Marital status is not an issue

According to 18% of respondents who made positive comments, the church is a good place when it doesn't differentiate in any way between people based on their marital status, whether 'single never married', married, divorced or widowed.

Single adult Christians are, by and large, not asking for specific ministries, special talks and courses, or groups just for them. They want to be included fully and equally into every aspect and ministry of the church's life, in the same way as for married couples and families.

Some respondents  specifically mentioned (most to least) that:

  • individual gifts were recognised and able to be used
  • roles and ministries were open to anyone, irrespective of marital status
  • skills and talents were acknowledged and employed.

'Family church – doesn't matter what your marital status.'

'At my church, singles are generally valued for what they can contribute to the life of the church. Single people have preached, run the Alpha course, run mid-week groups and helped with the church administration and website, because they are gifted, talented or skilled in these areas. The senior pastor, a married man, tries to encourage everyone in the church without regard to social status, marital status, ethnic identity or gender to contribute in whatever way they can that will benefit the whole church.'

'People are accepted regardless of their marital status, and not excluded from participating in leadership or ministry because they are single.'

'It's great in that it doesn't ''single me out''. I'm just someone saved by grace like everyone else, and they make it easy for me to get involved and feel part of the family by throwing a fellowship lunch after many Sunday services – we all bring something and it's nice not having to go home alone for Sunday lunch.'

'I rarely hear talk about people's marital situation in our church, more about their ministry, gifts and talents – this is good godly focus for me. The Church is about community and discipleship, so gender or marital status should not and does not enter into it.'

'All are equal, some come as one of a partner, some with a partner. No one is bothered about one's marital status. No one has asked, either.'

'Marital status is not an issue in our church; there are many opportunities for service in different areas, whether married or single, male or female, young or old, working or retired.'

However, the manner varied by which there was no differentiation based on marital status. There were a number of different approaches:

  • Being blind to marital status.
  • Everyone treated as individual (for example, in Alpha courses) rather than as a member of a family group.
  • No compartmentalised programming for any group based on marital status.

'Even couples and families present themselves as individuals.'

'It is very accepting of everyone, regardless of their lifestyle. It includes people with (for example) former and current addiction problems, transvestites, people of a variety of ages (but mostly over 45s), so as a single person there I don't feel like the odd one out (as I do in some other churches); people are seen as people, rather than part of an accepted family unit.'

However, some liked the possibility of joining in with social activities specific for single people.