The head of the of the Norwegian Bishops’ Conference, Helga Haugland Byfuglien, said she wouldn’t characterize the trend as a mass exodus.
“The number of withdrawals must be seen in relation to the large number of members of the Norwegian Church,” she said.
She said that the church’s new digital tool for sign-ups and withdrawals received extensive media attention, so the church was prepared to see a large number of people leave.
“We have great respect for individual choice,” she says.
Jens-Petter Johnsen, the head of the Church Council, acknowledged that 25,000 is an awfully big number but predicted that August’s bottom line would be an anomaly.