How can the church regain parishioners in the face of dwindling attendance?
That's the question local members of the Anglican Church are asking.
Rector Larry Brown, chaplain at the Mohawk Chapel, is working with colleagues to answer that question and engaging members of the community in the search for an answer.
On Sunday, seven of Brantford’s Anglican churches participated in a joint service on the lawn of the Mohawk Chapel, sharing a time of worship, songs and fellowship.
“It’s nice to get together with other Anglicans in the community,” Aubin Dowden said. “Our church (Holy Trinity) is on the verge of closing.”
Brown, who is also rector at Holy Trinity, said that numbers of parishioners have been steadily declining, not just at Holy Trinity, but at many places of worship among all faith groups.
Brown said Sunday activities such as sports and shopping have replaced going to church.
“It’s hard to compete with that," he said.
Brown said Sunday's joint service was an opportunity to worship together, but also a way to become more informed about how to motivate people and attract them to Sunday services.
“We want to renew our relationship with the community,” he said.
Brown hopes to work with young people and “discern a new vision of how we might interact with the public.”
Brown said it’s not just parishioners who suffer when a church closes. He said that for generations communities have counted on using churches as meeting places for groups such as Scouts, chess clubs, card clubs, and other interest groups.
“Those people are all going to be scrambling for places to go,” he said.
Volunteers from St. Mark’s were handing out programs and thrilled to be at Sunday's outdoor service.
“Mohawk Chapel has such a wonderful history to it,” Laurie Murray said. “It brings the city-wide parishes together. We all like being outside in God’s country.”
Offerings made at this service were donated to the food bank operating out of Grace Anglican Church.