The love affair with the parish — has it ended?

In the second part of her study, Madeleine Davies looks at the forces for its retention and abandonment

The love affair with the parish — has it ended?

In May 2021, the bishops of the diocese of Blackburn issued a letter setting out the way ahead. “We will never ‘manage’ or ‘decline’ our way out of a crisis,” they wrote. “Only faith can do that. As a diocese we remain committed to parish life, to maintaining our current numbers of stipendiary clergy, to forming excellent priests and lay leaders and to investing in the front line. We need more vocations to the priesthood and more lay leaders. And we need you!”

With echoes of Lord Kitchener’s recruitment poster, it sounded a defiant note. Today, the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, is anxious not to frame his remarks as a criticism of the approach taken by other dioceses, pointing to “incomparable” contexts, not least concerning giving: “This is what’s right for Blackburn.”

For the full articel please go to the Church Times Website


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