Saturday, October 27, 2018

Is the Anglican Church Shrinking?

Some denominations in Christianity are facing a major problem.  They are faced with the problem that they are shrinking.  The Anglican Church of Canada is no exception.  While I grew up in the Anglican church, I eventually moved over to Covenant after high school as did go to an Covenant youth group during high school.  But that doesn't mean I have turned my back on Anglicanism.  I do like going to my home Anglican church of St. David's in my hometown of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  Even when I went to Covenant Bible College in Strathmore, Albert; I went to St. Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church.

As you can see I haven't totally left the Anglican church regardless of my situation now.  Talking with my sister recently on Skype, the Diocese of Saskatchewan is in a bind to put in nicely.  Debt, a lack of clergy, and shrinking numbers in some churches are a few of the issues facing the diocese.  Nothing is being done to try and fix these issues.  Apparently, some of these problems go back to the previous bishop.

As of summer 2018, St. David's had a minister.  But he left to go to another church.  It is good he moved on as he would have had to minister to eight different churches.  Having to minister to churches in Birch Hill, St. Louis, three in Prince Albert (which includes St. David's), Kinistino, MacDowell, and other places could tire and burn out a person.  If someone is hired as the minister of St. David's, they apparently have to sign a contract to minister to these other churches.

What's even more sad is that some of these churches have a very low attendance on Sundays.  But it is also no surprising as I have had this feeling that some of the smaller churches, already with low attendances, are facing the issue of a continued decrease in numbers or they are stagnant.  At one point, it seems like St. David's was stagnant in their number.  But when I went to a service after years away, I seen a lot of newer members which was great.

Some churches with smaller attendance should merge with another church.  In the past, two Anglican churches merged with success.  Apparently, the current bishop of the Diocese of Saskatchewan doesn't want to do that.  Unless you can find a way to increase numbers and find a minister to work at these churches, merging seems like the best thing to do.

The issue of numbers and the lack of ministers and the numbers is the tip of the iceberg.  The Diocese of Saskatchewan is also in debt.  A lot of churches in various diocese in the Anglican of Church of Canada have been in debt.  In fact, in Inuvik, the Anglican church there was in debt that they lost their minister in 2016.  Other diocese and churches have gotten out of debt.  That's great for them.  But apparently, in 2012, the Anglican Church of Canada was nearly a million dollars in debt.

Even though churches are exempt from paying taxes, that doesn't mean much as a lot of churches, diocese, etc. are in debt. Again, the Diocese of Saskatchewan is no different.  The debt is such that they can't afford the synod offices.  Apparently, there has been the idea of moving the synod offices into St. Alban's. I am no financial expert, but how much would help in reducing the debt?

I like the Anglican church.  But there are issues that need to be addressed.  Hopefully they do start addressing these issues and start getting on the right track.  If other churches and diocese in Canada can do it, I am sure the Diocese of Saskatchewan can too.  They just need to come up with a plan and start from there.

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