Church attendance rises for second year running
Statistics for Mission show increase in regular worshippers and average weekly attendance
Nearly a million people were regular worshippers last year as the Church of England continued its post pandemic bounce back, statistics from the Church of England show today.
The worshipping community of the Church of England – made up of regular worshippers – grew by nearly 20,000 people to 984,000 in 2022 compared to 966,000 in 2021. Average weekly attendance for all ages grew nearly 50,000 over the same period from 605,000 to 654,000.
Child average weekly attendance rose 17% from its 2021 level to 87,000 and there was an 85% rise in all age school service attendance from its 2021 level to 164,000.
But despite the rises over two years, the figures were lower than before the pandemic in 2019 when the worshipping community stood at 1.1 million and all age average weekly attendance was 854,000.
Child average weekly attendance stood at 120,000 and school service attendance was 182,000 in 2019. (more…)55 Comments
The (American) Episcopal Church has released its Parochial Report Results from 2022. Here are some news items and comments on these statistics.
Neil Elliot NumbersMatters Is TEC bouncing back?
Rebecca Paveley Church Times US Episcopalian Sunday figures nearly halved over past decade
Jeff Walton Anglican.ink Episcopal Withering on the Vine
Kirk Petersen The Living Church Episcopal Attendance Bounces Back 19% from Pandemic Low60 Comments
Church Attendance in October 2022: Post-Covid-19 Trends, Patterns and Possibilities
The Church Times writes about the report under the headline: Cutting services is a key cause of decline in attendance, report suggests.16 Comments
Church of England Cathedrals showed recovery in 2021 amid Covid-19 measures
Latest worshipping and visitor data collected from England’s 42 cathedrals and Westminster Abbey during 2021 shows show attendance began to recover despite ongoing Covid-19 measures.
Increased in-person attendance, which had been severely impacted in 2020, reflected the vaccine rollout, and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions throughout the year, though it also showed that many people chose to stay away from public indoor spaces especially during those periods when restrictions remained in place, and during the late autumn that saw the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the data showed a weekly total of 15,800 people were reported at cathedral services in 2021. This is a 22 per cent more than the equivalent figure from 2020, although still 58 per cent below the 2019 figure.
Meanwhile, the number of cathedrals offering online worship in addition to, or augmenting in-person services remained high, with 94 per cent of cathedrals continuing to offer this.
Weddings showed the closest return to pre-pandemic numbers with 230 marriages conducted in cathedrals during 2021, 93 per cent of the figure from 2019, and an increase of 250 per cent from the 2020 total.
During 2021, there were a total of 320 baptisms conducted in all Church of England cathedrals. This was 43 per cent of the equivalent figure in 2019, but a 242 per cent increase on the total number of baptisms that took place in cathedrals in 2020.
The total number of visitors to the cathedrals was just under half of the equivalent figure from the 2019 figure, reflecting the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Volunteering has been one of the few areas of cathedral life that has not shown signs of recovery in 2021. The number of people volunteering in cathedrals has decreased by a further 21 per cent from the 2020 figure.
The Dean of Canterbury, David Monteith, who Chairs the College of Deans, said: “It is encouraging to see the beginning of recovery in our cathedrals in 2021 even amid the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.
“Church of England cathedrals have been an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage for over a thousand years, and they continue to serve as places of worship, community gathering, and tourism.
“The data from 2021 demonstrates the resilience of the cathedrals and their importance to local communities in the face of adversity.
“We have adapted to the changing circumstances throughout the pandemic, and some of what we have learnt is here to stay. This includes the gift of online worship, with many cathedrals reaching new congregations, together with those who would prefer to join services from home.
“As we look to the future, and continued recovery, we remain committed to supporting our whole communities, particularly those in need, providing a place of worship, prayer and sanctuary for all.”
More information14 Comments
New safeguarding data from a three-year period has been published by the Church of England today. The data is for new concerns and allegations reported to the Church in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and relates to all its work, not just to Church Officers. The reports range from concerns about possible risk to direct allegations of abuse. There is more detail in the press release.6 Comments
The Church of England has released its Statistics for Mission 2021 and the following press release. The annual Statistics for Mission return collects attendance and participation information from across the Church of England. Also available is an excel file of detailed diocesan figures. Statistics for earlier years are available here.
Statistics for Mission 2021 published
Attendance at Church of England parishes rose sharply last year compared to 2020, but continued to be affected by Covid measures, new statistics from the Church of England show.
Average weekly attendance, which includes Sundays and midweek attendance, grew to 605,000 in 2021 compared to 345,000 in 2020. But it was lower than in 2019 when average weekly attendance stood at 854,000 people.
