The Decline in the Anglican Church

Courtesy: The Globe and Mail
Anglican Church facing the threat of extinction.
The Anglican Church in Canada – once as powerful in the nation’s secular life as it was in its soul – may be only a generation away from extinction, says a just-published assessment of the church’s future.
The report, prepared for the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, calls Canada a post-Christian society in which Anglicanism is declining faster than any other denomination. It says the church has been “moved to the far margins of public life.”
According to the report, the diocese – “like most across Canada” – is 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. It points out that just half a century ago, 40 per cent of Vancouver Island’s population was Anglican; now the figure is 1.2 per cent. Nationally, between 1961 and 2001, the church 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.
The remaining congregations have been told to abandon their sedate, clubby Anglican culture and get their behinds off pews to evangelize in shopping malls, homes and workplaces.
“The status quo is not an option,” the report says. With a preponderance of Anglicans being 60 or older, the church is “one generation away from extinction,” it says.
The report has caused anger, bafflement ‚Äčand resignation in congregations whose churches are targeted for closing. Many of the parishes recommended for “disestablishment” and being put up for sale are among the most historic in the province.

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