Thinking Anglicans

Church of England annual statistics for 2011

Updated Tuesday night

The Church of England has today released its annual statistics for 2011. They are accompanied by a press release summarizing the results; this is copied below the fold.

There are several reports in this morning’s national press.

Sam Jones in The Guardian Church of England reports rise in Christmas worship
BBC Church of England attendances ‘stabilising’
Huffington Post UK Church Of England Christmas Attendance Up But It’s Not Good News For Archbishop Of Canterbury
Steve Doughty in the Mail Online Hark! The flock’s back: Church attendances up… but it’s only at Christmas

Archbishop Cranmer comments in his blog: CofE annual statistics 2011 – good news and bad

Several local papers and websites report on their local figures, for example:

The Northern Echo Church attendance down by 8 per cent in Durham diocese but up by 7.4 per cent in Ripon and Leeds
Network Norwich and Norfolk Norwich fights back on ‘Most Godless City’ tag
Portsmouth News Church figures show decline in Portsmouth attendance

Statistics for earlier years can be found here.


Clive Field of British Religion in Numbers has a more balanced analysis: 2011 Anglican Statistics and Other News.

Andrew Brown looks at the figures for The Guardian: Anglican faith in church attendance is not enough.

Church annual statistics for 2011
07 May 2013

The Church of England today released its annual statistics for 2011 revealing a strong growing trend for Christmas attendance, an increase in child and adult baptisms and a growing stability in weekly service attendance.

Christmas 2011 drew 14.5% more worshippers to Church of England services than attended in 2010, reaching a total of 2,618,030. Whilst one of the factors for such a high annual increase include the poor weather on Christmas Day in the previous year 2010, initial returns from 2012 suggest a further increase in Christmas attendance on these high 2011 figures revealing a growing trend for church going at Christmas.

The number of christenings increased by 4.3% and was accompanied by a rise of just over 5% in adult baptisms with a combined total of 139,751 baptisms – meaning that the Church of England conducted an average of over 2,600 baptisms each week during 2011. Thanksgivings for the birth of a child also rose; an 11.9% increase taking numbers to 6,582.

Average Weekly Attendance nationally fell by less than half of one per cent (0.3%) to 1,091,484 a stabilising of average weekly attendance figures. Almost half of the Church of England’s regional areas saw growth in Church attendance, with 20 out of 44 dioceses showing increases. Nationally there was a 1.2% increase in children and young people attending to 216,928.

Weddings saw a slight decrease of 3.6% in 2011, to 51,880, whilst the number of wedding blessings (Services of Prayer and Thanksgiving following a civil ceremony) was up by 4.5%. The wedding figures confirm the trend of the past decade where the Church of England married an average of 1,000 couples every week.

Church of England Clergy and lay ministers conducted 162,526 funerals in 2011, a fall of 2.8% on the previous year, reflecting figures from the Office for National Statistics which showed a fall of 1.8% in deaths in England and Wales in 2011. On these figures the Church of England conducted an average of over 3,000 funerals every week in 2011 – over 400 every day.

Welcoming the publication of the statistics, the Rt. Revd. Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said:

“These figures are a welcome reminder of the work and service undertaken by the Church of England annually. 1,000 couples married, 2,600 baptisms celebrated and over 3,000 funerals conducted every week of the year.

“The attendance figures are heartening, especially the very strong growth in Christmas day attendance. The encouraging news of further growth to come even on these high figures is very welcome and points to a growing trends. Also welcome is the stabilising of the numbers of those who attend church services on a weekly basis. With almost half of our dioceses showing growth, there is a quiet confidence underlying these figures.

“The growth of the numbers of children and young people attending is an encouragement and reflects the investment made by churches across in the country on youth and children’s workers to serve not only the church but the whole parish.”

“The increase in the number of adults being baptised and those families bringing their children to be Christened is also good news showing growth in the numbers of those both coming to faith and reflects the wide nature of the ministry offered by the Church – for all of life from the cradle to the grave.”

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11 years ago

Obviously, there are many reasons for this. In the case of Durham, one important reason is the poor quality of our last two bishops. The sheer cynicism of their performance takes one breath away.

11 years ago

Goodness, there seems to be a fair bit of hand-waving going on at that Norwich Cathedral service. Is that normal? For Norfolk? Or perhaps the Dean just offered to take questions from the floor? Maybe he’s leading them in a stirring rendition of “Everybody in the House Say EEEEYOOO!”

It’s Norwich. Literally nothing would surprise me.

David Keen
David Keen
11 years ago

The longer trends are still very worrying, and sooner or later we’re going to have to stop issuing upbeat press releases and face facts.

Simon Sarmiento
11 years ago

Do keep us posted, David, if you get any clarification on that inconsistency in the 2010 figures.

David Keen
David Keen
11 years ago

Will do, emailed last night and nothing back yet.

In case people are wondering, the 2010 figures used yesterday are 22k lower than those originally published last year. Had the original set of 2010 figures been used, we would have been looking at a decline of 2.2% in average weekly attendance. So I’m trying to work out what’s happened there.

Paul Waddington
Paul Waddington
11 years ago

One is tempted to ask whether there is a deliberate policy of revising the previous year’s figures downwards so as to soften the impact of the decline.

Will the 2012 figures be revised down in 2014?

Is this revision of figures a regular feature?

I am only asking. My suspicions may be completely wrong.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x