Get with the program

By on February 6, 2012

The January issue of the Journal contains disquieting news affecting the future of our church. The diocese of Ontario is suspending four programs, including two directly related to youth. CoGS will have a balanced budget for two years but will face a budget deficit in 2014, which could reach $1 million by 2016. The proportional gifts from dioceses are diminishing at a rate of three per cent a year. The Council of the North will experience declining revenue. All of this speaks to a church in serious decline both financially and attendance-wise but the subject doesn’t seem to be discussed at either the diocesan or parish level. This state of affairs cannot and should not continue if we value our Anglican faith. Efforts are no doubt being made by the Financial Management Committee and Together in Mission, but I would propose a more grass-roots approach also. The church should consider setting up a Future Planning Task Force with a mandate to produce answers to two questions: 1. Why has attendance declined since the 1990s? and 2. What can be done to reverse this decline? Nothing should be off the table for discussion, including the liturgy. If the Anglican Church of Canada does not adapt to change, it faces a dismal future.The task force should be small but should contain representation from the episcopacy, the clergy and the laity and should meet early in 2012 in a one-week retreat. The results of this brainstorming exercise with the guidance of the Holy Spirit would be reported to CoGS for whatever action it wishes to take.

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