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    Economics and Faith

    Mike Wood Daly

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    Mike Wood Daly

    Mike Wood Daly is the Founder and Research Director of the Halo Canada Project. With studies completed now in more than 100 congregations Canada-wide, the Halo Project helps religious communities reimagine their relationship with Canadian society through the lens of social benefit.


    Mike is also a Community Engagement Associate with the Trinity Centres Foundation, a new Canadian charity established to transform 100 historic city-centre church buildings into community hubs.


    A resourceful communicator, educator, and community developer, Mike has more than 35 years experience working with individuals, community non-profits, religious congregations and denominational leaders to empower and effect community change.

    Mike holds a Doctor of Ministry in Community Development from McMaster University. He is a former congregational minister with the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, founded and served as the Executive Director of Ground Level Youth Ventures and most recently served as Degree Administrator and Research Associate with the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Toronto School of Theology (University of Toronto).

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    The church in Canada is in trouble. Media reports suggest that nine thousand churches are likely to close over the next ten years. The United Church of Canada reports closing a congregation a week. The Anglican Church in Canada anticipates closing its last congregation by 2040, and the Roman Catholic Church, Canada's largest religious denomination, reports having closed one-fifth of the tradition's 2,500 congregations.


    God Doesn't Live Here Anymore traces the story of the church in Canada from its far-off historical roots in biblical times, rise to dominance in medieval Europe, role in the colonization of Canada, strained relations with Canada's First Nations, twentieth-century prominence, and the church's dramatic decline and loss of influence entering the twenty-first century.


    Wood Daly pulls no punches in calling the church to accept responsibility for its own decline, while maintaining hope that resurrection is still possible. The church, as Canadians know it, might disappear, but for Christians, death has never been the end of the story.


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  • What People are Saying

    “Despite the ominous title, Michael Wood Daly offers hope—that rather than leaving Canada, God is living in different places and people than a century ago. Amidst the loss of church buildings and other places of worship because dwindling faith communities are no longer able to support them, this book may be ushering in a new, more diverse movement across Canada of dynamic spiritual life for the twenty-first century.”
    President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

    “In this innovative and timely book, Wood Daly correctly observes that for many, the church as we know it has simply lost its relevance. . . . Historically, institutional religion faced many crises and managed to rebound. Our generationally needed rebound is yet unclear. While the focus is on Canada, every student of religion in all Western countries should be assigned this book.”
    University of Pennsylvania

    “Brave, credible, necessary, and urgent. Every congregation, adjudicatory, municipality, activist, or fund looking at the future of Canada’s places of faith must read this carefully. Wood Daly’s skill, experience, and love for the Canadian church all combine for this essential diagnosis and prescription.”
    CEO, Trinity Centres Foundation

    “Michael Wood Daly weaves together his personal experience of church life and mission in Canada with an integrated and engaging discussion of Canadian church history and the latest research on the health and life of the church. In addition, he makes an important contribution by critically engaging the dark history of the mission of Christian churches in Canada in relation to indigenous people on Turtle Island.”
    Knox College, University of Toronto

    “A stimulating, richly documented, and well-written contribution to an understanding of the origins of the Christian church and its rise and fall in Europe and Canada. Wood Daly sees the current situation as a place from which resurrection is possible—a place from which the church in Canada can start again and God can live again. This provocative book warrants a wide reading and a significant response.”
    University of Lethbridge

    “Wood Daly offers realistic, courageous insight into the decline and transformation of the church in Canada without descending into pessimism or despair. The historical account he offers is especially rich. Above all, this book’s hopefulness about the goodness of God and the enduring importance of God’s purposes, beyond the emptying buildings and the dying forms of Christianity, challenges the complacency of today’s churches and inspires a new future.”
    Atlantic School of Theology

    “There are few researchers like Michael Wood Daly with their finger on both the pulse and the survey data of Canadian church life. For both the sober reality and a thoughtful contemporary examination of the way ahead for people of faith, this is the book to read.”
    General Secretary, The Canadian Council of Churches

    There are no published blog posts yet.

    Currently, I'm involved in a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
    I live in the Parkdale area of downtown Toronto with my wife Jan, and Tucker, our eight-year-old coon hound.
    Our adult daughter, Bethany, lives down the street and around the corner - love it!
    I'm involved in writing, speaking, imagining, re-imagining, and most of all discovering with friends, colleagues, churches, and other faith groups
    what it means to be faithful and impactful in this increasingly post-Christian society.
    Below is just a sampling of some of the bigger things I've been up to lately.
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    The Halo Canada Project helps congregations connect with their surrounding neighbourhoods by helping them understand their social impact in real dollars.
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    The Trinity Centres Foundation transforms faith properties for community impact.

    Applying a new social business model that generates both societal and economic value, the Foundation is committed to enabling church properties to continue to facilitate positive change, while maintaining a secure financial future. In the process, we help groups to innovative new ways of delivering services, while advancing social inclusion and revitalizing communities and local neighbourhoods.
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    What is Halo Effect?
    Halo Effect is a measure of the socio-economic benefit that a religious congregation contributes to its local community.

    Halo Effect is expressed as a multiplier. This multiplier is determined by our research methodology (described below). Based on the most recent research, the multiplier is $3.39. This means that for every dollar that a congregation spends, the local community on average receives $3.39 in economic benefit.

    This $3.39 represents the median nation-wide value. For rural congregations, the median value is $5.02. For urban congregations, it is $3.32.

    Halo Effect for Canada as a whole is currently estimated to be $18.2 billion. Although religious congregations do not exist for the purpose of benefiting the economy, their economic benefit is in fact significant. Furthermore, if governments or other agencies had to replace the programs and services that congregations provide to their local communities, the cost would be immense
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    Valuing Toronto's Faith Congregations. The Halo Project - Phase One

    Wood Daly, Mike (2016) "Valuing Toronto's Faith Congregations. The Halo Project - Phase One" (Cardus: Hamilton). https://www.cardus.ca/research/communities/reports/valuing-torontos-faith-congregations/

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    Dollars and $ense: Uncovering the Socio-Economic Benefit of Religious Congregations in Canada

    Wood Daly, M. (2020). Dollars and $ense: Uncovering the Socio-Economic Benefit of Religious Congregations in Canada. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, 49(4), 587–610. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008429820921498
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    TAXING FAITH Halo Effect and the Implications of Taxing Canadian Places of Worship

    Wood Daly, M. (2021). Taxing Faith: Halo Effect and the Implications of Taxing Canadian Places of Worship. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, 50(3), 397–418. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008429820957643
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