I'm making my rounds at Safeway, shopping for my church's community meal. In the produce section—where I am forbidden to ask for donations—I see two heaping boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables headed to the trash.
When the prayers of the people begin, the Stephens' pew in the back starts to thump. Ten-year-old Mallory is working her way toward the door. As I hand the offering baskets to the ushers, she returns with a large cooler.
The day began with a worship service that was filled with a bittersweet sense of endings and beginnings. There was a procession of joy as seminary graduates were honored and celebrated. There were tables and tables of food, and young people posing for photos with their arms linked. We heard expressions of gratitude and were introduced to families that we'd heard about but never met.
A statistical projection is not a prediction, but if the number of Christians in Britain continues to decline at the current rate, there will be no more British Christians by 2067. Between 2001 and 2011 the church lost 5.3 million members—about 10,000 each week. The rate of decline in the Church of England is higher than that of other denominations. In one survey the numbers dropped from 40 percent of the population in 1983 to 29 percent in 2004 and just 17 percent last year. The decline in the Catholic Church is not as precipitous because of the influx of Catholic immigrants. Sometime in this century Muslims will outnumber Christians in Britain (Spectator, June 13).