I think most people would agree that recent years have been pretty dull in the UK. Especially since the start of the recession, news reports have increasingly been about unemployment, redundancy, debt, crime and increased unrest amongst the population.
This Christmas just gone, Premier Media released their annual ‘Christmas Starts With Christ’ campaign which shows the nativity scene dressed up in our materialistic society. A powerful message, but one which seems to have hit home with a lot of people.
At my church, our Christmas services were well attended this year. For the first time since the church’s closure and reopening after a miraculous rescue attempt nearly a decade ago, St Paul’s in Newport had it’s first Midnight Mass, which was very well attended. Christmas Carol Service and Christmas Day services were also full of people.
Increased church attendance wasn’t just in Newport it seems. Indeed, across the country, church attendance has been on the increase over the Christmas period, and it doesn’t seem to be settling. Could people be coming back to God?
Attendance isn’t the only factor indicating that the UK is starting to rediscover God either. Peter Oborne of the Telegraph has also stated that the UK is starting, slowly but surely, to find it’s roots in Christianity. Many are starting to find faith. He states that change is afoot! Tom Chivers, again of the Telegraph recognises Christ as a great man. Admittedly, he states that he doesn’t believe Christ was divine. However, Jesus is back in the news, and he’s being talked about.
It seems to me that the very society which people have created in order to please themselves without much thought for things that really matter has come round and bit them on the backside. In turn, amongst the mess of recession, unemployment and unhappiness, people are finally starting to think about the real meaning of life.
We aren’t talking about some academic debate between science and faith or militant atheists battling against ideas on heaven, hell and the universe. Neither are we talking about Christians being persecuted for wearing a cross in the workplace. No, something is happening, and it’s for the better. A shift in moods and opinions is starting to rise out of the ashes of the miserable society that we live in.
OK, I don’t know for sure if the UK really is coming back to God. But in my conversations, people are starting to become more interested in faith. As opposed to my dad’s generation who have campaigned tirelessly to rid God from the earth, my generation on the whole seem to be deeply interested in faith and questions that science will never be able to answer. And the Christmas period seems to suggest that this interest is starting to rub off on others too. It’s only natural that when scientific advance and secularist principles such as ‘do anything and everything you like as long as it makes you happy’ don’t work, people are willing to try the alternative. And the alternative is God.
Time will tell whether or not Jesus is going to start to become the centre of the lives of many Britons in the coming year. But history tells us that where happiness is absent and life is dominated by problems and despair, people finally look to their creator for an answer and find faith, love and forgiveness in Christ. It happened in the early 1900’s with Evan Roberts and the revival. It happened even earlier than that with the Wesley brothers and Whitefield and their revivals. And even before that, it happened in the Jewish nation, where they would find rest in God after years of keeping him at arms length.
The challenge, if the UK were to come back to God, is to keep him close. Again, history teaches that as soon as things start to go to plan again, God is often the first one to be dropped. Indeed, history shows us that this is very much true, with official church attendance dropping over the last years. It was also true of the Jewish nation, whose story is all about them coming to God in their turmoil, then quickly abandoning them when he’s provided for them.
I’m excited to see what 2012 brings in terms of faith, Christianity and how the Church relates to society in the UK . I may be wrong on the whole issue, but I like to try and be a “half full” person. If the UK does come back to God, then there most certainly will be a celebration within the church. Do you think the Brits are starting to reevaluate life? Is there a chance the UK will come back to God?
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about
Hey Dean! I don’t know if you remember me, I read and commented on your blog a bit a few months ago (before the summer I think).
Anyway I’ve recently had a major conversion and now I’m a Christian! It’s the last thing I ever thought would happen to me but what do you know! It’s a long story filled with many influences but I think your blog may have had a small role to play as well =)
Anyway I look forward to catching up on some posts and reading new ones. I’ve started up a new blog as well but it’s barely off the ground yet! Happy to see yours is still going!
Eva – of course I remember you! What wonderful news – I’m so very glad to hear that you’ve found faith again. I’m really glad you shared that with me. Deeply encouraging! Please keep in touch. I can imagine that you probably still have many questions and encourage you that this is normal, and we will never, as Christians, have the answer to everything! Very happy to hear from you!
Thanks Dean! You’re actually only the second person I’ve told. I’m not keeping it quiet because I’m ashamed or am never planning to tell or anything, I am just taking some time to figure things out. In time everyone will know. I have an amazing professor that I’ve been emailing and she’s helping me out and giving me advice, ect. She’s actually from the UK originally, which I think is pretty neat! haha! Thanks for your awesome reply!
Hey, Eva, what good news. The internet’s a great thing, eh (if you want it to be).
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