The Church of England | Ysenda Maxtone Graham

“The combined scent of damp hymn books, dahlias slightly past their best, candlewax, Brasso and Victorian radiators: breathing in this intoxicating smell is one of the delights of living in England, with its 12,500 parish churches at the heart of every village and town. To press down the latch and feel the church door opening rather than remaining stubbornly shut is one of life’s great reassurers.”

A Centrifugal Church | The Rev’d Colin Heber-Percy

“Over the last couple of difficult years, the parishes have proved themselves full of courageous and generous insurgents. Church House and the dioceses less so. The parish system in this country is a deeply embedded capillary network of neighbourliness and personal relationships. But Church House and the dioceses no longer seem to view it as vigorous and life-sustaining.

WATCH: Pay Priests Properly | Virginia Stourton

“[Priests] are good, giving people, and they need to be properly paid and they need to be properly housed because they are the bedrock of our Christian faith. They are the people that are going around talking to parishioners, and they can learn a great deal of what is actually needed by the man in the street. Unfortunately, the Church of England is reducing their number and of course in turn that is going to reduce the churches, and they will be sold. So it is something that really needs to be supported.”

Church Closers’ Charter & the Beeching Cuts | Roger Lincoln

“So, the CofE picked up on the social damage done by closing railways (churches), but hasn’t picked up on the underlying causes of why the railways (churches) weren’t being used, nor has it picked up on the fact that once the railway as been ripped out (church closed) then you can’t put it back again. I do not know if I wasn’t clear, or whether there is willful or accidental blindness on the part of the CofE hierarchy.”

Let Bishops be Bishops | Revd. Daniel French

“What we vicars need is a bishop who, like an elder sibling will swoop into our parishes and help sort out nonsense, and if required (safeguarding rules permitting) give us a hug. Bishops should be able to hang around in a parish for a few days, not just a few hours. In my mind a bishop should be to the vicarage family like a grandparent who says to the vicar and his wife, “You are overworking, so tonight I’ll look after the kids so you two can go off to the cinema.””

Reflections on Parish Poverty | Donald Clarke

My parish is among those which have accumulated reserves but, like most others, has suffered from the same declining income from an ageing congregation and the effects of covidon giving, so finds its reserves being gnawed away. The Parish Share has become an onerous burden for all of us, forcing many into closure and others into unhappy amalgamations, which impose impossible burdens on the incumbents.