Search This Blog

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sydney Anglicans in Dive to the Bottom

My heart's desire is to see Christ's Church advancing rather than retreating in the society in which we live. That is my constant prayer to God because God deserves His Name applied to that which does good to society in a substantial way and people, Christians and non-Christians, benefit when a society is brought under strong impressions of Jesus Christ.

Sadly, that is not the case in Sydney despite well meaning intentions of those within the Church.

As if only day to day observation hasn't been enough to reveal just that, take a look at the brutal statistics produced for the Western Sydney Regional Organization of Councils (WSROC).

Bear in mind that the statistics, derived from Australian Bureau of Statistic Census data, are only those of people who declare they are of particular religions and denominations so, for Christianity, they are not a record of church goers nor are they a statistic of actual Christians. Those latter statistics would be lower still.

Being statistics collected for the years 2006 and 2011, the WSROC statistics are very helpful for Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) to weigh the fruit of the "Connect 09" and broader "10% of Sydney population in Bible believing churches" campaigns initiated within the Diocese. Year 2006 is helpful because it is about the mid point of the decade of evangelism desiged to get the 10% of the population of Sydney into Bible believing churches and it is also three years before Connect 09. Year 2011 statistics provide the fruit of each campaign's labours.

Since conclusion of the campaigns the Archbishop of the Diocese of Sydney has, more than once, said he has seen increased numbers of attendance within the Diocese. However, the WSROC statistics suggest the Archbishop's reading of parish returns are, at best, wistful. Maybe the parish returns need overhaul in one or both of the data sought or data being returned.

The WSROC statistics are a disaster for the two evangelistic campaigns initiated by the Diocese and of grievous foreboding for the Diocese. Here are sorry statistics I have extracted for this text:

West & South West Sydney

Year 2006 Ang. 15%

Year 2011 Ang. 13.2%

Greater Sydney

Year 2006 Ang. 17.9%

Year 2011 Ang. 16.1%

The statistics show there has been an approximate decline of 2% in the number of people declaring themselves Anglican in both West/South-West Sydney and in Greater Sydney. If the two associated evangelistic campaigns of the Diocese had been a success it surely would have been reflected in the Census of 2011. It was not and it is not "Peace, Peace" it is "Disaster, Disaster".

Islam and Hinduism are on the rise and the Diocese is going backward - on its way to the cellar where dwells the Uniting Church at 2.8%! Sure, there is a big difference between 16.1% and 2.8% but twenty years ago the Anglican Church statistic was around 26%. In those twenty years Roman Catholic statistics have held up but Anglicans have gone seriously backward.

Hard questions need to be asked within the Diocese.

I don't want to hear "The Church is always a minority in society!" It does not have to be so demonstrably a minority and has not always been. Take on board the words of John Weir in his account of "The Ulster Awakening" of 1859. After giving many individual testimonies of the work of the Holy Spirit in Ulster, Northern Ireland, he laments, on page 256, that such a work was needed in England. He then speaks of church statistics in Great Britain in 1859 as follows:

"According to evidence (recently published) before the Lords' Select Committee on Church-rates, which sat towards the close of last session, and from calculations based upon accurate data, it appears that there are 7,546,948 actual church-going men of the Church of England, or 42 per cent of the gross population; and 4,466,266 nominal churchmen, but practically of no church, or 25 per cent of the gross population."

Wow! 42% actual church-going and 25% nominal men only and that is not enough for what John Weir thinks has been or can be achieved in better times.

The Sydney Diocese is in far worse circumstance and it is getting worse all the time.

One pertinent question for the Diocese is: "What is the Diocese doing which equates to the Uniting Church and is sending it the way of the Uniting Church?"

One thing it is doing is following the Uniting Church in dissembling the authority of the Word of God. It does this, like the Uniting Church, in the reading and interpretation of the Word of God in Genesis 1 and threads are being observed of dissembling the reading and interpretation of the Word of God on homosexuality.

If the Anglican (Episcopalian) Diocese of Sydney does not trust God why should God entrust the Diocese with bringing large numbers into the church? The statistics produced by WSROC show God has not entrusted the Diocese with such a work and the Diocesan evangelistic campaigns of the past decade, in terms of extending the Kingdom of God, have been a failure.

I wish it were all otherwise.

Sam Drucker


Farel said...

2Pe 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.


"Some drill and bore
The solid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn
That He who made it and revealed its date
To Moses, was mistaken in its age.
Some, more acute and more industrious still,
Contrive creation; travel nature up
To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,
And tell us whence the stars; why some are fixt,
And planetary some; what gave them first
Rotation, from what fountain flowed their light.
Great contest follows, and much learned dust
Involves the combatants, each claiming truth,
And truth disclaiming both. And thus they spend
The little wick of life's poor shallow lamp
In playing tricks with nature, giving laws
To distant worlds, and trifling in their own.
Is't not a pity now, that tickling rheums
Should ever tease the lungs and blear the sight
Of oracles like these? Great pity, too,
That having wielded the elements, and built
A thousand systems, each in his own way,
They should go out in fume and be forgot?
Ah, what is life thus spent? and what are they
But frantic who thus spend it? all for smoke—
Eternity for bubbles proves at last
A senseless bargain. When I see such games
Played by the creatures of a Power who swears
That He will judge the earth, and call the fool
To a sharp reckoning that has lived in vain,
And when I weigh this seeming wisdom well,
And prove it in the infallible result
So hollow and so false—I feel my heart
Dissolve in pity, and account the learned,
If this be learning, most of all deceived.
Great crimes alarm the conscience, but it sleeps
While thoughtful man is plausibly amused.
Defend me, therefore, common sense, say I,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up!"
William Cowper

sam drucker said...

Thanks Farel.

It has been planned for some time that I say this:

"For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest." (Leviticus 25: 3-5)

It has now been six years the Sydney Anglican Heretics Blogspot has operated. It arose as a short term response to ridicule thrown at Biblical Creationists by people within the Diocese on a Diocesan forum.

The creators of this blogspot invited others and myself to contribute but, as things have gone on, I am now the only one keeping the site going. Others have fallen by the wayside.

I have decided to give this field a Sabbath rest as I also give myself a rest. I have felt that any such site warrants at least two blog posts each week. To do that has been putting a burden on parish ministry for a while now. Change must occur.

I don't know what the immediate future holds for this site but I must sign off.

Thanks, Farel, for your interest and thanks to John and Eric for commenting from time to time.

Blessings in our Lord,
Sam Drucker