Volume 94, Issue 5


Harris gives private U's thumbs up

Galleria welcomes 2,400 new jobs

UWOFA, admin wrap up a deal

Knife proposal seeks mandatory jail-time

Feds give prof $50,000 for stripper hunt

Ontario pollution hits all time high

U of T Bookstore hits the picket lines

Where have all the Christians gone?


Where have all the Christians gone?

By Colleen Ross
Gazette Staff

Last week's Celebrate 2000, the largest Christian gathering in southwestern Ontario, outshone last Saturday's March for Jesus in London, suggesting an underlying trend of complacency among Christians.

About 600 Christians from nearly 30 area churches, took part in the nation-wide march held in London, said Pastor Troy Dingwall of the King Street Congregational Christian Church.

Dingwall said this year's numbers were a lot smaller, compared to the 2,500 Christians who marched in 1995, the inaugural year.

"I think it's complacency on behalf of many Christians, that they don't have to go out in public to solidify their relationship with Jesus," Dingwall said. He added the hot weather might have also discouraged people.

Kim Edinborough Longstaff, program coordinator for Celebrate 2000, estimated crowds of roughly 25,000 at last week's festival. She said 5,000 youths attended the Christian rock concert and about 12,000 came to hear the sermon given by Reverend Dale Lang, whose son was killed in the Taber, Alberta high school shooting last year.

Despite the high turnout for this festival, statistics indicate the number of Canadians attending church has been declining. The number of people 25 to 44 years-old attending church, dropped to 18 per cent in 1990, from 22 per cent in 1985, confirmed Lilly Eisenberg, communications officer for Statistics Canada

Western professor of philosophy, Dennis Hudecki, said he was pleased with the festival's Christian rock concert, but did not think the music was diverse enough to attract younger people.

"I would have included more pop, rock and rap culture," Hudecki said. "But I don't know if even that would have attracted twenty year-olds."

The Very Reverend Bruce Howe, Rector of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, said many young people are spiritual and thought the church could attract twenty-somethings by doing more events similar to the Christian rock concert.

Hudecki said twenty-somethings are moving away from institutionalized religion and anything that purports to be the truth. "The Church has not been able to connect to recent, youthful generations," he said, adding sex, financial scandals and out-dated teachings may also be deterrents.

Hudecki said he also believed people in their twenties were less inclined to look to the Church as a source of wisdom, citing were a recent Catholic study indicating that most young people still believe in the core beliefs of God.

Francois Khouri, a member of Friends of Christ, said there are still twenty-somethings who find fulfillment in the Church. He explained Friends of Christ is a group of 30 to 40 young Catholic workers and university students who meet Sunday's after evening mass at St. Peter's Cathedral Basilica.

Khouri said although the overall trend of younger generations turning away from the church, there are places for spiritual twenty-somethings in London. "You just have to look for them," he said.

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