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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 16:40 GMT
A church that matters?
Dr Rowan Wiliams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Will the new archbishop solve the church's woes?

As a new Archbishop of Canterbury takes office, Anglicans have high hopes of revived prestige for the Established Church.

And the Church of England still looks to exert influence in many areas of politics and society, with its presence throughout the country and historic role as "church for allcomers".

But its parish system is in crisis. It cannot afford its huge network of buildings and factional groups within the church are hoping to exploit the central institution's growing weakness.

Should the church continue to minister to all, whatever their religious beliefs, or should it become a more exclusive, missionary organisation?

It is these more fundamental issues, as much as the endlessly publicised disputes about gay priests or women bishops, that will determine the Church's future.

With contributors including the Archbishop of York, head of the Church Commissioners Andreas Whittam Smith, and some of the Church's "frontline" parish priests, Andrew Brown asks how far the Church of England can continue to matter in English national life.

Presenter: Andrew Brown
Producer: Chris Bowlby
Editor: Nicola Meyrick

BBC Radio 4's Analysis: 'A church that matters?' was broadcast on Thursday, 21 November 2002 at 2030 GMT.

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