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Churchpeople volunteering later, and for less

14 September 2012


From Mr Andrew Collie

Sir, - The Revd Neil Patterson ("What happens when volunteers can't do it all?", Comment, 31 August) rightly identifies two trends affecting the availability of volunteers: increased retirement ages, and a reduced pool of non-working spouses, with a consequent increased demand on grandparents for childcare.

I suggest another: a reduced willingness to sacrifice, which means that it takes longer for people to "sign up", and, when they do, they sign up for less.

What is the Church to do about it? Mr Patterson suggests imaginative use of paid staff, and a refocusing on the purpose of the institutional Church. Let me suggest that we also need "institutional Church lite".

Do we need all the roles for which we seek volunteers? If we, for example, were prepared to do with fewer church buildings (that does not mean necessarily fewer congregations, although in some cases that may be right, too), or fewer PCCs and other committees, we would release volunteer time for where it really matters - engaging with people, including those outside the Church.

Colwood, Canterbury Road, Folkestone, Kent CT18 8HU


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