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The Trajectory
  By the Rev. Drew Jacques,
St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Campbellville, Ont.
Happy New Year!
Leading through these times cer-
tainly has its challenges as it is not just a time of great complexity, but it is also a time of great disruption. Where we are going will not be the same as where we have been.
While St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Campbellville, Ont., has managed to stay open, in-person attendance for Sunday worship is quieter and online attendance fluctu- ates. But we recently discovered that St. David’s has over 300 followers on Facebook. That is a “big” church!
It is no secret that church attend- ance has been declining for years— decades, in fact. The last year that any of the churches once consid- ered “mainline churches” saw an increase in attendance was 1967.
For decades, the only way people could worship together at church was to travel to a brick-and-mor tar building (limestone for the fancy churches, and wood for the rural and remote ones). Moreover, attending church was a 3- to 5-hour commit- ment on a Sunday morning by the time you washed and got dressed
up in your Sunday best, packed the kids in the car, drove to church, par- ticipated in worship and coffee hour, and, finally, went home.
What happened? The culture shift- ed. It has shifted a few times since 1967. The big shift came with the Internet. A bigger shift is happening now.
We’ve recently crossed the two- year mark of attending church for 40 minutes or less, at home, on the couch. However, in the world today, attending infrequently or more casu- ally is not a sign of a lack of devotion or a lack of interest in the faith. It is just a sign of a shifted culture.
What are we going to do?
The best place to start is to check our traditional assumptions of what it means to be one of Christ’s de- voted followers at the door.
One does not need to show up at church in person promptly at 10 a.m. on Sunday to be part of the body. Just because someone isn’t attending church frequently doesn’t mean that they don’t want to con- nect, be seen and be heard.
Social media has presented us with a new opportunity to give eve- rybody a chance to connect, be seen and be heard. As an old rule of thumb, nobody dared say a word
during the sermon at a Sunday wor- ship service. The future will demand less preaching and more conversa- tion.
If you go all the way back to the days of the early church, the whole notion of attendance as a prerequi- site was completely unheard of. The early Christians didn’t go to church. They were the church wherever they were: in their villages, their houses, in the streets and in boats.
Jesus didn’t say, “Come to church,” he said, “Follow me.” To
follow Jesus is to connect with others. For the better part of three years, Jesus and the disciples wan- dered and connected with people from place to place. They had a run- ning conversation.
Then, over the years, being con- nected as a church became a matter of attendance. But today, that notion is shifting away from trying to draw people to attend, to reaching out and connecting with people where they are, with no expectation of “attend- ance” in return.
Dundas, West Flamboro (80%-time minister) – Southwestern Ontario
Innerkip, ON (interim minister) – Southwestern Ontario
Listowel, Knox (full-time minister) – Southwestern Ontario
London, Oakridge (full-time minister) – Southwestern Ontario
London, Trinity (half-time stated supply) – Southwestern Ontario
Mitchell, Knox (full-time minister) – Southwestern Ontario
Thornbury, St. Paul’s (full-time minister) – Southwestern Ontario
Walkerton, Knox (full-time minister) – Southwestern Ontario
We need to find ways to serve each other beyond the building, new ways that will allow us to hear and listen to everyone’s voice and story, whenever and wherever possible.
Where to start? I think the place to begin is to recognize that our mission is to build connections and community, by whatever means possible in the name of Christ. We can’t focus on what is passing into history, we need to focus on this. For me, moving this mission forward feels more urgent than ever before.
Read all full obituaries online at
The Rev. Samuel J. Stewart
Calgary, Alta.
Deceased January 31, 2022
The Rev. Robert Shaw
Strathroy, Ont.
Deceased December 9, 2021
Marjorie Grace Durnan
Toronto, Ont.
Deceased December 1, 2021
Thomas Rankine
North York, Ont.
Deceased November 9, 2021
Carol Anne Isaac
Truro, N.S.
Deceased October 9, 2021
To see all pulpit vacancies, visit
Calgary, Grace (70-100%-time stated supply senior minister) – Alberta and the Northwest
Edmonton, Dayspring (full-time minister) – Alberta & the Northwest
Fredericton, St. Andrew’s (full-time minister) – Atlantic Provinces
Duncan, St. Andrew’s (full-time minister) – British Columbia
Prince George, St. Giles (full-time minister) – British Columbia
Victoria, Trinity – British Columbia Amherstview, Trinity (60%-time
minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Bradford West Gwillimbury St. John’s (full-time Associate Minister for Children and Families) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Elmvale, Elmvale and Knox Flos
(full-time minister, 2-point charge) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Lakefield, St. Andrew’s, Knox
(60%-time minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Orillia, St. Andrew’s (full-time minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Port Credit, St. Andrew’s (full-time minister) – Central Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Toronto, Formosan (full-time minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Toronto, Knox (full-time senior minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Toronto, Mimico (75%-time minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Toronto, Rosedale (full-time minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Toronto, York Memorial (half-time minister) – Central, Northeastern Ontario & Bermuda
Inverness, PQ (full-time minister, ecumenical shared ministry)
Montreal, Snowdon Korean (full- time minister) – Quebec & Eastern Ontario
Montreal, Taiwanese Robert Campbell (full-time minister) – Quebec & Eastern Ontario
Carp, Trinity (full-time minister) – Southwestern Ontario

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