A SHARP fall in the number of Scots calling themselves Christian
is a challenge, but "all is far from lost", the Primus of the
Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth,
Data just released from the 2011 Census shows that just over
half (54 per cent) of the population of Scotland regard themselves
as Christian - down 11 per cent since the 2001 Census; while those
with no religion rose nine points to 37 per cent.
Bishop Chillingworth said in a statement on Friday: "The figures
. . . are a significant challenge for churches. . . The reasons are
clear. Traditional patterns of church life have difficulty
attracting people in a mobile, fast-changing, and increasingly
sophisticated society. . .
"Rising levels of interest in spirituality - evidenced by
growing interest in pilgrimage, prayer and other faith-related
activity - show that many people are searching for depth and
meaning in their lives. Many are open to exploring discipleship,
even if they are unlikely to become church members in the
"Churches need to change, and I welcome that. We need to become
more creative and flexible."
The Census also showed that many people in Scotland identify
themselves as Church of England or Anglican rather than as
Episcopalian or of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The figures are:
Church of England, 66,717; Episcopalian, 21,289; Anglican, 4490;
Scottish Episcopal Church, 8048. There were also 2020 members of
the Church of Ireland, and 453 from the Church in Wales.
That was described by the Provost of St Mary's Cathedral,
Glasgow, the Very Revd Kelvin Holdsworth, in his blog, as a "wee
He wrote: "We've a significant branding problem. There's only
one Church of the Anglican Communion in Scotland; yet even the
Census report has six different lines relating to us.
"Some of the people who claim to be Church of England will make
their way to the Church of Scotland and never know the difference.
This infuriates Episcopalians, but we should be thinking about why
we are so invisible to those people."