1st Edition

Church Growth in Britain
1980 to the Present

Edited By

David Goodhew

ISBN 9781409425762
Published June 19, 2012 by Routledge
280 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

There has been substantial church growth in Britain between 1980 and 2010. This is the controversial conclusion from the international team of scholars, who have drawn on interdisciplinary studies and the latest research from across the UK. Such church growth is seen to be on a large scale, is multi-ethnic and can be found across a wide range of social and geographical contexts. It is happening inside mainline denominations but especially in specific regions such as London, in newer churches and amongst ethnic minorities. Church Growth in Britain provides a forceful critique of the notion of secularisation which dominates much of academia and the media - and which conditions the thinking of many churches and church leaders. This book demonstrates that, whilst decline is happening in some parts of the church, this needs to be balanced by recognition of the vitality of large swathes of the Christian church in Britain. Rebalancing the debate in this way requires wholesale change in our understanding of contemporary British Christianity.

Table of Contents

Contents: Part I Introduction: Church growth in Britain, 1980 to the present day, David Goodhew. Part II Mainstream Churches: Anglican resurgence: the Church of England in London, John Wolffe and Bob Jackson; Devout Eastenders: Catholicism in the East End of London, Alana Harris; Baptist growth in England, Ian M. Randall; Stirrings in Barchester: cathedrals and church growth, Lynda Barley; Reverse mission: from the global South to mainline churches, Rebecca Catto. Part III New Churches: The rise of Black Churches, Hugh Osgood; African Pentecostal growth: the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Britain, Richard Burgess; Moving up and moving out? The expansion of a London-based 'African Pentecostal' Church, Amy Duffuor; A history of fresh expressions and Church planting in the Church of England, George Lings; From the margins to the mainstream: new Churches in York, David Goodhew; The diversification of English Christianity: the example of Birmingham, Colin Marsh. Part IV Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: Growth amidst decline: Edinburgh's Churches and Scottish culture, Ken Roxburgh; Economic factors in Church growth and decline in South and West Wales, Paul Chambers; Northern Irish Protestantism: evangelical vitality and adaptation, Claire Mitchell. Conclusion: The death and resurrection of Christianity in contemporary Britain, David Goodhew; Select bibliography; Index.

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David Goodhew is an Anglican priest and Director of Ministerial Practice at Cranmer Hall, an Anglican theological college which is part of St John's College, Durham. A former fellow and chaplain of St Catharine's College, Cambridge and an experienced parish priest, he has published widely in the field of modern British church history and South African history, including the first monograph-length study of a South African township, Respectability and Resistance: a History of Sophiatown


’This is a highly significant collection. It is the first serious academic study of patterns of church growth and decline in late twentieth century and early twenty-first century Britain... an immensely rich series of studies... What Goodhew and his colleagues have established beyond doubt is the diversity, vibrancy and confidence of parts of British Christianity, that in Goodhew’s words, there is resurrection as well as death. No student of the contemporary church can afford to ignore this book. Nor can any church leader.’ Revd Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of Churches Together in England ’Church decline is neither inevitable in prospect nor accurate in retrospect. This book reviews the reality of what is happening in Christian religious practice in the UK. As such it comes at a crucial time, when the Church of England appears to be gathering the will to change, and when an accurate and reasoned understanding of what is really happening, and has done so since 1980, is essential.’ The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury 'Church Growth in Britain is a welcome and well researched challenge to the widespread assumption that Christianity in Britain is suffering terminal decline. Without pretending that there is no significant demise in some areas or that its findings will not provoke robust debate, the "mosaic of micro-studies" in this book illustrates the vitality, depth and breath of Christianity within the United Kingdom. Its central thesis certainly reflects what I witness when visiting the parishes of the Archdiocese of Westminster. For there I see people's faith shaping their everyday lives such that Christ is truly present in the streets of our land.' Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales 'Church Growth in Britain is a timely book with a polemic point. Contrary to received wisdom, David Goodhew and his associates argue that Christianity is t