Save the parish

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The Church of England has, in recent years, adopted a corporate approach in which its bishops and senior members can establish a corporate structure. They call it their Mission Plan. The effect of this has been to weaken the parish structure on which the Church of England is established.

By diverting the Church’s energies from maintaining priests in parishes to building up its corporate vanity, the Church of England is killing off the parishes on which it relies for its income as well as for its raison d’être. The Church of England now employs one bureaucrat per three and a half parish priests – a proportion that is completely ridiculous.

In happier times a bishop needed a secretary, not a team of consultants. Reducing diocesan staff by 25% would pay for a thousand new stipendiary priests. One effect of the Mission Plan that is already evident is that without a parish priest, church attendance declines.

If the Church of England does manage to kill off the parishes it will kill off its main source of income in the form of the parish share. But it will also kill off all the amazing charitable work done by parishes across the country. Every year, Church of England parishes do £55 billion worth of charitable work across the country.

If the parishes are killed off by the Church of England, how much does the taxpayer want to pay for this? The parish contribution to social needs, especially in the more remote rural areas is an essential part of rural life and is destroyed if there is no parish.

If there is no parish priest, there is no parish.

Image Credits: Kt bruce .

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree – well written.

    In these uncertain and troubled times the need for pastoral care has never been greater which the new proposals seem determined to kill off.

    I believe that the key to growing the C of E is the development of pastoral care by the community – currently Parish Priests just don’t have the time to devote to this. If this was done well church congregations would increase over time.

    Two years ago I wrote a letter to over 800 ordained clergy and others who were members of the General Synod suggesting this. However fear of retribution for sticking your head above the parapet stifles proper debate – would you swap your tenure as a rural priest to one in a sink estate? However unchristian this might seem ?

    Whatever happened to the “new 10,000 churches” nonsense ? Another illconsidered and dangerous idea doomed to failure though favoured by both Archbishops who seem more interested in politics that the future of the Church of England.

    Yours in despair.

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