A Church of England study revealed that students at three university cities are more likely to attend Sunday services than the general public, reports Oxford’s student paper, Cherwell.
Students at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham are twice likely to worship in college chapels in 2016. On an average Sunday, the report showed that 1,685 students regularly attend services and they are joined by about 1,500 non-students, including locals, tourists, and children.
Analyzing the data, Rev. Bash said a traditional setting of church services may be agreeable to older members of the church, but not to those belonging to the younger generation.
Reverend Wendy Wale of Wadham said resources and proximity of the chapel are factors why students go to church. “There is a chapel plonked right in the middle of people’s worlds – it is very easy to go and doesn’t require a commitment of faith.”
An international student attending services at Wadham chapel said worshiping at a college chapel feels “more authentic” because he’s having fellowship with his peers.
Meantime, another study of the Church of England found a 12% decrease in church attendance from 2006 to 2016 in England.
Rev. Professor Anthony Bash, who teaches at the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham, admitted a decline in the number of church goers, but not a decline in the interest in spirituality, reports Premier.
“What I observed from among students is that there’s a great hunger to explore questions to do with spirituality,” he said.
Analyzing the data, Rev. Bash said a traditional setting of church services may be agreeable to older members of the church, but not to those belonging to the younger generation. “They key is to listen to what people are saying and thinking and seek to adapt forms and patterns of worship that serve that constituency.”
He concluded that the church must “rethink and reimagine” how to connect with the community since every age group needs a different style of worship.