More on the Diocese of BC’s plan to close 13 churches:
The diocese of British Columbia has announced a plan to close 13 churches in a dramatic restructuring. While the plan is a response to declining church attendance, Bishop James Cowan says it goes beyond cost-cutting, asking how the church can best focus its resources to carry out its mission as well as rebuild for the future.
Another aspect of the plan is to make the church, including the laity, more outward-looking and able to engage in evangelism. When asked whether traditional Anglican reserve might be an obstacle to this, Bishop Cowan acknowledged that “Anglicans are reserved. And they have this image of evangelism that is the televangelist.” In fact, he said, the kind of evangelism he was referring to has a “10-second training session, which is ‘Would you be interested in coming to church with me?’”
The obvious answer to that last question for most people is “no”. If Cowan were planning a blitz of Alpha courses with thorough leadership training – and he believed what the Alpha course teaches to be true – his plan could have some chance of success. As it is, his evangelism will probably be reminiscent of the infamous Decade of Evangelism; in the Diocese of Niagara it was run by the nebulochaotic Canon Michael Patterson. The first nine and a half years were spent in trying to decide what the word “evangelism” means and the last 6 months in wrapping things up.