CofE parishes: Lessons from Wales

The new series of Westminster Faith Debates addresses The Future of the Church of England: the first of these debates took place in St Mary’s University Church, Oxford on 9 October with a consideration of Parishes – what future for the parochial system?, for which an underlying problem is:

 “the parish system, as originally set up, with a single priest serving a small community is no longer sustainable. It was put in place when people lived and worked in the same parish, when they did not travel except occasionally to the local market town and when it was assumed that church and nation were of one faith”

“Many people . . . are conscious of the statistics . . . the expected retirement of large numbers of clergy in the next few years, the shortage of ordinands, the joining of more parishes than can be adequately ministered to by a single priest, declining church membership and the almost total distance of young people . . . from the church.”

However, these quotations are not from the debate but from the Church in Wales Review, an external report commissioned by the Standing Committee and Bench of Bishops following the September 2010 meeting of the Governing Body. Continue reading