And they say looks don’t matter. Well, that’s the theory anyway, and it’s being debunked by one church in England that has seen its congregation size double since appointing a pretty young blonde as its new curate.
St. Mary The Virgin in leafy Caterham, Surrey, had been experiencing a decline in attendance over the years but the arrival of Stephanie "Steph" Nadarajah has heralded the start of a boom time for the church.
Just six months ago, the church’s attendance stood at around 75 and Steph was healthier in pocket as an NHS manager.
She opted for a “massive drop” in salary to take up the church post but so far has no regrets about her decision, as the church is, in her own words, "thriving."
In the last six months, attendance has increased and there are now around 150 people showing up each Sunday to hear the 29-year-old preach.
According to the U.K. newspaper, Daily Mail, Steph encounters the occasional “shocked looks” when she tells people she is the new curate, but she has seen some advantages in that.
“If people look and say: ‘Goodness me, that’s not what I expected,’ and listen to what I say, then that’s great,” she said.
The hardest part perhaps is staying grounded amid all the flattering attention and remembering that it is all about God.
“You’re always treading a fine line between using the person that you are, and what God has given you to do good thing in his name – and not to attract all the attention yourself and for it to become a sort of personality cult,” she said.
One parishioner, 52-year-old Andrew Spencer, is very pleased with Steph’s arrival.
He told the newspaper: “It’s great to see an attractive young lady at the church. She’s not just a pretty face though – she’s intelligent and a great listener.”