The Church of England, like many other long standing European religions, is confronting declining church attendance and increasing evidence young people are not as much into attending churches as their parents. But, the main issues confronting the Church of England general synod this summer will revolve around issues of women and gay rights. William Fittall, general secretary of the synod, admitted “there is no doubt we are at an unsettled moment in the Church of England.” Last week, the Bishop of London ordered an investigation into the so called “marriage” between two gay priests who exchanged rings and vows at St.Bartholomew church. Fittall believes the issue of women being ordained as bishops in the church and gay priests will dominate the summer meeting.
There are those who strongly oppose these changes and have threatened to take action if they occur. Stephen Parkinson, director of Forward in Faith, is concerned the feelings of those who are against these changes is not heard. “We do not want to leave but the church is not dong enough to accomodate us.”
A decade ago the religious wars revolved around ways to attract more people to enter church but today the issues revolve around those who currently are in the church. Ironically, as institutions such as the Church of England divide over these issues, other religions are growing in strength.