Thinking Anglicans

Cathedral Statistics 2014

Updated Thursday and Friday

The Church of England has issued its Cathedral Statistics 2014 today, and this press release.

Cathedrals in England welcome over 10 million annually
19 August 2015

More than 10 million people visited Cathedrals in England in 2014, according to new figures published today in the Church of England’s Cathedral Research and Statistics report. Research shows that the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere.*

In 2014 the average number of adults and children attending Cathedral services each week was 36,000. This has increased by more than a fifth in the last decade. The three regions showing the strongest growth are Yorkshire and the Humber, London and the South East. Key aspects of growth that have been identified were creating a sense of community, quality of worship, service, preaching and music, exploring new patterns of service, spiritual openness and emphasis on families and young people.

Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics at the Archbishops Council, said: “Over the last decade we have seen growth in both visitors and worship at Cathedrals. Cathedral promotes spiritual openness, inclusivity and diversity in membership and outreach. Christmas and Easter are particularly busy times but we have also seen the increase of adult and child mid-week attendance. Cathedrals continue to play an important role in religious life, education and music.”

The number of young people attending educational events at cathedrals increased by nearly 14% between 2004 and 2014. At the centre of cathedral life is the daily offering of worship and praise. 4000 child and adult choristers were involved in providing traditional choral music in 2014, half as volunteers. Indeed over the last ten years the number of volunteers supporting the mission and ministry of cathedrals has risen to 15,200.

The Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle,said: “One of the things we’ve done is to try to respond to the number of tourists and visitors. We’ve developed a chaplaincy scheme so as well as having welcomers to help people who want to come and explore we can articulate clearly the spiritual dimension of the cathedral and we have found that’s been enormously appreciated.

St Nicholas has also developed to meet the needs of the night time economy and for several years has hosted the street pastors scheme in the cathedral and outside to care for the vulnerable members of the night time economy and people who need pastoral care. The cathedral has introduced a night church model and from time to time is open on Friday nights to enable people to come and find stillness, peace and spiritual exploration in an informal context. Two to three hundred people have been attending a late night compline service.

The Dean continued: “What people have really discovered is that when they drop in to worship or visit they find a community that is welcoming, open and inclusive. I think that’s one of the things that’s been really significant in cathedral growth in every respect: in worship, developing groups and responding to the needs of the community. It’s the fact that permission is offered for anyone to come whenever and for whatever purpose but that there is an opportunity to engage at a deeper level.”

ENDS

Notes:

“A place of peace to worship and pray after a busy day at work.” From Anecdote to Evidence – Findings from the Church Growth Research Programme.

Read Reverend Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle blog ‘Open All Hours’ here.

Listen to Revered Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle, interview here.

View the Cathedral Research and Statistics Report here.

Thursday Update

John Bingham The Telegraph Cathedrals booming thanks to ‘late night shopping’ tactics

Katherine Backler The Tablet Church of England reports 10 million visitors to English cathedrals last year

Aaron James Premier 10 million visited cathedrals in 2014

Friday update

Tim Wyatt Church Times Cathedrals enjoy increased growth in visitors and worshippers

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Cathedral attendance falls for first time in 7 years

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John
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John

Newcastle Cathedral is a fantastic church, both architecturally and spiritually (as, indeed, is the R Catholic Cathedral near the station). In fact, in many respects it’s better than Durham Cathedral (apologies, Father David).

Daniel Berry, NYC
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Daniel Berry, NYC

Here are two quotes from this posting: “Key aspects of growth that have been identified were creating a sense of community, quality of worship, service, preaching and music, exploring new patterns of service, spiritual openness and emphasis on families and young people.” The Dean continued: “What people have really discovered is that when they drop in to worship or visit they find a community that is welcoming, open and inclusive. I think that’s one of the things that’s been really significant in cathedral growth in every respect…” I was unable to avoid noticing that none of the themes expressed here… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

My experience in English Cathedrals is one of welcome and acceptance. I always encounter other LGBT people at them, some in the choir. The vibe is way different from the pronouncements and behaviour from the leadership on diversity issues.

