The End of Mainline Protestantism?

Posted: February 25, 2012 by Ty in Current Events, Musings, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Multimedia is Mainstream

Multimedia is Mainstream (Photo credit: mtsofan)

United Church of Canada

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Just finished persuing Reginald Bibby‘s new book, Beyond the Gods & Back. Much information and statistics on the shift within Canada away from a communal religious yet diverse story to a very diverse and spiritual story.  What struck me, as someone who renewed their faith in the liberal mainline protestant church from 1931-2001 a drastic drop in memberships that has led to mainline churches closing a church aweek.

We have seen the United Church, the largest mainline denom in Canada go from boasting 20% of the population as members to down to 10%; Anglicans go from 16 to 7% (and that is anglicans, not specific denoms of Anglicans, so even with the upheavals and “new” orthodox Anglicans, they are still arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic).  Presbyterians as a whole have gone from 8% to 1% and Lutherans from 4% to 2% oh and those Baptists that keep trying to rebrand, and split apart? They have gone from 4 to 3%.

Thanks to immigration Roman Catholicism which has taken a hit through scandals and such, has balanced at 43% of the population outside of Quebec (and is posting almost presbyterian stats within Quebec).

The only one that has seen growth during this past 70 years? Pentecostals. A tradition focused most on mystical experience and community.

What does this mean?

Simply put religion, more specifically Christendom is undergoing a new reformation within Canada. This reformation is shattering the old tribal norms of being born into loyalty to a denomination.  The renewal is focused not on plug and play programming, but on relevance and true family (community). The old stodgy doctrines, and pews, and hellfire sermons are passe, the idea of social justice above religion is passe…what is truly needed is community, justice and life informed and permeated by spirituality and faith.

Is the church up to the challenge? Or will we continue to split and rebrand in an attempt to keep what we are comfortable with?

  1. Emerge Notes… « A Robin Hood's Musing says:

    […] The End of Mainline Protestantism? […]

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