The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada

One of life’s little mysteries is that the Anglican Journal is still delivered to my door for me to peruse and inwardly digest. There is an interesting number mentioned in the September edition’s editorial – I can’t point to it because it isn’t online yet. The editorial states that there are now around 325,000 people in Canada that attend an ACoC church twice or more per month; hitherto, I had only seen the 2001 figure of 658,000 quoted.

In 1961, 1.3 million people attended an ACoC church; that means the average yearly number of those exiting the ACoC is around 20,300 people. If we assume a constant number of people exiting per year, we end up with no-one left by the year 2025.

It could be argued that the rate of decline is a better measure and that might be slowing; there isn’t much reason to believe this though, since attendance was halved between 1961 and 2001 – 40 years – and halved again between 2001 and 2009 – 8 years.

A 3 point graph doesn’t prove much, but it provides some food for thought:

attendance graph

Update: I had an initial concern that the 325,000 ACoC attendance number was too low. It is mentioned in two articles in the September Journal – the Editorial and a “re-thinking how we do church” article. There is no mention of where the number comes from; it seems possible that it is an extrapolation of a 2007 study done in BC where enrolment was 9,200 but ASA (Average Sunday Attendance) was only 4,755. The article goes on to say “Looking through this lens on a national level….. membership drops to a shocking 325,000”. However, there is nothing that actually says how the 325,000 was arrived at.

After posting this article, I received an email with an attached document that you can view here which gives official ACoC statistics as of 2001. The ASA for all of Canada is 162,138. The actual figures for 2009 have not been published – presumably because they would be even more shocking than the 2001 numbers – but one thing is clear: the end is nigh.

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0 Responses to The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada

  1. Peter says:

    Are we talking ASA or membership figures?

  2. David says:

    325,000 is the number who “attend at least twice a month”, so it is ASA.

    The other 2 figures – 1.3M and 658,000 – are under a heading that says “membership”, so that may be skewing the trend – although, in days gone by, “membership” might have been a lot closer to ASA than it is today.

    Actually, in another part of the article, for the 1.3M and 658,000 numbers, it does refer to “number of people in the pews”, so that would be ASA, presumably.

  3. Cathy says:

    “Suicide: The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada” by Marney Patterson provides some interesting numbers.

  4. David says:

    Thanks Cathy,

    Marney Patterson’s numbers were published in 1999, but they are still revealing. Here are some (from Here):

    * The church lost 196,107 parishioners between 1970 and 1980, according to figures compiled by the church’s General Synod.

    * Since the late 1960s, membership has dropped by more than 267,000 members, an average of 20,000 a year in the last decade.

    * In less than 30 years, the church has lost more than 33,000 identifiable givers. Between 1992 and 1994, 10,000 contributors left the church.

    * Total parish income plunged a whopping $5.1 million between 1992-94. In the last quarter of 1994, the national church was dealing with $2.5 million in budget cuts, forcing 22 or 65 head office staff to be relocated, laid off or retired.

    * More than 950 churches closed their doors between 1967 and 1995.

    * Baptisms fell to 17,722 in 1995 from 31,215 in 1967.

    * Confirmations declined a staggering 73% to 7,183 in 1994 from 26,676 in 1967.

    * Church marriages dropped 43% between 1967 and 1995.

    Patterson says the wedding statistic “serves to prove that the decline of our church is not only rapid and massive, but that it is affecting every area of our pastoral ministry.”

    Other areas of Anglican church life are also losing ground, according to Patterson:

    * Membership in women’s groups sank more than 50% to 50,208 in 1995 from 105,171 in 1966.

    * Men’s groups membership hit 9,234 in 1995 from more than 21,000 in 1966.

    * Membership in youth groups dropped to 17,680 in 1996 from a 1966 level of almost 87,000.

    * Sunday school enrolment is down to 57,537 in 1996 from 219,573 in 1966.

    Unless action is taken now to staunch the bleeding, the Anglican Church of Canada is about 20 years from becoming a lifeless corpse, says Patterson.

  5. Donald says:

    And sadly, the Presbyterian Church in Canada will not be far behind the ACC in welcoming its own institutional death. The Presbytery of Montreal, the one with which I am most familiar, has become little more than a pale shadow of the pale shadow of the pale shadow that it once was. Like one of the bus riders in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce it is simply fading away into nothingness. Sad.

