The United Church of Canada just launched this three-year $9 million campaign called Emerging Spirit.
The ads, created in partnership with Toronto-based communications firm Smith Roberts and Co., are part of an effort to build awareness of the website www.wondercafe.ca, said Howard, executive director of the project.
WonderCafe.ca, developed by the church’s Emerging Spirit team of Internet experts, hopes to connect with 30-to-45-year-old Canadians who don’t have a faith community but are deeply interested in things spiritual, Moderator Right Rev. David Giuliano, the church’s top official, told a news conference at St. Andrews United Church in downtown Toronto.
A 16-month-long Environics Research Group study that included interviews and questionnaires involving a host of participants indicated that a majority of 30-45 year olds “believe in God, that this belief shapes their lives, and that nearly half pray each day,” said Giuliano. That’s the “good news.”
The “bad news,” he said, “is that a majority of them see the church as judgmental, arrogant, boring and not able to respond to their spiritual and moral needs.”
WonderCafe was launched in hopes of overcoming this negative view of organized religion, he said.
The church sees the website “as a gathering place for people with faith questions … and as having a neighbourhood cafe feel to it,” said Giuliano.
It offers surfers who are not interested in attending church – at least not right away – a chance to discuss faith and spirituality with others who are interested in similar issues, he said.