I just spent the last three hours trying not to cry my eyes out in
pastoral care class. The topic this week was funerals. I rightfully
anticipated a swell of emotions and prepared my heart accordingly. But
in class the conversation the stories drifted towards the death of
children, the most precarious moment of pastoral engagement.
Many of the recent articles about clergy burnout suggested that it's a symptom of cognitive dissonance: pastors think their job ought to be a particular kind of work and are frustrated when it ends up involving something else. None of the media coverage, however, offered a compelling description of the call to ministry itself.
In September 2010, four gay children died from bullying. Children are
being bullied, tormented and abused for many different reasons, and
there is a distinct upswing on bullying in our schools. Please take
this to prayer with me.
A statistical projection is not a prediction, but if the number of Christians in Britain continues to decline at the current rate, there will be no more British Christians by 2067. Between 2001 and 2011 the church lost 5.3 million members—about 10,000 each week. The rate of decline in the Church of England is higher than that of other denominations. In one survey the numbers dropped from 40 percent of the population in 1983 to 29 percent in 2004 and just 17 percent last year. The decline in the Catholic Church is not as precipitous because of the influx of Catholic immigrants. Sometime in this century Muslims will outnumber Christians in Britain (Spectator, June 13).