I can see how it has evolved as an historic accident, but don’t you think the Church leadership should be representative of the Church Community? And similarly in its turn, don’t you think that the Church of England should be fairly representative of the general community from which it takes its ranks? How is it then that firstly the Church is mainly white middle class when some of the communities are very much multiracial and, furthermore, how is it then that its bishops are nearly all Caucasian male? Not everyone – of course. There are a few exceptions (see picture published in Daily Mail), but it is undeniable that the leadership of the Church is most certainly not representative of the community it supposedly serves.
If we are truly honest with ourselves then we tend to favour others who fall into our own ethnic and social stratum. “Birds of a feather flock together”. We do not have to make such an effort to reach out to other members of the same flock. We are emotionally more comfortable. We tend to have the same aspirations and values. To put it bluntly, we are all to some degree or other – prejudiced.
As an institution that professes to speak out against prejudice of all kinds it is having its work cut out to speak for and be relevant to the majority of the people in this country – just by being itself! It has to change at a fundamental level if it is going to keep up with the changes in society and speak for the people to the people. In my view the leadership is totally out of touch with the ‘common people’. It doesn’t speak for them and they in turn tend to think the Church is totally irrelevant in today’s daily life. If it was anything other, then the numbers of regular worshippers would not be in such decline. It is simple logic to realise that unless a church delivers the goods then it is going to be dropped by up and coming generations.
I am very, very glad I am a priest past his sell by date who doesn’t have to make the Endeavour.
For more detailed thoughts about relevance see my book “The Death of the Church and Spirituality Reborn”.