I interviewed Stuart Murray after meeting him at the Church Planting Congress in Calgary in the fall of 2012. Stuart is best known to many through his investigations into post-Christendom in the UK, prompted by many years of church planting efforts and the realization that something was significantly changing. This is our conversation.
Len: Thanks for taking some time to talk. One of the questions that came up in an evening conversation was in reference to assumptions we make about parallels in Canadian and UK culture, as well as trajectories with reference to post-modernity and post-Christendom. Having spent some time with leaders from across Canada, are your convictions on similarities confirmed or altered? If so, in what ways?
My recent visit to Canada confirmed impressions from previous visits that Canada is on the same trajectory as the UK in relation to the demise of Christendom and the challenges and opportunities this presents, but that this process is not yet as far advanced. Canada seems to me to be between the US and UK scenes, although markedly closer to the UK experience. Church participation is still significantly higher in Canada than in the UK, but this is diminishing. In some parts of Canada the loss of church members has occurred at a much faster rate than in the UK, making the experience more traumatic. There seems to be a more thoroughgoing secularity in the UK than currently in Canada, but this may be only a matter of time-lag rather than indicating a different trajectory. One factor that might make a difference is the pattern of future immigration.