Canterbury, England - A major British newspaper has claimed that there are only 23 million "active" Anglicans worldwide and has accused Anglican churches of "misleading" the world by claiming membership of more than 70 million.

The claim has been rejected by Anglican leaders, though an expert on church statistics told ENI this week that questions of church membership were difficult and contained several different categories of affiliation, with estimates based largely on trust.Christopher Morgan, religious affairs correspondent for the Sunday Times, wrote in a July 26 article that the figures released by the church were "misleading" and that "Anglicans, unlike other faiths, are being disingenuous about their support by including among their followers people who have been baptised but no longer attend church."

The "Sunday Times survey" would, the reporter added, "be a blow to the bishops" who are currently holding their decennial meeting - the Lambeth Conference - in Canterbury.