The fading of the mainline protestant churches over the past two generations has not been limited to the United States. North of the border, in the True North Strong and Free, a similar phenomenon has occurred. Canada’s National Post carries this article in its weekend edition: The split in the United Church. One of my Redeemer University colleagues, Dr. Kevin Flatt, is quoted here, as is Michael Van Pelt, head of the Hamilton, Ontario, think tank, Cardus, for whose publication, Comment, I write on occasion.
The United Church of Canada was formed in 1925 with the union of the former Congregationalist, Presbyterian and Methodist churches into a single national body. (A third of the Presbyterian churches, including our family’s congregation, remained out of the union, retaining the name, Presbyterian Church in Canada.) Since its high water mark in the mid-1960s, the United Church has gone into a precipitous decline in membership and attendance. However, the title of the article is not quite accurate: there has been no “split” as such, only a haemorrhage of members away from the United Church.
Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of Flatt, I would strongly recommend his Comment article, Cross-Border Evangelicals: Americans and Canadians, an astute analysis of the differences between evangelicals on each side of the 49th parallel.