The number of baptisms and weddings grew in 2021 compared to 2020, with 26,500 marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriage and 55,200 baptisms or thanksgiving services for a child.
Many churches continued to provide ‘church at home’ services in 2021, offered online, by phone, post, email, and other means amid a range of Covid restrictions.
It comes as separate figures show the number of people praying online has continued to grow sharply over the past year with downloads of the Church of England’s Daily Prayer audio at 3.2 million so far in 2022 – 62% higher than 2021 when it was launched. Total downloads now stand at 5.2 million.
Daily Prayer audio – across the Daily Prayer podcast and app – has now reached more than 1.1 million unique listeners.
Meanwhile, figures from the Church of England’s digital channels show that social media content – prayers, Bible verses, reflection content, good news stories and encouragement – have been seen more than 65 million times this year so far.
This amounts to approximately 1.3 million impressions per week with content seen roughly 190,000 times a day.
And the Church of England’s national online service averages around 150,000 views a week with an average of 300 written comments a week from regular online worshipping communities.
Dr Ken Eames, author of the Statistics for Mission 2021 report, from the Church of England’s Data Analysis team, said: “2021 was another year of Covid-related disruption for churches, as the figures in this report show.
“The figures from 2020 and 2021 describe the extraordinary times that churches and their communities have been through and need to be understood in that context.
“My expectation is that we will see a further return of worshippers to churches in 2022.”
In his summary to the report, he remarks that clergy, lay leaders and congregations had shown an “impressive and encouraging” adaptability throughout an uncertain year that was still affected by Covid restrictions.
The summary adds: “The pandemic continued to have an impact on the life of the Church of England, with some churches being closed for worship for parts of 2021 and some members of congregations continuing not to attend in-person services. It would be very surprising, therefore, if Church of England attendance and participation in 2021 returned to their pre-pandemic levels.
“This report should be treated as a summary of another anomalous year, indicating the extent to which things have ‘bounced back’ but noting that further bouncing back is expected.”
Read the full report: Statistics for Mission 2021 | The Church of England60 Comments
‘Cathedrals are at the heart of Covid recovery’ says lead Dean
The Chair of England’s Cathedral Deans has called on all who value cathedrals to visit them and assist their recovery in the aftermath of Covid-19, as data from 2020 are published.
The Dean of Leicester, David Monteith, who Chairs the Church of England’s College of Cathedral Deans, was speaking as data from the height of Covid-19 restrictions was published, showing an expected fall in visitors and on-site worshippers.
“The simple message for everyone is ‘come and visit your cathedrals!'” he said.
“Cathedrals across the country are working hard to welcome back more visitors and worshippers and the picture has improved in the time since this data was gathered, but It remains a challenging environment not least because of current utility cost increases.
“Cathedrals and churches are here to support their communities including people who are still struggling following Covid-19, and as focal points for prayer and reflection and action in light of world events including the war in Ukraine.
“Local people have supported their cathedrals throughout, and we are grateful for the emergency grant funding which the Government and Church have provided, but this has now ended.
“Cathedrals serve congregations and wider communities through worship, heritage, education and civic events.
“They are landmarks which characterise our regions and are testaments to faith and witness across the centuries. We are committed – with the help of all who visit, worship, and value them, to ensuring they continue long into the future. We exist for God’s glory, for all the peoples of England and for those who join us from further afield.”
He was speaking as the Church of England published Cathedrals data from 2020, and – separately – the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) published visitor numbers from 2021, showing a 57 per cent reduction across all attractions, with St Pauls Cathedral and Westminster Abbey both named in the report.
The Church of England’s Cathedrals Data from 2020 showed a 64 per cent reduction between 2019 and 2020 in on-site worshippers throughout the week, largely owing to the Government’s closure of buildings for much of the year.
The data also showed that cathedrals stepped up to the challenge of providing worship and support remotely during the pandemic, through an increase in reaching congregations via online, telephone, email and postal means. By October 2020, when most buildings had reopened for worship, online services were still being offered in the vast majority of cathedrals, many of which continue to the present.
Cathedrals have now streamed thousands of online services to people around the world, while elsewhere the Church of England’s national online services have been seen more than 16 million times since the start of the pandemic, with many more services broadcast by local churches.
In recent weeks cathedrals have become the focus of prayer vigils and community gatherings following the invasion of Ukraine, with many lighting up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
Cathedrals will also host services and prayer events for the National Day of Reflection on March 23, marking two years since the first Covid-19 lockdown in England.
