Christianity in Britain is a "generation away from extinction" unless the Church of England figures out how to attract young people back to its empty pews, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has warned, according to Fox News
"We ought to be ashamed of ourselves," Lord Carey said, according to the Religious News Service
, and if we do not invest in young people there is going to be no one in the future."
Speaking to several hundred congregants in Shropshire in west England, Lord Carey said today's clergy seemed defeated and their churches fatigued. Outsiders were bored with the Church.
"So many people do not see the average church as a place where great things happen. To sit in a cold church looking at the back of other peoples' heads is surely not the best place to meet exciting people and to hear prophetic words," he said.
To survive, Church of England leaders needed to re-rethink its role.
"So many churches have no ministry to young people, and that means they have no interest in the future," Lord Carey said. "We have to give cogent reasons to young people why the Christian faith is relevant to them."
Carey was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991-2002, when he joined Britain's House of Lords.
There are some 25 million baptized Anglicans in England and Wales, though only about 800,000 regularly attend Sunday services, according to London's Daily Telegraph
One regular churchgoer writing in The Telegraph
said that the lack of vibrant services was not the problem. According to A.N. Wilson, the underlying cause of the Church's decline is its clash with modernity over sexual morality and belief.
"Most people simply cannot subscribe to the traditional creeds," he said.
But the retired 78-year-old prelate said he was convinced that the Church could be renewed.
"We have to give cogent reasons to young people why the Christian faith is relevant to them," he said.
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