Editorial: Spare Pews

Editorial: Spare Pews

Chris Duthie-Jung

“Spare Pews

Chris Duthie-Jung, Youth Coordinator for Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington, New Zealand, introduces the October issue of Crumbs. Chris is the executive officer of National Council for Young Catholics in New Zealand, and is an active member of Churches Youth Ministry Association (CYMA) and CYMA’s Diploma Board.


For many church-going people, especially in mainstream denominations, young adults are a bit of a enigma. Who are they? Youth, yes well they pretty well line up with the secondary school ages, don’t they? But young adults, what are they? The newly independent, ‘gotta try everything,’ 19 year old school leavers� or what?

Working with young people is the fastest way to discover that this ‘post-school until around 30′ age group really does exist and those in it really do have needs which differ from those of younger and older people. Call them Generation X, call them singles, unmarrieds or students. Call them yuppies, apprentices, the uncommitted or perhaps call them in Europe while they are on their OE!

One thing we probably can’t call them is, ‘trad church active’. Keen involvement in the mainstream (or trad) church life just doesn’t seem to be attractive to the vast majority of our church-raised young adults.

Those putting hope in the thesis that, ‘they probably just need time and space to look around ∆ they’ll come back,’ don’t appear to have much statistical support. When we face up to it, something has to give. This issue of Crumbs may at first seem a bit of a downer. Read it again, it’s better read as a timely wake-up call. There are ways forward if we are prepared to take the risk!