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Vanishing Anglicans: C of E throws cash at the problem

Vanishing Anglicans: C of E throws cash at the problem

Despite the fact that the Church of England’s attendance figures continue to plummet it believes that throwing cash at the problem will turn its fortunes around.

In 2016, speaking at the opening of the Anglican primates’ meeting in Canterbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, above, said:

In some parts of the Communion decline in numbers has been a pattern for many years. In England our numbers have been falling at about 1% every year since world war two … The culture [is] becoming anti-Christian, whether it is on matters of sexual morality, or the care for people at the beginning or the end of life.  It is easy to paint a very gloomy picture.

Around two years ago the number of people attending Church of England services each week dropped below 1 million – accounting for less than 2% of the population – with Sunday attendances falling to 760,000.

It’s now reported that the C of E is to lash out £24.4 million in the latest tranche of its Renewal and Reform programme funding. The money is being provided by the C of E’s Strategic Investment Board, which was created as part of a change in the way national funding from the Church Commissioners is provided to dioceses and parishes.

The diocese of London, which plans to open 100 new churches in Britain’s capital, will receive the biggest grant, valued at £4.8 million, to revitalise churches and develop “Church Growth Learning Communities”. It will also receive an additional £3.89 million to help train curates to be deployed across the country to support the national church.

The grants to the diocese of London:

Will enable churches of every tradition to join learning communities that help them grow in depth, impact and number. It will also help churches to train curates who will pay dividends back to the diocese by revitalising existing churches and promoting further mission.

Responding to the grant, the acting bishop of London, Pete Broadbent, above, (who is also bishop of Willesden) commented:

Planting and learning communities complement the inherited parish and chaplaincy model. The church of the future needs vision, depth and new resourcing. I’m delighted that the national church is investing in London in this way.

The second-largest grant of £4.23 million will be spent helping the diocese of Winchester to:

Engage with the ‘missing generations’ of young people across Hampshire and East Dorset.

The diocese, which is investing £4 million of its own funds on the scheme, dubbed Winchester Mission Action:

Will bring the Christian message to people who have not previously interacted with the Church of England. Through new projects designed to reach people in every location within the community, the Diocese of Winchester intends to re-establish the Church as a partner with other organisations in tackling challenges in society.

The projects which the new funding will facilitate include reinvigorating the Christian presence in large urban centres and smaller villages, establishing new Christian communities in places where there are new housing developments and reaching out to students in further and higher education.

The bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, said:

Society is changing rapidly, and traditional institutions are adapting. Winchester diocese is committed to the sustainable growth of the church for the common good. We have taken time to identify the challenges which face the people of Hampshire and East Dorset, whether they be in our rural villages or urban centres, seeing those challenges as opportunities for mission action.

We are a growing Christian community with an increasing emphasis on young people. Shaped by the life and work of Jesus, we aim to be an active participant in helping to renew our society and address the concerns of our cities, towns and villages.

The diocese of Blackburn will receive £1.54 million to help fund:

An ambitious project aimed at opening new churches in deprived urban estates.

Other grants announced by th eC of E, as part of this £24 million round, include £3.09 million for church planting and to strengthen mission across the City of Leeds in the diocese of Leeds; £1.88 million to develop mission in St Helens, Warrington and Widnes in the diocese of Liverpool; £1.84 million to develop mission and ministry to children, young people and families in the diocese of Sheffield; £1.61 million for nine new pioneer posts to be created as catalysts for pioneering activity across Somerset in the diocese of Bath and Wells; and £1.45 million to resource evangelism with younger generations, social action and church planting in the city of Bristol in the diocese of Bristol.

News of this funding initiative coincides with a report that the Catholic Church in Germany received a record €6 billion (£5.3 billion) in tax money last year, despite the fact that it too is losing numbers.

The country’s 27 dioceses also have a fortune of at least €26 billion, including large investments in real estate and equities, making the German Church likely the wealthiest Catholic institution in Europe other than the Vatican.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn and Antony Niall (German report)

23 responses to “Vanishing Anglicans: C of E throws cash at the problem”

  1. Brian Jordan says:

    Clearly, the tithe barns are still far from empty.

  2. Ian Atkinson says:

    Wouldn’t that money be better spent to help the homeless and poor directly?

  3. Lucy says:

    Such wanky bollocks

  4. Darn It says:

    The game is up Mr Welby.

