Lord Carey accuses the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby of neglecting existing parishes in favor of modern forms of being church. Carey is a former Archbishop of Canterbury. The two men have been in conflict before. In 2017 Carey rebuked Welby after Welby asked Carey to step down from his role as an honorary assistant bishop after a report found Carey mishandled abuse claims.
The Rev Marcus Walker, the London priest who started the Save the Parish campaign, has argued that parishioners are facing “the last chance to save the system that has defined Christianity for 1,000 years” and warned of “a lot of demoralised priests and parishioners”.
Carey, archbishop from 1991 to 2002, said in a letter to campaigners: “Now is the time to rouse the troops, galvanise them and mobilise them.” Church leaders have been accused of stripping parishes of control of their own affairs, handing power instead to 42 regional dioceses. The result, campaigners said, was that parishes were “denuded of the resources they need to survive” while dioceses spent on “exciting projects and sexy management roles”.
Such projects include the founding of congregations that are not based in parish churches, but meet in cinemas, cafés or online and sometimes led by lay people instead of priests and intended to address falls in church attendances. But Carey, 85, told campaigners: “The current trajectory of our church is a huge mistake and the leadership is out of touch with ordinary churchgoers.”
The Church of England states that it operates a “mixed ecology” in which traditional parishes operate alongside “fresh expressions” of worship.