The National Church will put 150 million ISK towards attempting to reverse the trend and get more people to join their ranks.
The National Church Council has issued a review on the state of the church today, Vísir reports, which expresses concern with the fact that membership rolls have been on the decline for at least the past decade. Ten years ago, 84.6% of Icelanders were registered in the national church, compared to 73.6% today. Further, an increasing number of Icelanders want separation of church and state, to where people with this desire are in the majority today.
The council quoted a recent article by Professor Rúnar Vilhjálmsson, who believes decline in church membership can be attributed to the following:
“An increase in secularism, rationality and scientific ideas have, amongst other things, led to a decline of tradition and an increased emphasis on individual rights and freedom of choice, instead of togetherness based on religious grounds.”
To counter this, the council recommends putting 30 million ISK per year for the next five years towards information campaigns in the media, giving greater support for church staff, and buying access to the National Registry to find and reach out to people who are not registered in the church. What precise efforts the church could use to reach those not registered in the church was not outlined.
In recent years, more Icelanders have been leaving the church than are joining. Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir believes this is due in part to immigrants, and Icelanders moving out of the country.
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