I suppose I could coin a phrase here: “churchicide”. This new term refers to when a church or denomination intentionally seeks to take its own life. Or perhaps we could refer to this as “churchanasia”. But whatever term we use, the result is sadly the same.

All around the Western world we have examples of churches either slowly or swiftly committing hari kari. Some are doing it quite willingly and intentionally, while others may not even be aware of the fact that they are on the road to extinction.

But for various reasons, many churches are going the way of the dodo. There would be plenty of examples of this. Those not specifically wanting to commit ecclesiastical suicide but still seemingly in their death throes can be found in various places.

As an example of this, a British newspaper featured a rather gloomy article on the state of the Church of England recently. With the rather provocative title, “Will the last person to leave the Church of England please turn out the lights,” it spoke of the Church as “an institution in decline, with fewer worshippers than ever and dissent in its ranks”.

The article said, in part: “The figures are truly dire. While non-Christian faiths have grown stronger and the evangelical Christian churches flourish, the story in the Church of England has been one of almost continuous decline since the war.

“Despite a series of initiatives such as Back to Church Sunday and some improvement in the numbers of young people participating in church activities, attendance figures amongst Anglicans have dropped by some 10 per cent over the last decade. Only 1.1m people, some 2 per cent of the population, attend church on a weekly basis, and only 1.7m, or 3 per cent, once a month. This in spite of the fact that around half the population still profess themselves Anglicans.

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