The Adelaide diocese of the Anglican Church must change radically as it faces the tough choice of closing at least a third of its parishes within the next five years.
This was the blunt message from Archbishop Jeffrey Driver to the church last night as he opened its senior decision-making forum, the diocesan synod.
Resources had been drained and the church had endured nine years of turmoil from dealing with the hurt caused by abuse perpetuated by its own ranks.
This was overlaid with falling church attendance, the ageing of faithful parishioners and difficulty in retaining young adults.
The trajectory had now reached the point where parishes were not in gradual decline but in rapid collapse.
“A rough analysis of our parishes at this time suggests to me that about a third something like 20 parishes are relatively secure,” he said.
“Another 20 are fragile and another 20 are really struggling.
“The trajectory and demography of many of those parishes tells me that in five years’ time, or even less, a number of those communities of faith will be at a point from which recovery will be difficult”…