Anglican Church facing the threat of extinction

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NorthReport
Anglican Church facing the threat of extinction

+_+

NorthReport

Now if only the same thing could happen to the RC Church. Wink

Anglicanism in Canada could disappear within a generation, says a report that recommends closing churches in B.C.

 

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.

Regular attendance is declining at all Canadian Christian churches, except for the Roman Catholic Church, whose small increase is attributed to immigration.

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/anglican-church-facing-the-threat-of-extinction/article1462222/

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I posted the declining status of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec a while ago - want me to repost it?

NorthReport

Sure Boom Boom

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Actually, this is an update to the last story: Quebec diocese works toward 'new reality'

 

excerpt:

 

Last October, Bishop Drainville told the House of Bishops that 60 per cent of Quebec congregations have few or no children. In 35 congregations, the average age is 75 years with only 8 to 10 people attending Sunday services. "We used to have 25,000 Anglicans in 82 churches," says Archdeacon Myers. "Now it's closer to 8,000. We need to face this new reality."

 

and a note of optimism:

 

However, while facing challenges is the "first step," there is also new growth. Archdeacon Myers, who is 36, says most of the new clergy coming into the diocese are young and bilingual. And this is attracting young families.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I'm always conflicted, churches are often likely the main way people get together.  I know there's lot's of good churches but I think they're in the minority.  What's the transition to?  Will society still build "real" communities?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm glad I'll be dead before the Anglican Church becomes extinct. For the most part it's been a progressive home for me - in social action, advocacy, worship, and a place to gather. Although we have our share of dinosaurs, we also have our share of NDP'ers who have been active in our church.

j.m.

RevolutionPlease wrote:

I'm always conflicted, churches are often likely the main way people get together.  I know there's lot's of good churches but I think they're in the minority.  What's the transition to?  Will society still build "real" communities?

I agree; churches are incredible places for holding together communities. But when they are built on the premises of social exclusion, patronizing "sinners", and elitism through service of god I can hardly support them.

For these reasons I can only hope that Christian Reform churches, conservative evangelist, protestant, anglican churches and conservative Catholic prelatures/territories are in crisis for membership.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

They are also an excellent source of buildings that can be converted to, oh, I don't know... day car centers or such like.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I hope there's a solution for the vacuum.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Hey j.m., you seemed to exclude RC churches.  Tongue out

 

Nothing gets me by. 

j.m.

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Hey j.m., you seemed to exclude RC churches.  Tongue out

 

Nothing gets me by. 

 

Actually, a few years ago I dedicated a blog to a Conservative RC movement run by Latin American elites that now not-so-innocently operate in North America. I still have faith in the parishes with recent roots in liberation theology and subsequent progressive movements - basically anything Ratzinger tried to squash prior to 'Pope-hood'.

I've been working on taming my anger towards the RC, but I normally reserve the sharpest knife in the drawer for them.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

So, how do we deal with this?

j.m.

RevolutionPlease wrote:

So, how do we deal with this?

We keep sharpening the knives? Take knife-throwing lessons?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Naw, just deflection lessons.  Why reserve a bullet for RC when they should be first on the list?

j.m.

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Naw, just deflection lessons.  Why reserve a bullet for RC when they should be first on the list?

I think consistent insults where due are an important strategy. The major movements in the RC are constantly trying to remake their image and pass as benign while spewing the same harmful bullshit (and it ain't even about god!). Everytime they fuck up I like being there.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The Synod of the Church of England (mother church of the Anglican Communion) just voted in favour of full pension rights for civil clergy (gay) partners.

Took them long enough, but they're ahead of Rome.

doodle21

Boom Boom wrote:

The Synod of the Church of England (mother church of the Anglican Communion) just voted in favour of full pension rights for civil clergy (gay) partners.

Took them long enough, but they're ahead of Rome.

 

Ahead of Rome in the march to extinction.

 

No organized religion in the current world will bring progressives to it. Look at the United Church. It is about as progressive as I imagine any Christian group could be. It's dying.