  6. Charles says:

    At least the ACoC will be unable to lead people astray if it goes under. However, I doubt Satan will permit that to come to pass– perhaps merger with the United “Church” will seem more attractive this time around.

  7. Sandra says:

    A portion of the McKerracher report to the House Of Bishops from 2005 pretty much said it all,

    “McKerracher’s warning to Anglican bishops, when he presented his report in October, was clear: “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 two per cent a year. If you take that rate of decline and draw a line on the graph, there’ll only be one person left in the Anglican Church by 2061.’

    “The church is in crisis. They can’t carry on like it’s business as usual.”

    McKerracher says even though his report shocked some of the bishops, he doubts the Anglican Church, as currently organized, can find the willpower to take action. He says Canada’s Anglican hierarchy is woefully bureaucratic, and that most decision-making is bound up in inefficient committees.

    “The church should do some marketing research to find out why people are fleeing,” he says. “But I don’t think the Anglicans will do anything.

    “They talk things to death. And my impression is that the bishops are not going to go around telling priests to shape up.”

  8. Douglas says:

    Very sad to see these figures, but there you have it. Still, 162,000 active members is nonetheless a very large organization, and those people are probably the ones who don’t just go to church because of old cultural standards. Some of you might find the recent Diocese of Huron planning study interesting, as well.

  9. Steve L.- says:

    Page 85 of Huron’s study is interesting. The numbers giving and envelopes outnumber ASA. Seems more give and stay away rather than have the stomach to hear the ACoC message

  10. Michael D says:

    Well if the ASA for 2001 is 162,138, and for 2009 is 325,000, then attendance is increasing!

    Yeah, right.

  11. Noli Aemulari says:

    #5 Donald

    Yeah, what’s going on with the Presbyterianism in Canada that it’s declining so fast? According to Stats Can, the number of census Presbyterians fell 35% between 1991 and 2001!

    Census Anglicans, by way of comparision, declined 7%, census Lutherans were “only” down 4.7%., and Pentecostals, for some reason, fell faster than Anglicans: 15.3%.

    http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/products/analytic/companion/rel/tables/canada/cdaprot.cfm

  12. Andrew says:

    Interesting numbers, those. I see that the Baptists are up, but then the Mormons and Adventists are as well: there obviously isn’t much correlation between orthodoxy and attendance. In my experience, people don’t tend to put much thought into the decision of stopping to go to church; they simply seem to fall out of it.

  13. Kate says:

    I wouldn’t say that, Andrew. The Mormons and the Adventists are very strict in what their members are supposed to believe. It isn’t Christian orthodoxy, but they still have standards of belief that they are expected to adhere to – and those types of church groups are the ones that are growing.

  14. Warren says:

    With respect to the census numbers, I suspect that if Pentecostal (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) numbers were combined with the numbers for independent charismatic churches there wouldn’t be much of a decline. I have many members of my extended family who have moved around in this domain over the past 20-30 years.

    I also want to observe that being faithful to God’s Word will not guarantee numerical success. Some of the fastest growing churches in the US are on shakey doctrinal ground.

  15. Ellie M. says:

    Seventh Day Adventists are Christian. They have a very strong Bible-based faith and hew to all the tenets of traditional Christianity.

  16. Kate says:

    Pardon me, I did know that, my mistake.

  17. Kate says:

    #14 They are? Which ones?

  18. Warren says:

    Kate (#14), take a look at Joel Osteen’s church. Reputedly the biggest in the US and you’ll be hard pressed to hear the gospel.

  19. Kate says:

    I was suspicious of him when I saw his books in the stores. Every one of his books has a huge photo of him on the cover. I think that shows what he is all about, personally.

  20. Warren says:

    Kate, I don’t know enough to reach this conclusion on my own, but there are some well known voices within evangelicalism who call Joel Osteen a heretic. It doesn’t seem to hurt his popularity, however. He preaches a man-centred message that seems to be very appealing.

  21. Kate says:

    He preaches the prosperity “gospel”.

  22. Winter Traveler says:

    The Osteen prosperity gospel is shallow but definitely an easy sell.