Father David
Guest
Father David

John, I think you will have to expand upon the “many respects” in which St. Nicholas’ cathedral in Newcastle is “better” than Durham cathedral. I will need a lot of convincing but I agree that both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic cathedrals in Newcastle are indeed very fine buildings. Does not this recent report point to one way out of our seemingly terminal decline? I can’t see how multiplying Archdeaconries or creating mega-dioceses will greatly assist in extending the Kingdom? Don’t these encouraging statistics point to the need for yet more cathedrals? Look at Lincolnshire, for example – historically… Read more »

James Mac
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James Mac

the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere

Say that you’re coming in for worship and you might not have to pay £10 to get inside the door…

Alastair Newman
Guest

I think for once Father David and I agree on something here! Elevating substantial churches to cathedral status may just help to put them on the map and encourage further footfall and hopefully consequent interest in what goes on there and why it does. I have two questions really. Firstly (let’s assume we can easily choose which churches to elevate to cathedral status), does each new cathedral get the St Edmundsbury treatment? So, do smaller churches get extended, transepts and towers built etc, or leave as is? The second is about clergy/staffing levels. Presumably each new cathedral would not have… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

The church at Rye has three cathedrals in England nearer to it than its mother church at Chichester – Canterbury, Rochester and Southwark, plus at least one in France.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

If cathedrals are drawing people in because they are open, welcoming and inclusive, what does this say about the reasons for decline elsewhere?

Father David
Guest
Father David

In that case, Richard, I think Mapp and Lucia ought to start a campaign to upgrade Rye Parish Church to cathedral status. Ecclesiastical UDI for East Sussex.

Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

I’ve commented on this before and don’t want to be a wet blanket but … excellent and growing cathedral statistics do little for beleaguered parish churches. The thing about cathedral worship is that it caters for Grace Davies’ “believing without belonging”. It’s easy just to dip into a beautiful service held in a (usually) beautiful building and then wander off perhaps after putting a fiver into the collection for the performance. Parish churches in contrast have to work hard to gain and keep congregations of whom much is often expected by way of commitment. They have to raise money the… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Those who are used to selling commercially know the AIDA maxim of the progression towards a sale – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Whether footfall is only Attention, it is the first step towards Action; a beatiful service isn’t something fluffily useless but two steps towards Action. I think cathedrals have a huge role to play in evangelism.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Alastair, good to find a subject about which we agree. I don’t necessarily think that those parish churches which are selected to become new cathedrals need the St. Edmundsbury treatment. Boston Stump already has a magnificent tower equal to if not better than the splendid new cathedral tower in Suffolk, a diocese which has, after all, only just reached its centenary last year. The spires of Grantham and Louth can easily hold their own against Salisbury and Norwich. What could possibly be added to the stupendous Beverley Minster to make it more like a cathedral – a building far superior… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

Philip Larkin (“Church Going”) seems to have been premature.

Fr William
Guest

Pour money into the cathedrals. Close the parish churches, especially those in deprived areas. Do not fill parish posts as they become vacant – use the money for the cathedrals and more and more archdeacons and diocesan advisers. Minister to the middle and upper classes. That’s where the money is.

John
Guest
John

Seems to me that some creative thinking is going on here and that it goes some way to meeting the concerns of Concerned Anglican – which, in general, I share. Certainly, in Durham the Cathedral has not always operated in ways sensitive to the needs of the local churches.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

How unfortunate that Jesus and the apostles didn’t think of building splendid buildings with magnificent choirs and armies of paid staff as part of their evangelism strategy! But then, small and flexible worked quite well for them. I read somewhere that in the first hundred years of its life the early church grew at the rate of about 10% a year. Anything we can learn from that, I wonder? Look, I enjoy visiting old cathedrals as much as anyone else, but when we read the letters of Paul, it’s very clear that he assumes that Christians will know each other… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

The thing about parish churches is that so many are deeply uncomfortable places for newcomers. One can be pounced upon and interrogated. All to often services run to some obscure scheme known only to locals and hymns are sung to mysterious tunes but no notes to follow if you don’t know the tune. I hate going in a new parish church. On top of that, there’s no telling how the parish will react to someone in a same sex relationship. If parish churches want to boast attendances they need to stop behaving like clubs for heteronormative couples and families and… Read more »

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

“Key aspects of growth that have been identified were creating a sense of community, quality of worship, service, preaching and music, exploring new patterns of service, spiritual openness and emphasis on families and young people.” The Cathedral Statistics report, contains the above sentence. It is reported without attribution or source. I can’t see how this can be arrived at from the research presented: can anyone enlighten me? Or is this the ‘new orthodoxy’ based on the risible ‘Anecdote to Evidence’ which, like Issues in Human Sexuality is taking on the aura of infallible dogma? And… Might it be possible that,… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

“in the first hundred years of its life the early church grew at a rate of 10% per year” Tim
“In 2014 the average number of adults and children attending cathedral services was 36,000. This has increased by more than a fifth (i.e 20%) in the last decade.”
“Anything we can learn from that, I wonder?”

