Christian Diversity in England

There are great ecumenical, evangelistic, pastoral and missional challenges presented to all the Churches by the increasing diversity of Christianity in England. The comparison of Census data from 2001 and 2011 about the ethnic diversity of the Christian population, which is set out in this report, is one element of the work the Council for Christian Unity is doing with a variety of partners in this area. We are very pleased to be working with the Research and Statistics Department and the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Affairs at Church House, and with Churches Together in England on a number of fronts. We hope that the set of eight reports, for each of the eight regions of England, will be a helpful resource for Church Leaders, Dioceses, Districts and Synods, Intermediate Ecumenical Bodies and local churches. We hope it will help them at least to become more aware of changes taking place and to discern priorities for mission and evangelism, ecumenical relations, pastoral care and social advocacy in their regions and local authority areas.

Download the report for your region here or on the right:

  • Southeast

  • South Central

  • Southwest

  • East Anglia

  • East Midlands

  • West Midlands

  • Northwest

  • Northeast

    One of the main narratives that came out of the 2011 Census is that the percentage of the population that professes Christianity had fallen just below 60% compared to 71% in 2001. This report shows that nearly all of this decline is in the white British population, and highlights one of the main missional challenges of the Churches, to address increased secularisation in this section of the population. But the report also shows that among people of black, Asian, white European and mixed ethnicity, the number of Christians is dramatically increasing. The Global Church has now well and truly taken root in England, not just in London and other metropolitan areas, but right across the country. The challenges that come with these changes are great. Much of the increase is associated with the increase of migrant communities, some of whose members will be worshipping in the historic churches of this country - as Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Methodists and other Free Church Christians, Orthodox Christians and so on, while others will be worshipping in churches which are relatively new to this country. On one hand, the historic churches are being challenged to reach out to diaspora communities of their own tradition, and on the other to build relationships with many  new ecumenical partners. But there will also be a large number of Christian migrants who have not yet found a church family into which they have been welcomed, given support and pastoral care and in which their Christian faith can be nurtured.

    We hope that this set of reports will give more visibility to these challenges and provide a stimulus for discussion and discernment about the priorities of all our churches. The report for each region is being sent to Church Leaders and Intermediate Ecumenical Bodies, in the hope that it will be used in this way. The Council for Christian Unity will be pleased to receive invitations to share in these regional discussions.

    + DONALD PETRIBURG: November 2014

Chair of Ciouncuil for Christian Unity