Immigration giving new life to British Christianity, says cardinal [CC]

Christian immigrants to Great Britain are giving new life to Christianity on the island, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster said. "I think what is happening is that the energy of …


The irony is Europe sent missionaries to Africa, Asia and South America in order to convert the peoples of these regions to Christianity.

Maybe these immigrants to Europe can return the favour by witnessing for the faith in their new adopted countries, helping with the restoration of faith and saving them from the dead end of secular moral relativism.


One of the interesting things is that the Church in London (of all denominations) has grown by 16% in the last 10 years. This has also led to a revival in vocations.

Here are some joyful images from the vocation of 40 new Deacons into the Diocese of London (Church of England) at St Paul’s last weekend:

When I was in London in 2013, walking across London Bridge, there were evangelists of African ethnicity (maybe from the Caribbean, maybe from Africa, I’m not sure) standing on the bridge hailing people with bullhorns, handing out tracts, etc.

Not necessarily the best form of evangelism, but not the stereotype of “secular Britain” so many in the U.S. have.


I can’t imagine our local diocese will take this idea up!

(They might replace these with tea and biscuits though).

Nor would I expect or want them to, although some Frank-Sheed-style talks at Speaker’s Corner might not be amiss.

It was just rather refreshing, given how often I hear from both pious Americans and secular Brits that no one in Britain thinks about religion any more. (I know this not to be true because I have some quite devout friends and relations, but of course I know they’re a small minority among the native-born.)

Your experiences to point toward the grey areas which we can sometimes forget.

I think of Britain as ‘secular Britain’ but only in the sense that it can become secular Britain if we are not careful. It is a term used not in the literal sense. A term used so we know that we can’t be complacent. And we know we have to oppose certain things in law which are not just. As you say, there are many people who do believe in the Divine, or have some sense of Him, and the West was built upon Christian principles (though maybe distorted) - or at least some principles were toward the common good (Pope Francis recently spoke about the term ‘common good’). Even in pre-Christian times and the days of more indigenous peoples, there was still a belief in something greater than us. There are those who are powerful, who are maybe not conscious of the fact, that they are steering our countries toward secularism. And we need to be aware of that, IMO. So while we mightn’t be completely secular, we are heading that way. At what point does capitalism start becoming too much like communism-in-disguise.

So the Church in the United Kingdom is relying on immigration to boost its numbers?

Eventually that will falter, as the children of immigrants, if poorly catechized, will fall away from the Faith. It’s the same problem we face in America: the bishops’ support for “comprehensive immigration reform” is potentially based on the hope of reviving the American Church. But that will last only so long.

I don’t think topping up from immigration is a new thing in Britain, particularly for the Catholic Church. For two or three hundred years the church has found a firm footing within the vast Irish diaspora in Great Britain. Nowadays there is the additional resource of the considerable European population from places like Poland in Britain because of freedom of movement within the European Union. Strange to tell, few of those arriving from Central Europe turn out to be Anglicans.

Of course immigration from non-European lands has brought a rise in Pentecostal and non-denominational churches of many kinds.

Meanwhile, as far as the CofE is concerned, those new deacons pictured in St Paul’s look a jolly crew.

I don’t see how they are Pentecostal. Most of these types of denominational branches are western-devised.

African, Eastern (non-European) and then European countries are Catholic, surely, if Christian.

Speaker’s Corner could be a resource. I haven’t been to London in a while but I wonder whether they make anything of that place, or enough of it. I wonder if Christians dare speak there. Would be interesting to know.

Well, I’m no expert, but I think you’ve left out the Caribbean:

Herewith some Corner Speakers, including one alleged to be of the Catholic Evidence Guild.

Actually there are a lot of Pentecostals. Pentecostalism is booming in the “developing world.” In Africa, more precisely, there are a lot of what are called “African independent churches,” which generally look like what we would call Pentecostal inasmuch as they emphasize miracles, have demonstrative worship, etc. Many of them have rather unorthodox beliefs (even by mainstream Protestant standards) and/or regard their founding figures as prophets.


The article Picky Picky linked to was illuminating. I know about it mostly because my family used to go there sometimes–how much they spoke themselves or just supported other (conservative evangelical) speakers I’m not sure. (My maternal grandparents were American evangelists who came to Glasgow in 1939 and moved to England in 1956. We all moved back to the states when I was six, in 1981. My family mostly operated in the Midlands and the North–Blackburn, Preston, Kendal, the Potteries, etc.–as well as Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Not so much the London area.) I have only been to Speakers’ Corner once, in 2002. There was one lonely fundamentalist holding forth, with whom I had the usual confusing conversation I have with folks about religion (confusing for him, I mean, since my sort-of-evangelical-sort-of-Catholic theological stance muddled him as it muddles a lot of people). From Picky’s article I gather that the religious representation of speakers has actually increased, perhaps as a sign of the marginalization of religion in England. (Though I was also delighted to see, on the same walk around London in 2013 that I mentioned earlier, that there is still an open-air meeting going on on the same block where John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed”!)


It does appear that way.

Saved to desktop. Thanks, will have a goosey later! :thumbsup:

Nice story. Lots of travelling. Maybe the holiness in the meeting with the gentleman at Speakers Corner was the time spared to both talk to and be patient with one another despite any confusion which might have occurred during or after. :D:thumbsup:

I look forward to reading Picky’s article!

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