    The only way back is to nobble children and brainwash them while they are credulous and gullible. So watch out for an even more concerted effort to get into primary schools in order to befoul young minds with primitive confected ideas.

    I found out today that my now 16 year old son, when he was in primary school, a CoE one, refused to say grace, to say prayers or to sing the hymns. He just stood there stoically and respectfully silent insisting that as an atheist it was wrong to join in with something he did not believe and wrong of the school to try and make him. When asked why he did not believe he said he could see no evidence for god or jesus. Not bad for 10 year old eh?

    I told him early on not to believe anything told to him unless there was evidence to back up the claim. I told him to make his own mind up based upon the facts and data. Seems he took that message on board.

    When in primary school he asserted that time travel back in time could not be possible because if it was people from the future would be here now bringing back gadgets from the future and knowing what is going to happen next. I am very proud.

  5. Lucy says:

    @darn it. You should be proud.

  6. StephenJP says:

    Interesting that they refer several times to “learning communities”. This seems to suggest that they think we are all in a state of ignorance: that this country is becoming non-Christian only because we have not heard and rejoiced in the Good News.

    If this is the case, they are in for a surprise. People are increasingly rejecting the Church because they understand all too well what its core doctrines are, and they don’t believe a word of them. It is entirely typical of Welby that he should blame “the culture” for the anti-Christian attitudes of so many in this country; but it is the CofE that has failed to come to terms with more enlightened approaches to sex, abortion and, yes, assisted dying, as well as education on subjects such as evolution. I hope and expect that this will be £24m well wasted.

    And yes, Darn It: you have done your son proud (and vice versa).

  7. barriejohn says:

    Darn It: Wow!

  8. 1859 says:

    @DarnIt: When my son was five years old he was playing with his skateboard in a local park (we were then still living in London), and another five-year old was watching him enviously. After a while this other boy plucked up his courage and asked my boy if he could have a go of his skateboard. My son stood up and, hugging his skateboard to his chest, looked at the boy and asked quietly ‘Do you believe in God?’ The boy replied ‘Yes’. Whereupon my son answered ‘I don’t lend my skateboard to anyone who believes in God’, and he turned and skated away. I witnessed the whole thing and where it came from I’ve no idea, because I, like you, had only told him not to believe in things for which there was no evidence – I certainly had not brainwashed him with atheist sentiments, I wanted him to be as intellectually free to make up his own mind when he was older. Clearly even at five years old he had given it some serious thought. By the way, he is now a well-balanced, happy, open-minded 18 year old with not an atom of religious feeling in his body …well, for the moment at least!

  9. Lurker111 says:

    “Anglican primates’ meeting”

    Total aside to the story, but this phrase made me visualize a bunch of monkeys, all dressed in appropriate cleric’s garb, in a poo fight. 🙂

  10. tonye says:

    @DarnIt,

    Well done.

  11. Johan says:

    Note that the tawdry accusation that people are antichristian. This is the age old standard bleat from christians that they are being persecuted. Most people are not antichristian. Most people are just disinterested and bored with the whole thing. Some of us go further and resent that the CoE seeks to hang onto its huge and unfair political power and influence and privilege. And to enforce its dogma upon us through law. Think of assisted dying. And don’t forget how the CoE through its control of schools infects the minds of our children with its dogma and propaganda. No Mr Welby, you are not persecuted. We just want to be free from you and your outmoded sinister beliefs and control.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Johan: Well said.

    What the hell is he worried about? Watch today’s Newswatch interview with newly-appointed Religious EDITOR*, Martin Bashir, and it’s quite clear that the BBC, at least, has cravenly surrendered to vociferous demands from the religiots that their nonsense should be increasingly rammed down our throats, whether we like it or not. Ironic when, whenever another step forward is taken in securing basic human rights, these same dinosaurs are bleating about “lobbies” and “minorities” influencing government and media!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09ldtdp

    (* That’s an upgrade; it was previously “correspondent”)

  13. AgentCormac says:

    You know the church is in deep trouble when it has to resort to spending some of its precious billions. They usually won’t even put their hands in their pockets to repair a leaking roof, with what’s left of the local congregation expected to foot the bill. The real problem for them is the fact that the vast majority of Generation Z, as today’s young people are called, don’t give a stuff about religion.

