Starting in 2020 a small group of Anglican clergy from across the country joined forces to think about how the Church of England might respond to the challenges and opportunities of reaching out to the increasing number of non-religious people, 'nones,' in our culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Drawing on the research undertaken by Roman Catholic Theologian, Professor Stephen Bullivant and the 'Understanding Unbelief' project and others, the group interviewed 13 Christians, previously with no religious backgrounds, to find out what had led them to becoming Christians. Those interviews can be found on this site (see videos), alongside invaluable research undertaken by the Bible Society and University of Kent, which complements this. (See resources section.)
Then in the Winter of 2022 the 2021 census results came out, showing us the continuing trends. The project is now moving into phase 2 which is all about helping churches to engage with the census results, signposting churches to resources and highlighting the issues and some potential responses to them.
The hope is that this project (which is ongoing) will encourage individuals and dioceses in the Church of England especially to engage with this fascinating and growing cultural phenomenon and that it will help us to be bold and imaginative in our response.
We’re keen to enrich this resource. If you have comments, other articles, books, interviews etc which we could add please do get in touch.
You can see an introductory video about the project on our Videos page.
You can learn more about the team who have been involved in the project here or in the About section.
The number of people professing to be ‘nones’ in the UK is rapidly growing. This site encourages and equips leaders in the church to face up to the fresh challenges in mission and discipleship that this rapidly changing spiritual landscape brings.
Dr Nick Shepherd, Vision and Strategy Team, Church of England