 

Rome will continue on long after Anglicanism is a memory because it doesn't try to adapt to current thinking. It appeals to traditionalists and right wing people. It doesn't try to appeal to those whose values are antithetical to it.

 

It's nice that the Anglicans are voting in favor of fullpension rights. It won't matter any - they alienate the people that might be attracted to the organization but it won't draw in new people.

 

Sven Sven's picture

RevolutionPlease wrote:

I'm always conflicted, churches are often likely the main way people get together.  I know there's lot's of good churches but I think they're in the minority.  What's the transition to?  Will society still build "real" communities?

From what I've read, the more fundamentalist Xian denominations are among the fastest growing segments in North America.

NorthReport

Unfortunately, and quite scary actually.

Sven Sven's picture

Indeed.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I agree with all of the above, sadly. Frown

Caissa

I must say that if I ever left the Anglican Church, our local UU congregation and an affirming United Congregation would be the top candidates as my new home.

Le T Le T's picture

Quote:
From what I've read, the more fundamentalist Xian denominations are among the fastest growing segments in North America.

 

Part of this is that "fundamentalist" xian groups (we know what you're saying but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that RCs aren't fundamentalists) are popular in many places around the world that remain more religious than "post-christian" Canada.

Also, the Unitarian Universalist movement in North America is one of the few growing "religions" (some UUs would take offence to being characterised as a religion). Some of the UU congregations that i've visited were over-flowing with lapsed Anglicans, Uniteds and Catholics.

It's interesting that a pluralistic, queer positive "church" is stealing members from the old haters.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Anglican Power Play

The proposed Covenant is the culmination of a conservative and homophobic drive for power in the Anglican Communion

 

ETA: I think, ultimately, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of the USA will leave the Anglican Communion and form their own union. The church in North America is simply too progressive for the rest of the Anglican Communion to stomach, although that word 'progressive' is relative. Wink

 

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

It would be nice if one of the dying churches, Anglican or United, would open their doors to become a non-denominational church open to non-Christians and even atheists.

Aristotleded24

Frustrated Mess wrote:
It would be nice if one of the dying churches, Anglican or United, would open their doors to become a non-denominational church open to non-Christians and even atheists.

What do you mean? Most United Churches already are open to non-Christians and athiests. The thing is that the United Church is a Christian community, and most athiests and non-Christians won't attend church no matter what you do.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Interesting thought there, FM. Many churches have opened their doors to the hungry - regardless of religious affiliation, if any - for many decades, and serve hot meals, give free donated clothing, and in some cases offer a food bank, counselling, medical services, and other stuff. I've been a volunteer at Anglican and United Church soup kitchens and food banks in the past. However, these 'activist' (terrible word, but what else fits?) churches are probably a small percentage of their respective denominations. But probably all churches, respective of whatever denomination, support their churches annual appeals for community works and emergency relief all over the world. My impression is that when clergy see a clear need, they respond, but their response may not always be clearly visible.

Unionist

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
It would be nice if one of the dying churches, Anglican or United, would open their doors to become a non-denominational church open to non-Christians and even atheists.

What do you mean? Most United Churches already are open to non-Christians and athiests. The thing is that the United Church is a Christian community, and most athiests and non-Christians won't attend church no matter what you do.

I think you missed the part of FM's post where the church would become "non-denominational". We realize that all churches welcome converts. But name me one church that's willing to convert. Without entrenched sectarianism, religion would instantly become obsolete. Divide and pray.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I think there are non-denominational churches, but these tend to be independent. I almost typed "...and small" but these non-denminational churches can be mega-churches with a charismatic leader.

I think organised religion is holding on and surviving, but churches are still closing. You occasionally hear of new churches being built and consecrated in new suburban areas, but I suspect those members have moved from other churches that will consequently feel a drop in membership.

I think the church will be with us for a while yet, but I'd be very surprised to see much growth - I think many see the church as an anachronism in this modern age.

