Canada
March 18-19
Americas


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 9,970,610 sq.km. The world's second largest country. Wide diversity of mountains, prairie grasslands and forests but much is sparsely populated wilderness and arctic tundra.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 31,146,639 +1.01% 3 per sq. km.
2010 33,928,551 +0.83% 3 per sq. km.
2025 37,896,497 +0.68% 4 per sq. km.

Capital Ottawa 1,085,000. Other major cities: Toronto 4,657,000; Montreal 3.4 mill.; Vancouver 1.99m. Urbanites 78%.

PEOPLES

Canada is a mosaic of indigenous and immigrant nations and peoples, many of whom have retained much of their original cultures. The high degree of cultural mixing makes classifications only approximate.

British 31%. Majority in east, centre and west.

French 21%. Majority in Quebec. Although Canada is federally bilingual, with equal rights for all, there is a sizeable separatist contingent amongst Francophones.

Mixed origins 21%.

Other European 13.4%. Representing every nation in Europe. Includes many Germans, Italians, Ukrainians.

Asian 7.2%. Chinese 930,000; Indo-Pakistani 715,000; Filipino 255,000; SE Asian 190,000.

Indigenous 2.8%. Native Canadian and Métis (mixed race) 830,000 speaking 64 languages; Inuit 46,000.

Afro-Caribbean 2%. African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean.

Arab/Middle East 1%.

Latin American 0.6%.

Literacy 99%. Official Languages English, French. All indigenous languages 76 (several are nearly extinct). Languages with Scriptures 6Bi 11NT 23por 12w.i.p.

ECONOMY

One of the world's leading industrial nations, and a member of the 'G8' economic powers. Over 75% of Canada's trade is with the USA, in which, along with Mexico, it is closely linked in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This interdependence moderates trends towards an economic nationalism. Increasing economic links with Asia reflect new realities within the country. HDI 0.932; 1st/174. Public debt 92% of GNP. Income/person $19,020 (62% of USA).

POLITICS

A federal monarchy with parliamentary government. Independent of Britain in 1867. The unity of Canada is under threat due to increasing polarization between Francophone Quebec and the other, Anglophone, provinces. A Quebec referendum in 1995 voted to remain in Canada by only the narrowest of margins. Possibly as much as 20% of the country's land area is gradually being restored to Canada's indigenous peoples.

RELIGION

Freedom of religion, but rapid secularization and pluralization are taking place at every level of society.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.

Christian

75.73  23,587,350  +0.0%
non-Religious 18.27 5,690,500 +4.4%
Muslim 1.60  498,000 +8.9%
Jewish  1.20 373,760 +1.0%
Hindu 0.80 249,173 +3.7%
Sikh 0.70 218,026 +4.2%
Other 0.70 218,026 +4.2%
Buddhist/Chinese 0.70 218,000 +8.7%
Baha'i 0.20 62,293 +1.0%
Traditional ethnic 0.10 31,147 +1.0%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 89 12.53 3,904 -0.4%
Independent 102 0.75 235 +2.3%
Anglican 2 2.37 738 -0.6%
Catholic 5 40.45 12,599 +0.3%
Orthodox 8 1.93 601 +0.3%
Marginal 31 1.59 496 +1.5%
Unaffiliated   16.11 5,018 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Roman Catholic C 5,799 8,118,4211 2,340,000
United Ch of Canada P 3,780 680,000 1,800,000
Anglican [2] A 2,900 421,714 738,000
Canadian Baptist Mins P 1,130 131,000 259,380
Jehovah's Witnesses M 1,400 122,000 230,580
Greek Orthodox O 76 140,244 230,000
Pentecostal Assemblies P 1,100 142,857 220,000
Presbyterian P 1,100 140,000 210,000
Evang Lutheran P 650 140,000 197,000
Latter-daySaints (Morm) M 410 72,727 160,000
Ukrainian Catholic C 71 128,385 128,385
Ukr Greek Orthodox O 258 81,560 115,000
Chr and Miss Alliance P 400 42,489 99,000
Fell of Evang Bapt P 509 66,000 89,000
Lutheran Ch – Canada P 338 62,222 84,000
Salvation Army P 380 20,000 82,000
Christian Reformed P 238 48,000 80,000
Maronite Catholic C 132 6,667 80,000
Mennonite Brethren P 200 30,000 48,300
Gen Conf Mennonites P 127 24,000 40,080
PenteAssemb of N'fndlnd P 140 14,000 28,500
Assoc Gospel Chs P 140 10,500 27,000
Ch of the Nazarene P 185 12,300 24,000
Conv of Southern Bapts P 137 9,000 18,000
Other Independent [31] I 488 30,652 70,500
Other denoms [204]   5,611 611,953 1,174,000
Total Christians [260]   27,580 11,327,000 18,572,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 10.8 3,354 +0.3%
Charismatic 10.5 3,262 +0.1%
  Pentecostal 1.3 398 +1.0%

