February 2006 – A new, independent report on the state of the Anglican Church of Canada shows a staggering decline in membership over the last 40 years.
Between 1961 and 2001 the Anglican church of Canada, the Canadian branch of the worldwide Anglican community, lost 53% of its members, from 1.36 millionth 642,000.
However, the report also ominously stated that the decline is accelerating. While membership dropped 13% between 1981 and 1991, it fell 20% between 1991 and 2001.
According to The Church of England Newspaper, the report was prepared by Keith McKerracher, a retired marketing expert. It was presented to the House of Bishops.
McKerracher said in subsequent interviews: “My point to the bishops was, “Hey listen, guys, we’re declining much faster than any other church. We’re losing 12,836 Anglicans a year. That’s 2% a year. If you draw a line on the graph, there’ll only be one person left in the [Canadian] Anglican Church by 2061.
The Anglican Church of Canada, like its sister branch in the U.S., the Episcopal Church USA, has been steadily trending liberal over the last four decades. That is probably the reason for the Canadian church’s decline, according to Ted Byfield.
Byfield is a long-time observer of Canadian culture. He published a weekly news magazine in Canada for 30 years and now serves as general editor of The Christians, a 12-volume history of Christianity.
In a column for WorldNetDaily, Byfield spoke of the Anglican Church of Canada’s “consistent departure from traditional Christian teaching, which has been going on throughout the whole 40-year period of decline.
It began with the acceptance of serial marriage, progressed to the ordination of women, then to the funding of terrorist groups in Africa, and finally to the acceptance of homosexual practice. The church’s latest foray is its tacit approval of homosexual marriage, which has seen it virtually disowned by the Anglican churches of Africa and Asia”
McKerracher did not think the Anglican leadership in Canada would respond to the new report with any significant changes.
“The church is in real crisis. They can’t carry on like it’s business as usual. They talk things to death,” he said. “And my impression is that the bishops are not going to go around telling priests to shape up.”
Almost as if to confirm McKerracher’s impression, Canadian Archbishop Andrew Hutchison told The Church of England Newspaper that although the report was a “wake up call,” he hoped a new emphasis on social justice and ecumenical cooperation would stem the decline.
The Church of England Newspaper, 12/9/05; www.worldnetdaily, 12/10/05