Over the last 2-3 years, a great deal has been spoken and publicized about the future of the Church. Will the Church of England as we know it still exist in 20 years time, and should it remain as it is? I am referring to the Christian faith of course, but the way it is expressed in the Church of England.
I know for a fact that a number of parishes are struggling to make ends meet and are not able to pay their way with all the financial pressures that are put upon them in terms of general running costs, upkeep of ancient buildings and payment of the annual Parish Share to the Diocese. This is a scenario that is being repeated across the nation and throughout the Church of England and ultimately it does threaten the life of the church and the parish system. It is no exaggeration to say that the next 10-20 years could see the end of the parish system and the demise of the Church of England as we have known it for centuries. This means that we shall see the closure of thousands of churches and the ministry of an “ordained minister”, such as myself, will no longer exist. Some people might ask “well, what difference would it make?” whilst others may well applaud. Yet I believe that for both those who are professed Christians and those who are not it will have a significant effect and will severely weaken the social support system of this country.
The fact is that I and others like me are here for everyone whoever and whatever you are. Everyone in this country lives within a parish and has a parish priest / minister who is available to them in times of joy and celebration and times of trouble and sadness. I personally minister to and support many people who have nothing or very little to do with the churches and I do this with complete willingness and good grace because I am here for everyone including you.
The question to ask is “if people like me no longer existed or became so over-stretched that they were not effective then who would fulfil the pastoral and spiritual role in our society?” The conclusion that I reach is no one and this would be a huge blow to the morale and social and spiritual fabric of our society.
The next question is “are you prepared to do something about this rapidly deteriorating situation?” There are two major ways in which you can play a vital role in maintaining the life and ministry of our churches. The first is by actually attending church yourself on a regular basis and becoming a part of the church’s life.
The second is by making regular financial contributions and the best way to do this is by standing order and covenant (which means that we also gain the tax relief from the Government) and, if this is something that you would like to do or find out more about, please contact our churchwardens..
The Church in this country doesn’t just need money because it needs you and your personal involvement. Where will our Church, its life and ministry, be in 10, 15 or 20 years’ time? Quite possibly non existent unless you’re prepared and willing to actively attend and support it. The same is true of all our churches. They say that you value something that you’re willing to support and pay for: the question is “are you, is this nation, prepared to support and pay for a church that has rendered it such invaluable service?” This question will only be answered in time but there isn’t so much time left.
Your friend and Rector Ty