Survey reports one-third of registered church members do not believe in God.
The Church of Norway, Den norske kirke, has taken to the internet to help clean up its membership rolls. Numbering 3.8 million members, or 73 per cent of the country’s population, over the past decade the Church of Norway has been granted limited autonomy by the state. On 21 May 2012, the Norwegian Parliament passed a constitutional amendment stating “the Church of Norway, an Evangelical-Lutheran church, remains Norway’s people’s church, and is supported by the State as such”. However the appointment of bishops and cathedral deans would now rest with the church, not the state, and the government and parliament relinquished its oversight of doctrinal matters. Following the reforms the status of the clergy as civil servants did not change and the central and regional church administrations remain a part of the state administration. Funding for all churches is provided by the state, but in recent years questions have been raised as to whether the number of members claimed by the Church of Norway is accurate. A poll of Church of Norway registered members conducted in March 2016 by Respons Analyse found of those surveyed 48 per cent identified as Christian, 33 per cent of church members said they were atheists, 14 per cent were agnostic, and 1 per cent said they belonged to another faith. Last week the church launched an on-line service to allow members to update their status. On 20 August 2016 the church reported that in the first four days after having gone live, 15,053 disenrolled and 1369 joined the church. “We will continue to be the people’s church, open and welcoming,” Church Council leader Kristin Gunleiksrud (pictured) said in a statement. “But no-one should be a member against his will and so I’m happy that this self-service option is available.”