"There were 47,000 Church of England marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriages during 2015."
And how many of these were of same-gender couples? Oh, I see - a nice round figure.
And the CofE wonders why it's considered totally irrelevant by 80+% of the population .
National decline for the year overall is 1.6%. Southwell and Nottingham, despite an energetic diocesan strategy entitled Growing Disciples - Wider, Younger, Deeper, lost 5.6%. Nevertheless, they have big ambitions: this is what they want to achieve by 2023 -
"Compelled by the love of Christ by 2023 we will seek to
• Welcome 7000 new disciples into the fellowship of Christ and his church
• Commission 1000 Younger Leaders equipped and
inspired to serve the purposes of God in the Church and Society
• Plant or graft 75 New Worshipping Communities to increase our reach in sharing the story of Jesus with all and growing new disciples
• Develop 25 Resource Churches in every part of the county, growing to give themselves away
• Serve as 1 Church prayerfully contending for the gospel in every community and sphere of public life in our city, county and region"
Laudable - but it isn't going to happen until they stem the haemorrhage. That steep curve just got nearly steeper.
Archdruid Eileen's liturgy of the calculation of the attendance figures must strike a chord for anyone who has attended any church meeting. We (including me) all have our own agenda. It's just that my agenda is more important than your agenda. An excellent way to lose numbers.
Jeremy Pemberton gives some interesting figures. Of course one wishes Southwell & Nottingham Diocese well. But looking at the Diocesan stats in the national report this seems to imply:
Church congregations growing by 40-50% in 6 years;
3 new trained youth leaders per church on average in 6 years;
the number of church communities increasing by between a fifth and a quarter in 6 years.
Is this what the new business focus is leading to - figures that largely seem unachievable but would be defended as visionary and challenging? It looks to me like failure is being built in.
Have I got this right?
And yet the evangelical churches are flourishing...and their colleges full.
My children were raised going to church (Methodist) regularly. Went to a church school.
They would never join a mainstream congregation as adults, because as young people today, they would no more hatefully exclude their gay friends than they would hatefully exclude their black friends. The people who claim the exclusion of LGBT people by the Church of England is somehow not "hateful" clearly haven't read the Anglican Mainstream website recently, and the claim that it's OK to be a member of a branch of an organisation that behaves badly so long as the branch waves his hands and says it wishes it could be better, just so long as it doesn't have actually _be_ better, are little more convincing. No-one has to go under the bus for the sake of an organisation that wilfully refuses to be better.
It is worth considering this well-known meme: https://goo.gl/WnMuQD
For those that don't click on random URLs, it is a juxtaposition of two photographs. The upper, colour photograph is recent and has people on the steps of the US Supreme Court waving banners saying "Stand up for marriage: One Man, One Woman". The lower, older, black and white photograph shows people on the steps of the same court waving banners saying "Race Mixing is Communism". The caption is "Imagine How Stupid You Are Going To Look In 40 Years".
Does the CofE imagine it is going to be able to continue to exclude gay people for another forty years? In order to prevent a small and dying generation of elderly conservatives from having a fit of the vapours, it plans to exclude essentially everyone after about 1950 other than a small handful of evangelical conservatives, in the hope that, what? People become more bigoted as they get older? What's the plan? When the CofE finally joins the 21st century and stops actively hating gay people (and, again, "hating" is a precise and accurate word for he behaviour of people like Anglican Mainstream and GAFCON, whom the CofE very carefully never criticise and can therefore assume to be happy with their representation of Anglicanism) who does it think is going to be left sitting in the pews to hear? At the moment the plan seems to be a tiny, revanchist cadre of extremists for whom the hatred of gay people is the hill they wish to die on, which is a formula for a Church of England with a few thousand members.
My question is:
How can a diminishing number of congregants possibly be expected to finance the increased number of new stipendiary clergy that is proposed?
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