In accounting for current state of new religious movements (NRMs) in Britain, George Chryssides notes that the growing globalization of these groups tends to make national developments or even leadership less important.
In a paper presented at the CESNUR conference in Taipei, Taiwan, Chryssides says that growing internationalization of NRMs in Britain could be seen in the name change of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order to Trirantna, because it is no longer exclusively Western. He adds that the deaths of founder-leaders have made little difference to their organizations, which would contradict classical sociological theory that sees the loss of a charismatic leader as drastically challenging a new religion.
In all cases, the leaders’ advancing years have caused them to have relinquished an active role in their organizations’ running. There is also a decline in conversions to new religions, as well as “much less aggressive proselytizing.” The latter trend may be due to recruitment efforts moving online (for instance, one can now take Scientology’s free personality test online). Chryssides writes that while there are a few “new new religions” in Britain, their numbers are not large; the groups he lists that started between 1994 and 2009 are notable for their Christian orientation, which tends to make them go unnoticed by NRM scholars.
Several are independent Protestant groups, while others are schismatic groups from the Church of England (and one from the Church of Scotland) collectively known as the “continuing movement.” Among the most unusual is the Open Episcopal Church (OEC), which, unlike the continuing churches, is liberal rather than traditionalist. But because of the OEC’s radically inclusivist stance, it has attracted disaffected conservatives and liberals from the Church of England, which has caused ongoing conflict in the body. The OEC runs a unique hybrid cyber-service that allows worshippers to order consecrated hosts through the mail and then go online to select an appropriate Mass in which to partake of the sacrament.