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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 7

23 February, 2014

The Church Times is presently running a four-part series examining the current state of the Church of England. My musings over the coming weeks will point to a number of these articles that are well worth reading. Professor Linda Woodhead's piece "Time to Get Serious" opens with former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey's headline statement that the Church of England is on the brink of extinction. "There are reasons to take him seriously, and reasons to be seriously sceptical" she writes. "What is immediately clear [from the research] is that Anglicanism is still a significant part of British society ... it still has advantages of which other religions can only dream ... but it is equally clear that Anglicans are dying out. The third of the population who say that they are Anglican is heavily concentrated in older age-groups." Woodhead identifies "transmission failure" of the faith between generations, adding that religion has become a "toxic brand" for many younger people. Although it makes sobering reading, Woodhead's article does include a glimmer of hope: "Despite overall decline, there are some parts of the Church that are regarded positively. Reasons given are that it is 'integral to English culture', 'an ethical voice in society', and 'part of our heritage'". But she does not let us off the hook: "The Church's greatest failure in our lifetime has been its refusal to take decline seriously. The situation is now so grave that it is no longer enough simply to focus on making parts grow again. The whole structure needs to be reviewed from head to toe, and creative and courageous decisions need to be made."

For the full article see this link.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

Illustration for Ordinary Sunday 2 Musings

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