Today, the Church of England is more of a missionary

LONDON – Churches are easy to find in the heart of England’s capital; finding churchgoers is even harder.

“People are turning away from God. It’s that simple,” said George Ray, corporate secretary of the Protestant Truth Society, as the country prepares to bury its monarch earlier this month.

Like thousands of other UK businesses and charities, the Society’s bookshop on Fleet Street posted a portrait of “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”, in this case, accompanied by a passage from the Book of Job Words: “The LORD gave, and the LORD took away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Just a few months ago, the group published a pamphlet to mark the platinum jubilee, highlighting the Queen’s role as a defender of the faith and praising her as a “faithful and courageous witness”.

Now, it is mourning the passing of its Supreme Being.

“I believe that the Queen has always been a stabilizing force in this country. We heard she was a Queen of Faith, a woman of Faith, and I believed that. She influenced the Church in many ways, but it wasn’t, in my opinion. , church attendance, etc. are proof of that,” he said.

British Christianity can be summed up in one word, he said: “lukewarm”.

Today, less than 1 in 100 Britons worships in an Anglican parish on a typical Sunday.

Attendance at the Church of Scotland has also fallen sharply.

momentary spike

He said there had been a brief surge in visitors to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh this month, but only because it was the Queen’s previous seat in London.

“I believe more people have passed through these doors in the past 24 hours than in the past 10 or 15 years,” he said.

He said that these days, churches are seen by many as merely a place of burial.

He added: “We can only hope that it will be a lifesaver for more people.”

Visitors to the UK will encounter evidence of its Christian history. The spires towering over the city streets bear witness to the devotion of our ancestors. Church bells provide audible reminders.

But inside, empty seats are the rule, not the exception.

The country that supplies the King James Version of the Bible and sends missionaries around the world is now a mission field in itself.

“Cultural Christianity is definitely dying, though not completely in the UK,” said Arkansas native Ryan King, pastor of Wood Green at Grace Baptist Church in London.

“Familiarity with the Bible or understanding of the Christian faith can no longer be assumed if you can. The Church of England has fallen sharply, with only 10% growing. This is true across the country, especially in the mainstream where Protestantism is more in the direction of theological liberalism. congregation,” he said in an email.

bucking the trend

While established churches are struggling, there are also areas that are bucking the trend.

“However, churches that may be described in the data as ‘evangelical’, ‘nontraditional’, ‘theologically conservative’, ‘black majority’ and ‘multicultural’ are statistically growing, although instead they are changing socially more marginalized,” he wrote.

“…On the one hand, the outlook is very bleak, very difficult even in growing evangelical Christian ministry, with scarce resources, lack of generational wealth, assets, and social standing to build churches. On the other hand, promising, The trajectory of true Christian faith and practice is positive.”

Although she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth has made universal progress during her 70 years on the throne.

Catholics gather at Westminster Abbey for a solemn Requiem Mass as her family prepares for her private funeral in Westminster.

The changing face of religion in Britain was also reflected in Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

In addition to representatives from the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, the service was presided over by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. Canon Helen Cameron, presenter of the Free Church panel; and Shermara Fletcher, chief officer for Pentecost, Charisma and Multicultural Relations at Churches Together UK.

Religious leaders almost unanimously praised their late monarch.

But a street preacher said widespread love for Queen Elizabeth had cast her faith into doubt.

“I believe that if our dear monarch … is really born again, we will know,” he said. “If you support the gospel, people will hate you.”

Love for the Queen – and admiration for her Christian testimony – is evident elsewhere in the city.

‘Run the race’

“I’m so grateful she’s with the Lord Jesus now, for her. She’s 96 years old. She’s in a great game. She’s kept her faith,” said Phil Martin, guild minister of St Botolph-without-Aldersgate , he was an evangelical Anglican outpost.

While thanking the Queen for her example, he acknowledged Christianity was a minority religion in his home country.

He said his goal and those around him were to spread the good news.

Instead of holding Sunday services, St. Botolph’s meets throughout the week to reach out to the young professionals flocking to the area to work.

Hostility to the gospel is not a new phenomenon, he said. The Puritans faced it; so did John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, who claimed that his heart was “extraordinarily warm” as he sought the Lord in Aldersgate Street.

Nearly 300 years later, St. Botolph’s is working to ignite the souls of other Aldersgates.

“We see ourselves as a mission outpost in the city,” Martin said. “I consider myself a missionary, really, probably, not just a church leader.”

St. Luke’s Hampstead Pastor Allistair Tresidder, who appeared at St. Botolph’s last week, said he didn’t know what the Church of England would become, but he believed the Church of Christ would prevail.

“God has his plan. The gates of hell are not going to prevail over the church, the real church, so I have a lot of hope,” he said.

The London street preacher said Queen Elizabeth II’s faith was dubious because it inspired love, not disgust, among her subjects. “If you support the gospel, people will hate you,” he added. (Arkansas Democratic Gazette/Frank E. Lockwood)
photo St. Botolph-without-Aldersgate is an Anglican church whose ministry focuses on weekdays, and the area is packed with workers, not Sundays.

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