London: The Church of England could virtually be left without any members in the next 20 years, an Anglican leader has warned.
The average age of worshippers has risen to 61 as the church has failed to attract younger followers, The Daily Mail reports.
Reverend Patrick Richmond of Norwich told members of the Church’s national assembly that they were facing a ``perfect storm`` of ageing congregations and falling clergy numbers.
“The perfect storm we can see forming on the far horizon is the ageing congregations we have heard about average age is 61 now, with many congregations above that,” the Daily Mail quoted Reverend Richmond, as saying.
The warnings follow an internal Church report calling for an urgent national recruitment drive to attract more members.
In the past 40 years, the number of adult churchgoers has halved, while the number of children attending regular worship has declined by four fifths, the report said.
Andreas Whittam Smith, the first Church Estates Commissioner, said the demographic ‘time bomb of 2020 for Anglicans was a crisis’.
“One problem may be that decline is so slow and imperceptible that we don’t really see it coming clearly enough,” Smith said.
“We know about it in theory but we don’t really know about it in practice. I wish that all of us would have a sense of real crisis about this,” he added.
Earlier this week, a Church of England bishop said that Christians should learn from Muslims how to exist as a ‘minority’ culture in British cities dominated by immigrants.