During the holidays I met a family, who had recently migrated to New Zealand and based on first impressions regarded us as a Godless country. Seen in the light of the latest official statistics, church membership is in serious decline and if this trend of religious disengagement continues at the current rate, many churches will have to close their doors within 20 years. This will be no real loss to us oldies, who will no longer be around when traditional organised religion dies by attrition. What concerns me is the nonchalance of the generation succeeding us, who with few exceptions have not been wanting in examples of spiritual awareness. Where have we failed as parents to instil Christian values that have served us well in our progress through life? I see little evidence in my own children and those of most of my fellow worshippers that we have been successful in this regard, which deeply grieves me. Token attendance on special occasions to please us olds does not mean further commitment when we are gone. On a recent visit to St Aidans for an unrelated meeting afforded me time to appraise the names of 94 members on the board in relation to the average attendance. My observation in attending church services of our denomination away from Auckland point to a similar one-third ratio to total membership that is evident in our church. The shrinking human resource to fill volunteer rosters is an indication of things to come when we will no longer be self-reliant and unable to afford external assistance to make good the shortfall. I appreciate that these are bad tidings, but I believe in the occasional reality-check to keep us aware of the seriousness of the situation facing us.
Editorial – February 2014
An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand