By Robert White
Much has been written recently about the death of the Canadian church. With overall attendance or religious affiliation numbers on the decrease, and those without any religious affiliation on the increase, it certainly seems like churches are in trouble.
A careful parsing of these statistics has been missed in some analyses. While mainline denominations are on the decrease, even they’re trying to stem the tide. Since returning to Canada a couple of years ago, Lakeside Downtown pastor Graham Singh has shared his experience as a church planter in England. Now seconded part-time to Church Planting Canada, Graham was part of Holy Trinity Brompton’s (the home of ALPHA) ministry to re-open a number of shuttered churches. (Disclosure: I attend Lakeside Downtown and Graham is my pastor).
Also missing in the analyses of Canadian church life is an acknowledgement of the vibrant growth and ministry found across the country. A scan of Faith Today’s pages provides this proof, especially when you read the stories told in the “Kingdom Matters” section.
I have to admit to some bias in that last statement because it’s been my privilege, over a number of years, to provide some of those “Kingdom Matters” items. Sometimes because I’ve come across something I think Faith Today’s editors would be interested in. Following a short e-mail conversation with Bill Fledderus or Karen Stiller to work out the details—word count, deadline, angle—I begin researching, interviewing and writing. Others have their genesis in an e-mail I’ve received from Bill or Karen about an assignment so intriguing I agree to work on it.
These assignments have led to articles about:
- Good Seed Sunday, part of A Rocha’s three-pronged approach to environmental stewardship: conservation science, education and sustainable living.
- A musician’s project to create worship songs based on the Heidelberg Catechism.
- The Messy Church experience that provides a multi-generational, multi-sensory form of Christian education.
- A Winnipeg filmmaker who takes well-known parables and places them in a modern context.
- A church plant in the Ottawa area that uses kickboxing classes as a way of building relationships and bringing in needed funds.
I enjoy writing “Kingdom Matters” articles for a couple of reasons. First, I never know, from one assignment to another, what I’ll be exploring. Second, every article is an adventure in getting to know what’s happening with the Church in Canada.
With apologies to Mark Twain, the reports of the death of the Canadian Church have been exaggerated. Hopefully, I’ll continue to be assigned more “Kingdom Matters” articles, giving me a chances to let Faith Today’s readers know how alive and vibrant the Canadian church is.
Robert White is a veteran journalist who specializes in reporting on faith and spirituality. He lives in Guelph and writes a regular faith column for the Guelph Mercury and hosts Arts Connection on Faith FM radio. You can check out Faith Today‘s Kingdom Matters here.