Just over half US Christians plan to attend Easter services

(Photo: Reuters / Max Rossi)A man walks next to a cross as he arrives to take part in the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) led by Pope Benedict XVI at the Colosseum in Rome April 6, 2007. REUTERS/Max Rossi

A new study released by a Southern Baptist organization finds only half of self-identified Christians intend to go to Church this Sunday.

LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention released a study from their research branch Wednesday that surveys the number of Christians and overall Americans planning to sit down in a pew this Sunday.

The research, which was conducted two weeks ago, found that a little over 50 percent of overall Christians plan to attend.

The numbers further break down to 58 percent of Protestants and 57 percent of Catholics have made Sunday worship plans, while only 45 percent of nondenominational Christians have done so.

The survey also showed that while 39 percent of American adults have no plans to attend church, another 19 percent who only participate in religious services during Holy holidays remain undecided as to whether they go this year.

"Christians who automatically attend church on Easter should be mindful of their many friends, neighbors and family members who haven't ruled out the idea of attending," said Scott McConnell, Director of LifeWay Research in a statement. "It may be that a personal invitation is what would make a difference to them."

The study also showed that Americans age 55-64 are the least likely to attend religious service, at about 29 percent, while those 65 or older are the most likely to attend at a rate of 50 percent.

Despite the increasing number of non-attendants, Easter remains one of the most celebrated holidays for Christians around the world. Worshipped in congregation by larger numbers than Christmas, Easter is the crux of the Christian religion as it celebrates Jesus Christ being crucified for humanity's sins and rising from the dead to offer eternal salvation.

"[It is surprising that] many who call themselves Christian have no intentions of going to Easter services," McConnell said.

LifeWay Christian Resources was established by Southern Baptists in Nashville, Tenn. in 1891.

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