Missionaries from Canada
P,I,A 7,094 in 152 agencies to 180 countries.

Missionaries to Canada
P,I,A 453 in 56 agencies from 31 countries: Korea 159, USA 114, UK 45.



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Challenges for Prayer

1 The Christian Church has become marginalized in Canadian society. Many major historic denominations have suffered disastrous declines in membership. The loss of biblical roots, lack of vision for evangelism, and compromise on ethical issues have all contributed to this tragic situation. The church has allowed pluralism and secularization to undermine its foundations. Canada needs revival.

2 Evangelical witness has generally declined through the 20th Century.

a) Evangelicals represented 25% of the population in 1900, but less than 8% in 1989; this had risen, however, to 10.8% by 2000. While evangelical and charismatic denominations were the fastest growing religious groups in Canada in the 1980s and '90s, the decline of the historic denominations more than offset this growth.

b) Canadian Evangelicals are working together more effectively than in earlier years but are still too fragmented. Pray for effective cooperation for the Kingdom.

c) There are positive signs. The newer evangelical groups are growing, using new structures and styles. The controversial 'Toronto Blessing' nevertheless stimulated much-needed renewal for many. Pray that evangelical Christians would further unite and make a decisive impact on this spiritually needy land.

3 Vision Canada, nurtured under the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, was launched by 40 denominations and agencies. The purpose: to serve the Body of Christ in evangelism so that every person in Canada will have the opportunity to see, hear and respond to the gospel by the year 2000. A formal goal of planting 10,000 new churches by 2015 was affirmed by leaders of 39 denominations in 1997. Since 1998 there has been a marked improvement in church planting activity in a wide array of denominational groups. Pray that this advance may be achieved.

4 The large number of Bible institutes, colleges and theological seminaries committed to a Biblical view of Scripture are fulfilling a major role in strengthening evangelical witness. They are mostly concentrated in the western Prairie provinces, and many are experiencing renewal and growth. Pray for the students and their teachers, that missions may be a central issue in their education.

5 French Canadians are 85% Catholic in culture, but a decreasing number of them (25%) ever attend mass. Pray for spiritual life and renewal in Catholic institutions and congregations, as Quebec has experienced four consecutive decades of secularization. Evangelicals are less than 1% of the Francophone population of the province, but have grown well from 1970-88 but more slowly to 2000. Pray for:

a) Increased receptivity amidst growing social and political change and instability. Evangelism is yielding less fruit than in the period 1975-85. For Vision Canada to be achieved, 2,300 Francophone congregations would need to be started in Quebec.

b) Quebec separatism, which is a potent political movement with unknown implications for Canada's future. Pray that the uncertainty of this may stimulate maturity and growth in the churches.

c) The small, but growing, French-speaking Protestant missionary force.

d) The growing prayer movement in Quebec that is bringing together believers from many denominations.

e) Continued growth in fruitful fellowship between denominations – there has been marked improvement since 1997.

