Do People Simply Forget the Church?

Article excerpt

A STROLL THROUGH the obituary page of the Globe and Mail can be instructive when one is a member of a non-profit organization like the Anglican Church of Canada.

One is not necessarily looking for members of the faithful who have gone to glory, but for some insight as to where memorial donations are directed.

The church is conspicuously absent and one wonders why this is.

On a typical day, there were 21 memorial notices in the Globe and 16 asked for memorial contributions. Of those 16, one asked for donations to the Catholic Caritas Charity and two to the Benjamin Foundation, a Jewish organization that directs donations to a variety of charities.

Of the remaining 13, donations were requested (some named more than one) for Canadian Blood Services, Salvation Army Grace Hospital, Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Kidney Foundation, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hope Hospice and Palliative Care, Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, St. John Ambulance, Community Foundation of Ottawa, William Osler Health Centre, Alzheimer Society, Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Zoo and "charity of choice."

It is not always easy to determine religious affiliation, but on this day, 14 notices mentioned a religious or memorial service, either in a church or chapel, yet only three mentioned a religious connection for contributions.

When a person dies, friends, family, and business acquaintances often have a strong desire to show their affection and regard for the deceased and reach out to the family by means of a donation. Sometimes, donations are made on the anniversary of a death.

It can be a powerful way to remember the departed and to benefit the living. Canon John Erb, who was executive director of the Anglican Foundation, died suddenly last July. He was a priest with a huge personality and a wide range of friends and acquaintances. His family asked, in his memorial notice, that people remember his work at the Anglican Foundation. The collection at his funeral in St. James Cathedral in Toronto was also given to the foundation. …