*** DEBUG END ***

Falling attendance

16 March 2011


From Canon Kevin Walton

Sir, — With reference to the analysis of the Ven. Bob Jackson on de­clining attendance in the North of England (News, 11 March), I would like to come to the defence of my former diocese, Durham.

It is true that there have been periods of long vacancy in the dio­cese, and no doubt this has had a detrimental effect on attendance. For the most part, however, it is not true that the reason for these vacancies is a deliberate policy of keeping posts vacant.

For 12 years, I was a parish priest in the north-east. During that period, one neighbouring parish was vacant on two occasions for a total of about five years. This was despite strenuous efforts to attract a suitable priest. Another parish where I served in the north-east has now been vacant for more than two-and-a-half years, despite two sets of national advertisements. This indicates that the problem goes deeper than simply “poor management practices”.

As the report also highlights, there are signs of hope and growth, but also straightforward and faithful resilience in a struggling context.

2 Sumpter Yard
St Albans AL1 1BY

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Train-a-Priest Fund 2022 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this year. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Forthcoming Events

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

4-8 July 2022
HeartEdge Mission Summer School
From HeartEdge and St Augustine’s College of Theology.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)