The floundering Church of England
by: John Tyrrell
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Last week, Church of England attendance numbers dropped to a record low, about 760,000 - that's about 1.5% of the population of England that attends Sunday services in the country's established church.
Later that week, in a demonstration of how much the Church of England is out of touch with the feelings of those it purports to serve, a meeting of 39 Anglican primates decided to suspend the US Episcopal Church from participation "in the life and work of the Anglican communion" because the Americans had the nerve to ordain an openly gay Bishop and to celebrate same-sex marriage.
Of course it's not entirely the Church of England's decision - this decision was driven by African and Asian branches of the Anglican community parroting back teachings drilled into them by CofE missionaries in colonial days. And a good number of these branches would have broken away if the CofE had not gone along with the decision to discipline the American church.
It's looking like the CofE made a bad decision. It has led to an increasing number of the English questioning the church's privileged place in society - a society which it no longer represents. And there are demands that it lose the 26 seats in the House of Lords set aside for its bishops. After all, why should this unrepresentative organization have any place in the government of the nation.
As for the US Episcopal church - I'd just remind them there was a revolution in 1776. Two hundred and forty years later, they should break this lingering colonial tie with Britain and declare independence.
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