[Anglican Journal (Anglican Church of Canada)] The Anglican Church of Canada is shrinking faster than it was in the years before a much-discussed 2019 report, recently collected data suggest.
According to the church’s statistics and research officer, the Rev. Neil Elliot, metrics of church size including electoral rolls and distinct identifiable donation sources show membership dropping by about 10% nationwide during 2020, and preliminary data suggest a similar decrease in 2021.
The findings follow Elliot’s 2019 extrapolation, presented to the Council of General Synod (CoGS) that year, which projected that if the church’s rate of membership loss continued, there would be no one left by 2040. But the rate of decline during the pandemic years is considerably higher than the membership loss of around 2.5% per year the church experienced in the years leading up to COVID-19, Elliot says. The precise reasons for this accelerated decline are unclear, he adds.
Some church leaders, however, say there’s more to the church than the number of its members — and numeric decline is no reason for despair.