Are fewer people attending religious services? Study says yes, but what do metro Detroiters think?

Posted at 6:50 AM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 06:50:31-04

(WXYZ) — This past week was a big one for Christians around the world, ending with Easter on Sunday.

It comes at a time when a majority of Americans say religion's role in their life is shrinking.

According to a new survey by Pew Research Center, 51% of Michiganders never or seldom attend church or religious services, compared with the national average of 49%.

I went out to Ferndale on Sunday to see how folks spent their Easter.

"This is how we plan to celebrate Easter. Exactly how we plan to celebrate. We have actually never been to Downtown Ferndale. so we are exploring a little bit," Adam Cummins and Julie Cattlier said.

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Cummins drive up from Columbus, Ohio to spend Easter with Cattlier, who traditionally would spend the holiday with her kids, but since they've all grown up, she's trying something different this year.

"What about Easter Service? Is that a thing on your radar?" I asked.

"It has been a lot of my life, but not so much anymore," Cattlier said.

"Why is that?" I asked.

"I honestly don't have an answer for that besides, that it's just not how I want to spend time on Sunday anymore. Church is everywhere," she said.

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Meanwhile, for Maddie McNally, Easter is all about getting dressed up. She considers herself Wiccan, but the electrician and seamstress believes that more than religion, life is about purpose.

"It doesn't have to be religion. It's something that drives you. Like my electric work gives me purpose, my sewing work gives me purpose," she said.

But with Ferndale resident Mike Zlonkevicz, I went a little deeper.

"Where do you think, in this day and age, religion works, and where do you see it not working?" I asked.

"Wherever you feel like you belong, or whoever speaks to you the truth, that's where it works. Whenever you start polarizing everything, that's when it doesn't work," he said.

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Once a baptized Lutheran with a Catholic father, Zlonkevicz says for him, a lot has changed over the years.

"Like today I'm going home to celebrate with my family. But we don't gifts as much on Easter anymore. We try to go to church every Sunday. But it was hit and miss and now that I'm 26, I kind of take it into my own hands, kind of running the show," Zlonkevicz said.

"Do we need religion?" I asked.

"Yeah, we need purpose. We need something to get us out of bed. Because otherwise you end up asking too many questions about why and you could just go down a dark hole," he said.

"I feel like people should spend the day celebrating whatever way they choose and being surrounded by people that you love vs that you are bonded by is more important," Cattlier said.

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