Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lord Carey's vision for the Church might kill it off
The 'vibrant' services favoured by Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, will not bring back the crowds
Is the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, presiding over a Church sliding toward extinction?


By A.N. Wilson
Nov. 19, 2013

I go to a well-attended church in London, but I have made frequent travels throughout England in the past year (literary festivals, television work, visiting friends). On Sunday mornings, I have gone to church. When staying with friends near Canterbury, I have enjoyed splendid liturgy, intelligent sermons and been part of a huge congregation.

So what do I make of Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, saying that the Church is only one generation from extinction, its clergy gripped by a "feeling of defeat" and its congregations worn down with "heaviness"? Is he just suffering from peevish-old-man syndrome?

Alas, Lord Carey is right. Come away from Canterbury with me into the parishes I have visited - in the West Country, in East Anglia, in the Midlands and the North. I have attended at least 10 churches in the past year - all very different in their history, but in each case I have had the same experience. At the age of 63, I have been the youngest person present by 20 years. The congregation has seldom numbered double figures. The C of E is a moribund institution kept going by and for old people. They are ministered to (perhaps I was just unlucky) by an ill-educated clergy with nil public-speaking ability.

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