One of seven responses by "20-40" aged Anglican "theological thinkers" reflecting on recent statistical reports and possible end of the Anglican Church by 2040.
Reflecting on the recent (and previous) concern about membership statistics and the continuing decline of the Anglican Church of Canada, Silcox says: "I also worried that, in the midst of a culture that had grown up accustomed to endless choice of churches from which to shop, catering to that inclination would not only fail to attract because we were bringing weaker resources to a church-saturated market, so to speak, but that we were throwing away a niche gift that God had permitted us to develop. ... But my greater worry is actually our submission and habituation to secular benchmarks of value, worth and purpose that prevent us from humbly receiving grace that requires the obedient posture of penitence at this particular point in time and history". "What then are we to do as Anglicans ? First of all, perhaps strangely, I am happy for our decline. For too long, both Catholic and Protestant churches were filled with nominalist Christians for whom church has been a mere social club to exercise power, influence and money, rather than a school by which one is saved -- that is, reshaped and reformed by God. I am happy for the decline because I see this as God's own pruning: pruning not so as to exclude, but in chastening ...". "What should be done ? What did God do ? He remained unto death ... He did not leave for the newest or different or presumed true group of worshippers. He remained with broken, often erroneous, poor, hungry, sad, rebellious, depressed, sick, abused, confused and tormented people -- those whom he'd been given simply because of time and place. And so then should we. Though we shrink, the questions that arise from our shrinking are more pragmatic: should we do house churches, should we rent facilities rather than have huge overhead, should we increase or decrease the size of dioceses, etc. But these questions are irrelevant if we do not first commit to remain where we are, despite the heartbreak of decline".
Author is "Priest-in-Charge, St. Matthias' Anglican Church, Toronto [Ont.]"