Our local parishes have seen a continual merging into larger and larger benefices.
A few years ago our parish was merged (yet again) into a benefice of 17 parishes. At the time we were told that there would be more clergy available to cover the benefice. Of the two full-time priests and one curate that we started with, both priests have retired, and the curate has now been priested and finally appointed as rector in charge of the whole benefice. She has one part-time priest to assist her.
Our parish services have been reduced to one priest-led service a month, and even this relies on a couple of retired clergy being roped in to take services.
Meanwhile, the 17 parishes struggle to reach an agreement on any benefice-wide issues. Just getting representation from 17 PCCs in one room at the same time is an achievement.
An equitable division of our benefice’s parish share request around all the parishes is still not agreed upon after years of trying.