Europe

Church of England could be disestablished in Parliament

Somerset: Timelapse of church spire being reinstated after storm

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Calls are growing for the Church of England to be disestablished in Parliament and schools as less than half of the population of England and Wales now consider themselves Christian. For the first time ever in a census, only 27.5 million described themselves as such, 5.5 million less than in 2011.

Many are now urging reform to predominantly Christian teachings and worship in schools as well as laws that require bishops to sit in the House of Lords.

Leicester and Birmingham have become the first UK cities with “minority majorities”, as 59.1 percent of people in Leicester and 51.4 percent in Birmingham are now from ethnic minority groups.

In England and Wales the Muslim population increased from 2.7 million in 2011 to 3.9 million in 2021.

The number of those identifying as non-religious looks set to overtake those identifying as Christian if current trends continue, although in the 2021 census 46.2 percent of people said they were Christian in comparison to 37.2 percent with no religion.

Some of the biggest falls in Christianity came from the north of England, where now only half of people affiliate themselves with the religion compared to seven out of 10 a decade ago.

Caerphilly, a town in Wales, has the highest proportion of inhabitant who do not belong to any religion, 56.7 percent.

According to Office for National Statistics 2021 census data on ethnicity, religion and language published on Tuesday, the ethnic minority has risen from 14 percent in 2011 to 18.3 percent.

Romanian is the fastest growing language in England and Wales, while Polish is the most common first language aside from English and Welsh.

The fastest growing religious identity according to the census was Shamanism.

The ONS census deputy director Jon Wroth-Smith said the figures showed “the increasingly multicultural society we live in”, but added that despite this rising ethnic diversity, “nine in 10 people across England and Wales still identify with a UK national identity, with nearly eight in 10 doing so in London”.

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Since King Charles has assumed the title of Defender of the Faith he has vowed to serve people “whatever may be your background and beliefs”.

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said of the decline that it “throws down a challenge to us, not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth, but also to play our part in making Christ known”.

Bishop of Barking Lynne Cullens described the Church as being like the “Nike tick”, adding: “We have to go down before we go up.

“We will evolve into a church more attuned to the worshipping needs of the communities as they are today.”

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