this months magazine is available in line only till the church reopens
The average age of a pre-Covid churchgoer in 2020 was 50, whereas the average of a person living in England as a whole was 41. So, churchgoers are almost 10 years above the average in age. It doesn’t vary hugely by gender – in 2020 male churchgoers were 48 on average and female 51.
In Scotland in 2020 folk were slightly older – the average male churchgoer was 53 and women were Dear Friends
So many people right across the country are anxious about employment, anxious about food, isolated from loved ones and feel that the future looks dark.” These are words from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon on Easter Day 2020. Who would have thought that we are experiencing the same uncertainties this Easter! One of our churches closed still and the other so restricted only 12 people are allowed.
Yet the Easter story remains one of hope overcoming darkness and despair. The women arrived at the tomb on Easter morning with mixed emotions, as they came to anoint Jesus’ body. ‘But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.’ They were confused, as they tried to make sense of Jesus’ death. Their hopes were dashed with an uncertain future. In the current pandemic, we too are left asking: Where is God in all this?
The young man at the tomb reminds them that God is still in control: “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
The women had forgotten Jesus’ promise to the disciples that He would die and rise from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is also the sure foundation of hope for us in the present crisis. He turns our confusion and fear into joy and wonder! We can trust Jesus’ plan for the future of our world and lives, despite the fact that things can’t return to the way they were: “There needs to be a resurrection of our common life, a new normal, something that links to the old, but is different and more beautiful. We must dream it, build it, make it, grasp it, because it is the gift of God and the call of God.” (Justin Welby).
This is my last Easter Season as a Parish Priest and I now look to the future of handing over care of the benefice to Andy and Janet the Churchwardens.
There are many changes to take place in the Diocese, Archdeaconry, Deanery and Parishes in the next five years with many fewer stipendiary clergy and more parishes being grouped together. A review is also taking place in to the use of and need of church buildings, clergy housing, church halls and church land. These reviews are due to the new ways of doing church and the lack of income from donations and collections. The PCC’s will be looking at the Diocesan presentations as to how these changes are to be achieved and how 10,000 new church members and 500 new lay leaders are to be recruited in the Diocese by 2030. I hope that this review will succeed in how Church is provided and lived in the United Benefice
Wishing you all a Happy Easter Fr. Kevin
In praise of the afternoon nap
A short nap in the afternoon improves your memory and keeps your brain more agile.
People who nap tend to speak more fluently, have greater mental agility, and remember things better than those who do not break up their day with sleep.
A former Bishop of Portsmouth always used to advocate a 30 minute nap every lunch time. If its good enough for a bishop its good enough for everyone else.
Even a five-minute nap can offer your brain a chance to down-time and replenish itself, so that it is ‘good to go’ again.
If you want longer than five minutes, try to stop at 40 minutes, before you enter the deepest stage of sleep. If you do carry on, sleep for two hours, which is a full sleep-cycle. The study was published in the British Medical Journal.
Average age of churchgoers
55. These are against a population average of 42, so Scottish churchgoers have a larger gap. We don’t have the same information about Welsh churchgoers or those in N Ireland, though their average population ages in 2020 were, respectively, 42 and 40 (making the overall UK rate 41).
The graph shows that Scottish churchgoers have consistently been older than English churchgoers over the last 40 years. Almost certainly this is partly because England has seen huge numbers of immigrants, asylum seekers, workers, students coming to the country since the 1980s, a number of whom come from Christian countries and presumably would join a local church.
St. James the Least of All
My dear Nephew Darren
Thank you for inviting me to speak at your church council yesterday. I began to suspect that my theme of why Eusebius’s dislike of Sabellianism led to his condemnation at the Council of Antioch in 324 was a little misjudged, when the only question I was asked after my lecture was if Eusebius was on Facebook.
I never realised how much technology is needed these days just to discuss church matters. It seemed that everyone had brought their laptop, so they could refer to all the diocesan briefing documents and reports that you mentioned. I’ve been in the diocese 40 years and have never heard of most of those papers. But then I find it too easy to delete the diocesan mailings, unread, with a click of my mouse.
Our church meetings are far more traditional. Since the church floor seems to have been carved out of permafrost, our meetings circulate round members’ houses. This introduces a nice element of competition, as each host tries to outdo the previous one in the baking of cakes. Meetings at Colonel Drinkwater’s – a more inappropriate name one cannot imagine – are the shortest, since we are always promised wine once the meeting is over. It is remarkable how unanimity is achieved on every subject within minutes, and nothing appears under “any other business”.
Mrs Eddington never troubles us with minutes, largely because she can rarely read the notes she takes. She just shares with us whatever she can decipher at our next meeting. Last month, she accidentally brought her shopping list instead, and so read that out. There followed a lively discussion on whether carrots from our local shop were better than those at the supermarket. When it was found out she intended to use them in a venison casserole, endless recipes were keenly debated.
We always leave our church meetings well fed, up to date with village gossip, and totally untroubled by any church council business. And the lack of any minutes ensures that I can then make all the decisions myself, between meetings. I think you will find our system has much to be commended.
Your loving uncle,