11 December 2012
Call for public leadership in Northern Ireland as census results are published
On the day the census results are published the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland is calling for public leadership.
The headline statistic in Northern Ireland is usually the percentage change in Protestants and Catholics between each census. This year Protestants fell from 53 per cent to 48 per cent and Catholic rose from 44 per cent to 45 per cent. As in many things it's dangerous to draw hasty conclusions and important to note an increasing number of people, 17 per cent, choosing not to define their identity in the census.
The figures also show that only 16 per cent of people aged 16 to 74 had carried out voluntary work without pay. This figure is low in contrast to the number of evangelicals volunteering. Previous research by the Evangelical Alliance across the UK in 2010 showed that our member churches were giving half a million volunteer hours every week to serve local communities and that nine out of 10 evangelicals agree that it is their Christian duty to be involved in social action. In light of impending welfare reform and DSD's volunteering strategy we encourage more people to join with churches and volunteer in our communities.
David Smyth, public policy officer at the Evangelical Alliance, comments: "'There's no doubt the census results tell us a lot about the characteristics of our changing society. In light of ongoing events, census results day also provides an opportunity for us to stop and reflect.
"The demographics of religious and political affiliation have changed in the last 10 years and will continue to do so. As facts and figures are spun in all directions we can lose sight of the bigger picture."
The crucial question is what will the character of our society look like in 10 years' time, regardless of what flag flies above the city hall? Christians are called to seek God and the wellbeing of all in society. As we look to the next 10 years we encourage public leaders whether political, civil or from the Church to invest in building good relationships, strong families and a volunteer ethos in our whole community."
David Smyth, public policy officer, Northern Ireland
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.