“Canada is home to one of the most multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious populations on the earth and we’re facing some of the most significant upheavals in our nation’s history” reads the blurb on the back cover of Shifting Stats Shaking the Church: 40 Canadian Churches Respond.
This seemingly ominous statement belies what is both a readable and informative book that answers the question (also in the blurb) “What does this mean for Christ’s Church?”
Written by two veteran journalists (who are also colleagues and friends) Shifting Stats tells the story of how 40 different stories have responded to the changes that have taken place in their communities. Commissioned by World Vision Canada, the book crosses denominational, geographic and generational lines to give readers a sampling of the changing Canadian church landscape.
Shifting Stats Shaking the Church: 40 Canadian Churches Respond needs to be read by anyone who has an interest Canadian society and the Canadian Church.
Like Evangel Church in Gander, Newfoundland which delivers furniture to those in need. Or Kensington Commons Church in Calgary, Alberta which opened its doors to those needing to recharge their electronic devices after a major power outage. Or the podcast ministry of Shiloh University Church in Halifax. Or the Community Laundry Enterprise Assisting Neighbours (CLEAN) run by Calvary Baptist Church in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Shifting Stats isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at the Canadian church scene. Each of the 40 short chapters – each could be read in one sitting – is a tantalizing appetizer. The “More to Explore” section and contact information on each church provide readers with the tools needed to find out more.
The experience of Stiller and Paddey as researchers, interviewers and writers shines through the book. And there’s a cohesiveness in the voice. I’m familiar with the writing styles of both and yet I’m hard pressed to figure out who wrote which chapter. This adds to the readability of the book since there isn’t a jarring change in the voice from chapter to chapter.
Shifting Stats Shaking the Church: 40 Canadian Churches Respond needs to be read by anyone who has an interest Canadian society and the Canadian Church. In other words, this needs to be in every Christian’s summer to-read pile. You’ll come away informed and intrigued by what the church is, and can, do to respond to some of the “most significant upheavals in our nation’s history.”
To listen to the Arts Connection interview with Patricia Paddey and Karen Stiller go to http://selawministries.ca/content/arts-connection-monday-june-15-2015-patricia-paddey-karen-stiller-shifting-stats-book