When his book Unknown Gods was published 22 years ago, University of Lethbridge sociologist and pollster Reginald Bibby painted a rather dreary picture of where Canada’s churches would be by about 2015. … He had accurately forecasted a long, drawn-out decline for the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church. … (March 2015) More.
A recent working Paper entitled Anglican Church of Canada Statistics by Brian Clarke & Stuart Macdonald sheds some interesting light on the decline in Canadian Anglicanism. Their data confirms that which I have known intuitively [and the bishops have denied] for years: membership of the ACoC is locked into the graveyard spiral. From an all time high of 1,365,313 members in the early sixties membership of the ACoC has plummeted to 600,000 in 2001, and if that is not devastating enough for Fred Hiltz and his “beloved church” during the same period the overall Canadian population had been booming with the national population increasing at just over 60% from 1961 through to 2001, that is from 18,236,247 people in 1961 to 29,639,030 in 2001. Not surprisingly, Sunday school membership and the sacraments have followed the general trend into the little boy’s room.
It seems certain that the Anglican membership figures are also inflated, perhaps enormously inflated.
The topic as a whole begs a couple of questions: Of prime interest, “When will the once mighty Anglican stratocruiser’s deadly downward spiral end with obliteration as it impacts the hard deck of human indifference?” Various calculations exist: I am told that the current projections indicate zero membership in the ACoC by 2050; although an earlier demise around 2030 is more realistic. (2013)
Reality check: These churches, Anglican and United (and the many American churches like them), were once a major part of the culture of the traditional working and middle classes of North America.
But the vast majority of the grandchildren of current members either do not attend or do not care, and will drift away. Their scattered and highly flexible children will have no idea what those greatfolks thought was so important anyway.
Christianity thrived as a basis for relationships: God was Father, Mary (for Catholics) was Mother, human beings were the children of God, etc. But then relationships must be important, right?
Today, relationships are fungible in the face of ever-changing identities, and government, rather than people to whom one is related in some way, increasingly supplies the needs of life.
The willingness of these churches to accommodate the new culture,via approval of abortion and gay marriage (and euthanasia next?) in order to survive is irrelevant. The new, growing culture doesn’t need them. It has pot, hookups, abortion, euthanasia, meditation toys, and the grievance industry. Also, it has increasingly meaningless degrees, except in the STEM fields.
It will be sad if dying former mainline churches drift into open anti-Semitism, just to be up-to-date, when they could have died honourably.
See also: “Identity” as a club to beat, not meet