Anne
Guest
Anne

Kate, I sympathise with your feelings about the difficulty of going to a new parish church, and I am right with you on your comments about the heteronormative environment. Speaking as a parish priest who is always looking for ways to make my church more welcoming, however, I’m not sure that your suggestions about hymn tunes and responses would make much difference. What is one person’s well-known hymn tune is completely unknown to another, and most people don’t read music – I have offered it,but there are almost no takers, and some people find it is off putting having it… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Anne thank you. I agree with you. This annual stack of Cathedral stats regularly throws up this discussion and local churches are often compared unfavourably with Cathedrals. Well done Cathedrals that are growing. And to whom much is given much is expected. But what is assumed from this? It is claimed that Cathedrals are growing because they are friendly and including. So local churches are presumably not being friendly enough? Actually there are plenty of others who claim Cathedral are growing precisely because they are not overly friendly and leave people to have their own space with God. Yet more… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Anne It is possible you get it right – I don’t know – but generally there is a problem. I have worshipped over the years with family friends in a variety of churches. in my experience two types of service are easy for incomers: 1 very “low” church / baptist. Because there’s less structure service leaders seem much more skilled at leading the whole congregation through the service 2 very “high” church / traditional catholic – the service structure is at least familiar from elsewhere Inbetween, services in parish churches tend to be a rotten experience for newcomers, particularly “family”… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Anne I missed your point about “detect enough of the life of God”. Too many parish churches fail on that too by sending the children out. Rather than recognising the huge value of their innocence during a service, they are seen as disruptive. But in the life of God that is one area in which a parish church can beat a cathedral. Worship over years leaves an impression in a building which I and some others can sense. In some large churches the arrogance of past wealthy congregations lingers; although equally in others a sense of love and warmth built… Read more »

Tim M
Guest
Tim M

I find it interesting that we’re discussing cathedrals as if they’re still growing. Ruth Gledhill points out in her article that attendance at worship in cathedrals *fell* overall during 2014. I feel no Schadenfreude, yet the cathedral, as a model of ministry, doesn’t appear to be working everywhere to increase participation in the worshipping community.

Fr Paul
Guest
Fr Paul

Anne – thank you for putting into words the often quite frustrating balancing acts that parish priests have to play – to be welcoming without being overwhelming, to have a reasonable quality of worship without the benefit of choir and music director – to have services that are accessible without being too ‘dumbed down’. And having been embarrassingly the ‘last man standing’ on more than one occasion (and getting the dirty look), I am grateful to receive some guidance on local customs regarding posture. Kate – I think you are being a little harsh on some parish clergy who are… Read more »

Fr Paul
Guest
Fr Paul

“Too many parish churches fail on that too by sending the children out.”

And cathedrals don’t? seriously?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Pour money into the cathedrals. … Minister to the middle and upper classes. That’s where the money is.”

Be careful you don’t poke a hole in your cheek there, Fr William. O_x

David Frost
Guest
David Frost

As the Rector and Rural Dean of Rye I have to agree with Father David about the remoteness felt by those of us in the ‘far east’ of Chichester diocese with our Mother Church. Chichester Cathedral is 92 miles away from Rye and almost in Hampshire, while I can see the cliffs of Folkestone, Kent from my rectory! I also like the idea of ‘ecclasiastical UDI’. However I must take issue with Richard Ashby about cathedrals nearer to Rye. I’m a canon of Chichester and preached in the cathedral in January. I checked mileages, and as the crow flies, Rye… Read more »

Fr William
Guest

JCF, that’s what cheeks are for, innit. I dream about what might happen in this urban parish with a huge and expensive church if it were as well supported as the cathedral 10 miles away. Then I remember that the last shall be first …

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Because of their generally more attractive musical and liturgical life, it should not be too surprising to understand that cathedrals are more densely populated that your average parish church. However, how many cathedrals have the added responsibility of ministering in the local community – to the sick, the housebound, and the pastoral needs of a rural parish community? If one’s spiritual life is limited to beautiful music and colourful pageantry, then cathedrals might be an essential come-on to worship. But for sheer pastoral involvement, you can’t do better than be a member of a working parish community – where most… Read more »