Friday, October 26, 2018

Trendy new churches poach worshippers from stuffy ones

From The Economist-

HELD WITHIN the blackened walls of a disused department store, the evening service at Portsmouth’s Harbour Church resembles a gig in a trendy nightclub. Guitars take the place of a church organ; hymn books have been swapped for plasma screens displaying song lyrics. Alex Wood, the vicar, favours skinny black jeans rather than a clerical robe. Swathed in blue light, his congregation of teenagers and 20-somethings sing their way through a playlist of uplifting Christian rock.

Churchgoing has plummeted in Britain. Only 740,000 worshippers regularly make it to Anglican churches on Sundays, half as many as in 1970. To halt this decline, the Church of England has launched an evangelism drive. Part of its strategy is to attract young agnostics by “planting” churches, an American model where members of a healthy church set up a new one elsewhere. Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), a thriving evangelical church in west London, has been planting churches since the 1980s. Now the clergy’s top brass want to emulate its success. According to Ric Thorpe, the Bishop of Islington and a former HTB man, 2,400 church plants are planned by 2030.

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