I have something of a soft spot for the Church of England, having grown up in it, though it’s been rather a long time since I was a regular attender. But I think this article is probably correct when it starts with:
The archbishop of Canterbury must acknowledge that disestablishment has already happened, and look to a future that deals with reality.
I particularly liked one of the illustrations of this point:
The Diana funeral was about half Anglican, and half teddy bears.
Actually, I’ve always thought that the church would probably benefit from disestablishment. This article makes the case for decentralisation, as well.
Now, I know little of church finances, but I suspect that very few current congregations could actually support their clerical staff if it weren’t for the church’s central endowments and investments. No doubt some distribution mechanism could be sorted out, even if the parishes were to be more independent.
But I do remember, sitting in a dull sermon somewhere as a child, realising that if congregations really took the biblical principle of tithing to heart, then it would only take nine people to support a vicar at the same standard of living as they had. Or ten, of course, if the vicar wanted to tithe as well!
Something for the faithful to ponder…