Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Justin Welby and John Sentamu warn that Church of England must reverse its decline

Mark Woods
13 January 2015

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have warned that decline in the Church of England has to be reversed if it is to continue its nation-wide ministry.

In a paper prepared in advance of the forthcoming General Synod meetings next month, Most Revs Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu say: "The urgency of the challenge facing us is not in doubt. Attendance at Church of England services has declined at an average of 1 per cent per annum over recent decades and, in addition, the age profile of our membership has become significantly older than that of the population. Finances have been relatively stable, thanks to increased individual giving. This situation cannot, however, be expected to continue unless the decline in membership is reversed."

Average attendance at Sunday services has dropped by nearly half during the last 40 years and currently stands at around 800,000.

The archbishops also warn of a coming crisis in clergy staffing levels, saying: "The age profile of our clergy has also been increasing. Around 40 per cent of parish clergy are due to retire over the next decade or so. And while ordination rates have held up well over recent years they continue to be well below what would be needed to maintain current clergy numbers and meet diocesan ambitions."...the rest

Church of England cannot carry on as it is unless decline ‘urgently’ reversed – Welby and Sentamu ...Meanwhile dwindling numbers in the pews will inevitably plunge the Church into a financial crisis as it grapples with the “burden” of maintaining thousands of historic buildings, they insisted.

But the two archbishops also called for the Church to invest more in building up its presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to get its message across online as part of a “major programme of renewal and reform”...


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