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CANADA: Decline in Anglican membership quickening -- Extinction by 2061 Feared
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 12/01/2005 | Richard Foot, National Post

Posted on 12/02/2005 8:09:09 AM PST by sionnsar

The Anglican Church of Canada, one of the country's largest and oldest denominations, is in precipitous decline - losing 13,000 members each year and facing extinction by the middle of this century, says a new report prepared for the Church's bishops.

Membership in the Anglican Church has fallen by 53% over the past 40 years and continues to drop by 2% a year, the steepest recorded decline of any mainstream Canadian church.

Although waning membership is not a new problem for church leaders, the Anglican report, presented in October to a closed-door meeting of the Church's House of Bishops, was a "wake-up call" to Anglican leaders, few of whom understood the depth or seriousness of the problem, said Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the Anglican Primate of Canada.

"It's causing us to refocus our efforts on issues that we haven't been able to address effectively in recent years," Mr. Hutchison said in an interview yesterday. He said that for several years the Church has thrown its "energy and attention" into dealing with the Indian residential schools affair, at the expense of "Church development."

Now that a national solution appears to have been found to the residential schools issue, Mr. Hutchison said Anglicans can return to the business of building their church.

"I think that's going to change in a drastic way," he said. The Anglican report was prepared by Keith McKerracher, a retired marketing expert and former president and chief executive of the Institute of Canadian Advertising, who was the creator of the federal government's now-defunct ParticipACTION fitness campaign.

Now a volunteer advisor to the Anglican Church, Mr. McKerracher relied on data from parish membership lists rather than the vague numbers collected by national census reports, in which Canadians simply indicate which church they nominally support.

His report shows that between 1961 and 2001, Anglican parish lists plunged from 1.36 million to 642,000, a decline of 53%. That decline is quickening. Membership fell by 13% from 1981 to 1991 and by a further 20% from 1991 to 2001.

Membership in the United Church, meanwhile, fell from 1.04 million to 638,000 from 1961 to 2001, a loss of 39%. Most smaller churches are declining, too. Presbyterian membership fell by 35% in the same period. Baptist membership fell by 7%, and Lutheran membership by 4%.

The number of Roman Catholic worshippers cannot be accurately measured in Canada because Catholic churches do not collect, or will not release, parish membership lists.

The only Christian organization studied by Mr. McKerracher that is on the rise is the revivalist Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, whose membership list from 1961 to 2001 shows an increase of 38%, to 232,000.

By 2004, that number was up to 243,000. Mr. McKerracher's warning to Anglican bishops, when he presented his report in October, was clear: "My point to the bishops was, 'Hey, listen guys, we're declining much faster than any other church. We're losing 12,836 Anglicans a year. That's 2% a year. If you take that rate of decline and draw a line on the graph, there'll only be one person left in the Anglican Church by 2061.' "The Church is in crisis. They can't carry on like it's business as usual."

Mr. McKerracher said even though his report shocked some of the bishops, he doubts the Anglican Church, as currently organized, can find the willpower to take action.

He said Canada's Anglican hierarchy is woefully bureaucratic and that most decision-making is bound up in inefficient committees.

"The Church should do some marketing research to find out why people are fleeing," he said.

"But I don't think the Anglicans will do anything. They talk things to death. And my impression is that the bishops are not going to go around telling priests to shape up."

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
["The Church should do some marketing research to find out why people are fleeing," he said. Can they possibly be that clueless? --sionnsar]
1 posted on 12/02/2005 8:09:09 AM PST by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Condor 63; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15
2 posted on 12/02/2005 8:09:47 AM PST by sionnsar (†† || To Libs: You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
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To: sionnsar

Why go to church when you can get the same thing down at the fag-bar?

3 posted on 12/02/2005 8:15:53 AM PST by MarineBrat (Islam/Borg - The only difference is the stolen technology level.)
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To: MarineBrat

Ain't that the truth!

4 posted on 12/02/2005 8:20:48 AM PST by youngtory (Kick the Red Tories out of the Conservative Party!)
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To: sionnsar

***"The Church should do some marketing research to find out why people are fleeing," he said. ***

Want it to grow? Then how about the motto BACK TO THE BIBLE.
Sound bible teaching and preaching.

A house built upon sand cannot last!

5 posted on 12/02/2005 6:39:33 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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