  23. Donald says:

    The reality of our lives is that we human beings have both real needs and felt or imagined needs. The man-centered and deeply flawed religion of Joel Osteen appeals to felt-needs, and it is there that he finds his large and growing audience. Unfortunately, those felt-needs are not the real needs of our lives, those needs that only God can meet through the living out of an authenic and historic Christian faith. Those churches that are growing are those that have something to offer people — whether the needs they address are felt or real — so that faithful Christian churches as well as wildly unfaithful post-christian *churches* alike can experience growth. The PCC and the ACoC and other old-line denominations, however, are offering practically nothing at all that is capable of meeting human needs, either real or imagined. Is it any wonder that fewer and fewer people are interested in them. The sooner they pass from the scene the better.

  24. Charles says:

    Are the Seventh Day Adventists Christian?

    The Gospel HAll I was at last Sunday is moving into a SDA church while their new church is being completed. They were told that they had to stick to the OT food laws for shared meals and post-service snacks. Sounds like bad doctrine to me …

    Also, SDA do not believe the damned suffer eternally, but instead are destroyed at death. It sounds nicer, but it sure isn’t Biblical.

  25. Charles says:

    Warren,

    I did a bit of reading on Joel Osteen’s website (www.joelosteen.com) and you’d don’t have to go far to find ample evidence that he is preaching another gospel that the one revealed from heaven– which makes him an heretic.

    Most of it is “BELIEVE and you will get God’s favour”; “BELIEVE and He will bless you financially” etc. He even tells a story of a orange grower who instead of trying to protect his crops during a frost, kept thanking God for protecting them (though he had as yet no evidence that God was doing so)– and low and behold they flourished! THERE’S your answer, TRUST like that man and you will see real fruit! I can imagine the soldier on the frontline, standing instead of skulking, in obedience to Osteen’s words “Thank you, Lord that you have protected me for all the bullets that will be shot at me today …”

  26. Charles says:

    From: http://www.joelosteen.com/About/JoelOsteen/Pages/JoelOsteen.aspx

    “Joel’s extraordinary success can be found in his core message: That our God is a good God who desires to bless those who are obedient and faithful to Him through Jesus Christ.”

    This is as clear a statement of the “Prosperity Gospel” as any I could imagine.

  27. Warren says:

    My early theological education and knowledge of the Bible came from my mother reading Uncle Arthur’s Bible Story books every night before bed. “Uncle Arthur” was an SDA, but the books were pretty solid (and the pictures were great). My mother, who is a PAOC bible school graduate, only found one thing she disagreed with. That said, I know that some SDA beliefs and practices are on the fringes of orthodox Christianity.

  28. Warren says:

    I have taken a couple of courses from an online program called The Theology Program and subscribe to their Theological Word of the Day e-mail. This just arrived:

    psychopannychism or “Soul Sleep”
    (from Greek psyche, “soul” + Greek pannuchizein, “to last the night”)
    The belief that upon death the soul does not depart in a conscious form to heaven, hell, or any other waiting place, but “sleeps” or is in an unconscious state of existence until the resurrection of the body. This position is held by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christadelphians.

  29. Gerry O'Brien says:

    24Charles
    Are the Seventh Day Adventists Christian?

    The Gospel HAll I was at last Sunday is moving into a SDA church while their new church is being completed. They were told that they had to stick to the OT food laws for shared meals and post-service snacks. Sounds like bad doctrine to me …

    Also, SDA do not believe the damned suffer eternally, but instead are destroyed at death. It sounds nicer, but it sure isn’t Biblical.

    Charles – It seems to me that what you heard at that particular SDA church must be a local rule. I know that the SDA Church where I am does not adhere to such rules if indeed there is such a rule. There are some that are vegetarians, etc., but I know that one Pastor of a SDA church is a meat eater.

    Perhaps the SDA is somewhat like most Denominations and different parishes have somewhat different approaches to regulatory bodies.

    This all sounds like “Religion” to me….. Personally, I don’t have much time for “Religion” and would rather that all Christians would come together as One and get away from this man inspired Religious nonsense.

  30. Stuck in Toronto says:

    #29 Gerry (Last paragraph) – That’s unity, Now your talkin!!!
    Since no one mentioned it I will, can you not see the devil’s hand in all of this stuff?
    Between the lines of some of these threads do I hear some gloating? GOD FORBID!

