As we toured Michigan and New York this summer we were ever mindful that in the U.S., there is literally a church on every corner.
In Canada, much more religiously diverse, there is a house of worship on every corner, but it won’t necessarily be a church, and you might need to redefine the word ‘corner.’
From a Toronto Star story (10/22) we learn:
- There are 1,260 churches in the city of Toronto; this does not represent the Greater Toronto Area, or GTA, sometimes called “The 905;” this is just in the metropolitan city limits.
- Church planting — or its equivalent in other faith circles — is alive and well with a third of all those 1,260 opening since 1995. This is especially significant when you consider the historical churches in Toronto’s core.
- As of 2008, a whopping 22% of the churches/worship-spaces are located in industrial areas. I’m sure that’s gone higher in the last few years.
- The city, originally made up of six boroughs until 1998, is continually re-drafting consolidated zoning legislation, and the current proposal would put an end to faith groups operating in industrial areas.
Do you see the trend? Schools are increasingly cost-prohibitive, not available on long weekends, or just not leasing to churches at all. And now industrial/commercial complexes are under threat. What exactly does that leave?