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On Leading the 5000

On Leading the 5000

It seems that Episcopalians in General Convention weren’t the only ones thinking about structure. The Rev. David Keen, the Opininated Vicar, looks at the fact that the way things are going in the Church of England and finds that if some basic changes aren’t made, the CofE could simply collapse under it’s own weight.

Keen writes a post called “Leading the 5000: Redesigning the C of E“:

If the current figures merely flatline until we reach that level, each full-time vicar will be looking after an average of 3 church buildings in 2.5 parishes containing 10,000 people between them, with 200 regular (once a month or more) worshippers. They will take an average of 29 baptisms a year, see 5 new people confirmed, take 12 weddings and 34 funerals. Less than half of them will have any kind of informal meeting space, toilet facilities, or kitchen facilities within church premises, which will severely limit their ministry to the community. And they’ll each have roughly 1 CofE school, no doubt with a ‘tradition’ that the vicar is chair of governors. Oh yes, and they’ll be encouraged to develop ‘fresh expressions of church’ as well.

While the focus on the next Archbishop of Canterbury will be on the horse-race (Conservative or liberal? Anglo-Catholic, evangelical or in-between? etc. etc.) Keen says what is really needed is someone who can think strategically and lead the church through a major review of how it carries out mission.

Whoever our next Archbishop is, the CofE needs some serious strategic thinking if we’re not to collapse under our own weight. Despite a bewildering array of measures of church attendance, there isn’t a single one that at the moment is out of the red. We have to face the facts of being a shrinking church if we want to stop being a shrinking church.


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Cynthia Katsarelis

I’m in England now. And have had lots of interesting conversations. For one, I feel perfectly welcomed by CoE parishioners and clergy, personally. But this year (as opposed to our last 2 summers of living here) the word “unity” is on people’s lips. But what folks aren’t seeing is that “unity” is a fiction of the top. Seriously, lots of liberals are doing mission work in Africa and there’s no “dis-unity” at the grass roots because of differing opinions on LGBT persons! Further, this “unity at the top” essentially means throwing ones lot in with human rights abusers. Yeah, I think the church is not very attractive when the headline is “we’re uniting against the North American churches so that we can appease a polity that would make homosexuality a crime, potentially punishable by death.” Regardless of the ABC’s chats with the Ugandan’s, at the end of the day, that’s what “unity” means. It’s one thing to be a part of the church weathering all this. But what about an unchurched person of conscience? Someone seeking? CoE doesn’t look like an obvious choice to anyone with a conscience. The old guys at the top of the CoE are a really big problem. False unity. Aligning with human rights abusers. Neanderthal on women as well as gays? What does all that have to do with a loving God? Is that compassion? Is that mercy? Is that even a good role model for one’s own life? Messy as it is, I’ll take TEC and it’s very earnest efforts to be open to the spirit, the spirit of love and compassion.

I think that Vicars in the CoE have many challenges, and I feel for them.

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