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graveyard shift

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 16, 2003

The U.K.'s Telegraph discusses the decline in the vitality of the Methodist Church in Britain:

There are currently 327,000 members in Britain, about a third of the number at Methodism's peak almost 100 years ago. Although many Methodists see signs of hope in thriving youth clubs and social projects, the figure represents a decline of about seven per cent in the past three years. Congregations average 55 people per church or chapel, of which there are now 6,300.

All pretty familiar. So how does the church bureaucracy respond to the problem? It adds another bureaucrat to the payroll:

Moreover, the Church lacks charismatic figures of the stature of the late Lord Soper. It aims to address this by breaking 200 years of tradition and appointing a national general secretary, alongside the annually elected president, to raise its profile.

Right. The job-title of General Secretary, with its trade union and politburo resonances, is going to fire the imagination of a jaded society.

The atheist H.L. Mencken sardonically commented that "the great achievement of liberal Protestantism was to make God boring." Can liberal churchmen (Protestant or Catholic) still fail to see that no adjustment in communication technique or media packaging can possibly end the slide? Simple people, even young people, will ask "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" and, embarrassed, liberals respond by pointing to the Brake the Cycle of Poverty bike trip or the equivalent. At root, the problem is that they have absolutely nothing to say.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2003 9:10 PM ET USA

    Christianity is on a decline in Europe (and perhaps most of the western developed nations). Europe is today a neo-pagan society and in a few years, given their suicidal birth rate the continent will be colonized by Muslim immigrants from the Middle East. The Church should concentrate in making the Church in Latin America strong and then launch a re-evangelization of the Old Continent. Buy unfortunately the mentality of the Latin American bishops harks back to the time when people would flock to the Church and they did not need to go out and announce the Gospel. If the Church seats without doing anything, Latin America will be lost to the cults and sects. Already now the Catholic Church influence in Latin American countries is very small, given the secularism and nominal cultural Catholicism of the majority of the population. May the God of our Lord Christ have mercy on us!

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