Newly released statistics about membership in the Anglican Church of Canada—like that of other national religious organizations—confirm that the church has experienced continuous decline in its membership base since the early 1960s in spite of strategies for growth and engagement.
The data in hand call for serious attention. At the same time, they do not provide a full scan of the vitality of our church. The House of Bishops has commissioned a working group to work with Dr. Elliot to develop supplementary data to be gathered and considered.
The availability of this data, and the work of developing supplementary data, is timely, as our church undertakes a national strategic planning process to consider the shape of its future ministry.
There is considerable evidence that, while participation in the range of activities (Sunday worship as part of the church, financial support for the church, membership in the church organization) is in steady decline, there remains a hunger for spiritual depth and purpose among many Canadians. As the church grows in understanding the current shape and focus of that hunger, we will be in a position to make decisions about how to offer the spiritual traditions of which we are stewards.
The reduction of the size of the church, as measured by participation in worship, financial support, and formal membership, is one of many ways in which the church is changing. A smaller and more focused church may, at the same time, search out ways to be more effective in addressing God’s call for justice, reconciliation and hope
Our new Primate is committed to devoting the significant time needed to determine how best to align the structures and operations of the church with its mission and purpose. This work will require innovative, collaborative and prayerful discussions with dioceses and across the church’s incredible geographic, cultural and theological diversity—all with the goal and hope of preparing the church for ministry in the years to come.
Please pray for Archbishop Linda and the Anglican Church of Canada as it undertakes this call.
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