I'm reading a book called The Loyalists, by Canadian historian, Christopher Moore. I like Moore. When we homeschooled, we read through his excellent book The Story of Canada. This book, which is about the United Empire Loyalists, as the title suggests, is equally readable.
The first two chapters are about the build up to the American Revolution. Moore discusses something of interest to me as a Christian. In his disscussion about the condition of the thirteen colonies prior to the revolution, he mentions the fact that despite their official designation as "colonies," life in those colonies was actually quite independent. The way colonization was to work, the colonies provided the raw materials for Britain's goods, as well as the market for the finished products. Increasingly, the colonies became independent from Britain, shipping some of their own finished products.
Another way that this independence was seen is in the religious life. Whereas Britain was dominated by the Church of England the colonies didn't continue that practice. Rather, Congregationalist, Quaker, and Baptist congregations began to flourish. This makes sense, because much of the colonization to the United States occurred after the rise of Puritanism, which had put a dent in the dominance of the Church of England at the time of the civil war. The communities in Massachussets were, of course, very Puritan. Quite simply, the Churh of England just never took off in the colonies.
The same cannot be said of the religious life of the colonies here in Canada. The overwhelming influence of the Roman Catholic church and then the Church of England means that the history of the Church here in Canada played out differently. This means, then, that the kinds of people who came to Canada from Britain were of a different sort than those who first went to the United States. While Canada and the United share some common ancestral roots, the differences make for two very different countrites today. If we have any "bible belt" area, I think it's safe to say it isn't here in Ontario. Perhaps, Alberta may be more like that, and its settlement is much later than Ontario; it didn't join the union until 1905, and by then, much of the new settlement was coming from Europe and the United States.
If you drive through rural southern Ontario, especially where I live, and further east toward Ottawa, you will find that there are Anglican churches in every little town. I notice these little churches because they're filled with beautiful, old cemeteries, some of them which have been given United Empire Loyalist designations.
I found this rather interesting. It may seem boring to some, but we must remember that the Church lives in the world and is affected by the times. I like this kind of thing, anyway. I'm currently looking for a history of the Church that deals with how it spread in Canada, but that is a very difficult creature to find thus far.