By John Martin

Christianity is being subtly silenced in U.K. public life and being squeezed out of national life, the Church of England’s new most senior lay official has said in an inaugural interview.

In June the church appointed William Nye as secretary general of General Synod and its Archbishops’ Council. Nye granted his first interview in the post to John Bingham of the Telegraph.

Nye, who previously worked with the Royal Household, said pressure on civil servants meant they now rarely reveal their beliefs except to close friends for fear of being seen as biased.

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A former principal private secretary to the Prince of Wales, Nye sees his task as taking the helm of “In Each Generation,” the Church of England’s new reform and renewal project, which aims to reverse many years of numerical decline.

To that end the Church Commissioners, custodians of Church of England finances, have set aside £6.7 billion to fund expansion and growth. He expressed optimism about a recovery, but warned that decline has not bottomed out and will likely continue for at least five years.

He said leadership is “prayerfully confident” the church will return to growth: “You can see pockets of very good growth in some places, but we are a national church with thousands and thousands of parishes and it takes time and money for things to change.”

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