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Almost half of elderly Christians think church leaders failed to offer pastoral support during the pandemic, survey shows

by Kelly Valencia

At least 41 per cent of UK Christians aged 65 and over said the church leadership failed to offer pastoral support during the pandemic. 

A new survey commissioned by Premier and carried out by Savanta ComRes asked more than 2,000 congregants from across the UK about their church's performance as Covid lockdowns were imposed. 

Speaking to Premier, Jamie Hill, the head of the Christian charity Faith in Later Life, said its unfair just to blame church leaders. 

"I think looking back at the pandemic, we see that church leaders were no more informed than the rest of us as to how to walk through this and figure it out. And they were incredibly stretched. Many of them had to become tech experts overnight and learn how to do zoom and online church and all those sorts of things.

"Without question, there's going to be some blind spots. But I think the wider challenge for me looking at this statistic is still that perception that well, it all has to come from the church leader," he said. 

Hill argues that all Christians need to play a part in providing pastoral support and thinks this figure is an opportunity for all churchgoers to think more outwardly.

"If we're in Christ, were part of the answer to this issue, we're part of the solution, we're part of the congregation that needs to be looking out for those that are invisible, and often the unheard in our congregation. So, there's a challenge for me as to how the rest of the church actually really engages in pastoral support and pastoral care for each other," he added. 

The survey also found that more than 60 percent of the 2,000 people questioned say they will not return to church with the same regularity.

Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier said: "I hope this news serves as a catalyst for progress and improvement to reflect the life changes people have endured throughout the pandemic. It's time for church leaders to hold challenging but meaningful conversations, and to find sustainable solutions."

"There is much to do if Christianity in the UK is to thrive in the 21st Century. This Christmas season is really a wake up call!" he concluded. 

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