Saturday, March 27, 2010

Study predicts United Church decline will continue

from Canadian
By Lloyd Mackey

THE United Church of Canada (UCC) could become a shadow of its former -- or even present -- self, when it turns 100, according to an analysis of trends recently produced by a soon-to-retire minister of a North Vancouver church.

David Ewart of Capilano United Church, a long-established neighbourhood congregation, did the analysis recently as part of a continuing interest in the way churches and denominations grow, develop or decline.

Ewart applied projection analysis to try to see where national denominational statistics might be if trends of the last 10 or 15 years continued until 2025. That would be the year that marks a century since the United Church was formed out of a merger of the Methodists, the Congregationalists and a substantial proportion of Canadian Presbyterians.

While Ewart told the project took quite a bit of time, it was made relatively simple because his software adapted well to the electronic data he received the statistics from Tom Broadhurst, the UCC data chief.

Noted Ewart: "Rates of participation by Canadians in the UCC -- as shown by membership, baptisms, weddings and funerals --have all shown steady decline since at least the mid-1960s. [The exception was] a temporary increase from 1980-1990, as the Baby Boom generation returned with their children."

... read more story at Canadian