  31. Frank Wirrell says:

    For #8
    Your note suggests you might be a retired archbishop. In any event the ACoC might well be a large organization but the real issue is the fact that apostasy reigns in the church and there is no indication this fatal disease is being treated. The House of Bishops seems content to sit back and allow the apostates within their group to continue ravaging the church. Indeed the devil’s hand is very much evident as mentioned by “Stuck in Toronto”. My only question is when is anyone in the House of Bishops going to stand up and deal with this condition. As the old hymn asks, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Currently within the House of Bishops one would have to say, “None.”

  32. Wendy says:

    Frank #8

    I agree with your comment

    Have a good weekend

  33. Stuck in Toronto says:

    Dear Brother Frank, As appaling as the ravaging appears there is another way of looking at it. Could this wrongness be also part of the larger picture of God’s will? Bear with me, prophetically, picture our Church, the Body of Christ as a large living circle in it are the many waters (People) of various denominations throughout Christianity. The living circle has begun to shrink (as our Lord prepares his Church (“Makes White”) and those on the outer edges find themselves outside the circle the shrinking (preparation) continues. Now consider Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
    and so it goes.
    Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled”
    May His Peace be with You.

  34. Frank Wirrell says:

    For #33 – Stuck in Toronto (you have my sympathy!!)
    What you have said is true but that in no way releases those in authority within the ACoC from doing their duty and honouring their vows. Until that happens they will continue to lead many of those in the pews into apostasy. Clergy that have taken their vows seriously should be forward and call publicly for action. Sad to say many – indeed most – seem to be more concerned with job security than the Gospel. The ACoC has virtually lost any claim to be a Christian church and seems to have made its god “political correctness” – a phrase that is false regardless of any claim to be otherwise.

  35. Sam says:

    The B.C. stats were probably from the Diocese of B.C. which is only Vancouver Island, not the whole Canadian province. They were compiled to determine which churches were healthy and which needed to be closed, part of the DMRT Report. The 4755 number sure looks familiar. I recall from that report that the most shocking decline was in the number of confirmations. Also, the decline in ASA could be correlated almost directly to the number of deceased. Not only are people leaving church, they are dying to leave the church – and there isn’t a generation following to take their places.

  36. Stuck in Toronto says:

    Frank – I prayed that His peace may be upon you – here is why
    2 Timothy 2,24
    And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

    As your Brother in Christ I concern myself with your pain and understandable but unnecessary anger. Let it go Bro and help our Lord build His Church.

  37. Frank Wirrell says:

    For Stuck in Toronto – (yes, you still have my sympathy!!)
    You may well interpret my comments as “unnecessary anger” so I will ask you a simple question. If you hired me to do a specific job and detailed the proper action(s) and work to be done and I willingly and deliberately failed to do the task after making specific vows, would you not dismiss me?? This definitely applies to the current situation in the ACoC. Besides I am confident you are aware that the Scripture does indeed advise us to be angry but sin not. This is not the time to sit back and quitely pray for repentance on the part of our church leaders. Rather it is a time for prayer indeed, but also some firm and decicive action to remove the apostates and discipline those who to date have been content to sit back and do nothing.

  38. Noli Aemulari says:

    Psalm 37:8
    Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

    Psalm 145: 8-9
    The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

    Matthew 5:22
    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

    Romans 12:19-21
    Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Colossians 3:7-9
    You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

    Ephesians 4:25-27
    Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

    Ephesians 4:31-32
    Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    James 1: 17-20
    Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

    2 Timothy 2:23-24
    Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful…

  39. Stuck in Toronto says:

    Frank, not whithstanding Noli’s abundant references, they do not leave room for human frailty
    in quoting me you left out the word understanding (anger). I am truly sympathetic to your reasoning but if it is guided by anger than the peace that passeth all understanding may be ellusive, as it so often has been with me.

    I do not believe for a second that this next statement applies to you personally. But consider your last sentence
    “but also some firm and decicive action to remove the apostates and discipline those who to date have been content to sit back and do nothing.”
    Could not anger create a “thin edge of the wedge” (the devil’s tool)and consequently, as we have seen so often, create delusion. Could a person suffering such and thinking in terms of your quote create a violent solution to “firm and decisive action?

