Church decline provides financial boost to other faiths

Heddal stave Church, Cultural Heritage Fund ReformationHeddal stave Church.Photo: Norway Today Media

40,000 people withdrew from the Norwegian Church as of December 1st this year. That means there was more money for muslims and humanists.

The number of withdrawals from the Church this year set a new record. In 2015, there were a reported 15,486 people who dropped out of the State Church. Overall membership today is 3.76 million, reported Klassekampen. The proportion of church members in the population is 72%, but the figure falls every year.

Meanwhile, this year set a new record for the number of registered members in religious communities outside the Norwegian Church. That is an increase of 11%, and accounts for 622,000 people.

Muslim communities have grown the most quickly in recent years, and have a total of 148,000 members. According to Klassekampen, they lead in the system for grants from the state and municipality, in which all religious communities will receive just over 1000 per member in 2017.

Next year, appropriation from the state to the church will increase by about 73 million to 1.9 billion. The reason is because the church is a separate legal entity, and is no longer an agency of the state, and has therefore started carrying out multiple tasks that were previously accrued to the state.

Although the Norwegian church still has a special position compared to other religious communities, the system ensures equal treatment is given to other faith communities, who get as much for their members.

The government expenditure is 505 per member in 2017, but local authorities usually provide the same. Thus monetary transfers per registered member will probably be 1000 next year.

Financing religious belief will become a major theme next year, when the government will submit new proposals for religion and belief.

 

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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