Money for Good and Other News

BRIN certainly cannot trump the unprecedented inauguration of new leaders of the global Catholic and Anglican communions within the same week. But, on a business-as-usual level, here are six more religious statistical stories for your edification.

Money for good UK

So-called ‘faith-based donors’ make a significant contribution to the UK’s charitable giving and volunteering scene, according to a report – Money for Good UK: Understanding Donor Motivation and Behaviour (by Sally Bagwell, Lucy de Las Casas, Matt van Poortvliet, and Rob Abercrombie) – released on 14 March 2013 by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC). It is based on online research conducted by Ipsos MORI in October 2012 among 3,005 UK adults aged 18 and over, sub-divided into six groups: donors and non-donors for each of three income bands.

Donors were segmented into seven categories, one of them being ‘faith-based donors’. They were motivated by faith and community interests, being particularly likely to state a religious affiliation and to give money at their place of worship. They were disproportionately over-65 and from ethnic minorities. They especially supported religious causes and overseas aid agencies. They were also above-average volunteers, especially giving time to religious organizations and children.

‘Faith-based donors’ comprised 11% of all ‘mainstream donors’ (those having a household income up to £150,000) but they accounted for 32% of all charitable donations during the past year, with an average donation of £906, six times the amount given by ‘ad hoc givers’. Likewise, only 4% of ‘high-income donors’ (with a household income in excess of £150,000) were ‘faith-based donors’, yet they contributed 12% of all donations for this sub-sample, the average donation of £3,687 being six and a half times greater than for the ‘ad hoc givers’. Across both ‘mainstream’ and ‘high-income donors’, ‘faith-based donors’ also showed the greatest potential increase for giving, in cash terms.

For ‘mainstream donors’ as a whole, 34% had no religion, 58% were Christians, and 7% non-Christians. Religious organizations (including places of worship) came ninth equal on the list of causes financially supported by ‘mainstream donors’ during the previous year, 23% having made a donation to them. The list was headed by medical research (to which 49% of ‘mainstream donors’ had given), hospitals and hospices (45%), children or young people (40%), and animal welfare (40%). However, religious organizations topped the table of causes to which ‘mainstream donors’ had given time during the past year, 12% having done so. For ‘high-income donors’ 23% had given money and 8% time to religious organizations during the previous twelve months.

A range of documentation relating to the survey, including a link to the NPC website, can be accessed from:

Same-sex marriage

By a curious coincidence, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill completed its committee stage in the House of Commons on 12 March 2013 just a day before Oxford University Press published the advance access version of a new article which will eventually appear in the online and print versions of the journal Parliamentary Affairs: Ben Clements (University of Leicester), ‘Partisan Attachments and Attitudes towards Same-Sex Marriage in Britain’. A pay-per-view option is already available at:

At the core of the article is a review of British public opinion towards same-sex marriage at two points in time: June-November 2008 (NatCen/British Social Attitudes Survey) and March 2012 (a YouGov survey). Results are reviewed by sex, age, ethnicity, education, political partisanship (the author’s predominant concern), newspaper readership, and religious affiliation, initially through bivariate and then by multivariate analysis.

The overall increase in support for same-sex marriage between these two surveys was found to be 10%, reaching 13% for those professing no faith, among whom the majority (56%) in 2012 endorsed same-sex marriage. Below-average increases (3% and 4% respectively) were recorded for Anglicans and Catholics, with only 24% of the former and 39% of the latter favouring same-sex marriage in 2012. The leaders of both these Churches have been at the forefront of opposing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. For non-Christians support for same-sex marriage actually declined by 6% between 2008 and 2012, to stand at 34%, but the numbers sampled were small.

The subsequent multivariate analysis revealed that, in terms of religious affiliation, ‘regardless of faith or denomination, all adherents are less supportive of same-sex marriage than those with no religion. A similar pattern is evident for attitudes towards civil partnerships, with the exception that there is no significant difference for Catholics. The clear religious basis of opposition to gay marriage parallels the US public literature on this issue, which shows strong effects for affiliation, as well as confirming findings from earlier research into religious identification and moral attitudes in Britain, whereby those with no religious affiliation tended to be more liberal on moral issues.’

Church of England ordinands

The number of Church of England ordinands in training for the ministry in 2012/13 is 3% up on 2011/12, according to figures released by the Church of England on 11 March 2013. Of the total of 1,232, 581 (47%) are attending one of the dozen theological colleges and 651 are being trained on one of the sixteen available courses. The number at college is 6% up on the previous year compared with just 1% on the courses.

Two in five ordinands (39%) are women, but the proportion is only 29% for ordinands at college against 48% on courses. The number of under-30s who commenced training in 2012 was 113, the highest since 1993, and 22% of all accepted as ordinands. The figure for 2011 was only 77. The Ministry Division of the Archbishops’ Council is continuing to be proactive in recruiting both young ordinands and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Its press release can be found at:

Centre for Church Growth Research

A Centre for Church Growth Research has recently started at Cranmer Hall, part of St Johns College, Durham. Its primary focus will be the UK, but it will also explore international dimensions of church growth. Cranmer Hall’s current research for the Church of England’s church growth programme will come under the auspices of the Centre. Among future projects will be a study of new churches in the north of England. 

The Centre, which will be run on a day-to-day basis by Dr David Goodhew, has an advisory board whose members include Professor David Martin (London School of Economics), Dr Alana Harris (Lincoln College, Oxford), Dr Peter Brierley (Brierley Consulting), and Professor David Bebbington (University of Stirling). The first major event of the Centre is a conference ‘Towards a Theology of Church Growth’ to be held on 12-13 September 2013. More information can be found on the Centre’s website at:

Religious education in English schools

A fairly downbeat assessment of the state of religious education (RE) in schools is contained in a report published on 18 March 2013 by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education, chaired by Stephen Lloyd, MP. Much of the blame for the situation is lain at the door of the Government: ‘A raft of recent policies have had the effect of downgrading RE in status on the school curriculum, and the subject is now under threat as never before … ’

The Group’s findings are based on a mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence. Oral evidence was taken from 12 organizational leaders and written evidence submitted by 65 corporate bodies and individuals. The quantitative content derives from a reworking of existing statistics (Department for Education workforce census, Ofsted reports, and so forth) and a questionnaire survey among RE leaders/heads of department in English primary and secondary schools, of whom 300 and 130 respectively responded.

In 56% of the primary schools surveyed pupils are being taught RE by someone other than their class teacher, and in 24% some or all classes are taught RE by teaching assistants. Although all but two schools have a named RE leader, four-fifths report a regular turnover in the incumbents, few remaining in post for more than three years. The majority of leaders either have no qualification in RE (37%) or no qualification beyond GCSE/O Level (29%), and 9% have received no RE-specific CPD during the past three years.

RE: The Truth Unmasked – The Supply of and Support for Religious Education Teachers is available to download from:


Workplace pressures have induced 16% of Britons to resort to meditation at some point, according to a Populus poll for Mind released on 19 March, and based on online interviews with 2,117 full- or part-time adult workers between 6 and 10 March 2013. The proportion using meditation as a coping mechanism peaked among Londoners (27%), people aged 25-34 (21%), and the highest (AB) social group (20%). Workers meditating on a weekly basis numbered 11% and daily 4%. Full details contained in table 15 at:


British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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