At the current rate of declining Sunday service attendance, the Church of England (CoE) is very unlikely to survive more than 30 years from now. Congregations will shrink and become extinct one by one, while church closures would accelerate to some 200 every year.
Donations can’t keep up with church closures, as the 16,200 buildings the CoE has to preserve are an incredible burden. There are not enough Anglicans left to keep Anglicanism alive. And there’s no sign that such people would ever be born.
As I wrote here, the decline in baptisms is even more worrying, since this ‘indicator’ refers to people, not to the fate of some beautiful but empty buildings. While the CoE had baptised 609 children of every 1,000 born in 1900, it baptised only 128 in 2006/2007.
This is how the disastrous state of the CoE can be described mathematically. Some 60-70% of the Anglicans in Britain have lost (or fought against!) even the formal liasons to their ‘church’, that is using its services for baptisms, weddings and funerals.
Nominal Catholics and Orthodox believers may still hold on to this appearance. And while it may not make of them better human beings, nor automatically assure their place in Heaven, maybe this appearance is somehow useful for the cohesiveness of the respective societies.
Undoubtedly, the spiritual explanation is that this so-called church has first lost touch with Christ before beginning to lose believers. Irrespective of how many good people were/are/will be among the Anglicans, this CoE is just an institution, not part of the One Church of Christ.
Like sharks circling around a sinking ship, the Catholics are invinting disaffected Anglicans to join what they claim is the ‘true’ church of Christ. Sadly, some will accept the offer, without ever knowing which is the Lord’s One Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.
Maybe that some will eventually come to the Orthodox Church, and let this slow death of Anglicanism be a lesson for all of us! Hardly anyone could consider today’s Anglicans guilty for a centuries old heresy which is beginning to show its most gruesome results today.
I say that assuming 30 years more to live for the CoE is hyperoptimistic, given the advance of atheism in the UK! But can anyone offer any guarantees that a similar process is not affecting also the true Church of Christ?
Obviously, the Church Itself won’t perish, but more and more souls will be lost, in a world where people don’t have at least this formal – thrice in a lifetime: birth, wedding, death – connection with Christ.
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