The Anglican Church in Canada is disappearing quickly:
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.
A similar problem burdens the Presbyterian Church – offspring of the Church of Scotland – which is losing adherents almost as quickly as the Anglicans.
“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.
So what does this mean for us?
Not too much, unfortunately.
A lot of Canadians may not be Anglican much longer, but religion isn’t going away anytime soon. There’s no evidence that I can see of these people leaving the Anglican Church because they’re becoming atheists. They might leave because they don’t like the Church itself, or because they’re switching to a different denomination… but that’s nothing to gloat over.
Reader Tracy also points out that the Canadian story doesn’t hold much weight when you see what’s happening in America:
… I live in the Bible Belt, and I see some big, new fundamentalist churches thriving here. The Anglican church doesn’t seem so creepy next to these.
You would think the Anglican Church, wanting to recapture younger members, would reconsider their stance on things like gay rights. I’m not holding my breath.
I’m not shedding any tears over their loss. But I’m not throwing a party, either.