Church fears for the future as all the numbers come up negative

St. Olav churchTrondheim.St. Olav church Photo: Ned Alley / SCANPIX .

Fewer and fewer are attending church services, and the average age of priests in Norway will get higher. Since 2005, visitor numbers for church worship fell by one million people.

The newspaper, Vårt Land, reported that according to the Church Council’s latest risk assessment, lower participation at worship services, and low recruitment of priests, are the greatest threats to the Church.

Last year, the total worship attendance was 6.7 million, spread over 70,000 sermon ceremonies.

From 2014 to 2015 there were 2.1 percent fewer participants at church services in the Norwegian Church.

Compared to 2005, the 2015 figures represent a decrease of nearly one million participants.

‘The situation is extremely serious; it requires strategies and action to minimize the risk’, said Paul Erik Wirges, director of the Department of Church Growth in the Church Council.

Meanwhile, 29% of the clergy in the Norwegian Church are over 60 years of age. By 2025, all these people will be pensioners.

Thus, 374 priests will disappear from a job market that is already struggling with recruitment problems.

30% of the clergy are between 50 and 59 years old. A large proportion of this group will also be retiring over the course of the next ten years.

‘Based on the expected resignation figures, and the supply of new students, the recruitment crisis will increase. The crisis does not only affect priestly positions, but also other job categories within the church’, said Wirges.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today