Carey: Churches Face Last Rites in UK unless Full Focus is Given to Missions

The future of Christianity in the UK was assessed by the former archbishop of Canterbury, last night at a church in Buckinghamshire.

Published 13 October 2005
The future of Christianity in the UK was assessed by the former archbishop of Canterbury, last night at a church in Buckinghamshire.

|TOP|Lord Carey said that the Churches are declining so seriously that they would have been declared bankrupt long ago if they were shops. He spoke of the grave state of churches approaching a meltdown and that the “last rites” could be administered at any moment, according to the Telegraph.

Dr Carey mentioned his efforts in the 1990s to revive the Church of England but expressed his frustration and how the efforts had been hindered by the clergy’s lack of support. He warned his successor, Dr Rowan Williams, that his initiatives could also meet a similar fate.

However, Lord Carey argued that it was still possible to turn the tide if the Church did not “throw up its hands in despair”.

Some church leaders who privately complain that Dr Carey has repeatedly violated the tradition that retired archbishops avoid stirring controversy within the church may be dismayed by his recent comments. However, his friends insisted that his intention was to back Dr William’s Fresh Expressions initiative which is designed to encourage other forms of worship among the youth.

|QUOTE|Dr Carey said that all Christian denominations have been facing plunging congregations. "No Anglican can be satisfied that only one in 50 people attend this national Church," he said, speaking at St Michael’s church in Amersham-on-the-Hill.

He referred to an official report released this year, saying it spoke of a Church "that is running out of cash and spending it on buildings, that has lost its vision and is becoming a club for the elderly."

He continued: "The picture I have described is of Churches approaching meltdown rather than on the cusp of renewal."

He also cited the 2001 census in which 72 percent of the population in UK called themselves Christian and said a “deep allegiance” between nation and Church still remains.

Now the Church must focus on mission from top to bottom, or it would become “an irrelevancy in the nation and a club for the old, the resigned and those tired of life,” he said.

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