Back to Church Sunday

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Commenting on Back to Church Sunday, Jonathan Bartley, of think-tank Ekklesia, applauded the efforts to persuade people to come back to the pews but said a root and branch reform was needed.

Mr Bartley, an Anglican and regular churchgoer, said: "A church that appears at worst bigoted and at best unable to agree on issues of private morality is not going to hold on to new communicants for long.

"There is growing resentment that church schools, although funded by the taxpayer, give priority in admissions to Christians. At the national level the fundamentally undemocratic arrangement with 26 unelected, exclusively male, bishops sitting in parliament by right, undermines any stands for justice the Church may seek to make.

"The ongoing rows over homosexuality confirm that the Church must get its own house in order before it can seriously invite visitors who have previously walked away - often with good reason - to return."