Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anglican Diocese of Toronto Canada on Decline: Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear

The Bishop of Toronto, Colin Johnson revealed a dire prediction last week.
"The demographic projections for the Diocese project that in 15 years we will have 50-70 fewer parishes (and clergy?), although there may be more non-traditional forms of ministry and gathered missional communities." (source: Anglican Ink)
The reasons behind the decline of the Anglican Church of Canada have been speculated about elsewhere, but don't look to the Bishop to admit that progressive policies and revisionist teachings have anything to do with it. Instead, he will change the subject,
"The visioning, coaching and pastoral care involved in amalgamations and closures requires substantial resources, direction and leadership if done well (and even more if it is done poorly!).
Is there a handbook out there on how to close churches well? If there is one, I bet it says that you need more clergy and staff to close and amalgamate parishes than to build them up.
The same is true for establishing new forms of ministry. We are learning about that from other dioceses and from our own experiences." 
I guess that means the diocese has to get more top-heavy for these new forms of ministry. What new forms of ministry he is talking about? I always thought that if you go out and preach it, teach it, and live it, they will come.

Next, in the fine tradition of Anglican spin, rather than get to the causes of the decline, he tries to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear,
 "We are leaders in this area and other dioceses, including English and American dioceses, look to us for advice, though the learning is usually mutual."
Can he cite one example?

Leaders in the area of establishing new forms of ministry shouldn't result in the closure of churches. Any advice these folks can give to the declining American or English dioceses can only contribute to the death spiral we have been witnessed.

Or maybe he is boasting about being a leader in downsizing.

I am at a total loss for words...

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