Anglican Church dead in Canada by 2040

The Anglican Church in Canada may be dead by 2040.

This is the finding of a report delivered to leaders at the Anglican Council of General Synod meeting last week in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The document, written by Rev Neil Elliot; an Anglican priest, and commissioned by the Church, shows that within 20 years the Church will have run out of numbers.

“Projections from our data indicate that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,” the report says.

In compiling the report Elliot used Church statistics from 1961 – 2001, subscriber data to the Anglican Journal (the church’s official publication) and data from Elliot’s own survey of the dioceses in 2017 (number of people on parish rolls, average Sunday attendance, regular identifiable givers).

“For five different methodologies to give the same result is a very, very powerful statistical confirmation which we really, really have to take seriously and we can’t dismiss lightly,” Elliot told church leaders last week.

Some of the Synod had hoped the decline had bottomed out with the previous report in 2006.

It is “demonstrably not the case… We need to plan for a church which is going to change substantially”, Elliot told the Synod.

Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church called the statistics a “wake-up” call.

She hopes the Church will focus more on being a faithful witness rather than being drawn into a “vortex of negativity.”

“We’re called to do and be God’s people in a particular place, for the purpose of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and the only question is: ‘How do we need to share it, so that it might be heard by those around us?’” she said.

“I think we’re being tested about perseverance, endurance, creativity in the coming years,” she said, noting “we do not face our challenges alone.”

Geoff Woodcroft, Bishop of Rupert’s Land called the report “dire.”

According to the report, there has been an almost 3.5 per cent decline annual decline in attendance since 2001 and a 2.5 per cent decline in giving in the diocese.

Woodcroft called the statistics both “challenging” and “hopeful”.

“We’re always asking what we can do together better”, he said.

While that’s a cause for concern, it’s not a “death knell for the church,” Woodcroft said, as it can’t account for “the vitality of the ministry being done by Anglicans” across Canada, he said.

The Church will “not cease to exist if buildings close. The church is the body of Christ, not a building,” he said.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press


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