Friday, February 9, 2018

A letter from Patricia

Last year I received a hand-written letter from 'Patricia', responding to something I had written on changing Ausralia's marriage laws, in which I argued that society should support the norm of marriage as a couple raising their own biological children.  I enjoyed reading Patricia's thoughtful letter, which was clear and well-expressed. Here is her letter and my reply.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Theology and Church Viability

It is a cliché of our times that churches are declining.  Dwindling membership is a fact of life for many congregations.  But not for all churches.  Certainly not outside the West, where Christianity is rising in many nations.  In Australia, some denominations are growing, such as the Pentecostals, whose youth-driven expansion began to take off in the 70’s.  Their growth has lifted them from attendances  of around 10,000 in the early 1970’s, to over a quarter of a million today. Australian Pentecostal overtook Anglicans in weekly attendances about a decade ago.  At past growth rates, they will have four times the Anglicans’ attendance in 20-30 years.
What are the keys to church health?  This question has been exercising some Australian Anglicans’ minds recently because of sustainability crisis in a number of Australia’s smaller dioceses.  Growing awareness of the problem led to a Viability and Structures Task Force report, presented to the Australian General Synod in 2017.