The most hopeful message in Greenhouses of Hope is
implicit: your church doesn't have to be large, suburban, white or
wealthy--or even to have an established youth program--in order for
ministry with young people to flourish.
I hope you're like me in at least one respect: I hope you're lucky enough to find yourself frequently working and worshiping with people of other faiths. I have come to believe that the future will be made of such moments.
Our service ended with a Eucharist, celebrated at an
imposing altar. I
learned to make my gestures big, to open my arms wide, to lift the cup
above my head. What I never quite got the hang of was the chanting.
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).