Monday, April 01, 2013

Compare and contrast

I don't mean to brag or anything, but read this article in yesterday's Ottawa Sun, and tell me, which representative comes across better: the Anglican chick or the Catholic bishop?

Both were asked the same questions, and look at how evasive and gassy the Canon Ascah's responses are, compared to Bishop Prendergast's:

SUN: What kind of changes have you seen, in terms of the number of Ottawans involved, in the Anglican Church in the last 10 to 20 years? Has there been a noticeable difference (higher/lower) in the number of people involved with the church?

Reverend Canon Catherine Ascah: Over the past 10 to 20 years, it's fair to say that numbers have plateaued. Christ Church Cathedral has always been strong in terms of the congregation. Cathedrals are unique that way.

Archbishop Prendergast: The urban parishes tend to have better results in drawing young people; in some of the rural parishes many of the young have left for school so the congregations tend to be composed of mainly older people which, at times, are not as attractive for younger people. However, there are exceptions and some of our rural parishes are developing stronger links with elementary and high school students.

The difficult challenge is to engage the "new evangelization" which means approaching those in their 30s to 60s who have ceased practicing their faith (they sometimes describe themselves as spiritual but not religious and are numerous enough that they are referred to as SBNRs) to "come home", renew their faith or otherwise interest themselves in the gospel message they no longer have time for. This is our biggest challenge and we are only now beginning to address it.

ALL the questions are answered the same way: Ascah speaks in generalities, Prendergast sounds as if he's actually met the people he talks about. Wherever possible, the Anglican turns the conversation to her cathedral, her little personal fiefdom, which is a solitary success story in the midst of a languishing diocese. It's the difference between a shrinking, stunted, parochial organization and one that still sees itself as part of a larger, continuing body.


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