I’ve just come across this informative CofE Research Booklet on what millennials think about weddings (cover above) which is available on the CofE print hub. There is also a 12/4/18 CofE press release on the subject. The research was done over two days last November with over 1000 unmarried people between the ages of 18 and 35. In part, it’s an update to the work done 10 years ago on the CofE weddings project. And it provides some useful insights.
Given what this new research says, plus the characteristics of rural churches, I think rural churches may actually have some advantages in attracting weddings.
So what are the characteristics of rural churches? (Insights sourced from a post by Jill Hopkinson on growing rural church, plus the Church Times’s spread on rural churches). Compared with urban churches CofE rural churches:
- make up around 2/3rds of CofE parishes and churches;
- have 40% of the CofE’s regular attendance;
- congregations are a bigger % of the local population;
- are more engaged with the local community;
- generally have buildings which are smaller and older;
- generally have older congregations;
- in some places are the last public building in their community.
Given what the millennial marriage research says how do these characteristics give rural churches an advantage in attracting weddings?
|As you can see from the picture on the left page 10 of the research draws out that
– when considering where to hold their wedding –
people are much more likely to consider places that mean something to them, somewhere they could personalise, somewhere traditional and historic.
With more engagement with their community rural churches may often still mean something to people – even when they are not regular church goers.
And rural churches also tend to have older more historic buildings.
|The picture to the right shows page 14 of the research booklet. Given what it says it is clearly important to promote church weddings more to, and through, all those who already have connections with church.
Another part of the research shows family as a top influencer as concerns wedding plans.
Maybe our older congregations can be a key way of communicating to their families your welcome to those getting married ?
As another top influencer on wedding plans is social media – maybe posts by your silver surfers might also extend a welcome as well as church posts of happy couples after their wedding.
The other research finding that struck me was that 43% of all unmarried people, (54% of unmarried females), had thought about their future weddings by the time they were 16. Maybe there is something we could be doing with schools on this subject?