(Church Times) Lift burden off rural clergy, C of E study recommends

An urgent review of parish structure – including the number of churchwardens and other office-holders – is needed to release the time and energy of clergy and lay people for mission in rural areas, a report has recommended.

The report, Released for Mission: Growing the rural Church, will be debated at General Synod next week.

Two-thirds of C of E churches are in rural areas, but fewer than half the clergy serve in them. The vast majority of rural churches are in multi-parish benefices or groupings. They are attracting women clergy, but more than three-quarters of “higher-status” rural posts are still held by men.

Recent research has suggested that single parishes are more likely to experience growth than multi-parish benefices, the report says. Less than one in five churches in rural areas is experiencing growth – a figure matched by urban churches.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life

One comment on “(Church Times) Lift burden off rural clergy, C of E study recommends

  1. MichaelA says:

    “The presence of a sacred space was seen to be important. . . But this desire did not necessarily translate into any actions that would keep the buildings open. This included a reluctance to make any changes, develop new initiatives, encourage more people to join the congregation, or make the building more useful or financially sustainable.”

    Nailed it. That describes many small churches in England. The congregations are ageing and do not have an evangelical fervour, so they will not grow. Revenue will continue to shrink, even as the maintenance burden (on people as well as buildings) continues to grow.

    So all the nice thoughts in this reports are not going to go anywhere.