TheStar.com | News | Exodus II a test for churches
More than 400 churches closed in downtown Toronto in the last half of the 20th century, Ryan said, resulting in a shift in identity for organized religion toward the source of its only growth: the suburban middle class...Organized religion also began to believe that caring for the poor was the government's job, and not a personal responsibility. "The church has largely abrogated its leadership role as a voice for the voiceless," he said.
The Salvation Army, he said, maintains a shelter downtown and continues to both feed and house the poor. But this work is widely regarded as a charitable service for others and remains largely disconnected from the daily lives of church members, Ryan said.
The challenge of the coming years, he said, will be to be the voice of the poor as the middle class moves back downtown.