.- New statistics are indicating that in European countries of protestant tradition, the last three decades have seen an increasing decline in the number of protestant faithful accompanied by the rental and sale of more than two thousand churches. In countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany and Holland, many churches have been converted into bank offices, supermarkets, museums and student residences.
Since 1969, Anglicans in England have put some 1,600 churches up for saleâ10% of all the churches they possessâand the number goes up by 20 to 25 each year. The number is so large that there is even a web address to hold all of the information.
Other religious groups have been taking advantage of the situation. In Great Britain, Hindu temples in Leicester and Bristol occupy buildings that once belonged to Anglicans.
Similar situations exist in Edinburgh, Highlands and Glasgow. In some cases, churches have been turned into museums, gymnasiums, hotels and residences.
In Holland, more than 600 places of worship, mostly belonging to Lutherans, Reformed Protestants and other evangelicals, have been closed down in the last decade.
The drop in membership has not only led to the disappearance of Protestant places of worship in Europe. Analysts also point to it as a factor leading to the decision of Calvinists, Lutherans and other Protestants to join in a single worship service, a decision which their respective synods announced will take effect next May.