Wales

Church in Wales single sermon calls for volunteers

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Media captionFalling congregations have seen the Church in Wales close scores of its churches

A single sermon has been preached at Church in Wales services this weekend to encourage more people to take part in religious life.

The address was delivered at most of the 1,400 churches although it was shown as video in many without a vicar, and has also been put on YouTube.

Its message calls for more people to become involved in church life, including taking services.

The Church in Wales has closed 85 churches in the past 10 years.

The sermon was jointly written by the church's seven bishops and marks marks the one day each year it openly appeals for more people to take a leading part in church life.

The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, who leads the vocations strategy, said the sermon aimed to make the church "more of a movement, and less of an institution".

He said: "I think the church has tended to be a little bit passive in the past - to 'let the vicar get on with it'.

"But actually God wants all his people to be agents of change. So we want to encourage everyone to take responsibility to see what they can do."

Radical plans

The sermon was welcomed by Rev Jeremy Harris, who is vicar of 10 churches in the benefice of Magor, Monmouthshire.

He said: "The idea of a paid vicar in every single church on a Sunday - certainly in the benefice here - is long gone.

"What we're trying to do is foster this idea of lay ministry and other forms of ordained ministry, where people will be helping out, taking those services, and taking some responsibility for a local church."

In July 2012 a report recommended radical plans to reform and modernise the Church in Wales.

It included forming "super size" parishes run by vicars and lay people and holding non-traditional services on days other than Sunday.

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