    Brother, I repeat this in no way is a description of you but simply a way of describing that God’s Grace and PEACE protect us from such as these.

  40. Frank Wirrell says:

    I am aware of the many references to anger in the Scriptures but the type of anger – if that is indeed the best way of describing the situation – that I feel could be equated to our Lord’s reaction as mentioned in Mark 3:1-6. I definitely believe there is a time for what one might call righteous anger and the situation within the ACoC is such a time. Clergy at all levels and especially bishops are supposed to be “shepherds” and what we are seeing are “ravenous wolves” or worse still cowards who will not take a stand.

    P.S. I still sympathize with your being “Stuck in Toronto”!!

  41. Stuck in Toronto says:

    Frank – I smile everytime you extend to me your sympathies – “Stuck” has several meanings.
    – one more quote – “Let not the sun set on your anger.

  42. Gerry O'Brien says:

    Frank Wirrell and Stuck in Toronto:
    First, STUCK – please fill us in on the several meanings you refer to in #41.

    Having read over and over and over the interaction between you two, I cannot help but feel that I agree with BOTH of you. One says don’t be angry and one says But this time I have the right to righteous anger. Agreed!!

    It does seem to me however, Frank that the ACoC has gone to the point of no return and certainly that even “righteous” anger will not implore them to turn back. It does appear that those priests and bishops remaining in the ACoC are spelling God incorrecctly but are intent on spelling it JOB and/or PENSION. Perhaps all that will ever do bring them out of where they are will be a face to face encounter with The Lord like Saul had on the road to Damascus.
    We must still hold them up in prayer.
    I have a feeling however that they are at a point where they have pushed the “Believers” to either shake the dust off their feet and push ahead OR sink with the ship.
    Blessings to Both of you

  43. Gerry O'Brien says:

    ADDITION TO #42:
    Further to Franks words, I would venture to think that if we are given the opportunity to speak with Priests or Bishops in the ACoC, that the time has come when we should be bolder in our words with them and question them forthrightly as to why they insist on apostasty being the right direction. We in ANiC have not been very bold with them or with parishioners in the ACoC in challenging their stand. Perhaps it is Time!

  44. Stuck in Toronto says:

    Gerry – Speaking out in boldness or meekness if opportunity presents itself, must be done “In Christ ” this means with Love and patience as my #37 Quote explains. To do so with any other emotion is self defeating.
    The ACoC ship will not sink it will simply drift, its rudder smashed, its sails flapping aimlessly. This is why we built a new boat, its sails full of the wind of Ruah (my spelling it is suppose to be Hebrew for mighty wind)(of the Spirit) God’s Hand firmly on the tiller and crewed by every last Man Woman and Child on board and filled with the love of Jesus. Sailing straight, and safe through every trough and wave. Her course unwavering. Her speed . . .just enough.

    Ah Gerry me boyo you do remember what killed the cat aye?
    and a final ting – Never forget, both of you, there are many fine Priests and I’m sure more than one Bishop working harder than ever they have, to fix things to bring peace to the chaos, understanding to the confused, in short what was once God’s fine church back to Him. -Pray without ceasing and stop painting with such a broad brush.

  45. Kate says:

    If there are any bishops in the ACoC working to that end, well, I wish they would be a little more vocal, and their actions a little more concrete.

  46. Stuck in Toronto says:

    In my life experiences there has always been times when I felt it was necessary to be as wise as a serpant. I to would be happier being able to witness a more pro active episcopate (or some of them) I personally know of none. But we pray in faith.

  47. Randy says:

    In reference to Gerry #42 – one must be careful in casting stones. The reference to bishops and priests left in the Anglican Church of Canada as remaining only for a job and pension is an unfair generalization, and a terrible insult to priests and bishops in parishes all over Canada seeking only to do the work of the gospel. It is an offensive statement and one filled with judgmentalism. If one is casting stones of this nature one must also remember that the present ANIC bishops (I’m sure coincidentally) left the ACoC with about 40 years of service and “full” pensions. I have no problem with specific arguments but I do have a problem with taking hundreds and hundreds of individuals and making a general claim that they are all there only for a job and pension. I have an intern coming with my parish for the Fall, a retired teacher – I’m sure she is not pursuing ordained ministry in the church simply for a job and pension. There are still legitimately called and spiritual men and women in the ACoC. Thank you for allowing me to express my disappointment in this particular case, as I was greatly moved to not let it slide as I do most comments on the blog

