Most people think the Church's main role should be serving the poor

Asked to pick three options from a list of what the Church should be doing in Britain today, more than half – 54 per cent chose 'Serving the poor and those on the edges of society'. 

There was a marked difference between men's and women's replies. Only 51 per cent of men thought this was a priority against 58 per cent of women. Interestingly, only 53 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds thought this, against 57 per cent of 65 to 74-year-olds.  Overall, 42 per cent thought it should be providing moral guidance, while 27 per cent thought it should be preserving the Christian faith in a challenging time (26 per cent of men, 29 per cent of women). 

There's a similar gender split with 'Helping people to encounter God' at 11 per cent men and 14 per cent women – perhaps because more women than men are practising Christians.

A fifth of men – 19 per cent – thought the Church should have no role at all in society, though only 12 per cent of women thought so.

Most people think the Church ought to be doing something useful, and perhaps the high number saying it should be caring for the poor indicates they know how much of this goes on. 

Changing society into a more Christian placeSharing the news of Jesus to save peopleHelping people encounter GodServing the poor and those on the edges of societyTo be a sign of the Kingdom of GodTo preserve the Christian faith in a challenging timeMaintaining architectural heritageProviding moral guidanceOtherThe church should have no role in society