New book announced on London’s churches

The Centre for Church Growth Research is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of an edited volume entitled The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present, to be published in hardback by Routledge during Autumn 2018.

The study was edited by David Goodhew, Director of the Centre for Church Growth Research at Cranmer Hall, St Johns College, Durham University and Anthony-Paul Cooper, Research Fellow of the Centre for Church Growth Research at
Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham University.

Further details around the publication of the volume and the associated launch event will be made available in due course.

A summary of The Desecularisation of the City:

It remains a truth almost universally acknowledged that the church in the West is in decline. But not all universally acknowledged truths are true. The number of congregations in London is 50% higher now than it was in 1979. Some of London’s churches and denominations have shrunk since 1980, but most have grown. London’s Churches, produced by a diverse team of scholars, explores the vitality of congregational life in a key global city. It does so by sinking interdisciplinary ‘shafts’ into the evidential strata – the diverse localities, ethnicities and denominations that make up the church in contemporary London. The volume ranges from Nigerian Pentecostals to Russian Orthodox, from the established Church of England to denominations which only arose in recent decades. London’s Churches necessitates a significant reassessment of the dominant portrayal of Christianity in Britain and the west, which has assumed that cities are secular spaces within a secularising culture.

The draft table of contents for the forthcoming volume can be viewed here

New Book on Global Anglicanism from CCGR

The Centre for Church Growth Research is delighted to announce the publication of Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion, 1980 to the Present, newly published by Routledge in paperback and hardback.

The Anglican Communion is one of the largest Christian denominations in the world. Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion is the first study of its dramatic growth and decline in the years since 1980. An international team of leading researchers based across five continents provides a global overview of Anglicanism alongside twelve detailed case studies. The case studies stretch from Singapore to England, Nigeria to the USA and mostly focus on non-western Anglicanism. This book is a critical resource for students and scholars seeking an understanding the past, present and future of the Anglican Church. More broadly, the study offers insight into debates surrounding secularisation in the contemporary world. The study was edited by David Goodhew, Director of the Centre for Church Growth Research at Cranmer Hall, St Johns College, Durham University.


‘This is a truly valuable book. In a collection of outstanding essays, the contributors seek to find firm ground for statements about growth and decline in the Anglican Communion, one of the world’s largest religious institutions. At every stage, what they find repeatedly challenges conventional assumptions, and also raises fundamental questions that demand to be applied to other global churches. This is truly eye-opening. I cannot speak too highly of this excellent volume.’

Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History, Baylor University, USA

‘This volume is a veritable goldmine. It contains a huge amount of mostly numerical information on the Anglican Communion in all its fullness. Quite rightly it eschews easy generalizations, probing instead the complex and evolving mosaic that constitutes modern Anglicanism. Almost every reader will be surprised about something. I recommend this book very warmly.’

Grace Davie, Professor emeritus of Sociology, University of Exeter, UK

The volume can be ordered here

New Research Fellow and Junior Research Fellow at CCGR

The Centre for Church Growth Research is delighted to announce the appointment of Anthony-Paul Cooper as Research Fellow and Rob Barward-Symmons as Junior Research Fellow. Anthony-Paul has been involved with the Centre since its inception. Most recently he has co-authored an article for the Journal of Contemporary Religion and collaborated with the Professor Errki Sutinen at the University of Turku in Finland. Rob Barward-Symmons co-authored the widely noted recent report ‘New Churches in the North East’ and is completing an MA in theological research at Durham University, prior to engaging in further research work. David Goodhew, director of the Centre for Church Growth Research commented: ‘I am delighted to announce these appointments. Anthony-Paul and Rob are highly gifted individuals and we look forward to working with them on future projects’.

Durham MA thesis sheds light on gender ratios in student churchgoing

A new MA thesis, supervised by CCGR staff, sheds light on student churchgoing. Chris Morgan has written a thesis entitled ‘A study into the gender ratio of student worshippers at King’s Church Durham, from 2009/10’. It analyses student churchgoing in a large new church in Durham, showing the large number of women students and how many come from arts subjects – and how the church has sought to achieve a more even gender balance. The thesis is of value for debates about gender and churchgoing and how students are connecting with faith in contemporary Britain.

