THE Church of England has fallen victim to the credit crunch and could lose one in 10 of its clergy within five years.
The traditional model of a vicar in every parish is finished, according to internal church documents.
Stipendiary, or paid, clergy numbers will fall by nearly a quarter between 2000 and 2013.
Instead, jobs will go to unpaid part-timers as part of a massive restructuring programme.
The C of E’s website states that there will be an 8.3 per cent decrease in paid clergy in the next four years, from 8,400 to 7,700.
The measures come as it struggles with its pension scheme which has liabilities of £813million, almost double the £461million market value of its assets.
In the village of Littlebourne, in Canterbury, Kent, worshippers at St Vincent church raised £50,000 last year through cake sales and coffee mornings. But more than £34,000 of that went towards paying for clergy and their pensions.
When their vicar, Rev John Allan, retires next year, he will be replaced by one who is unpaid and part-time, working three days a week across four churches.
The Church of England’s income is also said to be under threat because recession-hit parishioners have less money to give, although officials claim donations are rising.
Rev David Houlding, chairman of the clergy in the London diocese, said: “The bottom line is that the money which pays for the church comes from people in the pew.
“The income of the Church of England is seriously threatened at the moment because people do not have the money because of the credit crunch.” http://www.express.co.uk/posts/v ... an-t-afford-clergy-