The Church of England Men's Society which had a peak membership of 113,000 within a decade of its founding 90 years ago but has not only 9,000, is fighting for survival, according to an official report here.
A commission of 10 men charged with the task of examining the society's future, has come to the conclusion that there can be no short term or easy solution to the society's problems, but that the primary need is for spiritual renewal.
It acknowledge the changed conditions in which the GEMS now has to work, citing the great scientific developments and the social and political changes of the century. And it comments in its findings:
"Many of us achieve an orderly existence in comparatively settled and more traditional circumtances, and others endeavor to do so. But, in the home, wherever that may be, we cannot escape the influences of the society in which we live - the clinical approach to sex, the challenges to marriage as a permanent institution, the consequences for children of broken homes; and what is often overlooked, the effect on men of the removal of their status as the undispute heads of the home as women have increasingly become material as well as emotional partners in marriage."
The commission also cited its awareness of changes within the Angelican Church itself, with the advent of women church wardens and women who aspire to the priesthood, plus the outnumbering of men by women in congregations.