6 Canadian indigenous peoples are largely Christian in name, but active evangelistic churches among them are desperately few. There are 2,400 reservations without an ongoing evangelical witness.

a) Pray for a moving of God's Spirit to overcome the shameful treatment of these people by whites in the past. The government has finally admitted the dismal failure of its policies towards indigenous peoples in the last 150 years. The church is assuming an increasing role in this reconciliation, but court cases against churches are rising over involvement in residential schools earlier in the 20th Century. Only the grace of God can enable the indigenous people to receive Christ despite serious economic and social problems, and strident anti-white, anti-Christian propaganda that draws many back into old animistic customs.

b) Pray for the growth of strong, well-led churches that are culturally appropriate. Especially pray for the development of indigenous leadership. There are many encouraging signs of growth and renewal in the native evangelical community, where a contextualized church is beginning to flourish.

c) Pray for missions seeking to evangelize and plant churches – often in the inhospitable northern parts of the country. Both denominational (Native Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, CMA, PAOC) and mission agencies, united as Inter-Mission Cooperative Outreach, are dedicated to this. Indigenous missions movements to evangelize their own are also developing.

d) Bible translation or revision is still needed. Revisions or translations are required in several of the 25 actively used languages. Five new translations of the New Testament or Bible have been completed in the last few years, leaving 12 works currently in progress. Pray for the translators with SIL and other groups. There are also an increasing number of Christian radio and TV programmes aimed at aboriginals.

e) The hundreds of thousands of native Canadian Indians living outside reservations are neglected and spiritually needy, especially in the cities, where poverty and substance abuse continues to afflict them.

7 The Inuit (Eskimo) in the Arctic are mostly Anglican in name, but the impact of the worst of Western civilization has greatly altered and harmed the Eskimo way of life. The suicide rate is four times the national average. The recent establishing of a new Inuit Territory, Nunavut, has given autonomy and hope to the local people. Likewise, since 1982, there has been evidence that the Holy Spirit is stirring, by waves of conversions and awakenings from nominalism. Helpful is the fact that the church is still often the centre of the community in these isolated northern towns. Pray that the new-found autonomy of the Inuit people would be made complete by finding freedom in Christ.

8 Immigrant communities have multiplied. Toronto claims to be the world's most racially diverse city. Vancouver is the world's second-largest Sikh city. Especially significant are:

a) Asian Indians (numbering 715,000) – 220,000 Sikhs (less than 0.1% Christian), 250,000 Hindus and 190,000 Muslims form the biggest bloc of unreached peoples in the country. OM and IT have teams ministering to them in Vancouver and Toronto.

b) Arabic-speaking peoples, mostly Muslim or Orthodox Christian; very little specific outreach to them has been undertaken. Most of the few believers are Lebanese or Palestinian.

c) The Southern and Eastern European communities with few evangelical churches.

d) The Chinese (930,000) who will soon number a million people with the steady influx of immigrants. There are over 100 growing churches among them in several cities. While growth is not a problem, assimilation and second-generation withdrawal from the church is. Pray also that Chinese churches would integrate well into the larger body of Christ in Canada.

9 Missionary vision has been great in the past, but the number of missionaries declined by 15% between 1992 and 1999. Giving to national missionaries and relief and development programmes, however, has increased in recent years. Pray for increased involvement by churches and individuals in the evangelization of the unreached in Canada and around the world. Pray for increased missionary concern in the many growing evangelical churches among the ethnic minorities; such a vision is vital for Canada, and could be strategic for the evangelization of their lands of origin. Pray also for the unifying and strategic work of the Task Force for Global Mission of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

10 Specialized ministries for prayer:

a) Christian media. There are a number of widely appreciated religious programmes on secular radio and TV networks, particularly Crossroads and It's a New Day. US Christian programmes continue to be larger in number, but the Canadian government has now allowed Vision TV, an interfaith network, to carry more programming.

b) Student ministries in the 272 colleges and universities. These give wide exposure to sections of the campus community. There are three movements linked with IVCF(IFES – English), GBU (French) and Ambassadors for Christ (Chinese). There are also extensive ministries linked with Navigators and CCCI. YFC and OAC have good ministries in high schools. Pray that these and other ministries may make a deep and lasting impact on nearly 1 million tertiary students.

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