REV DAVID FAREY: Hopes for turnaround over decline of church
None of us are getting any younger! I am very aware as another winter begins to close in and we all start suffering the usual round of coughs and colds.
It is also the time of year in our churches when all kinds of activities kick in as we start the run in towards Christmas.
It is a very busy time of year with bazaars and concerts and coffee mornings as well as the services of harvest and Remembrance.
But what is really apparent is that in most of our churches it is the older generation that ends up doing the bulk of the work in organising and running these events.
Give the Church a few more years and simply on the basis of statistics it will be dead!
One statistic quoted is that on the current rate of decline 2050 will be the point the Christian Church will be practically invisible in this country.
Whilst realising that there will be some for whom this will be a cause of celebration and that they would also probably wish the date were a lot sooner there are those for whom this is extremely sad news.
There is unquestionably a growing secularism that sees no point whatsoever in any form of religion.
The reasons for the decline of younger people’s involvement in church are varied. A prime reason is that the pressure of modern life leaves little extra capacity for thinking about and pursuing what many see as peripheral to the main business of earning a living and keeping a roof over their heads.
Life is simply so busy!
There is also the erosion of the status of Sunday which used to be a day of leisure, but now is simply another day of the week to be filled.
The secular message is also impacting on people’s lives.
Religion is seen as irrelevant so even those for whom the church still holds the vestige of an interest are swayed by their peer group.
Church might be able to be dipped into so long as there is nothing else pressing, but any form of deeper commitment could have too much of a detrimental effect on lifestyle and so is avoided.
Interestingly over the last week the numbers of those seeking ministry in the Church has reached an all-time high.
Among the younger generation there are still a minority who want to give their all.
I am also finding that guests at christenings often come up to me afterwards and say how much they have enjoyed the service, almost with a tinge of surprise!
Little by little maybe we can turn it around, but the clock is ticking!