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When the young reconsider their religion

by
05 October 2012

iStock

From J. Strawson
Sir, - I read with interest Jo Swinney's article "I'm not coming to church any more" (Features, 28 September). Our two boys, both in their 20s, were brought up in an Evangelical Anglican church with a strong children's and youth ministry. Both, however, drifted away from church, and became disenchanted with Christianity in their early teens.

What we have learned from the past ten years is that this is all about relationship, and certainly not about filling the family pew, nice as that would be.

Our older son wanted to spend some time volunteering abroad at the end of his second year at univer­sity, and, through our connections, we were able to arrange for him to spend two weeks with a Christian development charity in Africa. It was that experience, along with the sup­port of Christian friends from his previous school, that helped him to make a commitment as a Chris­tian at age 21. He chose to join a house church, where we joyfully attended his full-immersion baptism.

Our younger son, now living at home after three years at university, is currently going through a time of huge questioning. Forget Alpha: this is hard-core. My husband and I are both in church leadership, and our exhausted 60-something-year-old brains are no doubt benefiting from the workout that they are getting, rethinking areas of our faith which have not seen the light of day for years. We hope and pray that he will eventually come to faith, but would never seek to control him.

Our older son's faith is far stronger as a result of his time of questioning. He has now made it his own.

It is all about allowing each child to be the person God made him or her to be, not trying to fit them into our mould. I would say to your readers: if your returned son or daughter does not want to go to church with you, have you thought about missing church for once, just to spend a bit of catch-up time with him or her?

J. STRAWSON
55 Northwood Avenue
Purley CR8 2ER

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