Those Census Figures
Only the N.S.W. figures for religious denominations have so far been published. They are as follows:— 1,293,964 Anglicans, 676,993 Roman Catholics, 262,166 Presbyterians, 246,876 Methodists, 34,935 Baptists, 19,331 Congregationalisms, 13,194 Hebrews, 10,871 Salvation Army, 10,269 Church of Christ, and 7,226 members of the Greek Church. Of the others 21,084 were Protestants (undefined), 9,511 profess no religion, 7,157 were Seventh Day Adventists, 5,915 Lutherans and 5,389 Christian Science members.
Mr. R. S. Byrnes, General Secretary of our Church in Queensland (formerly Home Missions Secretary in N.S.W.) makes these comments:—
"The summary is illuminating in many respects. It shows, for example:
(a) That a dead-weight of nominal Anglicanism still rests on New South Wales and, presumably, on Australia. Their figures show 1,293,000 out of the total population for the State (Christian and non-Christian) of 2,984,000.
(b) That the Roman Catholic (and Catholic combined) have now reached 677,000, an increase of 121,000 persons. The figures, also show that their propaganda to cause their people to describe themselves as "Catholic" instead of Roman Catholic is having considerable effect. The "Catholics" in 1933
were 67,000—in 1947 they were 408,000.
(c) That despite our lamentable increase, which can hardly be called an increase at all, we are still, on absolute figures, about 15,000 ahead of the Methodists.' Our increase in numbers, however, over the fourteen years was only a little over 4,000.
(d) The fact that 332,000 gave no reply to the question on religion is also significant.
I think that basic to the whole problem is the reluctance of ministers and office-bearers (speaking generally) to see new causes set up within the parish bounds or just beyond. The minister shrinks from more work and the office-bearers fear that they will lose revenue. Training in the hall is a factor where, I think, we are losing sight of the principle that the main job for which ministers are trained is not to maintain the existing system but to push out the frontiers of the Kingdom of God. Still another factor is the conservative investment policy of our Trustees and Finance Boards. Even allowing for the fact that with most central funds we must use trustee investments, I think there might be a greater readiness with money which is not so restricted, to invest in congregations and buildings rather than in mortgages and Commonwealth loans."