Friday, December 23, 2011

The statistics of decline

I wanted to grab together a handful of statistics that give substance to the notion that the Church of England is declining, if not 'doomed'. I accept the criticism that the the figures I linked to in my last post on this are flawed, but I believe the main point still stands. I'm not going to talk about what needs to be done in this context - that is what I'm exploring in my other posts.

These are the figures quoted by David Keen


This data from the Church Society (source) also seems useful:


And this one confirms it:


We can add to this the expected rapid decline in clergy numbers over the next ten years (as the baby boomers retire and aren't replaced) and the way that this links in with the increasing age profile of attenders (and what this means in terms of a sudden drop for actuarial reasons). See also David Keen's post on Diocesan growth here.

"One of our problems may be that decline is so slow and imperceptible that we don’t really see it coming clearly enough. I have seen large companies perfectly and impeccably manage themselves into failure. Every step along the road has been well done. Every account is neatly signed off... I sometimes feel the Church is a bit like that. I wish that all of us would have a sense of real crisis about this."

(Andreas Whittam Smith)

The Lord being my helper I expect to be working for the church until my family dies until 2040 or so. If things don't change, I may outlast the good old CofE...

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