From the Revd Richard Williams
Sir, — I was most interested to read Canon Alan Billings’s article elucidating the reasons behind increased attendance over Christmas (Comment, 13 January).
This indeed has been our experience in the Weald of Kent, where numbers have doubled in the past couple of years. Without detailed research, one has to rely on anecdotal evidence and insight, and there are always local factors. I would, however, like to add two further possibilities.
First, with the rise in the cost of living and the current gloomy economic mood, many people are seeking solace. As we know from experience and scripture, it is in the hard times that people turn to God.
Second, and perhaps expanding a little on Canon Billings’s third point about the traditional part played by the parish church in the community, I think that there may, interestingly, be something of a desire in this country for a retrenchment and “defending of the faith” in the light of the increasing influx and attention of Islam and the so-called multifaith society that we are supposed to be living in, and alongside this the creeping pressure toward a secular European state.
The Vicarage, Waterloo Road
Kent TN17 3JQ