Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, census results in England and Wales showed that less than half of residents identified themselves as Christians. The Episcopal Church has lost nearly one-fifth of its members in a single decade. Meanwhile, two ministers launched “pastor story hour” events at their local libraries in response to the “drag queen story hour” movement.
Less Than Half of England and Wales Call Themselves Christians
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
For arguably the first time in over thirteen centuries, less than half of English and Welsh citizens consider themselves to be Christians.
According to 2021 census data from the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, only 46.2% of the population described themselves as “Christian” in the survey’s query about religious affiliation. The figure marks a 13.1% decline since the census results reported in 2011.
“There are many factors that may be contributing to the changing religious composition of England and Wales, such as differing patterns of ageing, fertility, mortality, and migration,” the agency explained. “Changes may also be caused by differences in the way individuals chose to answer the religion question between censuses.”
The fastest-growing category of religious affiliation is “no religion,” which increased from 25.2% of the population to 37.2% of the population over the past decade. To a lesser extent, Islam and Hinduism also witnessed larger numbers as the United Kingdom welcomes immigrants from across the world.
Episcopal Church Bleeds Membership
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” (1 John 2:19).
Membership in the Episcopal Church has declined significantly over the past ten years.
The denomination, which has a reputation in North America for embracing theologically liberal views and social justice ideology, reported 18.8% fewer baptized members between 2012 and 2021, according to data shared by the Episcopal Church.
Two years ago, Wartburg Theological Seminary Interim President Kristine Stache warned leaders of the Episcopal Church that the denomination would no longer have any Sunday morning attendance within the next thirty years or any baptized members in less than fifty years.
“This kind of thinking looks nothing like we’ve ever done before. We don’t have the current knowledge or solutions to address this work,” said Stache, whose school is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, another progressive denomination. “In fact, we can’t even define the problem. But that’s the point. Living in this space is about a mental shift to a focus on questions instead of answers.”
Membership in the Episcopal Church has plummeted in each of the denomination’s provinces. Congregations in the American South saw the least severe declines.
Ministers Host ‘Pastor Story Hour’ Events at Local Libraries
“Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Two pastors introduced “pastor story hour” programs at their local libraries in response to homosexual activists hosting “drag queen story hour” events.
Dale Partridge of Prescott, Arizona, and Michael Foster of Batavia, Ohio, read child-friendly books about the biblical distinction between the sexes at their local libraries. The former minister reported as many as twenty children in attendance, while the latter reported roughly thirty-five, according to a report from The Daily Wire.
“We are a fatherless nation and nature abhors a vacuum. Someone is going to fill that space in our nation,” Foster told the outlet. “I can let it be some disturbed men in lingerie or it can be a pastor like me. So I stepped up. Men, especially pastors, are called to be community leaders. Talk is cheap. I got a room, set a date, and made a Facebook event. It was easy.”
Partridge, observing that parental movements against the spread of LGBTQ ideology among children are generally led by mothers rather than fathers, noted that proponents of sexual deviancy know the importance of reaching the next generation. “They understand that children are malleable and impressionable, and instead of upholding and nurturing the historic, logical, biological, and scientific view of sexuality and gender, they exploit these children’s innocence to support their crooked political aspirations,” he told the outlet.