Twin warnings about the Church of England becoming irrelevant – or even sinking into near oblivion – are being sounded in the North.
And the oblivion forecast comes from Bishop of Manchester Nigel McCulloch.
He sounds the grim message in the September issue of Crux, his diocesan monthly.
The doyen of Anglican Church leaders in the York province declares: “We are in a missionary situation.
“Alarming recent projections shared at the General Synod suggest that unless we start growing our congregations now at the rate of three per cent each year, we will decline into near oblivion.”
Bishop McCulloch fears “that really is a wake-up call. Not just for more ministers and better buildings, but for what in Christianity counts far more – the perseverance, enthusiasm and commitment that, by God’s grace, you and I give to making new disciples of Jesus. Please don’t leave that to others.”
The warning about the Church becoming irrelevant comes from Blackburn diocese parish development officer the Rev Tim Horobin.
It appears in the September issue of See, the diocesan monthly, in a hard-hitting think-piece headed: “We must connect to the people of today.”
Mr Horobin says: “There are many issues facing the Church today around finance, but I believe there is a bigger cloud behind us and that is that the Church is not connecting to this generation and is becoming irrelevant.”
Mr Horobin goes on: “I believe this generation is as spiritually aware as any other, but the tools we are using within the Church may have become blunt and need to be renewed.”
He adds: “Churches seeking growth are the ones looking at how to do church in a different way – making their services relevant to the people of today.
“When Jesus was teaching the disciples he used the language of that time. Is that not a challenge to us?”