The Church of England, money, people, and mission

Jun 1, 2022 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

The Church of England finds itself in a very odd situation. On the one hand, it is facing continued decline in attendance, and I think in influence and reputation in our culture. The decline in attendance has been calculated with mathematical precision at John Hayward’s Church Model website; if nothing changes, then he calculates that the Church of England will be extinct by about 2060.

There are some questions to be asked about this prediction; on the one hand, decline happens exponentially, in a curve not a straight line (as John has assumed), for organisations. On the other hand, my observation about local churches is that when decline sets in, it often accelerates as people suddenly all ‘jump ship’ and go somewhere else, and for older congregations there will be a ‘cliff edge’ decline when a whole generation dies off. Either way, it is not looking good—but the key phrase is ‘if nothing changes.’ The C of E has done plenty of its own research, and has a clear idea of what to do to see growth (though is, arguably, avoiding the most obvious question), and has put plenty of money in that direction.

But here is the paradox. Whilst the C of E doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of growing attendance, it is doing an excellent job of growing its investment assets.

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