End Nigh for Anglican Church in Canada: Report

By Longhurst, John | Winnipeg Free Press, November 13, 2019 | Go to article overview

End Nigh for Anglican Church in Canada: Report


Longhurst, John, Winnipeg Free Press


BY 2040, there may be no Anglican Church members left in Canada.

That’s the finding a new report commissioned by the Anglican Church of Canada and delivered to leaders at the Council of General Synod meeting last week in Mississauga, Ont.

The document by Rev. Neil Elliot, an Anglican priest in Trail, B.C., shows the church running out of members in 20 years at the current state of decline.

“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.

The figures are based on church statistics from 1961 to 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.

In the report, he noted there were 1.3 million members in 1961, 641,845 in 2001, and 357,123 in 2017.

While some had hoped the decline had “bottomed out” in 2006, the last time a report about membership was prepared for the church, it is “demonstrably not the case... We need to plan for a church which is going to change substantially” in the future.

During the meeting, Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said while the news was a “wake-up call,” she hoped members would focus more on the church’s calling to be a faithful witness in Canada, instead of being drawn into a “vortex of negativity” about the decline.

“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? …

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