Saturday, 1 September 2007

Lion Encyclopedia editor says CofE has become irrelevant

[...] Obviously, rival Sunday attractions also hastened the process of change, but by the end of the century the Church of England had largely become a "members only" organisation. Go to any parish church and the notices ("See Sue for tickets", "Tell Pamela if you can help") indicate that everyone knows everyone and newcomers are not expected. Even cathedrals model themselves on suburban parishes, nurturing their regular congregations. Attend debates at the church's parliament or general synod and you witness an inward-looking body.

If the church prefers commitment to numbers, that is its prerogative. If, on social issues, it wishes to be out-of-step with public opinion, that is its decision. If, as a result, it appears irrelevant, it must not be surprised if it loses the perks of being part of the establishment.

Ironically, by giving it authority to appoint its own bishops, Gordon Brown has actually given it new authority to appoint unelected members of the House of Lords. Rather than increasing the power of this particular club, we should consider severing its automatic, official links with the establishment and with government in particular. Read more
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