Britons are swapping pints for prayers with new figures showing we now have more churches than pubs.
There are 40,300 church buildings compared to just 39,000 boozers in Britain, according to new figures.
Three pubs are closing every day, meaning more than 11,000 locals have shut down in the last decade – a fall of almost a quarter.
But migration has helped keep the number of churches stable, with more Evangelical and Pentecostal venues springing up.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), said that pubs and churches must work together to save British community spirit.
‘Pubs are like churches,’ she said.
‘They’re about so much more than just drinking, they’re one of the last social places for people to go and mix with each other.
‘We’ve got to fight to save our pubs, but I believe they are a prize worth fighting for.’
The National Churches Trust looked at data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to reveal the number of pubs, before asking the Brierley Consultancy to work out the number of churches.
Stats also showed there are now more churches than any other key public buildings.
Across the country there are 14,300 supermarkets, 11,500 post offices, 7,500 bank branches and 3,600 public libraries.
There are currently about 50,000 Christian congregations in the UK.
In addition to being used for worship, an increasing number of churches in the UK are becoming local ‘community hubs’, hosting children’s nurseries, senior citizen lunch clubs, concerts and exhibition venues.
Some even house Post Offices, GP surgeries and farmer’s markets.
And nearly one in five of the places where people cast their vote are church buildings, with around 6,000 of the UK’s 32,000 polling stations located in church buildings, representing 19% of the total.
Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’ church, in London’s Piccadilly, said: ‘Church buildings are a tremendous national asset for the UK. Many of them are historic buildings, a vital part of our national heritage.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Milly Vincent