One answer seems to be that there is no one to replace the dedication and selfless labour that older women used to supply that kept the church going. Abby Day, an anthropologist in Canterbury, is doing a survey now on the last such generation of women, and they are all in their 70s. After that, the younger ones just didn't have the time, or the sense of duty. So the problem seems to be a shortage of young or even middle-aged people. The really interesting question is whether this is just an obvious symptom. Perhaps the real problem is the presence of the old.That sounds...familiar.
When I talk to Anglican clergy about the frustrations of their work, the answer that comes back in a dozen forms is that the greatest difficulty is not with the outside world. It's with their own congregations.But Holy Trinity Brompton is different, he claims. And why?
What's the relevance to HTB? Firstly, that its growth only started when the older sections of the congregation were packed off to a service of their own. Secondly that it was an urban church, with an available kernel of cultural Christians who wanted something less boring than they had grown up with – and who were, in the way of the upper-middle-classes, usually immigrants to London.Aha! I've got it!
It's exactly the same argument as Labour had when it realised that it didn't much like the old, set in-their-ways white English traditional Labour voter! Maybe Andrew would like to reflect on just how well their decision to import a new electorate went?