Pray for Revival

I was saddened to read this week of a report that revealed the findings of the Church of England’s latest statistics for Mission based on last year’s data. It showed that the Church of England is haemorrhaging badly and that those of us who follow Jesus in this country are increasingly a shrinking minority.

For those of you who like statistics this is what has emerged:

 

The average C of E church attendance is a worshipping community of 44.

The average number of children attending church is just 3.

25% of the smallest C of E churches have no children attending.

The largest 25% of C of E churches have an average of 11 children.

Churches with 35 children attending are amongst the top 5% of C of E Churches

Overall the attendance by children (under 16yrs old) between 2006 and 2016 fell by 22% compared to a decline of adults of 13%.

Of the 1.1 million people who regularly attend an Anglican church, 20% are under 18, 49% are 18-69 and 31% are over 70.

In 11% of parishes, usual Sunday attendance has increased.

In 38% of parishes, usual Sunday attendance has declined.

In 52% of parishes, usual Sunday attendance has remained unchanged.

 

William Nye of the Archbishops’ Council said the figures provided ‘a sobering reminder of the long term challenge we face’. Professor David Voas has warned that the church must stop losing teenagers and those in their 20s, if it is to reverse the decline that threatens its existence.

 

Why am I sharing this rather depressing news with you?

Friends, the church in this country faces a challenge. The sweeping tide of secularism and consumer values challenges the relevance of the church and the message of the Gospel for today’s world. It calls on us as followers of Jesus to make a robust response. The Church nationally has to address this situation through its approach to leadership and missional engagement with the local community. Resources need to be invested strategically to reach the next generation and not just in maintaining ancient church buildings and the status quo.

 

I remember years ago Spring Harvest running their Bible Week with the captivating title: ‘Deck Chairs on the Titanic’. These statistics resonate afresh with that tragic episode. Yet all is not lost. We have a God who is able to do ‘immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.’

 

Day of Prayer 15th November 9am – 9pm Holy Trinity Church

This is a call to pray like we have never prayed before and cry out to God for the life and witness of His Church in this land.

·         Come and commit to pray in and around the prayer stations in our church (see notice sheet for more details).

·         Join the prayer groups that pray for the schools work (next one: Monday 6th November, 9am for half an hour, C of E school prayer group in Chance St Community Centre).

 

Invest in our Children and Young people’s ministries

Why not give an hour a month or more to support Lucy or Sam by investing in the next generation of church leaders; so many of you do this already. Let’s have more people coming on board. These could be your children/grandchildren.

 

Experience Christmas – Soon we will be engaging in our Christmas outreach to children from the local schools. Why not offer some of your time in support of this vital ministry to bring the true meaning of Christmas to children (Lucy is taking names of volunteers).

 

Blue Planet II This evening and over the coming weeks the nation will be wowed by the photography of David Attenborough’s new series. When people talk about it in their place of work or in the high street use it as an opportunity to celebrate the Creator God who has made these wonders and creatures of the deep in our natural world. ‘All you have made will praise you O Lord’ Psalm 145:10. Let the series provide opportunities to witness to the wonder and creativity of our God.

 

Let us be bold in our witness to the Good News of God’s love in Jesus.

                                                                                                                                Stephen