Spanish evangelicals celebrate another year of growth

Evangelicalism in Spain is on the rise, according to official figures, with nearly 200 new places of worship registered last year.

A view of Barcelona with the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral.Pixabay

The figures released by the national Observatory of Religious Pluralism show there were 4,238 evangelical places of worship in December 2018, a rise of 197 on the previous year.

According to Evangelical Focus, the government statistics include Adventists and Anglicans as evangelicals, but the largest evangelical denominations in Spain are Assemblies of God, Baptists, Brethren and independent churches.

It was only last year that Spain's evangelicals topped 4,000 congregations, reflecting a period of sustained growth in spite of frequent difficulties in obtaining permission for building or opening places of worship.

Last year evangelicals opened 16 churches every month. They are the largest grouping among minority faiths in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, at 58.5 per cent. Muslims are next 22.5 per cent and 1,632 mosques, followed by Jehovah's Witnesses and Orthodox.

The data show Spain becoming increasingly religiously plural, with minorities increasing in all of its 17 regions though not at the same rate: only two new evangelical churches opened in Asturias in five years.

However, minorities are still dwarfed by the presences of the Catholic Church, which has 23,019 churches.