Tuesday, 30 April 2013


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Power corrupts, even in Church
Upon retiring several years ago, I became a regular church attendee. During this time I have tried to understand why some churches, not all, are seeing a decline in attendance.
The typical secular view is that religion is losing support. Let me offer another probable earthly cause.
Committed Christians have a keen sense of justice. Where there appears to be an injustice or behaviour deemed less than acceptable, church members will speak out.
This is fine and as it should be, providing their voices are heard and their views considered.
But what happens when the root of their concern is the style of those who are managing their church? When I say "style", I mean those elders driven by hubris, self importance, self interest. It is said power corrupts – maybe even in the church.
If the dominant elders or minister of the local church occasionally behaves in a manner leaving some to wonder whether total honesty was optional, there is no mechanism of appeal.
Having recently raised a question of this kind at regional level, it would appear that in my church, even the highest of offices at national level has no constitutional authority over local decisions.
I wonder whether the low-level but insidious machinations of a minority in authority in local churches and the absence of an meaningful appeal system may be contributing to a membership decline?
Am I a frustrated wannabe leader turned whistle blower? No, I do not seek to be anything more than a dedicated pew-level church member.
I, like so many others, am a concerned Christian who, seeing so much good work being done through God's word, is left wondering where the hubris and negativity of a minority in our churches will lead us.
Name and address supplied

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