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Church News

Report claims CofE considering cuts in dioceses, bishops and parishes

by Marcus Jones

It's claimed the Church of England is looking into whether it needs so many dioceses and parishes.

According to the Sunday Times, the incoming Archbishop of York Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell (pictured above) will oversees the review which could lead to cuts in the number of bishops, cathedrals and parish churches.

The issue was discussed at a House of Bishops video call last week in which those present discusssed the future for the Church. A spokesman said there was varied views among the bishops.

The Church of England currently has 42 dioceses which oversee 16,000 churches. Each diocese was a bishop and assistant bishops along with a large number of admin staff.

The recent move to online services has led to some questioning the need for such a large operation.

"The crisis is going to lead to a massive shrinkage in the number of cathedrals, dioceses and parish churches," a Sunday Times source said.

"This has vastly accelerated a dramatic change in the way the Church of England will do its stuff because of declining attendance and declining revenues."

The Bishop of Burnley Philip North was on the House of Bishops video call this week. Speaking to Premier he acknowledged that changes were needed but said this report was way off the mark.

"All this business of major culls of clergy and bishops, I simply don't recognise any of that," he said. "The Sunday Times must have seen minutes from a different meeting from the one I was at."

A Church of England spokesman said: "Our most recent House of Bishops meeting included updates from groups of bishops looking at the coronavirus and its implications for the future of the Church of England. 

"This also involved a series of breakout groups further looking at issues including political and economic change, shifts in technology as well as the impact of demographic change."

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