A new survey suggests that while individual church members may have a significant interest in donating blood and organs, the bigger picture shows that it is not encouraged by UK churches as part of their committed Christian giving.
The survey was conducted by Christian Research on behalf of Kore as part of the fleshandblood campaign launched earlier this year in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
The survey shows that close to 10% of Christians have given blood in the last year compared to 4% of the general population who have given blood in the last two years, and almost half of all Christians are registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register compared with 31% of the general population.
The survey also found that 12% of Methodists gave blood in the last year, and that 50% are registered organ donors, the Methodist Church in Britain reports.
However, despite these strong levels of engagement, the overall findings reveal that many churches in Britain do not yet see blood and organ donation as a part of their giving, with an extremely low 0.3% of respondents stating that either blood or organ donation was a frequent part of their Church?s teaching and over 75% saying that neither blood nor organ donation was ever mentioned or encouraged by their Church.
The Rev Dr Joanne Cox, Evangelism in Contemporary Culture Officer for the Methodist Church, commented: "It is encouraging that on some of these measures Methodists are above the average for Christians as a whole, just as it is that Christians are more likely to be donors. But we can't be complacent, and what's missing is a discussion of how blood and organ donation fits into our whole Christian giving. As Methodists, we want to be generous with our time, talents and money, and this campaign is good in encouraging us to think wider about what we can give."
The research also revealed that 70% of Christians already consider blood and organ donation as a part of their Christian giving, or are open to the idea, a total that rises to 76% for Methodists.
Sponsored by Give.net and in association with denominations, organisations and festivals including the Church of England, Salvation Army, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Hope and Evangelical Alliance, the fleshandblood campaign marks the first time NHS Blood and Transplant has worked alongside the Church on a national initiative of this kind.
Fleshandblood Campaign Director, Juls Hollidge, commented: “The Church has always been known for its spirit of generosity. We want to encourage churches and church leaders to explore what it would mean if, alongside all its other great work, the Church were to see blood and organ donation as a part of that desire to be generous.”
The campaign seeks to equip individuals and churches as advocates for blood and organ donation enabling them to raise awareness of this key issue with their family, friends and community and potentially help to save thousands of lives each year.
But it has avoided getting involved in the debate as to whether there should be an 'opt out' rather than 'opt in' organ donation system in Britain - which many other health campaigners see as the critical issue.