Anglican Church in Canada One Generation Away from Extinction

A report prepared for the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia says that Anglicanism in Canada could disappear within a generation.

Citing a decline in Anglican church adherents of 11% per year since the 1960s the report states that Anglicanism is declining faster than any other denomination.

The report says Anglicanism has “moved to the far margins of public life” and that, with most Anglicans being 60 or older, the church is “one generation away from extinction.”

“The status quo is not an option,” the report says and recommends that "a culture change is necessary for the Church to continue."

The change recommended is "to immediately undertake to transform the Diocese’s organizational and operational framework and stop approaching this as a transactional exercise."

"The transactional approach is driven by a managerial mindset; it is tactical and can be effective if only incremental changes are required," the report explains and continues that, "The transformational approach is driven by a leadership mindset; it is strategic in nature and responds to situations where bold, radical change is needed."

Conspicuously absent from the report, however, is any mention of the large numbers of individuals and even entire congregations leaving the Anglican denomination due to its acceptance of beliefs that run directly contrary to historical Christian teaching – most recently on the issue of homosexuality.

Two years ago, St. John’s parish in Vancouver voted to leave the Diocese of New Westminster en masse and align itself with the conservative Anglican Church of the Southern Cone based in South America, citing disagreement over homosexuality when the diocese began allowing its parishes to perform blessings for same-sex unions.

"Within the diocese we are called the dissidents, but looking at global Communion, the diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada are the dissidents," said St. John’s senior pastor, Rev. David Short, at the time. "One of the key disappointments for orthodox Anglicans right across the country has been the failure of the [national Church] to address this properly."

Even Anglican bishops have left the Anglican Church of Canada in protest against the endorsement of homosexuality.

Retired Anglican Bishop Malcolm Harding of Manitoba and Bishop Donald Harvey of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador both aligned themselves with the Southern Cone, led by Archbishop Gregory Venables.

"My heart yearns for revival in Canada and in Anglicanism but I have lost hope for reformation within the Anglican Church of Canada," said Bishop Harding upon announcing his departure three years ago. "I now realize that we cannot have unity at the expense of truth. I cannot in conscience travel the path that the Anglican Church of Canada is traveling, away from historic Christian teaching and established Anglican practice."

Widely respected Protestant theologian James I. Packer, Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver was quoted by the National Post saying the Anglican Church of Canada has been "poisoned" by a liberal theology that "knows nothing of a God who uses [the Bible] to tell us things and knows nothing of sin in the heart and in the head."

He said the Anglican church is being ruined by its attempts to "play catch-up with the culture" by adopting whatever "is the in-thing."

A press release from the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia on the report is available here .

A summary of the report is available here .

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