From the Revd Paul Eddy
Sir, - I was delighted to read two reports circulated to General
Synod members, Making New Disciples: The growth of the Church
of England and Challenges For the Quinquennium before
their next group of sessions. The decision to put evangelism on to
the agenda of the Church is to be greatly welcomed.
May I, however, encourage Synod members to consider something
not mentioned once in either report: the alarming gender misbalance
in our churches, where, on average, there are three women to one
man in our pews; and the fact that men are fast becoming an
unreached people's group.
While there are, of course, exceptions, the average line-up at
confirmations continues to show that we are failing to reach men
with the gospel. Women in our churches with non-Christian husbands
long for them to share their faith. Women in our churches wanting
to marry a Christian man are asking "Where are the Christian men?"
Teenage boys in our churches are wondering where their mentors
As a Diocesan Missioner for Unreached Men in the Oxford diocese,
with the full support of my bishops, I have been acting as a
catalyst at deanery and parish level in order to get churches at
least to ask why men don't come to church, and how we might
intentionally reach them with the gospel.
If our pews contained one woman to three men, we would rightly
want to address such an imbalance. Therefore, let us welcome these
reports, but, please, also remember that the good news is for every
adult in this country.
If we continue to go on as we are, men are unlikely to hear the
life-changing news of the gospel, and that will continue to have a
negative impact on family life and our communities. Let us, please,
be intentional about reaching men for Jesus.
The Vicarage, Stanford in the Vale
Oxfordshire SN7 8HU