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Society – Sparkle lost from royal sermon

August 2018

US Bishop Rt Rev. Michael Curry’s wedding sermon for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has lost its sparkle among UK Christians, research has found.

A poll by Christian thinktank Theos explored what people thought about the bishop’s lively sermon, once the media bandwagon had rolled on. The survey found most people were disappointed in the long-term effects, claiming the sermon has failed to leave a lasting impression on Brits, despite the initial praise it received.

The 14-minute sermon was the most tweeted about moment of the ceremony, receiving 40,000 tweets per minute. However, only 16 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to go to church if the preaching were similar to Bishop Michael’s, and a meagre 12 per cent thought the sermon improved their understanding of Christianity.

Graham Nicholls, director of evangelical network Affinity, commented: ‘It was encouraging the sermon was appreciated as a good thing for a public occasion by many, but there was only a small group who were personally affected.

‘Among the young and un-churched, there was a significant minority who would be more likely to attend church as a result. Sadly, the overall conclusion was that there has been very little long-term impact. The predominant response of those surveyed was ambivalence’.

He added that Christians could learn from the bishop’s sermon, in that a well-presented and passionate speech about the Christian faith could ‘still provoke some sort of reaction’. However, Mr Nicholls said: ‘We need God to be at work for lasting change to happen. Perhaps this also points out what was lacking in the sermon: a call to turn around and start following Christ’.