we liberal Christians can be “God-fearing” as well, in the good sense of that phrase. (Of course, it’s a phrase that is often misinterpreted, including by those who use it to describe themselves. It does not mean being afraid that God will punish you.)

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
8 years ago

It’s not surprising that the CofE has become more dominated by the conservative. It’s always tempting to see the most extreme forms of any religion as “more authentic”. You can see this in Richard Dawkins, going around telling the religious what they should be believing to be considered religious. His survey some months ago which purported to show that many Christians weren’t really Christian imposed a set of requirements that no-one other than a particularly narrow set of American evangelicals would recognise (daily bible study? really?). The same thing happens around Islam, where government and quasi-governmental bodies are magnetically drawn… Read more »

american piskie
american piskie
8 years ago

Maybe I should get out a bit more, but I know almost no one who self-identifies as an Anglican. Turning “Oh I’m C of E” into “self-identifies as an Anglican” is part of the problem.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
8 years ago

Linda uses “God-fearing” as a shorthand for those who, when asked which of the following they rely on _most_ for guidance in their lives or in making important decisions: (1) Their own judgement or intuition (2) The advice of close family or friends (3) God, religious teachings or religious leaders (4) Others—eg great literature, science, etc. give one of the answers in (3). As Linda points out, the majority of those who have a strong belief in God answer (1) or (2). To be a God-fearer in Linda’s sense, you also have to be a regular worshipper or participate in… Read more »

Feria
Feria
8 years ago

rjb,

It does no harm at all to remind PCCs, the House of Laity, and Parliament, from time to time, that the church electoral rolls contain only a tiny minority of the believing Anglicans in England. That fact has a strong bearing on what are appropriate ways for all three institutions to behave.

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