Major cities have long been seen as centres of secularisation. However, the number of congregations in London grew by 50% between 1979 and the present. London’s churches have been characterised more by growth than by decline in the decades since 1980. The Desecularisation of the City provides the first academic survey of churches in London over recent decades, linking them to similar developments in other major cities across the West.
Produced by a large team of scholars from a range of disciplines, this volume offers a striking and original portrait of congregational life in London since 1980. Seventeen chapters explore the diverse localities, ethnicities and denominations that make up the church in contemporary London. The vitality of London’s churches in the last four decades shows that secularisation is far from inevitable in the cities of the future.
This study necessitates a significant reassessment of the dominant academic portrayal of Christianity in Britain and the West, which has, mostly, depicted cities as secular spaces within a secularising culture. It will be of great interest to scholars working across a wide range of disciplines, including history, sociology, religious studies and theology.
Table of Contents
Section One: The Desecularisation of the City 1 The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present, David Goodhew and Anthony-Paul Cooper Section Two: Changes in London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present 2 The Demography of Religion in London since 1980, Eric Kaufmann 3 The 2012 London Church Census, Peter Brierley 4 Walking down the Old Kent Road: New Black Majority Churches in the London Borough of Southwark, Andrew Rogers 5 New Churches in Newham, Colin Marchant 6 Using Geotagged Twitter Data to Uncover Hidden Church Populations, Anthony-Paul Cooper 7 Growth and Decline in London Methodism, 1980 to the Present, Alan Piggot Section Three: Ethnicity and London’s Churches 8 Mission Out of Africa: The Case of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in London, Babatunde Adedibu 9 Brazilian churches in London, Daniel Clark 10 Capital-wide Missions and the Rise of London’s Black-led Churches, Hugh Osgood 11 Demographics and the Russian Orthodox Church in London, Robert Collins Section Four: Denominational Shifts 12 London’s New Churches: The example of the Newfrontiers Network, Sam Jeffery and William K Kay 13 The Diocese of London and the Anglican Church in London, 1980 to the Present, Bob Jackson 14 Anglican Church Planting in East London, c. 2005-15, Tim Thorlby 15 Visibly Different: Continuity and Change at Westminster Cathedral, Marion Bowman, Simon Coleman, John Jenkins, Tiina Sepp Section Five: The Wider Historical and Sociological Contexts 16 Church Decline and Growth in London: Taking the Long View, John Wolffe 17 London’s Churches: Sociological Perspectives, Grace Davie
Revd Dr David Goodhew is Director of Ministerial Studies, Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham University. He has edited four volumes on contemporary Christianity with Routledge, beginning with Church Growth in Britain: 1980 to the Present (2012).
Anthony-Paul Cooper is Research Fellow of the Centre for Church Growth Research at Cranmer Hall, St John's College, Durham University. Anthony-Paul has a background in social research, with previous research topics including new church use of ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ space and the use of social media data to better understand church attendance and church growth.
"This is a fascinating account of religion in a city many observers would have assumed to be irreligious. It is not. The book shows just how vibrant the church-going population has become and gives a subtle, rich account of how it has grown, where it has grown, and why."
– Tanya M. Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor, Stanford University, USA
"While Christianity in the UK as a whole appears to be in decline, in London in the last thirty years churchgoing has risen steadily. Why is this? This brilliant and fascinating book takes us a long way towards an answer. In a series of essays covering themes, particular church communities, and broad trends, Goodhew and Cooper have assembled a team of scholars who open up a challenge not only to conventional views of the actual position of religion in the capital, but also to our understanding of the complex processes through which Christian communities interact with contemporary society. London may or may not be a trend-setter for the future. But anyone who is interested in the nature of contemporary society in Britain, and the place of religion in it, will find much to interest them here. This is a volume of the first importance for understanding religion in Britain today."
– The Revd Dr Jeremy Morris, The Master, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University, UK
"In recent decades, Christian churches around the world have gone through a series of startling transformations, which together have confounded many long-standing predictions about the future of faith. In The Desecularisation of the City, a deeply impressive group of scholars surveys these changes as they affect one of the world’s greatest urban centers. The various essays range widely, and the findings are surprising and, often, heartening. This rich and provocative collection should have a powerful impact on the future study of the Christian religion, in Europe and further afiel