Several news outlets are reporting that a document released as part of the General Synod meeting which took place in Mississauga, Ontario earlier this month, shows that the Church’s membership is in a precipitous decline.
From Religion News Service:The report, which was commissioned by the church, was delivered to the Council of General Synod meeting November 7-9 in Mississauga, Ontario.
“Projections from our data indicate that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,” said the Rev. Neil Elliot, an Anglican priest in Trail, British Columbia, who authored the report.
Elliot based his prediction on church statistics from 1961 to 2001, subscriber data to the “Anglican Journal,” the church’s official publication, and data from his own survey of the number of people on parish rolls, average Sunday attendance and regular identifiable givers across Canada.
“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,” he told church leaders during the synod.
Membership in the Anglican Church fell from a high of 1.3 million in 1961 in membership to 357,123 in 2017, said Elliot.
CVHN Radio injects a note of hope into leaders’ response to the situation:
Anglican leaders believe this new development will test the perseverance, endurance, and creativity of the church.
Although the numbers are dire, Anglican leaders say that the church should stay positive and continue to share the Word of God as the body of Christ.
The Winnipeg Free Press further reports that,
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?’” she said.
“I think we’re being tested about perseverance, endurance, creativity in the coming years,” she said, noting “we do not face our challenges alone.”
… While that’s a cause for concern, it’s not a “death knell for the church, [the Rt. Rev. Geoff] Woodcroft [bishop of Rupert’s Land] said, as it can’t account for “the vitality of the ministry being done by Anglicans” across Canada.
Anglicans in Manitoba are responding to their communities and neighbourhoods, together with thriving churches such as St. Margaret’s and St. Benedict’s Table (both in Winnipeg), Woodcroft said, calling the efforts a “credit to those people and those communities.”