Responding to the findings on religion from the England and Wales Census 2021 the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “The Christian church exists to share the good news of Jesus Christ, serve our neighbour and bring hope to a troubled world.
“That’s what we’ve done for 2,000 years - in times of war and peace; hardship and plenty; revival and decline and it’s what we must do now more than ever.
“It’s not a great surprise that the Census shows fewer people in this country identifying as Christian than in the past, but it still throws down a challenge to us not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth but also to play our part in making Christ known.
“We have left behind the era when many people almost automatically identified as Christian but other surveys consistently show how the same people still seek spiritual truth and wisdom and a set of values to live by.
“This winter - perhaps more so than for a long time – people right across the country, some in desperate need, will be turning to their local church, not only for spiritual hope but practical help.
“We will be there for them, in many cases, providing food and warmth. And at Christmas millions of people will still come to our services.
“At the same time, we will be looking beyond our immediate surroundings, remembering we are part of a global faith, the largest movement on Earth and its greatest hope for a peaceful, sustainable future.”