Sir, – Churches have commented on congregation numbers falling, with sociological shifts given as a reason for that and scandals in some churches. However, there are two significant reasons for falling numbers other than those above.
In winter, especially, no one is that keen to turn up in a church which is cold or very cold and remain there for the continuation of Mass or service. Many people keep their coats on during Sunday or other day services to keep warm. They are also only too happy when the Mass has ended to leave the church quickly, so they can go home and warm up again. Second, many of our church public address (PA) systems are dated and very poor with people struggling to hear the celebrant. It should be remembered that many of our older generation have hearing problems. It is tedious even for a younger person to listen to what can be a delightful proceeding otherwise to have it spoiled by a PA system belonging to the last century with an insufficient number of speakers to reach all parts of the church. Listening to a priest mumbling away with muffled words because of a dated and inadequate PA system is not going to do anything to keep up numbers. If denominations want to keep their flock, make sure they are warm and make sure they can hear the shepherd. – Yours, etc,