Recent research by the Social Integration Commission has identified churches and other places of worship as more successful than any other social setting at bringing people of different backgrounds together. This is ahead of gatherings such as parties, meetings or venues such as pubs and clubs. The caveat is that spectator sports were the most successful at bringing people of different ages together.
Reported in the Sunday Telegraph on 7/12/14, the chair of the Commission said:
“Institutions play a huge role in determining how and with whom we interact. Our research shows that, perhaps contrary to perceived wisdom, activities such as attending a place of worship or a sporting event can bring people from all sorts of backgrounds together.
“These institutions could play a leading role in promoting social integration. Sporting and religious bodies should explore what more they can do to help build a better integrated society.”
You won’t find these points about places of worship and social integration in the downloadable reports by the Commission, but they have sent the Faith and Place network some of their data sets, as such a finding resonates with themes raised at our first Perspectives event.