Churchesare losing members'

PUBLISHED: 10:09 15 February 2007 | UPDATED: 13:48 04 May 2010

I DON T understand why Soham church officals who agreed to sell the parish hall site to developers can t build bridges with the community by negotiating a compromise. The land is large enough to include a new community centre along with housing and that w

I DON'T understand why Soham church officals who agreed to sell the parish hall site to developers can't build bridges with the community by negotiating a compromise.

The land is large enough to include a new community centre along with housing and that way they could keep everyone happy.

But the Church of England was never very good at public relations.

They may well have driven a wedge between themselves and the community and they may have to live with that.

Churches are losing members and they will lose more if they don't listen to what the people want.

People are not going to go to a church which isn't part of the community, but the church wants the money.

It is this sort of attitude which I think is so wrong. They could do so much more to increase their membership.

The Methodists are more successful. In one town where I lived they negotiated an agreement with the town council and developers to provide facilities and they organised all sorts of pastoral activities and church outreach.

My husband lost a headship because of the church. In 1965 three schools in a Cambridgeshire village were being merged into one larger school and the new school was to be owned jointly by the county council and the church, but it wasn't going to be a church school.

My husband was consulted at every stage of the process but when it came to the interview he failed to get the job because he couldn't say he was a member of the Church of England.

Another county council owned school, where I worked as a teacher, was taken over by a trust and the head was told to ask each teacher whether he or she belonged to the Church of England.

If they did not they were gradually whittled down. I was a Methodist but I was the only teacher to hold the Archbishop's Certificate of Education from a Church of England training college so my job was safe.

I'm not sure the Soham campaigners would have been able to raise the money to buy the parish hall site but they could have tried. The trouble is the church has too much power.

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