New kinds of churches really are the hope of the future

This week I came across two news stories from different Anglican dioceses on opposite sides of the world, one of which heartened me greatly.   DECLINE IN SYDNEY The first story wasn’t the one that heartened me. It was from the Diocese of Sydney entitled “Behind the decline in Church attendance”, and in it, Anglican priest, Antony Barraclough tried to make sense of the dropping rate of attendance at Sydney Anglican church services. It caught my eye because even though falling religious affiliation is routinely reported across Australia, I often hear people holding up Sydney Anglicanism as a last bastion of growth and vitality. Not so, it turns out. Back in 2011, in an article entitled “Why Aren’t We Growing?”, Tony Payne reported that, based on weekly average service attendance data of all ages, Sydney Anglican congregations were barely growing at around 1.4% per annum. He then pointed out that the population of Sydney itself was growing at around 0.9%. In other words, back then Sydney Anglican growth had completely stalled. But now we hear it is declining. In his more recent article, Rev Barraclough tries to interrogate reasons for this decline. None of the reasons he suggests have anything to do with Sydney Anglicanism itself. The problem pretty much gets boiled down to “the world has changed and our … Continue reading New kinds of churches really are the hope of the future