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The future of British Christianity

An African church in London’s Elephant and Castle. Dan Kitwood/Getty

The voice of Christianity in England has been reduced to a “hoarse whisper”, says Tomiwa Owolade in UnHerd. Except in London, where “it is closer to a deafening roar”. Consider GQ’s latest cover star, Ealing-born footballer Bukayo Saka. When the magazine asked the 20-year-old to list his “ten most essential items”, alongside the usual iPad and PlayStation he included a Bible given to him by his father. “Religion is a big part of my life,” Saka says in the video. “Obviously I’m a strong believer in God.” For Saka, like so many black Africans living in England, “Christianity is everything”.

London is more Christian today than it was when Mrs Thatcher was prime minister. Between 1979 and 2012 there was a 50% rise in the number of churches in the capital, many built in boroughs with a large black population such as Southwark. Given that it’s black Africans who are driving the rise of Christianity, conservatives who want to renew Christian Britain should bother far less with Justin Welby and Pope Francis, and instead lobby for a more relaxed immigration policy for Britain’s former African colonies. How ironic, and how “beautifully Christian”, that the religion’s future in England, “the bosom of what was once the largest empire in the world”, now rests on the people it once colonised.