There’s been quite a focus on membership statistics lately – you may have seen some material in the Sunday Times last week on this. The press are fascinated by the idea that churches are in irretrievable decline. I don’t think it’s as simple as that.
I began by talking about a visit to our congregation in Comrie:
Let me begin by telling you a story. Last week I spent most of a day with our congregation in Comrie – just to the west of Crieff. It could be many places across our church – this happens to be one I know about. I went as part of the follow-up to their Mission Action Planning process. I went out and about in the community with members of the congregation – met the Comrie Development Trust at the old Prisoner of War camp, visited local business, met the First Responders. I had a meeting with the Vestry and then they invited a wide range of people from the community to come in and meet me. Like many of our congregations, Comrie is small. But hey have become more outward-looking, they talk about things and they are ready to try new things. ‘Art and Soul’ Days see up to 30 people passing through the building to explore meditation in the context of art. Milestones Services encourage people – many not church members – to mark key life stages in the context of worship. Special Services – for example at Christmas – can see up to 80 people in the church. The regular worshipping congregation has moved from a low of around 13 to a more regular 18-20.
We are discussing this at various points throughout our Synod. You can read the whole of what I said here