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Stephen Cottrell Archbishop of York PA Peter Byrne header2.jpg
Peter Byrne
Photo Credit: Peter Byrne
Peter Byrne
UK News

Archbishop of York says: 'Jesus also suffered setbacks' as he responds to census that shows Christian decline in UK

by Alex Collett

The Archbishop of York has responded to the census- that the number of Christians in the UK has fallen-, stating: "Jesus also suffered setbacks over the years and so will Christians."

Most Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, writing for the Sunday Telegraph said he is still "full of hope" for Christianity and that the faith is not in "terminal decline."

This week Census data showed Christians now account for less than half of England and Wales' population.

Most Rt Rev Cottrell said the public needs to remain optimistic despite the results, he wrote: "These apparently contrasting statistical snapshots inform a more complicated though incomplete story, which is not one of terminal decline for religious faith nor Christianity, but more about how individuals in our ever-changing nation and culture choose to express their identity. 

"This is a story on which I and other Christians must reflect carefully and humbly  [Jesus’] story is not a tale of linear success, but about how that light shines through the difficult realities of our lives and finally overcomes all darkness."

From the census results published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) it shows that roughly 46 per cent of the population, that's 27.5 million people, described themselves as Christian in 2021, however from data in 2011, roughly 59 per cent, 33.3 million people called themselves Christian, marking roughly a 13 percent drop. 

Most Rt Rev Cottrell said the data should not present fear in people and that Christianity is not becoming extinct, he said: "Christians should approach this data with humility, attentiveness, and self-reflection.

"Across our nation Christians are offering practical help and spiritual support to anyone in need

"This winter, perhaps more than ever before, food and warmth and companionship are being made available by Christians."

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