Anglican Church of Canada clergy remind me of Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat.
Each year as the ACoC gets a little smaller, its clergy, smiling happily in a delirium of denial, armed with nothing but a fake gospel – a malaise that precedes fake news by far – charge with renewed vigour towards the precipice that augurs their employer’s extinction. Eventually all that will be left will be the silly grins on their faces.
Still, it gives us Anglican bloggers something to write about.
Read it all at VOL:
By any measurable standard, the Anglican Church of Canada is in serious decline with little hope that the numbers can or will be reversed in the foreseeable future.
In one diocese after another the third largest denomination in Canada is declining, its demise now almost certain as it focuses on a host of social justice issues to the neglect of evangelism, discipleship and church planting.
The Anglican Church of Canada which is squeamishly shy about publicizing how many people attend its churches, has published no complete statistics for membership and average Sunday attendance since 2001, although the ACoC did claim a membership of 545,957 in 2007.
Today, by all measurable standards the average Sunday attendance in the Anglican Church of Canada is around 320,000. If this is correct, in 40 years the average attendance will be 19,200 or less. As there is no wave of Millennials aching to fill Anglican pews this figure is probably exaggerated.
A recent academic study of Canadian churches revealed that conservative churches that held to the faith grew, while liberal ones that focused on social issues were dying. They surveyed some 2,200 churches and, based on their sampling found, without exception, the clergy and congregants of the growing mainline Protestant churches held more firmly to traditional Christian beliefs, such as the belief Jesus rose physically from the grave and that God answers prayer. The clergy of the growing churches were the most theologically conservative and the declining church clergy the least.
This news has not filtered down to Anglicans in Canada, who believe that brokering pansexuality into the churches as a justice issue (plus a whole host of other social issues) is more important than bums in pews vs. bums in the bed.
Several dioceses have revealed the dire straits they are in, largely we suspect because if they hadn’t told us, real estate agents would. The list is by no means complete, as most dioceses are reluctant to say or reveal their closures unless a local newspaper runs a story about a church being sold to a Muslim group or an evangelical start-up.
Nationally, between 1961 and 2001, the Anglican Church of Canada lost 53 per cent of its membership, declining to 642,000 from 1.36 million. Between 1991 and 2001 alone, it declined by 20 per cent.
According to the report, the dioceses – “like most across Canada” – are in crisis. The report repeats, without qualification or question, the results of a controversial study presented to Anglican bishops five years ago that said that at the present rate of decline – a loss of 13,000 members per year – only one Anglican would be left in Canada by 2061.