Over 15,000 people have left the Lutheran Church in Norway after the Church introduced a new digital membership program.
According to ChristianToday.com, the Church recently introduced the program as a way to streamline the system of membership. The old system had received criticism.
The new system allows people to easily indicate whether they are members of the church or not. A total of 15,053 people left the church membership roster after the new program was launched. That number is nearly as high as the 15,900 who left in the whole of the previous year.
Church officials, however, say they were expecting a large number of people to leave the Church due to the new program.
Norwegian bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien stated, "We were prepared for a significant number of resignations and have great respect for the individual's choice. We take these signals seriously. Our task will be to pass on the Christian message and to convey the important role the church can have in people's lives.”
Although so many people chose to withdraw membership from the church, a smaller number have decided to join. Thus far with the new program, the Church has received 1,369 new membership enrollments.
Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum, church council leader, said: "We will continue to have a broad and open national church. But no-one should be a member of a religious community against their will, and therefore I am glad that this self solution is in place. Those who mistakenly listed as a member of the Norwegian Church or who do not wish to be members can now easily change their status, and it will give us a more accurate registry."
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: August 22, 2016