A 2021 study by the economic research agency Ecorys showed that cathedrals attracted over 9.5 million tourist or leisure visitors in 2019, an increase of 15 per cent on the 2014 total of 8.2 million.
The additional expenditure generated by these visitors was estimated to be £128 million in the local economies concerned which, combined with employment, resulted in a total of approximately £235 million in local spending per year.
More information:8 Comments
It starts with
Same Sex Marriage Research 2022
Same sex marriage – a clear majority of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage is right despite the church’s refusal to permit same sex marriage.
Fast changing attitudes within society and the Church of England have led to a broad acceptance of same sex marriage, with well over half (55%) of those identifying as Anglican and living in England believing same sex marriage is ‘right’. What is more, nearly three quarters (72%) of those under 50 believe that it is ‘right’, despite the Church of England’s official stance against same-sex relationships.
The Poll, commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation and conducted over by YouGov, repeated a question asked about people’s attitudes to same-sex marriage in 2013, 2016 and 2020. It shows a constant increase over time in the number of people who self-identify as Anglican believing same-sex marriage is ‘right’ (from 38% in 2013 to 48% in 2020 to 55% in 2022) and a marked decrease in numbers believing it is ‘wrong’ (from 47% in 2013 to just 29% in 2022).
An overwhelming majority of the British public now clearly support same sex marriage, with just a fifth opposed to it. This is a significant change in just 9 years.
and continues with details of the poll results and links to the full results.
The Church Times has this report: YouGov poll: more than half of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage to be ‘right’.18 Comments
The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2020 report today. The accompanying press release is copied below. Reports for previous years can be found here under the heading Church attendance statistics.
Statistics for Mission 2020
The Church of England’s Statistics for Mission 2020 report has been published.
Figures published recently show that more than 9,000 churches (eight in 10 parishes) offered ‘Church at Home’ worship, such as online or dial-in services, during the March-July 2020 lockdown.
The full report also details in-person attendance figures for services which were, as expected, significantly lower than usual, amid legal restrictions on numbers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most of the figures are based on an annual snapshot taken in October, which fell just before the second full national lockdown in England, when adult average weekly attendance was 57 per cent lower than 2019.
Despite the restrictions, the figures were still collected by the Church of England Research and Statistics Unit to record and recognise those things that churches were able to do in such difficult circumstances, understand the impact of the pandemic on church life and give context to future figures.
A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “The 2020 Statistics for Mission figures are very much in line with expectations and really underline the scale of the challenge churches faced in the first year of the pandemic.
“The main figures represent a snapshot in time in October last year, as the second wave of Covid-19 gathered momentum, while many churches in England were still closed for public worship, and all were under a legal requirement to limit numbers.
“The Advent and Christmas figures show this even more starkly – given the restrictions we all remember being introduced just a few days before Christmas last year.
“So they bear tribute to the resilience of local churches in the face of real challenges to which they responded in remarkable ways.
“We know that eight in 10 parishes offered ‘Church at Home’ online, via email, post and telephone during the first lockdown, helping sustain parish life when it was so dearly needed and also bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to some people for the first time.”40 Comments
Thousands of churches offered remote worship during lockdown, new report finds
Thousands of churches adapted ‘at a moment’s notice’ to providing worship at home from the start of the first lockdown, according to a new report published today.
More than 9,000 churches (78%) offered ‘Church at Home’ online, via email, post and telephone during the March to July 2020 lockdown when collective worship was suspended because of the coronavirus restrictions.
More than 8,000, or 69%, offered livestreamed or pre-recorded services, while more than 5,000, or 44%, offered services downloadable from a website or emailed. More than 4,000, or 33%, offered printed and posted services and more than 2,000, or 21%, provided telephone or dial-in services.
The majority were continuing to offer these services in October last year even though most were also open for in-person collective worship.6 Comments
There is an accompanying press release, copied below.
Recommendations for stipendiary ordained ministry training highest for a generation
Nearly 600 people were recommended for training for ordained ministry in the Church of England last year, including the highest number for a generation of candidates expected to take up paid clergy posts.
The Church of England has recently published its Finance Statistics 2019. These provide the latest financial information, including:
Tables showing parish finances aggregated to diocese level are available as an excel file. Finance statistics for previous years, and other publications of the Research and Statistics Unit can be found on the resources, publications, and data page.5 Comments
Visitor and worshipper numbers to England’s cathedrals grew prior to lockdown
England’s cathedrals continue to play a huge role in the worship, heritage, and civic life of the country according to the latest figures from the Church of England.
