Church of England to Go Out of Business

Poor old Rowan Atkinson. This article in the Daily Telegraph says the C of E will eventually disappear entirely. It says over the last forty years the number of worshipers has declined by half and the number of children attending worship has declined by a whopping 80%. That means the ones who are in church are older and aren’t being replaced. Of course the yard sale won’t be during his time. It will probably hit the skids just when the Right Rev. Lavinia Winkett takes the throne of Canterbury.

I blogged just the other day about the Catholic Diocese of Orange buying up the Crystal Cathedral from the bankrupt Schuler positive thinking pastor. Could we start buying real cathedrals and churches back from the Anglicans do you think? Think what we could do with them! Get rid of the tasteful artwork and all that stuff the Anglicans like and bring in racks of those electric votive candles where you put in a nickel and they light up. In the crypts we could have grottos of the Fatima children made out of papier mache and priests in da glo vestments with a comb over saying, “The Lord be with you welcome to Mass today. The children will now sing the Barney Song.” So maybe not.

Seriously, will the Church of England go bust? Not anytime soon. Religious institutions are very tough. They can survive hard times for a lot longer than you think. I know one Methodist chapel in England which faced closure and soldiered on with three old ladies for years. There’s nothing like the threat to close a church which makes the ordinary Englishman rally to the cause. He’s adamant that the village church should stay open so he has some place not to go to on a Sunday morning.

Maybe the decline in the Church of England is just the Holy Spirit’s usual way of working. Let the numbers become fewer, but the quality will be better, then the few, the faithful few will spark a revival and everyone will tootle back to church again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10056116630254533022 Albert Schrift

    Great thoughts Father, but why would the Holy Spirit inspire people to go to a heretical church?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14531024393615051496 veritas

    He wouldn't.But He certainly would inspire them to leave it and come home to the true Church – so pray for the success of the Anglican Ordinariate.

  • http://wbbritton.wordpress.com/ wbbritton

    Rowan Atkinson? Isn't he Mr. Bean?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08801584133028591211 Laura R.

    Father, I think you must have meant Rowan Williams — that's the man in the picture, anyway –

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Darn it, I always get those two comedians confused…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14807873592896092136 Anthony S. Layne

    "There's nothing like the threat to close a church which makes the ordinary Englishman rally to the cause. He's adamant that the village church should stay open so he has some place not to go to on a Sunday morning."Love it. Reminded me of the Ambrose Bierce line: "He was of the faith chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02963290696331676531 Ben Vallejo

    If Rowan Cantuar and the CoE is generous enough, it can return one of those medieval piles of stones its original owner. The Ordinariate can make use of it. Think of the modernist knock downs the English and Welsh bishops conference have in mind as the Ordinariate's principal church!What would a people less CoE do with all of those abbeys and cathedrals its founder Bluff King Harry "dissolved" for his treasury?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02487748842744745860 StevieD

    Representatives of the Muslim community have informed the CoE bishops that the English cathedrals will, in a generation or two, each have a crescent atop them. Their confidence is unsurprising at the moment.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09479406473813028616 Arnold Conrad

    Father, where have you encountered those electric candles? I have never encountered them anywhere in a Catholic church. Never. I would have thought they would be banned, somewhat like recorded music is banned for the Mass.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09627986880884206811 flyingvic

    If I were to judge from the Roman liturgy that I have seen in this country, the Roman priests I have heard and the buildings the Roman Catholics have built for themselves to worship and speak in, most would not have the first idea what to do with beautiful mediaeval churches, how to worship in them, what to do with the organ, how to appreciate the architecture or, indeed, how to pay for their upkeep. My own church for example, part 12th century, was left to fall into ruin before the Reformation even began.But then, I wouldn't be so shallow as to make such a judgement, would I? I do find it curious, however, that there are those who can talk with apparent seriousness about 'taking our churches back'. The church is the people. The church buildings of this country were built here by the people and for the people – and the people of this country have for a thousand years and more used them and paid for their upkeep. They do not 'belong' to Canterbury today; and they have never 'belonged' to Rome.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Vic, you failed to notice the tongue in cheek tone of the piece and the fact that I made the very point you did, that if the Catholics took over we'd fill the places with tacky junk.Maybe you feel so sensitive about it because you know deep down that the buildings were all Catholic before Henry VIII grabbed them.

