Anglican Faith Churches The Demographic Shift
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7. Anglican Faith Churches

Demographic Shift

Another possible response to the demographic shift in the Anglican Church is to consciously disengage the churches from their institutions, which is to instigate a house church movement. Being free of the necessity of buildings, churches may be better able to influence the Baby Boomers and Millennials for good. These non-church based faith groups could be loosely attached to one congregation in the area. Churches of the whatever Faith would then be led and modeled on the New Testament and Early Church households of faith. They would conduct their baptisms, baptismal preparation, communions, and local outreach, including the caring for widows, the poor, and the homeless. Maybe in another fifty years, the institutional church will re-emerge in former strength to take up its previous role.

Hopeless People

The Generation X-ers and Millennials are a step behind the Boomers as far as the Christian Faith is concerned. Some experts describe these as "hopeless, unmotivated and unhappy people." From our churches, we could offer them hope, fulfillment, and meaning for life. If their Generation X characteristics carry through into middle age, then our Judeo-Christian societal structure and lifestyle, including family units, the judicial system, police forces, and education, could collapse. Still, a loose household-based model in the shadows could emerge.

Christ's Church Body

congregationChrist's church body brings hope to the institutional church as a way into the future without the encumbrance of unwieldy institutions and multiple church buildings. Here are some positives as we journey into the future. We will become more spiritual, more reliant on the Word of God, less dependent on buildings, and more dynamic. We will need loving communities, team-orientated fellowships, and charismatic leaders. Bishops will need to become teachers, mystics and gurus, authentic leaders, and not managers.

Encouragement

To encourage us, we should look back over the history of the church with its ebbs and flows. This kind of swing in fortunes has happened before, and God will bless the church again. My prayer is that we have the strength of character and spirituality as one segment of the broader Body of Christ to meet these challenges as they arise. Despite everything, we could come out the stronger. The Christian Faith has shown a great capacity to survive and even flourish under challenging conditions. It can cope without buildings, and it can get by without an institutional structure. Beneath the heavy coat, which is the institutional church, will emerge the Body of Christ. This Mystical Body is an organism that cannot be killed. Her Head is Christ Himself, and her hands, feet, and limbs are remade by God so that the Body remains effective. Jesus Christ is her Lord. Though the outer church suffers or even dies, the Body of Christ will live.

Toronto Anglican Church

Churches and congregations making up the Toronto Anglican Church in Canada have shrunk between 1998 and 2018. The Demographic Shift for the Diocese of Toronto is an assessment of the massive Baby Boom Generation effect as they begin to hit retirement age. According to population surveys, this group is likely to be the dominant supporters of the church like their predecessors were. The following books will be a helpful resource to people studying this phenomenon.

"Boom, Bust Echo" by David K. Foot with Daniel Stoffman (Macfarlane Want Ross, Toronto, 1996)✞

"Sex in the Snow - Canadian Social Values at the End of the Millennium" by Michael Adams (Viking Published by the Penguin Group, Toronto, 1997)

Statistics Canada Reports, 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996. "Selected Social and Economic Characteristics" (Minister of Supply and Services Canada, Ottawa)

Boom Bust and Echo

Convening Circulars - "Statistical Returns - Appendix E" (The Diocese of Toronto, 1998)

"Diocesan Directory" - January 1, 1998. Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Toronto.

"Sizing Up a Congregation for New Member Ministry" by Arlin Rothauge.

"The Church Growth Diagnostic Clinic"


"Boomers: Twisting The Retirement Mindset" August 7, 2007, By David Rando, JD, CLU, ChFC✞

Sunday Survey

Toronto Diocesan CrestWhy not conduct a survey of your church or congregation on an average Sunday? Better to not hold it at Easter, Christmas, or on a Baptism Sunday? Draw an "Age/Sex Profile" for your church congregation of percentages of the whole in male/female and five-year age brackets. Compare it to the "Age/Sex Profile" of your wider parish community. You will need to compile it yourself from Statistics Canada. You might be amazed by the comparison.

"Anglican Faith Churches"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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