Bournemouth Reverend Dr. Ian Terry, believes that unless action is taken “the Church is going to go out of business within the next 20 years or less.”
The Church has remained as a staple of British society throughout its history and a voice of morality over current affairs. However, dwindling numbers could soon see the Church in crisis. Lack of support is causing this once powerful pillar of society to crumble.
Statistics from NatCen’s latest British Social Attitudes survey (2017) found that over half of the UK’s population (53%) describe themselves as having no religion. This has increased from the 48% reported in 2015. This follows reports that last year weekly church attendance fell below one million nationwide for the first time. Further decline is also predicted for the future.
I think those of us who work for the Church would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t read the writing on the wall”
In an exclusive interview Dr. Terry stated: “I think those of us who work for the Church and try to make the Church a useful organisation would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t read the writing on the wall and see that unless we turn these statistics round, any which way, the church is going to go out of business within the next 20 years or less.”
It is suggested that the recent decline corresponds with the ever-present issue of an aging population. Dr. Terry believes that young people could hold the key to halting this decline: “Younger people by virtue of their youth often have more energy. So if you can harness that optimism and enthusiasm, passion for justice and the energy that goes with it, you have a vital force for good there”.
The issue of falling church attendance is particularly paramount in the run up to Christmas, as the Church looks to celebrate this important holiday. Church support is necessary to aid more vulnerable members of the local community such as the homeless. “Christmas partying is at its best when it’s inclusive. Particularly those Christmas parties which seek to include the homeless, as we shall be doing.” He added.
St. Peter’s Church will be holding a Carol Communion at 4pm as well as a Midnight Mass service this Christmas Eve.