How many Anglicans are there?
by Bob Libby
Just how many Anglicans are there: 53, 70, 76 or 102 million? It all depends on who is counting and who is being counted. According to the just-published Essential Guide to the Anglican Communion by Canon James Rosenthal, Communication Director for this Lambeth Conference and for the Anglican Communion, the figures add up to 76.6 million of us worldwide.
Canon Rosenthal gets his figures from the official provincial reports. If these are accurate it would mean a 6 million-plus increase over the 70-million figure which has been quoted for the past 30 years. Rosenthal includes in his count the United Churches of India (1.2 million) and South India (2 million). The Church of England, meanwhile, has been reporting 26 million baptized for three decades, while the Easter figures for 1995 recorded only 1.2 million in attendance and 679,600 communions on a normal Sunday.
There is, however, great excitement in the C of E prompted by the Ripon survey which discovered that there may be an undercount of weekly church activity by as much as two thirds. In addition, ordinations show a healthy 15 percent increase in England. But if one takes the view that C of E membership counts should be limited to the estimated 3 million active church-goers, then one arrives at a figure of just over 53 million total Anglicans. Nigerians inWest Africa report success stories, with more than 17 million baptized members. Uganda reports 8 million members; Kenya. 2.5; West Africa, 1; Southern Africa, 2; Sudan, 2; which all show healthy growth under difficult conditions and indicate that the largest concentration of Anglicans is now in Africa.
Also of interest is demographic research done by David Barrett and E.A. Tad de Bordennave, who assert that Anglican membership may be as high as 102 million.According to their report, The Anglican World in Figures (TAWIF), there may be 102.7 Anglicans worldwide.The authors reach that figure by adding 21.7 million ``Latent Anglicans'' and 7.6 Anglicans identified as outside the Communion.
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