Monday, March 21, 2011


An interesting part of my current position is that I am rarely in a church two Sundays in a row and in the one church that I have been to more than any other in the last 60 or so weeks, I reappear about once every six weeks, and the church I have been to second most regularly I reappear about once in every twelve weeks. While that irregularity and peripateticism is unsatisfactory for all the obvious reasons, one neat thing is that I get to see change in some churches happening before my eyes (i.e. I am supposing, on the basis of past experience, that it is harder to 'see' change when one is worshipping faithfully in the same service week by week).

Yesterday, participating in a service at church #1, I was very pleasantly surprised to find yet more new people than when I was there a month ago. I also performed some mental arithmetic: 80% of the large congregation were under the age of 60, with around 50% under the age of 20. By contrast, when I first visited that service several years ago, I would say 80% of the congregation were over the age of 60.

Good news. Anglican churches are not necessarily repositories of the past generations. Hallelujah!


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I don't suppose you will identify the congregation - or maybe surmise why it is attracting younger people?


Peter Carrell said...

It would be a surmise or two but I suggest the following factors:

committed families encouraging their young and teenage children to be involved

a cohesive youth group (i.e. the young people like being with each other in the context of worship)

commitment by the parish to provide a range of teaching ministries to children and teenagers (with no pressure for children and youth to leave the service if they do not want to do so)

quality music, liturgy, preaching

confident, appropriate leadership

Then I would identify this: a good core of younger families mean other younger families like the younger family feel to the service when they visit ... so it goes from strength to strength.

Michael Reddell said...

I think I know what you meant, altho talk of the over 60s as "past generations" seems about as inappropriate as talk of children young people as "tomorrow's church". Both are today's church, and today's generations, but it is good to find congregations that effectively encompass all generations. We were reflecting only recently on the congregation of our own traditional service: 5 years ago probably 80% over 60s, and now perhaps 40-50%. I think your last point resonates with our experience: the presence of younger people, incl with children, makes other relatively younger people more comfortable coming and staying.