George Victor

Yes, the institution is an "anachronism" Boomer.  But you would not BELIEVE the uplift one gets from a service backed by the "Sydney St. Trio", a really GOOD jazz group - pianist, guitar and drums - that plays a dozen pieces throughout the service in a local Unitarian gathering...and one doesn't have to listen to "the word" according to John once !

Or maybe you WOULD?   :)

 

Papal Bull
Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Unionist wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
It would be nice if one of the dying churches, Anglican or United, would open their doors to become a non-denominational church open to non-Christians and even atheists.

What do you mean? Most United Churches already are open to non-Christians and athiests. The thing is that the United Church is a Christian community, and most athiests and non-Christians won't attend church no matter what you do.

I think you missed the part of FM's post where the church would become "non-denominational". We realize that all churches welcome converts. But name me one church that's willing to convert. Without entrenched sectarianism, religion would instantly become obsolete. Divide and pray.

Yes, that's what I meant. Like Unitarians, nice, mostley white, middle-class people who recycle, and organize fund-raisers, but more widespread. Uniteds could fit the bill if they'd drop the God and Jesus stuff.

ETA: Okay, not entirely for everyone, just don't make it the central theme.

Fotheringay-Phipps

Protestant churches follow the same trajectory as political parties and unions. They start off on the margins as revolutionary forces fighting for the excluded, then inevitably become involved in the broad mainstream of society. Even when they hold tight to their original values they begin to be seen as fatally compromised. In 1850 the Methodists were the biggest and fastest-growing Protestant sect in North America. In the United States, though, they they were thought to have watered their doctrinal wine to please their new friends at the top.  Enter the Baptists, and especially the Southern Baptists, who seemed more resolutely apart from secular society. That lasted a hundred years, until at the moment of their maximum influence, when they bid fair to take over the Republican party starting with Reagan, they found themselves tainted by worldliness and surpassed in growth by Pentecostal churches. The eclipse of denominations is normal and does not mean an end to religiosity.

In some ways, the situation parallels politics, where established big-tent parties find themselves elbowed by high-energy, often incoherent groups like the Tea Party. The usual survival strategy is to invite the leaders in for tea, refrain from commenting on their charmingly rustic manners, and give them the names of a good tailor and a regional fixer who might be able to put them in the way of doing some real good. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just invites further contempt. But in neither case does it mean the end of politics. Same with the Anglican Church. I doubt they will ever completely vanish. And I'm pretty sure you're going to find that whatever takes their place will make you miss the old sherry-hounds.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

So are you saying a community of liberal christians, atheists, humanists, assorted outsiders and geeks, all committed to river cleanups, bake sales, and coffee after Sunday meetings, is likely out?

Fotheringay-Phipps

I think that would be the United Church, still alive and kicking. In any mainstream church, about two thirds of the Sunday attendance falls into the category of "atheists, humanists, assorted outsiders and geeks." They just don't make as much noise as the firebrands. Not infrequently, they're married to them.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

When I was a student at Trinity in Toronto, I wandered over to the Church of The Holy Trinity (Anglican) behind the Eaton Centre. That place really changed what I understood about the church - they had experimental liturgy designed to fit the needs of the congregation, substantial community outreach, they removed the pews entirely, and lots of other stuff that I would have to try hard to remember. Another place was just down Dundas, All Saint's Anglican, which was 24/7 community service. That was another mind bender for me. Since those days - in the 1970s - I've seen similar churches here and there, but they're in the minority, by far. Those two churches are my ideal for Anglicanism - except for the fact they exist as they do because of significant social problems in the first place! Eliminate homelessness, hunger, and give everyone a decent living allowance, and you take away the need for church social outreach. I guess if that significant milestone was ever reached - not bloody likely - those churches could always make their mark with progressive liturgy and other stuff.

