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05 March 2013

Churches failing in push for blood and organ donation

Churches failing in push for blood and organ donation

Churches in the UK are not doing enough to encourage blood and organ donation as part of their Christian giving, according to a new survey.

Although individual church members have a significant interest in donating, it is not fuelled by church teaching.

The survey of 3,171 regular churchgoers was conducted by Christian Research on behalf of Kore, as part of the fleshandblood campaign, of which the Alliance is an associate.

It found that one in 10 Christians have given blood in the past 12 months, compared to four per cent of the general population who have given blood in the past two years.

Almost half of all Christians are registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register, compared with 31 per cent of the general population. Around 35 per cent of clergy also consider blood and organ donation as a part of their Christian giving, compared with 24 per cent of non-clergy.

Just 0.3 per cent of respondents said blood and organ donation was a part of their church's teaching, despite 70 per cent of Christians already considering it part of their giving.

More than 75 per cent said neither had ever been mentioned in their church.

The Rt Rev James Newcome, lead bishop on healthcare for the Church of England, said: "Extending our understanding of the central Christian themes of generosity and stewardship to include blood and organ donation has the potential to tangibly transform the giver and the receiver.

"The benefit to others is not only life enhancing but can mean the difference between life and death."

Sponsored by Give.net and in association with denominations, organisations and festivals including the Church of England, Salvation Army, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Hope and Evangelical Alliance, the fleshandblood campaign marks the first time NHS Blood and Transplant has worked alongside the Church on a national initiative of this kind.

Juls Hollidge, campaign director for fleshandblood, said: "The Church has always been known for its spirit of generosity. We want to encourage churches and church leaders to explore what it would mean if, alongside all its other great work, the Church were to see blood and organ donation as a part of that desire to be generous."

The campaign seeks to equip individuals and churches as advocates for blood and organ donation enabling them to raise awareness of this key issue with their family, friends and community and potentially help to save thousands of lives each year.

Do you consider blood and organ donation to be part of your Christian giving? Vote in our poll of the week.