  48. Stuck in Toronto says:

    Doing or condoning or just staying quiet about SSB’S may prove to be as sinful as the sin of GLBT. you said “I’m sure she is not pursuing ordained ministry in the church simply for a job and pension.” It is my opinion that woman are not “Called to the ministry” this of course can be debated ad infinitum. Should this turn out to be the case than one could assume perhaps, a hidden agenda? The last three priestesses that I spoke were adament that “Jesus was not the only way to God”.

    After all it was the Father Himself that provided Jesus with the 12 no sorry the 13. Not a female among them. I agree with you that painting with too broad a brush does no good. You neglected to mention why you stayed?

  49. Kate says:

    No Stuck, not all women who are called to ordained ministry have a hidden adjenda. I know three in Ottawa who are serving in ANiC parishes, and they would all certainly say that Jesus is the only way to God. Could we all please try to refrain from broad brush generalizations?

  50. Margo says:

    Thankyou Kate – #49 – when I was called to the priesthood I was pursuing another upper level degree in an entirely separate discipline. I was surprised, shocked and left shaking in my boots at the responsibility of it all.

  51. Gerry O'Brien says:

    47Randy
    In reference to Gerry #42 – one must be careful in casting stones. The reference to bishops and priests left in the Anglican Church of Canada as remaining only for a job and pension is an unfair generalization, and a terrible insult to priests and bishops in parishes all over Canada seeking only to do the work of the gospel. It is an offensive statement and one filled with judgmentalism. If one is casting stones of this nature one must also remember that the present ANIC bishops (I’m sure coincidentally) left the ACoC with about 40 years of service and “full” pensions. I have no problem with specific arguments but I do have a problem with taking hundreds and hundreds of individuals and making a general claim that they are all there only for a job and pension. I have an intern coming with my parish for the Fall, a retired teacher – I’m sure she is not pursuing ordained ministry in the church simply for a job and pension. There are still legitimately called and spiritual men and women in the ACoC. Thank you for allowing me to express my disappointment in this particular case, as I was greatly moved to not let it slide as I do most comments on the blog

    Randy:
    It seems that the stone hit someone. Sorry if my comments bother you, but then I am not the one who stayed in the ACoC to help others pursue a career in a Church that has entered into apostasy. I will grant you that NOT ALL priests and Bishops are in this category in the ACoC but as Kate says, she would prefer if they would stand up and be counted AND I would add to that, stand up and be counted as standing for The Holy Bible and standing against outright apostasy such as we see openly in New west; Niagara; ottawa; Huron and Montreal and which is creeping silently through parishes and dioceses across the Province of Canada.
    I do know a Bishop whom I have great respect for who has remained in the ACoC although he is retired BUT I cannot fathom why he is remaining……I must ask him the next time I see him. Maybe he is waiting for the next General Synod to see if they will turn back from the direct Fred Hiltz is steering them…..right!

  52. Kate says:

    Gerry and Randy – You two have had at it in the comments section on this blog before. Please don’t do it again. If you are itching to argue with each other, please take it to private email.

  53. Stuck in Toronto says:

    Kate; It is unfortunate that you seem to include me in an agreed circumstance not to paint with a broad brush. My comments, “It is my opinion that woman are not “Called to the ministry” and The last three priestesses that I spoke were adament” were mutually exclusive and is based on MY interpretation of scripture. As we all have struggled (I think) to find cause and reason for the ACoC’s unfolding decision on SSB’S. We (or should I say I) have been largely mystified at the lack of anything that resembles common sense. I feel exactly the same way about WO. I have pursued reasoning from several sources including some of our respected ANiC female priests. Unfortunately I continue to come up blank. This is particulary frustrating given our Bishop Don’s recent declaration of ANiC’s position on the matter. Unless I am convinced by my “betters”, (of which I believe are many) that my reasoning is incorrect, I sadly will sink into the same morass I found myself involved with in the ACoC. fortunately my membership in the ACNA is not as yet quite so threatened.
    PS I have purposely left off any instigation of debate on WO as that would move this stream too far away.
    Your comments and understanding would be appreciated.
    Blessings always

  54. Stuck in Toronto says:

    #50 Margo – you said “I was surprised, shocked and left shaking in my boots at the responsibility of it all.
    I mean this with all respect sister (or Reverend) if you have been ordained. Did this happen at the time of your calling or during your training/upper level degree? I would like to hear of your experiences that caused such trauma. Did they not teach you that “Love casts out fear”.
    In Christ and with Love.

