Newest Church of England Bishop Says Empty Pews Not End of the World, People Will Still “Encounter God”

Dame Sarah Mullally, the former Chief Nurse, is to be Bishop of Crediton (AshMills.com 2015)
Dame Sarah Mullally, the former Chief Nurse, is to be Bishop of Crediton (AshMills.com 2015)

Young people won’t necessarily find faith in formal church services says the NHS’s former Chief Nurse Dame Sarah Mullally as she is named as Bishop of Crediton

Declining numbers at services should not necessarily be a cause of despair for churches because people will still “encounter God” without ever taking their place in a pew, the Church of England’s newest bishop designate has insisted.

Dame Sarah Mullally, the former NHS Chief Nurse for England who has been named as the next Bishop of Crediton, said clerics must recognise that young people are as likely to hear the Christian message through social media sites such as Facebook or in cafés as in a church.

In a remarkably varied career, the 53-year-old mother-of-two has now risen to the top of two very different professions.

A former nurse at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in central London she took commentators by surprise in 1999 when she was appointed the Government’s Chief Nursing Officer at the age of 37.

She later gave up nursing to be ordained as an Anglican parish priest.

Currently Canon Treasurer Salisbury cathedral, she will take up the suffragan bishopric of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter later this year.

Speaking to The Telegraph, as her appointment was announced by Downing Street, she said her two very different careers were linked by a concern for human dignity and compassion – something she said society is in danger of losing.

She emphasised that while church must be concerned about declining numbers it must view it as part of a wider social shift in which organisations of all types are seeing declines in formal membership.

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SOURCE: The Telegraph
John Bingham

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