The 2016 church census in Scotland has been published and reveals that regular churchgoing Christians across the country has fallen to 390,000 (7.2 per cent of population) far lower than 854,000 (17 percent of population) in the census of 1984.
The study also showed that 42 percent of the churchgoers were aged over 65, and that the number of congregations dropped from 4,100 in 1984 to 3,700 in 2016.
Lead researcher Dr. Peter Brierley said the figures indicated that Scotland faces a crisis in Christianity: “We are living in the 21st century and one of the features of the 21st century is that people’s allegiance to particular faiths is no longer as strong as it used to be,” he said.
It is believed that some of the decline is due to the deaths of elderly churchgoers and not because Christians are turning to other faiths.
Although Church representatives admitted that the census results did not make for ‘terribly happy reading’, they did see it also as an opportunity for the church to portray the love of God and thegood news of Jesus in a new way for a new generation.
In the Western Isles the census revealed that in 1984 the Islands’ population stood at 30,880, with Church attendance at 21,090 meaning that 68.3%of the population attended church. In 2016 the population stands at 27,130 with those attending church at 12,020 or 44.3%.
If this trend continues by 2025 only 38.1% of the Islands’ population will attend church.