News from Europe

Church of Scotland loses over half its membership since 2000

The rise of secularism has been threatening traditional churches in Scotland for over 20 years now.

The Church of Scotland has suffered the biggest decline in the past 20 years. Based on the most recent Assembly Trustees report, the average age of attendees is 62 years. The number of ministers reported last year was 60% of what it was in 2000 and the average age of ministers is over 50. This means that many of them will retire in the next decade without replacement.

The membership of the Church dropped 4.6% compared to 2020. The 2021 membership figures mean a 46.6% of the data in 2000. Reports reveal that Christian crosses have been removed inside chapels during funeral services because they don’t want to be “offensive” to non-Christians. 

Reverend David Cameron said that the report on membership decline “provides a realistic picture of where our Church finds itself. This is a critical time as we make the essential changes needed to lay a sustainable foundation for the future. The reforms we embark on together are to reconfigure and reshape the church for mission and service around fewer buildings and fewer charges”. The Reverend also emphasized that Church members should be “enthusiastic about doing things differently and dreaming bold dreams and having the energy and encouragement to experiment and learn in the process. Imagine being able to move forward in positive ways tackling serious issues of the day, responding to the real need in Scotland and Imagine finding a creative way of getting different people with different views together to create a different future”.

The Presbyterian Church of Scotland has been the national church of the United Kingdom since 1690, with its status guaranteed under the 1707 Act of Union of Scotland and England. It is not controlled by the government nor the monarchy. According to a representative : “The King is not the supreme governor of the Church of Scotland, as he is in the Church of England. The sovereign has the right to attend the General Assembly, but not to take part in its deliberations”. 

The Christian Institute is trying to raise awareness of “creeping secularism”. With nearly half of the people of Scotland self-identify as “non-religious”, it is not far that Christians will become a minority group. The Humanist Society has already declared that Scotland “is now a majority non-religious country”. 


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