Archives For church attendance

I could easily spend several hours every week “having coffee” with people I know who have stopped going to church services. I like talking to people who are either well on the fringe of church (having moved from the centre) or have left completely. I like talking with these people because I appreciate hearing stories of their experiences and often frustration with church. If I didn’t work for the church I might be one of these people.

Whenever I see a bus telling me it isn’t in service, I think of Sundays and churches and those who aren’t in church services on Sundays, especially those who used to be but aren’t anymore.  There’s another way to frame “NOT IN SERVICE” and I’ll end this post with that.

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It’s been a while since I went to a hair dresser. I still remember what it was like. It’s not actually something I miss. My stereotype of hairdressers are people who talk a lot all day with many different people. They have their ear to the ground, their finger on the pulse, and are probably happy to give their opinion about anything (I say that all positively).

For my doctoral research I interviewed some people who were not what I defined as being Christianised.  I wanted to gain their perception of the Christian church in New Zealand. One of these people was a 30-year-old male hairdresser working in the inner city who was born and grew up in Christchurch.  He had some fascinating thoughts about the Anglican cathedral which was a central icon in the inner city.  This is part of his story:

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I only found this out last year and the answer was not what I had expected. Since then, as conversations have allowed, I’ve been asking people to tell me a decade when they think church attendance peaked. Not many people have given me the right answer.

When do you think it was?

It’s a pretty blunt tool to use as an indicator of the church’s health in a country, but people going to Sunday church services regularly does indicate something of their commitment to the traditional way of being “the church”.
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