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:
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.