    The following link will take you to a short and very interesting observation on the impact of youth on current politics, but could equally be applied to religion – especially the bit at the end which states ‘Gender, racial and sexual equality are expected, and brands which don’t share this stance cannot expect to be considered by Generation Z. Those brands include political parties.’ Just substitute the word ‘religions’ for ‘political parties’ and it still rings perfectly true.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-42574540/viewsnight-the-brexit-generation-is-dying-out

    PS Nice one, DarnIt.

  14. Har Davids says:

    Send me some of that money, and I’ll see what I can do to help solve this problem.

  15. Stuart H. says:

    As Johan suggests, culture is not becoming anti-Christian, just increasingly pro-human – something Anglicans could never be accused of.
    Actually, reading between the lines (and as you’d expect from the former head honcho of an oil company) this isn’t so much evangelism as a business plan for scooping public sector grants. For about 10 years now, C of E have been advising clergy on how to get public funds by taking over village post offices and other small businesses in run down areas, then running them as part of the church parish. In the process,any pretence of a wall between religious and business or community activity vanishes. It’s all about grabbing the money and un-monitored influence over people via services which, arguably, should be provided by government or bona fide small businesses.
    It’s not restricted to Anglicans either. Round my way a council had to dispose of a former police house on a housing estate. This was supposed to happen by handing it over to a suitable community scheme. “Coincidentally”, the local Methodists wanted to sell off their 1950’s church, which had no punters, and snapped up the police house under the pretence of operating a community centre from the house which would be used by folk ranging from pensioners to young mums and school kids. Local Methodists deny this is evangelising or misuse of public resources and funds, but UK Methodist websites report it openly as a “church plant”. Neither local nor national Methodists mention how much they made from the sale of a church, now redeveloped by a retail business.

  16. andym says:

    In almost everything the C of E does, it can be seen as RCC-lite. It would love to be more like it, but it lacks its wealth, its reach, and the power of its propaganda arm. I’ve long thought that it’s a mistake to see the RCC as primarily a religious organisation. That’s just the ideology it uses to justify an aggrandising, part-criminal, self-serving , existence.Items such as this show its offshoot-historically that’s what it is-to have very similar concerns, just not on the same scale.

  17. barriejohn says:

    Stuart H: Swindon had a large Polish community (from WWII) when I was young, and the Catholic Church wanted to build a church on the new housing estates, on a main road next door to the Methodist Church. Permission was refused, but they WERE able to build a “community centre” – where they held Mass every week! Here it is:

    https://www.instantstreetview.com/@51.554763,-1.757431,219.01h,1.5p,1z

    They’re all the same, as you rightly say.

  18. Broga says:

    The C. of E. is on mission impossible. They can’t succeed because their belief base is based on fantasy. They have been exposed. That’s the problem when the plebs learn to read what is on the internet.

  19. barriejohn says:

    Broga: You could have said, “That’s the problem when the plebs learn to read”. It’s been a long time coming, but since the church lost the battle to keep the general populace in ignorance, their power and influence have been in terminal decline.

  20. Stonyground says:

    760,000 out of a population of 53 million works out at about 1.43% if I got my sums right. That is still a surprising number of church goers when you consider what it is that they have on offer. I suspect that they have a problem in that their members are all at the older end of the population and that they have a complete inability to appeal to the young. It amuses me that they imagine that their problem is that no one is getting to hear about Christianity and that all that they need to do is to get the word out and we will all suddenly realise what we were missing and come rushing to church. I suppose that admitting that almost everyone in England knows about Christianity already and people just aren’t interested is just too difficult as it would mean admitting that they are doomed.

  21. Robster says:

    Look, if the CofE’s want more bottoms on their pewy things, they need a new more attractive dine in offer. The current wafer ‘n blood (not even real, unlike the Vatican’s offer) is not going to cut it in today’s catering market. Even the tasteful addition of a dip, avocado’s a good start and a greater beverage choice might help. In these days of improved nutritional intake, it may be a good idea to work some salad offerings into the edible deity menu offer. Worth a try, nothin else is working.

  22. Tony says:

    Nice one Robster! When I was a RC kid I used to worry about biting on the ghastly wafer in case I got my gnashers into gentle Jesus. If only they had used gumdrops; I could have sucked him down nicely and for all I know might have remained a sucker all my life.

  23. Broga says:

    Vegan is on a roll. They could try that. But no eating flesh or drinking blood. That is the downside.

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