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- Concept of God in Major Religions.
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Aid to the Church in Need
This login is SSL protected. That got me into a lot of trouble. Today, Mark is sober and well dressed. He wears fashionable glasses and his hair is neatly combed.
He is studying business management, with a plan already to sell a range of biodegradable products. To cap it all, it is a Tuesday evening and he is in church — Gas Street church in Birmingham — where Mark first decided he would dedicate his life to Jesus. Tuesday means student night at Gas Street, which became the first Anglican church in this busy part of the city centre when it opened in February The building itself was once a Victorian retort house, making gas for street lamps from coal that arrived on the canal.
More than new churches were announced last year in coastal areas, market towns and urban housing estates — a serious attempt to expand Anglicanism, while about 25 churches are closed each year. Others have occupied secular buildings. For a time, the Harbour church in Portsmouth could be found in an old department store. In Swindon, plans are under way to turn a former Great Western Railway building into a large new place of worship.
The Fountains in Bradford will soon take over an old night club complex , once home to less godly venues called Revolution, Tequila and Vibe. The plan is to attract young people, in part by going to the city centres, where young people can be found.
There are about students at Gas Street on the night I visit. Worship starts at 8pm, before which they socialise over plates of paella from a giant pan. It is early in the term and some of them may be taking their first steps into the church, so the organisers asked me not to talk to people at random. Instead I am introduced to several regulars, including Mark, who is certainly a fine example of how they can help some young people in need.
If they do not ignite an Anglican revival among young people in the next couple of decades, then these new city-centre ventures will be the last stand of the Church of England. Such a decline in one generation would be worrying enough on its own, but it hides the worst news of all, which is the age of the faithful. One third of people over 75 consider themselves part of the Church of England. At that rate, you could add together all the undergraduates at the University of Birmingham 22, , Birmingham City University 19, and Aston University 11, and expect to find just Anglicans.
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You could fit all the churchgoers among them into a single gathering at Gas Street. For the Church of England, this is not a downward slope. It is the edge of a cliff. According to BSA data, children brought up without religion very rarely find it in adulthood, whereas about half of children from Anglican backgrounds ultimately leave the faith. For roughly every Anglican who dies, therefore, two must be raised to replace them, which requires lots of young Anglican parents … and there are almost none left, and fewer every year. Without a miracle, at some point there will be some serious explaining to do.
Where people can begin to come and engage with who is Jesus.