Secularization: Canada Set to Shut Down a Third of Its Churches

Almost 9,000 churches will close in Canada.
While Canada has been a religious nation in the past, low numbers of worshippers at many of the churches in the country are forcing closures in up to a third of the country’s churches. According to the National Trust for Canada, low numbers of people making up congregations, combined with the high repair costs for old churches, is driving up to 9,000 of the churches in Canada to close in the coming years.

This will result in several potential outcomes for these churches according to the head of the National Trust for Canada, Robert Pajot. Some of the buildings are likely going to be sold off, while many others will just be demolished. While plenty are worried about the loss of the sacred spaces, others are just as worried about the loss of historic buildings.

Some churches will be renovated and turned into places to host art galleries or even become shelters for the less fortunate. However, there is a sense that a deeper loss is occurring in the towns and cities impacted by these closures. Most notably, they are going to lose a sense of community that appeared over time and was fostered in the churches.

After all, churches were centers of many of these towns. They held meetings, weddings, funerals, and all sorts of other services. Now, those are all going to be dispersed along with the potential to create new memories in this area. For many, it’s a sad time, one that will be hard to deal with for many communities that used the sites as de-facto community centers.

Others see this change as an opportunity to move on from the past and reclaim areas and buildings that could be used more effectively to help serve the communities. Some of the churches have attempted to modernize, sharing their church spaces with other groups to remain open and in order. This is a great stop-gap measure for some of the churches, but even that is an idea that has come into conflict. After all, does a church become less of a sacred place if it is hosting all manner of other events that have nothing to do with religion? Some seem to think so, but others recognize the reality that without extra money, these places will close. A third of the churches in Canada will likely see their end, and it’s possible that more will see cutbacks in the future.

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