The thesis is now available for download here:

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Institute of Historical Research Seminar on church growth in North East

On 2nd December at the University of London’s Institute of Historical Research there will be a seminar entitled, ‘Race, Region and Resacralisation: New Churches in the North East of England, 1980 to the Present’, led by David Goodhew of Cranmer Hall, Durham. The seminar starts at 5.15 pm and the venue is the Professor Olga Crisp Room N102, IHR, 1st floor, South block, Senate House, Russell Square – nearest tube Russell Square. For more details see:

Theos Thinktank Debates Future of Church in UK with CCGR staff

On 7th December the Theos thinktank in Westminster is hosting a debate entitled ‘What does the Future hold for the UK church?’. The debate is between Professor Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University and Rev Dr David Goodhew of Cranmer Hall, St Johns College, Durham. Doors open at 6.30 pm for a 7 pm start. For more information and to book a ticket, go to:

Launch of Research Report ‘New Churches in the North East’

All are welcome to a presentation on and launch of a new research report, ‘New Churches in the North East’ on Thursday 29th October, 4 pm, Tristram Room, St Johns College, Durham. The report was funded by a Leech Fellowship and offers a survey of new churches founded in the North East since 1980. Using a strict definition of what counts as a ‘new church’, it concludes that 125 new churches have started in the North East since 1980, with a combined usual Sunday attendance of c. 12 000. The report finds that ethnic minority churchgoing is a key factor in the growth of such congregations. The findings are of interest to those involved in various academic fields, all those involved in church leadership in the North East and those concerned to chart how society in the North East is changing. Copies of the report will be available at a special discount at the launch and will also be available online from 29th October. To confirm your attendance, please RSVP to Val Strickland at:

The report was produced by a team of researchers based at the Centre for Church Growth Research, based at Cranmer Hall.

Major CCGR conference coming on 18th November 2016

To launch the new volume published by Ashgate, Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion, 1980 to the Present”, the CCGR is organising a conference on 18th November 2016, hosted by Whitelands College, part of the University of Roehamption in west London. The conference will explore patterns of growth and decline within the member churches of the Anglican Communion. It will include sessions on England, the USA, Nigeria, Congo, Latin America and other parts of the communion. In addition, the Rt Revd Graham Kings, recently appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion, will set the findings in a wider theological setting. It will be of interest to academics, church leaders and all interested in patterns of church growth and secularization in the modern world. Conference booking will open in the coming months and will include special rates for postgraduate students. The conference also forms part of celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Whitelands College.

MA module on church growth to be taught in Autumn of 2015

A MA module entitled ‘Church Growth and Decline in British Christianity, from 1945 to the Present Day’ will be taught in the autumn of 2015. It can be taken as part of Durham University’s MA in Theology and Ministry or as a freestanding course. It offers an opportunity to combine contemporary history, empirical study of what helps churches grow and decline and exploration of the various theories that offer explanations of why churches grow or shrink as well as study of the theological issues raised by church growth and decline. The module can be combined with dissertation work, in which masters students have the opportunity to do detailed study of particular localities and questions with which they may be concerned. Recent masters students have researched subjects such as: the value of Church of England attendance measures; gender balance amongst students in a new congregation and church growth and decline in inner city Manchester. For more information about this module and the MA in theology and ministry, contact Dr Joss Bryan on

Durham MA research sheds light into nature of Church of England figures

A new Durham MA thesis by Mark Wigglesworth sheds significant light into Church of England figures. The thesis, “A Critical Evaluation and Theological Reflection on ‘Worshipping Community’, As Used By the Church of England Statistics”, shows that a new measure being trialled contains significant distortions. The measure itself has considerable merits, but can only provide meaningful data if used with significantly greater care.

The thesis is now available for download here:

Download File