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Study: One in six young people identify as Christian

Children at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles watch a broadcast of Pope Francis as he celebrates Mass and the canonization of Junipero Serra in Washington (CNS photo/Lucy Nicholson, Reuters)

A recent study indicates that there may be a higher number of young, practising Christians than anticipated.

The study, commissioned by the Christian youth organisation Hope Revolution Partnership and performed by ComRes, found that 21 per cent of people between the ages 11 and 18 identify as active followers of Jesus. Thirteen per cent of these individuals report actively practising Christianity and attending church services.

These figures contradict past findings by the church statistician Dr. Peter Brierley. His figures, gathered in 2006, indicated that six per cent of 11-14 year-olds and five per cent of 15-18 year-olds attend church.

The present research found that the increase might be due to visits to churches or cathedrals. In the study, approximately 13 per cent of teenagers reported choosing to become Christian after visiting a church or cathedral.

Jimmy Dale, the Church of England’s national youth evangelism officer, said that the results were shocking in an interview with The Telegraph.

“There was disbelief among the team because [the figures] were so high,” he said.

The study also found that churches and cathedrals were more effective in drawing young people to Christianity than other methods such as youth groups.

“This shows the power of church buildings – they are powerful for all sorts of reasons,” the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, said.