Two Victoria churches amalgamate as attendance continues to drop

WatchTwo Victoria churches amalgamate as attendance continues to drop

Empty seats are becoming more and more of a common sight in churches across the province, with some British Columbians not associating with any religion.

Religious institutions are being forced to adapt.

“We would be naive to not see the trends that are happening. So it’s a combination of let’s see the trends and let’s respond to the trends,” said Head Minister of St. Aidan’s United Church Cheryl Black.

In hopes of re-creating a strong following, St Aidan’s and Cadboro Bay United Churches have passed a vote to officially amalgamate. A primary focus will be placed on attracting younger generations who have become distant in recent years,

“Really having that vision of what can happen if churches were to be involved in some of these movements like the climate and the justice movements that are so key to what is happening in our world today,” said Cadboro Bay Minister Margaret Harper.

But other church leaders say that reaching the youth isn’t that simple.

“The young people I know are looking for a spirituality that shapes and forms them from Monday to Saturday, they’re not interested in just turning out on a Sunday morning for their faith or spirituality,” says Right Reverend Logan McMenamie, bishop of the British Columbia Anglican Church.

And more amalgamations could be coming in the future.

“I don’t think it’s a one-off type of thing. We’ve certainly been attentive here about the changes that have happened over the years with the church, with church attendance and there’s no doubt about it we have to change and reshape ourselves,” McMenamie said.

Cadboro Bay will be the temporary home of the two churches, but they will re-locating to St Aidan’s within a few years following renovations.

The ministers of the two churches say the vote was near-unanimous.

Ben NesbitBen Nesbit

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