Sunday, November 12, 2006

Church Today, Gone Tomorrow

Went to a 'Sharing Ministry' conference with the vicar yesterday which was interesting and rather surprising.

Met the Bishop, all three local Archdeacons and a variety of leading clergy which was an interesting event. The diocese, like all diocese, is changing shape. Due to smaller congregations and fewer vicars, the way 'ministry' takes place. The theory seems to be that the congregation take over more of the running of a church but there were many more questions asked than answered. Whilst this is a good idea, there is a lack of thought into who administers the sacrements (Eucharist, funerals, baptisms etc.) and what the actual role of the 'Vicar' i going to be. I did wonder after one talk if they were to be made unemployed and to what extent this could lead to the church splitting up with individual congregations doing individual things.

That said, during a conversation with the Bishop, it became clear that though the number of clergy in this diocese is to decrfease from 109 to 75 by 2013, the actual problem will be filling those 75 roles as there are fewer coming through. It became clear that although people were happy to talk about taking over, the reality may welll be different. From my point of view, the conference opened a series of possibilities. Becoming involved in the church does not mean ordination necessarily as there numerous roles which I can take over. Lay Readers being but one of them.

So, think about your church and the role it plays in your society. Would you be sad to lose it? Then, perhaps, now is the moment to save it.



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