  55. Frank Wirrell says:

    For Randy #47:-
    The failure by the Primate and the House of Bishops to take action against the apostasy that reigns within the ACoC would definitely tend to show that the comments by Gerry #42 are legitimate. You might well find so-called “spiritual persons” but that, in itself, does not mean they are Christian. Such persons are found in all religions. However, to be an Anglican one must first be a Christian and that means accepting both the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. The actions, or more correctly the failure to take action, by the Primate or the House of Bishops against the growing apostasy as being promoted in Niagara and New Westminster can only result in the ACoC losing any and all claims to be a Christian church and reduces it to nothing more than a social club where everyone does his/her own thing. As Christians we are not called to fall in line with society and its beliefs but we are called to witness to society. That clearly cannot and will not happen if the current descent into apostasy is not checked. No Christian could possibly support the ACoC in its present state and any clergy person (bishop or otherwise) that fails to speak up and take appropriate action is obviously more concerned with job security than the truth of the Gospel.
    It has been stated in previous submissions that “the gates of Hell will not prevail”. However, when a church willingly and deliberately turns from the Gospel it loses that promise. Both as a church and as individuals we are called to make a commitment.

  56. Randy says:

    #55 – granted I am under no illusion that the ACoC is a perfect church, nor am I aware of where to find one, anymore than I am under no illusion that there is one perfect person (only Jesus Christ himself), so I am not in any position to judge anyone; or any church that has thousands of spirit – led and faithful people attending each and every Sunday. If I am to follow the logic in post #55 they are heretics and in danger of eternal damnation unless they leave the ACoC, as God has left that church. I must object to that kind of logic, no church has the ability to save anyone, as that, to a large degree is determined by a personal relationship with our Saviour. The church can lead and instruct and teach, etc but the journey of faith is your’s and mine. I refuse to believe that God has abandoned the ACoC. Sure, God no doubt is calling the Church to accountability and repentance, as He has done for 2000 years plus. Strange that people did not leave the church when there was evidence of abuse in Residential Schools, that was known years and years ago, it took the issue of SSB’s to bring about alignment with the Southern Cone, the Network, ACNA, etc. Were there not other issues that at least were equally repugnant? If the ANIC and the ACNA can be proven to be the perfect church where there is no sin than God bless you all and may every Anglican in Canada join

  57. David says:

    Randy,

    ANiC parishes did not realign because the ACoC isn’t perfect, but because a number of dioceses – and arguably the entire ACoC – have adopted a faith that is no longer Christian. Much of this is documented here.

    Had the ACoC declared that the Residential School abuse was “holy” or “not contrary to core doctrine” I imagine there would have even more departures – earlier.

  58. Warren says:

    Randy (#56), I had sympathy for your position until you mentioned residential schools. If you are going to use a strawman argument, you could do much better. I don’t doubt that people did leave the ACoC over the abuse in the residential schools, but so what? If there was logical rigour in your argument, you would presumably claim that one should at least consider the possibility that the abusers may have been acting in accordance with Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Since I believe this is not your position, I conclude that your argument is inconsistent. (P.S. For anyone inclined to review my previous comments, I admit up front that you will likely find inconsistencies.)

