Recently I heard the Anglican Bishop of Ottawa, John Chapman, speak at the AGM of a local community chaplaincy. Bishop Chapman described the evolution of community ministries from the rise of the social gospel to the heady days of the 80s when churches and other organizations had plenty of money and energy to offer community-based ministries and anti-poverty initiatives. And then, said Bishop Chapman, came the rise of global capitalism and the notion that the needy could be divided into deserving and undeserving, and retrenchment began. Now, we’re in a position where churches are losing their own staff. The pot of money available not just to community ministries but to churches is smaller. Organizations have to fight for enough funding simply to survive.
“Where has all the money gone?” I thought. “Why are all these organizations struggling? What happened to the money that was so abundantly available 25 or 30 years ago?”