Anglicanism Circa 2010 Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 30 December 2010 16:39

The Atlas of Global Christianity begins its page on Anglicanism this way:

“Anglicans have experienced a more profound demographic transformation than other Christian tradition over the past 100 years.”

Yes, Virginia . . . Even more than post-Vatican II Catholics.  Consider that In 1910, 80% of Anglicans lived in Britain and comprised 5.4% of Christians.  Today, that percentage has dropped to 3.8%

Of the 86.7 million Anglicans today, nearly 51 million (58.6%) live in Africa.  Meanwhile, Europe’s share of the Anglican population declined from 80.1% to 30.2% and North America’s from 7.7% to 3.3%.   It is interesting that Oceania’s Anglicans (5 million) greatly outnumber those of North America (2.86 million).  Indian Anglicans disappeared in a merger with other Protestants.

AGC’s figures also confirm what I have long suspected:  Anglicanism is becoming a majority evangelical faith.


Anglo Catholicism is clearly a very small part of the communion and a number of those Anglicans will be entering into communion with us so it will only be getting smaller.  If you merge the two categories of Anglo Catholic and High Church (which most involved would sturdily resist), it only amounts to 12% and the old "broad Church" only 11%.

Low church and evangelicals together make up 53% and if you add in the mysterious "mixed" Anglicans, you quickly arrive at 76% of the whole communion who do not claim to be either "broad" or "high".

African Christianity is heavily independent and charismatic so it seems very natural that a communion that is now majority African would be more evangelical and charismatic.  And there is also the heavy influence of the staggeringly successful Alpha course that originated at a charismatic Anglican powerhouse parish: Holy Trinity Brompton in London.  15 million have attended Alpha courses all over the world.  When I was in New Zealand and Australia, you could see Anglican congregations all over advertising their Alpha course.

The AGC does predict that Anglicanism will grow a bit over the next 40 years to 4.4%.  The growth is not expected to be in Europe but in the global south.  The ultimate white, stiff upper lip Christian communion, famously described as "the Tory party at prayer" will become even more African.

Next in our series:  Conversions and Defections: a World in Constant Spiritual Motion?