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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

This study examines the theory promoted by the recent Church of England report Children in the Way that active work among children sustains and enhances church life among adults, by measuring the relationship between the presence of active children's work and indices of adult church membership in a sample of 1,570 non-rural parishes ranging in size from 2,000 to 15,000 inhabitants. After controlling for the influence of population size, the number of names on the electoral roll, the amalgamation of churches within multi-parish benefices, the age of the clergyman and whether or not there is an occupied parsonage within the area served by the church, the presence of active children's work among 2-13 year olds is shown to enhance both the number of adults who attend church on a normal Sunday and the number of adults who present themselves for confirmation during a normal year. These findings suggest that by encouraging debate on the place of children in the church, at parish, diocesan and national levels, the report Children in the Way may not only have raised the profile of children's work but stimulated a major contribution to the Decade of Evangelism.


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