Anglican Church ‘may cease to exist in 20 years’
The Church of England will no longer be “functionally extant” in 20 years time according to some projections, a member of the General Synod has warned.
The Rev Dr Patrick Richmond, from Norwich, told members of the Church’s national assembly that they were facing a “perfect storm” of ageing congregations and falling clergy numbers.
The average age of congregations was 61, with many above that, he said.
“These congregations will be led by fewer and fewer stipendiary clergy ... 2020 apparently is when our congregations start falling through the floor because of just natural wastage, that is people dying.
“Another 10 years on, some extrapolations put the Church of England as no longer functionally extant at all.”
The first Church Estates Commissioner Andreas Whittam Smith said the demographic “time bomb of 2020” for Anglicans was a “crisis”,
“One problem may be that decline is so slow and imperceptible that we don’t really see it coming clearly enough,” he said.
“We know about it in theory but we don’t really know about it in practice.”
He added: “I wish that all of us would have a sense of real crisis about this.”
Christian communities that have been in the Holy Land since the time of Jesus face the prospect of disappearing in the not-too-distant future, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
At the same meeting in York, Dr Rowan Williams also said churches in the Holy Land could be reduced to museums and Christianity viewed as part of the historical “heritage” .
“The overall decline in the Christian population in the Holy Land has been very significant in recent decades and it is accelerating in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem very rapidly,” he said.
“The numbers of Christians in Israel itself remains steady but we still face the not-too-distant prospect elsewhere, especially in east Jerusalem, of the disappearance of most of the historic Christian communities, the communities that have been there in some cases since the days of Our Lord.”
Dr Williams launched an appeal for funds to help Christian communities in the Holy Land.
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