Beginning to explore our changing population, why we might open, and what that might look like.

Ours is a changing cultural landscape.

In many neighbourhoods within a few years the ‘visible minority’ will be the majority, and half or more of the folk living in that community will be immigrants. Newcomers bring not only new challenges, they also bring new vibrancy: Music! Food! Clothing! Insights! Beginning to know our new neighbours (the first step needed before we can truly welcome them into our faith communities) takes us out of our comfort zone, but also can bring new understandings, new excitement – on the road to new relationships and renewed faith communities.

Ours is also a changing church. For the United Church and many other mainstream churches, that has often meant both a shrinking church, and an aging church. Shrinking and aging at a rate that makes the future for many congregations uncertain.

Together, these two patterns opens the possibility of welcoming a more diverse population to worship and partner with us.  The first series of podcasts, called “Curious” opens the door to this possibility.

Curious? Well, this is where many of us begin – with simple curiosity. We might not be seriously thinking about changing anything! But we are a bit  curious. What is this intercultural stuff all about?  Why might we want to think about opening at all? That’s where the information on the changes in the cultural make-up of Canada can help – this is the focus of the second in this series. If we love the faith, the church, given the decline in attendance and participation in many churches, maybe we ought to broaden who we want to include not exclude – and that is the focus of the third session.

What are the possibilities? The changes in Canada’s population are not happening equally in all places. The cultural make-up of some neighbourhoods began changing many years ago – and so there are churches that have responded with creativity and courage. Drawing on stories and experiences of faith communities that have intentionally opened themselves, this session invites us to imagine what the possibilities could look like for us.

A changing county.  Using census data and projections from Statistics Canada this episode sketches the dramatic shifts in the cultural make-up of Canada [demographic changes] – and what it might mean for all of us as Canadians. We will also look at changes in the birth rate and how this impacts our growth patterns.

A changing church? Using the same lens this podcasts examines how the dramatic shifts in Canada’s  cultural make-up has been impacting the church. This requires facing the reality of declining attendance, trying to understand why this has been happening, and looking seriously at possibilities for a new kind of church community – one that is intentionally open, intercultural.

Extra Curious?

The Extra podcasts are designed primarily for leaders wishing to use the Open Out podcasts in groups – but also for  anyone wishing more info on a particular theme.  More technical & less polished This series has been put on hold during the Covid crisis. A new Extra series will be published once we can return to our churches in person.

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