Comments: Provisional attendance figures for 2010 released

"Average Sunday attendance dropped two per cent"

Let's put it this way. Keep that up for another 35 years and attendance will be half of what it was in 2009.

Posted by John B. Chilton at Thursday, 19 January 2012 at 8:58pm GMT

Three days and only one comment? Surely this subject is more important that that, isn't it?

More than one commenter on TA has suggested that as the Established Church of England it is the C of E's responsibility to make sure that it doesn't get too far away from English society as a whole (eg. in its views of homosexuality). Is it time for the C of E to ask itself whether its continued preference for formal liturgical worship is significantly out of touch with the preferences of English society as a whole?

Anyway, surely at some point someone needs to have a serious discussion about how we (not only the C of E, but also other western Anglican denominations) can more effectively proclaim the gospel and make disciples in today's world?

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 22 January 2012 at 3:06pm GMT

There is a drip drip drip of the same stats every year, and it's always a small enough drop to be dismissed, never enough to provoke a sense of crisis. It's frustrating that we find 4 slots at synod to debate women bishops but no time to debate whether there'll be a church for those bishops to lead in 30 years time.

Posted by David Keen at Monday, 23 January 2012 at 12:59pm GMT

A. N. Wilson got it right: "the modern idea is that religious rites should only be permitted to those prepared to jump through certain intellectual hoops as an entrance requirement. As soon as the churches began to introduce that Visa control, they guaranteed that they would lose millions of adherents."

Formal liturgical worship is ALL that matters. Ditch the rest--no more sermons, no more teaching, no more moralizing. We laypeople have no interest in what you have to say. Put on the fancy shows we want and we will come.

Posted by H. E. Baber at Monday, 23 January 2012 at 11:39pm GMT

"it's always a small enough drop to be dismissed, never enough to provoke a sense of crisis."

There must surely be a sense of crisis in Southwell & Nottingham Diocese - Average Weekly attendance down 13% and Average Sunday attendance down 11% in TWO years.

Posted by Laurence C. at Tuesday, 24 January 2012 at 7:59am GMT

The previous comments contain stern, but valid words. Let's face it, most TA commenters are more interested in single-issue liberal causes, assuming that their populist appeal will automatically reverse those ever-diminishing attendance figures. Normally, the comment is a whinge about the lack of sexual (gender and orientation) diversity in our leadership, followed by the inevitable summary: 'no wonder people are leaving our church in droves'. Of course, they have no complementary explanation for the popularity of churches that hold an even stricter view on the same issues.

The reality is that the C of E lacks the overarching ethos of extending divine intervention into mundane lives via the empowered engagement of laity, and without the usual resort to mere symbolic gestures and externalisms.

There are many situations in which ordinary Christian citizens can overturn the despondency of those who repeatedly fail themselves, their families and society. They can do so by working through problems with an intelligence informed by indefatigable hope in our Saviour. Those citizens are failed by the numerous clergy who prioritise form, ritual and erudition over practical involvement in our daily challenges.

Posted by David Shepherd at Tuesday, 24 January 2012 at 8:33am GMT

There are at least 6 Dioceses who have seen adult attendance fall by 30%+ since 1990, and only one which has seen it grow. I'm in one of those 6, and whilst the decline in membership is noted in debates about Parish Share every year, more time is spent debating how to get parishes to pay up than is spent on how to help them to grow.

Posted by David Keen at Tuesday, 24 January 2012 at 4:44pm GMT

I'm not sure what exactly to make of the figures to be diocese ( Canterbury) is out of kilter with the rest...but usual sunday attendance has risen 18% and average weekly by 17% but average Sunday has fallen 3%! What is really happening?

Posted by Perry Butler at Wednesday, 25 January 2012 at 1:29pm GMT
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