From early December 2009 to the end of June 2011, deregistration from the National Church of Iceland exceeded new registrations by 6,500. Last month alone, 890 people delisted from the National Church.
An Icelandic church. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
In his column on tru.is, Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson describes this development as a challenge for the National Church.
“The National Church of Iceland has gone through difficult times and struggled with hard and sensitive issues. It has often proven uncertain and slow in its reactions,” he began his column, referring to criticism of himself and other of the church’s leaders to reports of sexual offenses within the church.
“Now we are dealing with this in an organized manner and working on radical improvements to the execution and work methods of the church,” Sigurbjörnsson promised.
“There is certainly reason to be concerned about the delisting and decreasing numbers in the National Church’s congregations,” the bishop wrote, however pointing out, “This is not a uniquely Icelandic phenomenon.”
In the same period that the National Church lost 6,500 members, members of the three independent churches in Iceland increased by 1,200 and of other religious associations by 500, Morgunbladid reports.
However, most people who have deregistered from the National Church, almost 4,800, have not registered to any other religious associations.