Contents: Part I Introduction: Church growth in Britain, 1980 to the present day, David Goodhew. Part II Mainstream Churches: Anglican resurgence: the Church of England in London, John Wolffe and Bob Jackson; Devout Eastenders: Catholicism in the East End of London, Alana Harris; Baptist growth in England, Ian M. Randall; Stirrings in Barchester: cathedrals and church growth, Lynda Barley; Reverse mission: from the global South to mainline churches, Rebecca Catto. Part III New Churches: The rise of Black Churches, Hugh Osgood; African Pentecostal growth: the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Britain, Richard Burgess; Moving up and moving out? The expansion of a London-based 'African Pentecostal' Church, Amy Duffuor; A history of fresh expressions and Church planting in the Church of England, George Lings; From the margins to the mainstream: new Churches in York, David Goodhew; The diversification of English Christianity: the example of Birmingham, Colin Marsh. Part IV Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: Growth amidst decline: Edinburgh's Churches and Scottish culture, Ken Roxburgh; Economic factors in Church growth and decline in South and West Wales, Paul Chambers; Northern Irish Protestantism: evangelical vitality and adaptation, Claire Mitchell. Conclusion: The death and resurrection of Christianity in contemporary Britain, David Goodhew; Select bibliography; Index.
Reviews: ‘This is a highly significant collection. It is the first serious academic study of patterns of church growth and decline in late twentieth century and early twenty-first century Britain… an immensely rich series of studies… What Goodhew and his colleagues have established beyond doubt is the diversity, vibrancy and confidence of parts of British Christianity, that in Goodhew’s words, there is resurrection as well as death. No student of the contemporary church can afford to ignore this book. Nor can any church leader.’
Revd Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of Churches Together in England
‘Church decline is neither inevitable in prospect nor accurate in retrospect. This book reviews the reality of what is happening in Christian religious practice in the UK. As such it comes at a crucial time, when the Church of England appears to be gathering the will to change, and when an accurate and reasoned understanding of what is really happening, and has done so since 1980, is essential.’
The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
'Church Growth in Britain is a welcome and well researched challenge to the widespread assumption that Christianity in Britain is suffering terminal decline. Without pretending that there is no significant demise in some areas or that its findings will not provoke robust debate, the "mosaic of micro-studies" in this book illustrates the vitality, depth and breath of Christianity within the United Kingdom. Its central thesis certainly reflects what I witness when visiting the parishes of the Archdiocese of Westminster. For there I see people's faith shaping their everyday lives such that Christ is truly present in the streets of our land.'
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
'Church Growth in Britain is a timely book with a polemic point. Contrary to received wisdom, David Goodhew and his associates argue that Christianity is thriving in Britain-but Christianity of sorts that fall under conventional radar screens. The book will draw cheers from the minority of like-minded observers, serious critical attention from a broad middle, and no doubt counterattacks from the sociological and religious establishments whose standpoints are attacked. Yet the book's most telling observations are made only partly through pointed argument and mostly through calm and informative case studies of overlooked churches.'
R. Stephen Warner, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
'What I particularly liked about this book was the way it brought out, in serious historical perspective, the very different situations in which churches find themselves according to particular environments and the kinds of strategies that revive growth. The divinity lies in the detail and there is much genuine divinity in this volume.'
David Martin, Emeritus Professor, and Fellow of the British Academy
'We have needed a wide-ranging academic book on church growth for a long time - and now we have one. Church growth is not just a subject for "how to" books, and here we have careful, evidenced work to encourage further reflection and action. This is a wise and timely study.'
The Rt Revd John Pritchard, The Bishop of Oxford, UK
'During the last thirty years we have all become familiar with shrinking congregations and churches closing. But few people realise that the same period has seen the opening of several thousand new churches across the UK. And while the larger denominations have all lost members, other smaller denominations, as well as many independent congregations have grown. This fascinating collection of case-studies shows how and where this has happened, and suggests why. It also provides a convincing account of how the nature of religion in our country has changed as a result.'
Hugh McLeod, Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham, UK
'It is commonly supposed that the Christian church in Britain is moribund, but the essays in this volume all demonstrate, from different angles, that in the recent past there are signs of vitality and growth. Nor is the vigour confined to new churches, for mainstream bodies have also participated in the upward trend here depicted with scholarly care.'
David Bebbington, University of Stirling, UK
'I have been waiting for someone to write this book!'
Rodney Stark, Baylor University, USA
'This book tells us the untold story of church growth in this country over the last thirty years. It's scholarly, easy to read, and full of hope and optimism. It did my heart good to read... I thoroughly recommend it to you.'
Revd Canon Roger Simpson, Archbishop's Evangelist to the North
This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone who wants a better understanding of the reality of Christian life in Britain today and needs to receive wide publicity as a challenge to the prevailing narrative of inevitable secularisation.
Dr Martin Davie, Theological Consultant to the House of Bishops of the Church of England
‘This book is refreshing; it is provocative, focussed and upbeat. The range is impressive and the examples interesting. I recommend it both to those who engage with religion and to those who reflect on its changing nature.’
Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK
'This is an important study that should certainly be read by anyone in a leadership position in the church.' Church of England Newspaper
'For years, the media have fed us a diet of stories and comment to the effect that the Church in this country is in terminal decline. This excellent book, by a team of leading international researchers, challenges this dominant narrative by providing firm evidence that the truth is much more complex: alongside decline in some areas, substantial church growth has taken place in Britain in recent decades.' Church Times
'In the face of secularisation, David Goodhew argues that we have seen some of the most dramatic growth in the Christian church… I believe we are being encouraged to see that the “death of Christianity” in Britain is wildly exaggerated and God is very much alive and active!' Reform Magazine
'This volume highlights the fervour, entrepreneurial drive and creative diversity so widespread on this island.' Modern Believing
'Goodhew rounds off this very interesting collection by arguing that the religious landscape of the UK is more complex and dynamic than previously thought. I agree and recommend this text as core reading for anyone with an interest in the unfolding dynamics of Christianity in the UK.' Theology
'Every church leader interested in church growth should buy a copy of this book, which challenges the universally acknowledged truth that Christianity is declining in Britain. It recognises that some churches in some areas of the country are declining, but that other areas have shown sustained growth over the past thirty years. Whether your own church is growing or declining, this book can help instill a message of confidence and hope in the Gospel and the way God is as work in Britain.' Anvil
'The great value of Goodhew’s book is that it does help us to see these issues in an entirely new light. This is a really stunning set of essays, which are framed within a provocative, punchy counter-narrative that really ought to get sociologists of religion thinking and talking and, in some cases, re-visiting their assumptions and revising their conclusions.' Journal of Contemporary Religion