Thursday, 27 October 2016

Statistics for Mission 2015

Updated Friday

The Church of England has issued its Statistics for Mission 2015 today. There is no accompanying press release, but the document includes this executive summary.

2015 Church of England participation summary

  • On average, 961,000 people (85% adults, 15% children under 16) attended Church of England services and acts of worship each week in October 2015. A further 165,000 people attended services for schools in Church of England churches each week.
  • Usual Sunday attendance at Church of England churches in 2015 was 752,000 people (86% adults, 14% children under 16).
  • The worshipping community of Church of England churches in 2015 was 1.1 million people, of whom 20% were aged under 18, 50% were aged 18-69, and 30% were aged 70 or over.
  • 1.3 million people attended Church of England churches at Easter 2015 (of whom 71% received communion).
  • 2.5 million people attended Church of England churches at Christmas 2015 (of whom 35% received communion). During Advent, 2.3 million people attended special services for the congregation and local community, and 2.7 million people attended special services for civic organisations and schools.
  • There were 124,000 Church of England baptisms and services of thanksgiving for the gift of a child during 2015.
  • There were 47,000 Church of England marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriages during 2015.
  • There were 84,000 funerals in Church of England churches, and a further 65,000 funerals at crematoria/cemeteries during 2015.

Trends in participation

  • Over recent decades, attendance at Church of England church services has gradually fallen. These trends continued in 2015. Most key measures of attendance have fallen by between 10% and 15% over the past 10 years.
  • Although the overall pattern is one of gradual decline, this masks the differences in experience in individual parishes over the past 10 years. In 53% of parishes there has been no statistically significant change in attendance. In 10% of parishes attendance has increased. In 37% of parishes attendance has decreased.


There is now a press release, 2015 Attendance Statistics published, copied below the fold.

Hattie Williams Church Times Church has ‘a strong base to work from’ despite further fall in numbers

John Bingham The Telegraph British families only attend church at Christmas, new figures suggest

Steve Doughty Mail Online Church of England loses one in seven Sunday worshippers in just a decade as new figures confirm a steep decline in the ranks of the Anglican faith

Archdruid Eileen Liturgy of the Calculation of the Attendance Figures

More updates

Will Worley Independent Church of England loses more than 100,000 worshipers in a decade

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Why Do People Stop Going To Church? Church of England Fails To Halt Decline

2015 Attendance Statistics published
27 October 2016

New Church of England statistics for 2015, published today, show that just under one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2015, found 960,000 people attending church each week, with 820,000 adults and 140,000 children. Schools services added a further 160,000 attenders.

The total worshipping community of churches across the Church of England, the report says, was 1,142,000 people, of whom 20% were aged under 18, 50% were aged 18-69 and 30% were aged 70 or over.

Figures also show that 2.5 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2015 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.3 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community, whilst 2.7 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.

In 2015, the Church carried out just under 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Attendances at these services are not recorded but conservative estimates of 50 at each of those 6000 services would add up to 300,000 attendances each week or more than 15 million each year.

Some 11% of births during 2015 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 30% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral.

As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend that has shown an 11% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.

A one-off question for 2015 asked churches about the facilities they provide. The responses suggest that nearly half now have kitchen facilities and more than 60% have toilets. The 16,000 churches of the Church of England serve communities in a range of different ways, including full-or part-time shops in 212 of them and post offices in 152.

William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, said: “The Church of England is setting out on a journey of Renewal & Reform, aiming to reverse our numerical decline in attendance so that we become a growing church in every region and for every generation.

“The Church of England is open to and for everyone in England, building up the Body of Christ and working for the common good. For some of those who support our work, weekly attendance at services is part of their discipleship. There will be many others, as we know from the Census, who identify with us but who worship on a less regular basis.

“These figures represent a realistic assessment of where we start from in terms of weekly attendance. We are confident in a hopeful future where our love of God and service of neighbour will form the basis for future growth.

“Statistics for Mission provides an invaluable foundation for this and demonstrates that the Church, fully aware of where we are yet confident of the future, still has a strong base to work from.”

The statistics are available at:

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 27 October 2016 at 10:19pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | statistics

"There were 47,000 Church of England marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriages during 2015."

