Northern Ireland has the highest number of regular churchgoers
in the UK according to a survey by Christian Relief and
development agency Tearfund. This revealed 45 per cent of people
here regularly attend church. Geographically, Greater London
showed the second highest number of regular churchgoers at 22
per cent. Overall the survey revealed that one in seven adults
in the UK attends a Christian church each month, with nearly
three million more people saying they would attend church if
only they were asked.
The findings also show that, contrary to the UK's secular image,
Christianity is still the dominant faith in the UK. Over half
(53 per cent) or 26.2 million adults claim to be Christian. The
survey ' 'Churchgoing in the UK' ' which tracks monthly church
attendance and the likelihood of non-churchgoers attending,
shows that 7.6 million adults go to church each month and one in
10 adults attends weekly. One in four (12.6 million) attends at
least once a year. It also reveals that three million people who
have stopped going to church or who have never been in their
lives would consider attending given the right invitation.
In a foreword to the report, Rev Dr Stephen Croft, the
Archbishops' Missioner and leader of Fresh Expressions, writes:
'There is significant encouragement for churches in this
Tearfund research. A very substantial part of the population in
the UK still attends church regularly or occasionally during the
year. Christians are not (as yet) the tiny minority that some
would suggest. This statistic alone has major implications not
only for the churches but for public debate and public policy.'
Dr Croft says the report highlights a clear opportunity for
churches to attract new members by tapping into the nearly three
million (six per cent of UK adults) who are likely to go to
church in future. The survey revealed that a personal invite,
family or a friend attending or difficult personal
circumstances, are most likely to encourage people into church.
The survey highlights that the biggest challenge remains people
opting out of religion altogether. Two thirds of UK adults (66
per cent) or 32.2 million people have no connection with church
at present (or with any other religion).