Click here to download the latest version of my, "United Church of Canada People Trends."
Updated with the latest Year Book statistics for the calendar year 2010.
Below is a JPG of the first page which summarizes the past 3 years.
Unfortunately, the actual results for 2010 were lower for all areas, and in most cases were also lower than what had been forecast.
The result is that compared to when I first started doing this using the data for 2008, the forecasts for 2025 have gotten even worse.
I have been asked, "Why are you reporting this bad news?"
The answer is NOT that I have some sort of perverse delight in the diminishing of my church. These trends are very distressing for me.
However, there is one thing that this data makes very clear - the widespread societal changes that have been taking place for over 5 decades are firmly entrenched and are TOO BIG FOR EACH CONGREGATION TO SUCCESSFULLY SOLVE ON ITS OWN.
And. THE "PROBLEM" IS NOT OUR FAULT.
This is not happening because of something that each congregation has done wrong. There is not a problem with our minister, or our music, or our Sunday School that changing any of them will turn things around.
The problem is external. It is because of changes in the society.
But it is a problem that the United Church as a whole can respond to - not solve, but respond to.
But we cannot do it congregation by congregation because the simple fact is PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO CHURCH LIKE THEY USED TO.
In fact, they are not volunteering for anything like they used to. All traditional volunteer organizations are facing these same issues.
We have too many buildings and too few people for the number of people attending church these days.
So the only way to address the issues raised by this data is for congregations to have a clear-eyed look at their situation and decide what to do next.
Our church was founded by folks willing to leave the beloved familiar for the desired unknown.
Where that spirit can still be found there is hope for life in new forms.