And how many of these were of same-gender couples? Oh, I see - a nice round figure.

And the CofE wonders why it's considered totally irrelevant by 80+% of the population .

Posted by: RPNewark on Friday, 28 October 2016 at 10:10am BST

National decline for the year overall is 1.6%. Southwell and Nottingham, despite an energetic diocesan strategy entitled Growing Disciples - Wider, Younger, Deeper, lost 5.6%. Nevertheless, they have big ambitions: this is what they want to achieve by 2023 -
"Compelled by the love of Christ by 2023 we will seek to
• Welcome 7000 new disciples into the fellowship of Christ and his church
• Commission 1000 Younger Leaders equipped and
inspired to serve the purposes of God in the Church and Society
• Plant or graft 75 New Worshipping Communities to increase our reach in sharing the story of Jesus with all and growing new disciples
• Develop 25 Resource Churches in every part of the county, growing to give themselves away
• Serve as 1 Church prayerfully contending for the gospel in every community and sphere of public life in our city, county and region"

Laudable - but it isn't going to happen until they stem the haemorrhage. That steep curve just got nearly steeper.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Friday, 28 October 2016 at 6:53pm BST

Archdruid Eileen's liturgy of the calculation of the attendance figures must strike a chord for anyone who has attended any church meeting. We (including me) all have our own agenda. It's just that my agenda is more important than your agenda. An excellent way to lose numbers.

Posted by: Pam on Friday, 28 October 2016 at 10:11pm BST

Jeremy Pemberton gives some interesting figures. Of course one wishes Southwell & Nottingham Diocese well. But looking at the Diocesan stats in the national report this seems to imply:
Church congregations growing by 40-50% in 6 years;
3 new trained youth leaders per church on average in 6 years;
the number of church communities increasing by between a fifth and a quarter in 6 years.
Is this what the new business focus is leading to - figures that largely seem unachievable but would be defended as visionary and challenging? It looks to me like failure is being built in.
Have I got this right?

Posted by: Roger Antell on Friday, 28 October 2016 at 11:14pm BST

And yet the evangelical churches are flourishing...and their colleges full.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Wednesday, 2 November 2016 at 11:24pm GMT

My children were raised going to church (Methodist) regularly. Went to a church school.

They would never join a mainstream congregation as adults, because as young people today, they would no more hatefully exclude their gay friends than they would hatefully exclude their black friends. The people who claim the exclusion of LGBT people by the Church of England is somehow not "hateful" clearly haven't read the Anglican Mainstream website recently, and the claim that it's OK to be a member of a branch of an organisation that behaves badly so long as the branch waves his hands and says it wishes it could be better, just so long as it doesn't have actually _be_ better, are little more convincing. No-one has to go under the bus for the sake of an organisation that wilfully refuses to be better.

It is worth considering this well-known meme:

For those that don't click on random URLs, it is a juxtaposition of two photographs. The upper, colour photograph is recent and has people on the steps of the US Supreme Court waving banners saying "Stand up for marriage: One Man, One Woman". The lower, older, black and white photograph shows people on the steps of the same court waving banners saying "Race Mixing is Communism". The caption is "Imagine How Stupid You Are Going To Look In 40 Years".

Does the CofE imagine it is going to be able to continue to exclude gay people for another forty years? In order to prevent a small and dying generation of elderly conservatives from having a fit of the vapours, it plans to exclude essentially everyone after about 1950 other than a small handful of evangelical conservatives, in the hope that, what? People become more bigoted as they get older? What's the plan? When the CofE finally joins the 21st century and stops actively hating gay people (and, again, "hating" is a precise and accurate word for he behaviour of people like Anglican Mainstream and GAFCON, whom the CofE very carefully never criticise and can therefore assume to be happy with their representation of Anglicanism) who does it think is going to be left sitting in the pews to hear? At the moment the plan seems to be a tiny, revanchist cadre of extremists for whom the hatred of gay people is the hill they wish to die on, which is a formula for a Church of England with a few thousand members.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Thursday, 3 November 2016 at 10:35am GMT

My question is:
How can a diminishing number of congregants possibly be expected to finance the increased number of new stipendiary clergy that is proposed?

Posted by: Paul Waddington on Saturday, 12 November 2016 at 3:16pm GMT
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