Are things really this bad in Canada?http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2010/02/christian-churches-in-canada-fading-out-usa-next/1
Olympics fans heading to Vancouver might want to visit a vanishing cultural treasure while they're in Canada -- local churches.
Canada has become a "post-Christian society" where once-dominant Anglicanism has "moved to the margins of public life," according to a bleak study reported by Michael Valpy at the Globe and Mail.
A new assessment of the state of the church in Canada looks at the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia and then across the country and concludes that,
... at the present rate of decline -- a loss of 13,000 members per year -- only one Anglican would be left in Canada by 2061.
... Nationally, between 1961 and 2001, the church lost 53 per cent of its membership, declining to 642,000 from 1.36 million. Between 1991 and 2001 alone, it declined by 20 per cent.
The report zeros in on Vancouver and the adjacent Gulf Islands, suggesting closing or preparing to shutter nearly two in three of its Anglican churches now that the Anglican population is
... one generation away from extinction ... The unchurched are not coming to us.
Only the Roman Catholic Church is holding steady and the report attributes that to immigration.
Religious studies professor David Seljak of St. Jerome's University in Waterloo, Ont., observes that "Canadians increasingly say they're generically "Christian" rather than Anglican, Presbyterian or Pentecostal."
Gee, where have we heard this before?
Surveys in the USA aren't nearly so grim -- yet. But, in the American Religious Identification Survey's three studies over two decades, there's clear evidence of a shift from denominational ties to generic Christian ties -- or out the church doors altogether. The ARIS co-author Barry Kosmin said,
More than ever before, people are just making up their own stories of who they are. They say, "I'm everything. I'm nothing. I believe in myself."
A pastor once told me that he wanted his church's neighbors, even if they never entered the doors, to say, "We're glad you're here."
When happens if -- or when -- they're not? Would you miss your neighboring churches, even if you don't attend?