Latimer’s candle has finally been put out. Apparently.
According to PA, ‘Catholic churchgoers now outnumber Anglicans for the first time since the Reformation partly due to the massive migration from Catholic countries, according to research.’
Not entirely bowled over by all this. The PA report is bollocks for a start. That shocking research of the first par makes it as far as the fourth par before it gets downgraded to an estimate based on previous year’s research. Are these conclusive numbers or not? And if they’re not why is this a story?
So, checked out the somewhat amateurish Christian Research website to get a flavour of the 2005 report. Alas, it’s restricted access to just a few extremely sketchy sample pages. But it all directs people towards the online shop – is this report feeding a primarily commercial venture? The website also indicates that the Religious Trends pamphlets are mostly out of print. If this is definitive benchmarking, why is it out of print?
Why is this research agency so opaque on up-to-date information about itself?
Their new Executive Director comes from a retail and leisure background, and they’ve launched a bizarre ‘mystery worshipper’ initiative. They seem to want to source revenue from measuring congregations and planting a form of clap-o-meter under the pulpit.
Staff at Bobballs are sceptical. But that won’t stop the Tory press talking about immigration. More evidence we’re outnumbered in our own country, what?
Staff at Burkes Corner are better equipped to deal with theological and evangelical issues. But to Bobballs, this all looks suspiciously like Statisticsballs. Great headlines and good PR for Christian Research, but how useful/valuable/robust is the research/methodology that will undoubtedly colour so many opinions?
[Staff at Bobballs are also glad to have got through all of this without going near the Act of Settlement.]