Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned that Christianity is “a generation away from extinction” in Britain.
The Church of England is close to extinction in Britain unless churches make a dramatic breakthrough in attracting young people back to the faith, Carey has warned.
Clergy are now gripped by a “feeling of defeat”, congregations are worn down by “heaviness”, and the public simply greets both with “rolled eyes and a yawn of boredom”, he said.
His comments at a conference came as a stark report laid before the Church of England’s General Synod warned that its position as a “national institution” would be in doubt if numbers in the pews dropped much further.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, also underlined the scale of the crisis, telling members of the Synod they must “evangelise or fossilise”.
In an impassioned plea for the Church to adopt a new missionary stance, he told them that their constant internal debates were no more than “rearranging furniture when the house is on fire”.
He called for a campaign aimed at the “re-evangelisation of England”, on a par with the ministry of the northern saints such as Cuthbert, Hilda and Aidan, who spread Christianity in Anglo-Saxon times.
The former Archbishop said while the church is doing much important work, it faces an existential challenge.
“In many parts of Britain churches are struggling, some priests are diffident; a feeling of defeat is around.
He said the reaction from the public was not so much hostile as dismissive.
His comments came as a report was laid before the Church of England’s General Synod, warning that plunging congregations now threaten its ability to “sustain a nationwide presence”.
Typical Sunday congregations have almost halved since 1970 to just 807 000 in the most recent figures. – timeslive.co.za