08 June 2014

Religious people "are more charitable" - Church response to BBC stats

• Spin the Wheel of Generosity

According to statistics released by the BBC today, people who practise a religion are more likely to say they have given to charity in the last month than those who don't.

The ComRes survey, commissioned by the BBC showed that:
• Three quarters of people in living in England who practise a religion (77%) have given to charity in the past month. This compares to only two thirds of English people who do not practise a religion (67%).
• They are also more likely to believe their friends or family donate. 73% of religious practitioners believe their friends or family have donated to charity in the past month, compared to 64% of those who do not practise a religion.

This year, the Methodist Church is encouraging people to rethink what it means to be generous in their local contexts as part of the A Generous Life campaign.

Responding to the statistics, the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, said: "Religious faith should motivate people to acts of generosity and it's good to see this reflected in these figures. Of course, financial giving is only part of the picture. For some people a simple act of kindness, or the very fact that someone has made time for them, can mean more than any financial gift. But every act of generosity, however small, bears witness to a generous and loving God and helps to change the world for good."

A range of resources is available to help congregations explore their vision, commitment and generosity within the local church and its community. People can also spin an online Wheel of Generosity and commit to small acts of kindness as part of the Church's campaign.

When asked about the people who had inspired them to be generous, one respondent said:

"When the woman who worked as my cleaner and childminder in South Africa (a 'domestic worker') offered to take on an AIDS orphan who was rummaging through our bin on bin collection day - she had so little but was willing to give so much. It inspired me to adopt a child permanently as a member of our family."

Another said:

"I am what I am today because of the generosity of time and energy of my Boys' Brigade Officers in Scotland. I was there for five years, walked out at the end of those five years and have never seen them again. They may think they had failed but they planted a seed. One day we will meet again and they will be so surprised that I not only became a Christian but a minister."

1. Methodology Note: ComRes interviewed 2,606 English adults by telephone between 28th February and 23rd March 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+.
2. A range of images to accompany A Generous Life can be found online here.

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