(note: I haven't been back to All Saint's or Holy Trinity since about 1980, so I don't know if they're the same today as they were back in then)

Daedalus Daedalus's picture

Far be it from me to worry over the fate of religion itself, but I find this is actually not a good development: the Anglican church is one of the most progressive denominations out there (as religion goes!) and this doesn't actually mark any great reduction in religion itself, it marks a swing to right-wing extremism by the Christians as a whole. The more progressive denominations are dying, and in their place are sprouting bizarre, Christ R Us mall-like aerobics sort of things - basically commercialized evangelical and fundamentalist cults preaching reactionary politics.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Exactly, and why I'm glad I likely won't be around to witness the total death of my church. I think  (but am not certain) I would like to witness the Anglican churches in North America disengaging from the Anglican Communion, however, because right now it's led by an Archbishop of Canterbury who is proving to be quite reactionary.

-=+=-

Strange, 38 posts, and no one's mentioned what a church might do for your soul ???

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
It would be nice if one of the dying churches, Anglican or United, would open their doors to become a non-denominational church open to non-Christians and even atheists.

What do you mean? Most United Churches already are open to non-Christians and athiests. The thing is that the United Church is a Christian community, and most athiests and non-Christians won't attend church no matter what you do.

I think you missed the part of FM's post where the church would become "non-denominational". We realize that all churches welcome converts. But name me one church that's willing to convert. Without entrenched sectarianism, religion would instantly become obsolete. Divide and pray.

Any organisation has its foundational beliefs or raison d'etre, and churches are no exception. Whether or not the "churches" convert is up to them. [url=http://www.grettavosper.ca/]Gretta Vosper[/url] seems to be taking your approach, but I don't see any evidence that it is winning people over.

Papal Bull

-=+=- wrote:

Strange, 38 posts, and no one's mentioned what a church might do for your soul ???

 

Uh...Rock it?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIe4u8nBfh0

Uncle John

I have studied comparitive religion. It seems that those who preach on fear of hell and guilt of sin keep their flocks. So Catholics and Protestant fundamentalists will prosper, and those who preach an Inclusive God will wither away. Perhaps, if you believe in a loving and inclusive God, He won`t mind too much if you miss Church.

As far as the Anglican Communion is concerned, I heard that church attendance in England is now greater among Catholics than the C. of E. What will be left of it will be a conservative Episcopalian rump operating in Africa and the United States, and the Catholics are moving in on them hard and heavy.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Plans to allow gay marriages 'could force Church to split from the state' for first time in 500 years

 I lost respect for Williams long ago. What an insufferable blowhard.

ETA: saw this comment in another forum, I like it, and am posting here:

"...we are all so disappointed in Rowan Williams -- from whom we expected theological brilliance and human compassion."

Caissa

Last night I started reading a book by the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, Boom Boom.

autoworker

-=+=- wrote:

Strange, 38 posts, and no one's mentioned what a church might do for your soul ???

I discovered 'the still point of the turning world' at Mariankirche, Berlin (near AlexanderPlatz).

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I've met Donald Coggan and Robert Runcie. Runcie looked as cartoonistly haughty  as Williams on a bad day. Laughing

 

ETA: When I was a student at Trinity, the former primate of Canada Howard Hewlett Clark was one of my instructors. Good training for the Mob, eh? :spy

 

ETA: I met archbishops Ted Scott (Canada) and Robin Eames (Ireland), both of whom were progressives in the church. I met Michael Peers (Canada) who I suppose fits into the progressive category.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Has the Church of England finally lost its reason? Women bishops and the collapse of Anglican theology

Quote:

The most dangerous element in this saga has been the almost farcical set of pragmatic attempts at compromise, attempts to "protect" conservatives from the visceral dread of female authority.

Related article:
 
Church of England votes against ordaining women bishops

 

ETA:

The latest:  Vote again on women bishops, Church of England urged

lagatta

Actually, I see a lot of reflective stuff on the soul here. 

I'm not even religious, and I got a very deep sense of that in Umbria where Francis and Clare walked. But then, I love them critters. 

Deep disappointment about the women bishops. How does HM the Queen figure into this? Ain't she a woman? 

autoworker

'Will none of these knaves eating their bread rid them of their troublesome priests?'

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yeah, it's crazy. The Monarch is the head of the Church of England, in this case, the Queen. But she has no power or ordain or consecrate the holy sacraments.

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