  • http://catholicofthule.wordpress.com/ catholicofthule

    Arnold Conrad.Sadly, you do find electric candles in some Catholic churches. Thankfully, they have been present in a clear minority of the churches I have been in, but they do sadly exist. I absolutely agree with you that they should be banned. Along with so many other things. It should not be the case that anyone could credibly say that Catholics would not know what to do with a medieaval church (or a beautiful church from any period), but sadly we are giving flyingvic every reason to think so by the abysmal state of so many of our contemporary Catholic churches and most especially the wreckovations of churches that actually did look decent and with an interior perfectly suited to a dignified divine worship. It is ironic in a deeply maddening sort of way.

  • http://catholicofthule.wordpress.com/ catholicofthule

    Flyingvic, we want the people too! Including you! :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09627986880884206811 flyingvic

    Father, you failed to notice the tongue in cheek nature of my reply! Mind you, if you are able to label Archbishop Rowan a 'comedian', perhaps it isn't surprising that our senses of humour don't always coincide! Let me assure you now, therefore, that if ever I refer to Pope Benedict as a Nazi I will, of course, be joking.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00013650127156997140 Geoffrey

    I hope I am wrong, but I believe that the Anglican Church has gone past the point of no return. The faithful few all too often leave for Rome or the Baptist Church up the road that proclaims the Gospel. (I did both, first to the fundamentalist church, and thence to Rome.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16141414361291882691 Augustine

    I did see coin-operated votive electric "candles" in the shrine of St. Anthony in Boston. An abomination, I say!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16141414361291882691 Augustine

    Not to worry. In the future, when either Charles or William become the head of the CE, he will mandate its bishops to accept his new Paganism or be beheaded. There's, after all, a precedent.PS: I expect no Thomas More to step up to the gallows.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05272753692878529218 John C. Hathaway

    T. S. Eliot predicted that the CofE was doomed way back then.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07564546155986482730 Matthew M

    The C of E is already out of business, they didn't have the postage to send out the momos. Their computers were seized so no e-mails either!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04551226315327893877 Marilyn

    Both Roman Catholics and Anglicans have their share of comic entertainment, from the fire-breathing vicars to those Catholics and Anglicans walking aimlessly around in labyrinth circles contemplating their navels.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01659316215750459652 Br Bruno

    if the C of E does go out of business, i hope some of the churches and cathedrals get returned to their rightful owners. and yes I get rowan williams and rwan atkinson mixed up all the time too. But I think of Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04380645280859755541 Logmion

    Has The Rock been negligent, breached its duty of care or committed crimes against god? then tell us your truthful stories of abuse and neglect and your views. Will whats happened to The News of the World happen to The Rock?At C.1:Q.96, Nostradamus foretells of an iconoclastic prophet, using refined language to continually educate, who is raised in the Last Days.Logmion is here and says "Bring Back Petrus Romanus"Facebook Logmion Pilon

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14734120133883377648 Howard

    It's nearly impossible for a denomination to disappear, but (a) it can fall from a position of respect or even notice within a society, and (b) it can also dissolve into innumerable small but long-lived fragments.I think the COE has largely accomplished step (a). It's really difficult to imagine any policy in the UK being decided by the influence of the COE; they seem in danger of losing their current connection to the British monarchy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14734120133883377648 Howard

    "Has The Rock been negligent, breached its duty of care or committed crimes against god?"No, but he's made some mediocre movies. He's by no means the worst pro-wrestler-turned-actor, though. What Kevin Nash did in "Almighty Thor" might be considered "crimes against god", where the small-g god in question would be Odin.(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16287885673401261090 Obpoet

    Last week I dropped in for Evensong at the York Minster. I couldn't help but think I was watching interlopers perform, as anachronistic perchance as the services currently being held in Constantinople, and that perhaps the rightful owners will again someday kneel before the alter, and a real presence be offered to the faithful. And I couldn’t help but wonder, do any of these Brits think the way this real estate was taken over was in any way the least bit un-Christian?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16287885673401261090 Obpoet

    Last week I dropped in for Evensong at the York Minster. I couldn't help but think I was watching interlopers perform, as anachronistic perchance as the services currently being held in Constantinople, and that perhaps the rightful owners will again someday kneel before the alter, and a real presence be offered to the faithful. And I couldn’t help but wonder, do any of these Brits think the way this real estate was taken over was in any way the least bit un-Christian? Perhaps it was all Yanks in the place anyway.


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