A guest speaker from Zimbabwe raised concerns over the decrease in young people attending church activities in the South West of England.
Noah Kutukwa was invited by Christian Aid to talk about his experience of working for the charity in Zimbabwe. He toured various churches in South West England that support Christian Aid.
Though his talks were designed to inspire people he couldn’t help in noticing an unsettling trend throughout his tour, he said: “A decrease in youth participation in church activities is a concern for me.”
Mr Kutukwa, programme manager of Zimbabwe for Christian aid, said he failed to find any youth, even middle-aged people involved in church activities during his tour.
“You would see people who are here, they are in their 70s or plus and I ask myself ‘where is the youth?'” he said, “My question is, if these octogenarians die then who is going to be in the church?”
According to Mr Kutukwa, it is not just he who is concerned. “I talked to the local pastors. They are also worried about the trend,” he said.
Tony Hamilton, 74, area organiser in Broadstone for Christian Aid, said: “We used to have a barn dance every year for fund raising, but we cancelled this year because not enough people were willing to come.”
The number of young people participating in church activities has been dropping for several years, according to Mr Hamilton.
“We need younger people to participate but we don’t know how to get them,” he said.
Mr Hamilton, who is involved in various other activities, finds other organisations with similar difficulties.
For past 42 years, local people have been holding a walk along the Bournemouth and Poole seafronts to raise funds for Christian Aid.
Joan Percy, 72 who has been organising the walk for more than 10 years, said: “Now, there are less walkers walking to collect money.”
“Although, it used to be a lot more walkers collecting smaller amounts but now its fewer walkers but a lot of the churches are supporting them.”
Christian aid celebrates the Christian aid week in May every year, where people gather to hold various events to raise funds for the charity.
Stephen Dominy, regional co-ordinator for Christian Aid in Dorset, said: ”Every year in just one week of May, Dorset collects about £200,000.”
Main image credit: Harris Badar