  59. Randy says:

    David: As far as I can see the Anglican Church of Canada has not abandoned any of the core doctrines of faith such as the creeds, the trinity, the birth, death & resurrection of Jesus. Liturgy and worship are being done all over the ACoC the same today as 25 years ago. I have not been instructed to teach or preach anything different now than when I was ordained in 1992. In addition the marriage canon of the ACoC has not been changed in any way, it recognizes marriage as a union of one man and one woman only. You will recall that at the General Synod of 2007 the motion to move forward on SSB’s was defeated. To call the church “unchristian” is more than anyone is able to proclaim, for that would classify all those still part of the ACoC as unchristian also, both bishops, priests, deacons and lay people. For what its worth neither I nor the diocese I am in has any intention of proceeding with the blessing of SSB’s, its not where we are. We are more focused on the work of the gospel. But because I happen to be a member of the ACoC, according to the logic of some, I am now “unchristian”. I think this is dangerous territory for anyone to stray into. I would be very interested in knowing what the ANIC bishops, such as bishop Harvey, would say on this matter. Is it his/their belief now that all members of the ACoC are unchristian? Perhaps someone could let me know? As well, because the Church of England and others still see the ACoC as the official church of this country does that mean also that it too is unchristian? One must follow logic to its fullest. Incidentally, I am told that unofficially the CoE has been doing SSB’s long before there was ever one done in Canada, even before New Westminster.

  60. David says:

    Randy,
    I said “a number of dioceses – and arguably the entire ACoC – have adopted a faith that is no longer Christian, not that no individual in the ACoC is a Christian.

    Some dioceses are worse than others: Michael Ingham in “Mansions of the Spirit” denied the uniqueness of Christ; I was at a talk where Fred Hiltz was unable to clearly articulate what the gospel is; Andrew Hutchison denied that the Bible is the word of God; Michael Bird in a parish meeting refused to state what he personally believes; in a local Niagara clericus meeting only one Anglican priest said he actually believed the entire Nicene Creed – and he is now in ANiC. I could go on and on. What do you think the percentage of unbelieving leaders in the ACoC has to be before it ceases to be a Christian entity?

    I suppose you might argue that so long as the ACoC has not officially denied any of the essential doctrines, what the leaders believe doesn’t matter; a bit like having butchers run a vegetarian society or oil executives stand for the Green Party. The sham can only last so long, though.

    Incidentally, your statement “neither I nor the diocese I am in has any intention of proceeding with the blessing of SSB’s, its not where we are.” implies that proceeding with SSB might be where you will be at some point even though you are not there now; is that what you meant?

  61. Warren says:

    Randy, in #59 you say,

    To call the church “unchristian” is more than anyone is able to proclaim, for that would classify all those still part of the ACoC as unchristian also, both bishops, priests, deacons and lay people.

    I disagree. Unless you can persuade me from God’s Word that a man-made institution such as the ACoC is synonymous with the body of Christ, this argument is also a strawman. For this statement to be logically consistent, an necessary test of whether or not one is “christian” (by which I assume you mean regenerate) would be the church one is affiliated with. Based on other comments you have made, I find it hard to believe that this is your real position. For me, Article XI is sufficient (even though I find it hard, in my flesh, to not judge those who choose to sit – for an extended period of time – under the preaching of someone who does not believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture and who distorts it to make it compatible with worldly values).

    Does the ACoC still bear the marks of a true church? I think it is reasonable to look to the 19th Article as a starting point.

    I understand that you likely have no interest in interacting with me, and take no offence.

  62. Randy says:

    #60 – Thank you David: You will note that my words were “Its not where we are” , I did not say “Its not where we are now”. So, it would be wrong to imply that this is just an expression of the present. Just wanted to clarify that. Thanks.

  63. Frank Wirrell says:

    For Randy #62
    It is obvious that the many postings including yours are in response to mine #55. You have stated that God has not abandoned His church and that is true. It is also true that the ACoC has abandoned God as evidenced by the actions of the Dioceses of New Westminster and Niagara which are further exasperated by the failure of the Primate or the House of Bishops to take effective action to correct the matter. The fact that God has not abandoned his church is proven by the formation of the ANiC and the Anglican Church in North America. You have stated that the ABC recognizes only the ACoC and that might well be the case and could be a result of wanting to be politically correct. However, to be a true Anglican one must first be a Christian and accept both the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the facts would tend to prove the ACoC is indeed losing any and all claims to be truly Anglican. You have stated your diocese is not, at least up to the present time, prepared to be involved in SSB’s – a misnomer in itself as such “blessings” are impossible regardless of the liturgy or the person(s) performing same – but I would ask what are you and your bishop doing to counter this fatal disease or are you simply prepared to sit on the fence and continue to allow the church to fall into the abyss of apostasy and irrelevance.

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