Thirty six per cent of Anglican congregations have no parishioners under 16-years-old

Light of truth

36 percent of Anglican congregations have no parishioners under 16-years-old, the Church of England has revealed.

Describing the situation as “shocking” Canon Mark Russell, chief executive of the Church Army, told the Church’s General Synod that only 6% of Anglican Churches have more than 25 under 16-year-olds.

The new figures came during the Synod debate on the future of youth evangelism in England, in which the Church agreed to prioritise recruiting more youth workers and being inclusive of LGBT teenagers.

Lucy Gorman, a parishioner from the Diocese of York, said diversity and inclusion is an issue within the Church’s recruitment problem, adding: “When one in 25 young people identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual we need to speak into the silence and connect with them to include them in the life of the Church.”

The debate followed a motion on tackling gambling adverts in which the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, said children have become “conditioned” to enjoy sport by betting on who will win.

Criticising the “toxic” gambling advertising industry that “preys on the young,” the Rt Rev Alan Smith tabled a motion calling on the Government to reduce the quantity of gambling adverts that are reaching British children.

“The times have changed since when you would simply enjoy sport by supporting a team or a particular player. Now younger generations are conditioned to enjoy sport only by betting on who is going to score the next goal or which team is going to win,” he said.

Describing Brexit as “a historic moment,” the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, concluded the Synod with his annual State of the Nation speech.

It is understood that the Church are planning a “season of prayer” for five days at the end of March when Britain is due to depart the EU. A senior Church of England source said the event would be to help people reconnect after the divisive 2016 referendum.

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