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.