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Young people more involved with church during pandemic, report suggests

16 April 2021

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PRAYING, reading the Bible, and church attendance have all increased among young people during the pandemic, a new survey suggests.

A poll carried out by Savanta ComRes, on behalf of YourNeighbour’s “Give Hope” campaign, of 2065 people of all ages across the UK revealed that 46 per cent of those aged between 18 and 34 years had prayed more often during lockdown. In addition, 29 per cent had attended church more often, either online or in person, than before, and 15 per cent said that they read the Bible more frequently than previously.

YourNeighbour’s “Give Hope” campaign ran throughout Lent (News, 26 February). The online survey was carried out between Good Friday and Easter Day, and asked participants to what extent they agreed with a series of statements.

An initiative of the Good Faith Foundation, YourNeighbour is a multi-denominational UK church response to Covid-19. One of the co-founders, Dr Russell Rook, said: “Young people are facing indirect but significant effects on their mental well-being, their family’s finances, and their education and job prospects.

“The study shows that many have found a sense of comfort and purpose in faith and prayer and have been able to navigate some of the uncertainty by developing and investing more deliberately into their spiritual lives.”

The figures, which are also broken down by region, show a total of 35 per cent across all age ranges in London as being more open to having conversations about spirituality since the pandemic began. There has been an upturn in the north-east, where 24 per cent of respondents said that they were now more open about their faith. In Wales, 13 per cent are more open to conversations about faith; in the east of England, 14 per cent.

The number of people giving, either financially or volunteering, declines among those aged 45 to 54. Just nine per cent of this group said that they had given more financially to churches during lockdown, compared with 23 per cent aged between 18 and 24. Around two in ten people in this age group said that they had volunteered for church-led community initiatives as a result of the pandemic, compared with seven per cent aged between 45 and 54.

The chief executive of Stewardship, which is a partner with YourNeighbour for the “Give Hope” campaign, Stewart McCulloch, said: “Young people have not only engaged with churches more during the pandemic, but more than one in four have been more likely to give more financially than they had previously to the work local churches are doing to continue to support the practical and spiritual needs of their communities.”

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