Britain's Muslim worshippers will outnumber Anglicans within years, researchers predict

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2001

LONDON (AP) -- Muslims in Great Britain who regularly attend mosque will outnumber worshipping Anglicans within years, a new survey predicts.

The Christian Research organization said if current trends continue, there will be 800,000 regular Muslim worshippers around 2013, more than practicing Anglicans, the Daily Telegraph reported. By 2039, Muslims could surpass all British Christians in attendance.

As of 2005, the report projects 750,000 mosque-goers while Sunday attendance is expected to drop to 953,000 combined for Anglicanism's three branches, the Church of England, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Christian Research estimates that in 2005 the nation's Christian worshipping populace will be 31 percent Roman Catholic, 26 percent Anglican and 43 percent from other denominations.

The organization's annual says attendance has recently declined for two-thirds of congregations in England and Wales. Turnouts were best in the most prosperous areas.

Peter Brierley of Christian Research said people in some poor areas have lost faith as a result of their circumstances, and ''many churches have the perception of being middle-class.''

In the survey, 67 percent of Britons said they believed in God and 49 percent believed Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

------ American Protestant ''megachurches'' are centered in the Sunbelt, study reports

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The first major survey of U.S. Protestant ''megachurches'' shows 72 percent of congregations with average weekly attendance of 2,000 or more are located in Sunbelt states.

Most of the churches are in the strip of states that runs from Georgia and Florida across the nation through Texas to California. A mere 2 percent are in New England.

The survey said the development of megachurches occurred during the past two decades, mostly in suburbs of large cities.

In theology, 48 percent of such congregations called themselves ''evangelical'' and 14 percent ''charismatic.'' In worship, most megachurches forsake formal liturgy and nearly 8 out of 10 use electronic keyboards, guitars and drums instead of organs.

A third of megachurches are not affiliated with a denomination, the study said, and those that are avoid heavy denominational involvement.

The megachurches' average annual income was $4.8 million.

The report is part of Hartford Seminary's ''Faith Communities Today'' project, which surveyed 14,000 congregations from all faiths.


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