Secularisation in Britain

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Church Attendance Today

  • 6.3% of adult population attended church on Sundays in 2005.
  • Sunday school attendance has fallen futher.
  • The English Church Census
    • Larger organisations have declined more than smaller denominations.
    • Some smaller groups have remain stable or grown.
    • Growth of smaller organisations does not account for decline in larger ones.
    • Overall trend is downwards.
  • Church weddings and baptisms are also in decline.
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Religious Beliefs Today

  • More people claim to have religious belief than actually belong to or attend church.
  • Religious belief is declining in line with church attendance and membership.


  • Reviewed 100 national surveys on religious belief 1939-96.
    • Showed significant decline in belief in traditional teachings.
    • People describing themselves as belonging to no religion rose from 23% to 43%.
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Religious Institutions Today

  • Church still has some influence on society.
    • e.g. 26 Bishops sit in the House of Lords.
  • However, state has taken over many of the functions that the church used to perfom.
  • Religion has been relegated to the private spheres of individual and family life.
  • Number of clergy has fallen from 45,000 in 1900 to 34,000 in 2000 while the population has almost doubled.
  • Lack of clergy means day to day influence of church has reduced.
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