The Bishop of Bangor remains optimistic despite figures being released this week, which have revealed that the main Christian denominations in Wales are suffering an ‘alarming decline‘ in membership, and some people fear that Christianity will ‘disappear‘.
The current affairs programme ‘Y Byd ar Bedwar’, which broadcast this week, looked at the situation facing Christianity in Wales and painted a bleak picture for the main traditional Christian denominations.
The Church in Wales remains the largest denomination in Wales, and currently has 45,759 members compared with 98,878 in 1990 – a drop of 54%.
The Presbyterians have seen the biggest percentage fall in members since the beginning of the nineties. Their membership has fallen from over 60,000 in 1990 to just 19,818 today.
Bangor Churches Have Closed
In 2013, The Church in Wales closed two of its Churches in Bangor, St David’s in Glanadda and St Mary’s in Hirael, both closed because of smaller congregations and high running costs, which meant they were no longer ‘economical’.
A report before the closures found that 170 people worshiped at services in Bangor’s five (Church of Wales) churches each Sunday, and that Bangor Cathedral alone cost £12,000 a year to light and heat.
The Church in Wales are currently implementing a plan called ‘2020 Vision’. This plan is intended as a growth strategy to re-energise the Church.
The Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andy John, is a member of the 2020 Vision strategy implementation group which hopes to make church more appealing.
Rev John said: “We’re not interested in quick fix entertainment. What we are interested in is providing things that truly will be purposeful and worthwhile. You have to build that and that takes time and it also takes resources, to train people appropriately and get the right provision for the right community. We’re not going to do that overnight.”
He pointed to more community work from the church, in the form of food banks and the development of so-called ‘cafe-churches’ in North Wales, he remains optimistic about the future of the Church.