Churchgoers plan for a generous New Year

30 December 2008

by Ed Beavan

ONE THIRD of churchgoers plan to defy the recession and give more to charity in 2009. In answer to a poll commissioned by the Church Times, only two per cent said that they expected to give less.

The poll was conducted online by ComRes on 22 December. Answers were received from 458 Christians across the denominations. In total, 36 per cent planned to increase their giving; 59 per cent planned to give the same amount.

The findings for giving to churches were similar: 56 per cent plan to maintain the same level of giving, and 37 per cent believe they can increase their donations.

Katie Harrison of Tearfund said that the survey’s findings were encouraging. The agency’s income has not been affected by the credit crunch so far, and spending cuts to operational and partner-agency programmes would be a last resort.

“Tearfund supporters have been consistent in giving generously and sacrificially, out of income not out of surplus, and we’re immensely grateful for their support.”

Martin Birch, finance director at Christian Aid, said that its six-monthly results to the end of September were “reassuringly positive and in line with our target”, and incomes continued to grow.

“My sense is that faith-based charities will be more resilient during the econ­omic downturn than secular organ­isations, which may have gained large numbers of new supporters very quickly.”

Andrea Russell, of the World Vision charity, said the survey’s findings were “fantastic”. “The statistics are really encour­aging and are a reflection of the funda­mental principles of the Christian faith, to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to serve the poor.”

John Preston, resources and stewardship officer at Church House, said that the survey con­firmed Anglicans were committed givers, placing a priority on giving to both church and charity.

“This support for God’s mission is vital, coming at a time when past­oral needs and mission opportun­ities will increase as a result of the financial downturn.”

ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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