In 2019, 1.3 million people attended services at cathedrals across the country, with midweek service attendance continuing to grow.
England’s cathedrals also attracted nearly 10 million visitors a year, the new data predating Covid-19 restrictions shows.5 Comments
Statistics for Mission provides the latest figures including:
Detailed Diocesan tables (excel file) are also available.
There is a press release which concentrates on the digital report; it is copied below.
David Keen has analysed the statistics: Last Chance To See…… Church of England Membership and Attendance Stats 2019. Do read what he has to say; it is very good.
More than 17,000 online services and events provided by Church of England parishes
More than 17,000 online services and events are being provided by Church of England churches following the introduction of the lockdown and restrictions on public worship earlier this year, according to a new report published today. (more…)33 Comments
The Church of England released its Ministry Statistics for 2019 today.
The accompanying press release (copied below) highlights that, for the first time, women made up the majority of deacons ordained, but there is much else in the report.
Statistics for earlier years are available here.
Women majority of deacons ordained last year, new report shows
Women made up the majority of deacons ordained in the Church of England last year for the first time, according to new statistics published today.
A total of 570 deacons were ordained in 2019, with women making up just over a half, or 51% of the new intake.
Deacons are the first of three orders of ordained ministry. Whilst all clergy continue as deacons throughout, the majority are also ordained as priests at the end of their first year of ministry.
The statistics show that women made up around 32% of the 20,000 active clergy last year, with a growing proportion of senior posts such as Bishops, Archdeacons and Cathedral Deans, occupied by women, from 25% in 2018 to 27% last year.
Women were in the majority starting training for ordained ministry for the third year running, with equal numbers of men and women sponsored to train for ‘incumbent’ posts – such as Rector or Vicar – over the last two years. However currently only 25% of incumbent posts are occupied by women.
The number of stipendiary, or paid clergy, remained stable, at 7,700, between 2018 and 2019, following a period of decline. There were 7,830 Readers or licensed lay ministers compared to just under 10,000 in 2010. Readers and licensed lay ministers are not ordained but can lead worship and preach in churches, among other roles.
The statistics show the number of stipendiary clergy from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds stood at 3.8%, while 7.8% of people entering training for ordained ministry last year were from a BAME background.
Out of a total of 550 people beginning training for ordained ministry last year, nearly a quarter, or 24%, were under 32 years old and more than two fifths, 44%, were aged under 40.
The Rt Revd Chris Goldsmith, Director of Ministry for the Church of England, said: “In recent years there has been an increasing diversity among our clergy, but we will not be content until those in public ministry truly reflect the whole church and the communities which they serve.”
He added: “The contribution of lay ministers to the mission and ministry of the church is hugely valued both in terms of sustaining the ongoing life of parishes and chaplaincies but also in the innovation and spiritual entrepreneurship increasingly characterising frontline expressions of the church as a Christian presence in every community.”
The Bishop of Derby, Libby Lane, who was consecrated as the first female bishop in the Church of England in 2015, said: “Women are now a widely visible presence among clergy in the Church of England – praise God. However there are still other under-represented groups whose vocations to ordination are being missed.
“I pray that the lessons learnt in encouraging women can make a difference for those who are not yet recognised, so Church of England clergy, at every level, better reflect the glorious diversity of our country.”
She added: “Last year marked 25 years since I was ordained priest. For over a quarter of a century women and men together have been selected, trained, ordained and appointed to serve in the Church of England.
“I thank God for the privilege of my ministry, and for the thousands of women and men who have shared this calling in that time.”
More information27 Comments
Press release from the Church of England
Safeguarding data 2018
Safeguarding data has been published today taken from annual safeguarding returns, collected by dioceses in 2018 and sent to the National Safeguarding Team. It also contains comparison on data collected over the three previous years 2015-17.
The majority of safeguarding-related concerns or allegations relate to children or vulnerable adults who attend or who have contact with the Church and their lives within the community.
Overall the number of concerns or allegations reported to dioceses in 2018 relating to children, young people and vulnerable adults in the Church was 2,504. This compares to 3287 in 2017, and is slightly higher than 2015 and slightly lower than 2016.
A quarter of concerns or allegations in 2018 required reporting to statutory authorities similar to 2017.
In 2018, 16% of all concerns (400 cases) relate to clergy, including retired and deceased clergy, a slight increase on the average for 2015-17 which was around 12%. There are currently around 20,000 active clergy in the Church.
Safeguarding-related disciplinary measures against clergy decreased in 2018 and combined with the increase in reports against clergy this suggests that more concerns are being raised earlier because there are greater overall numbers of reports but lower numbers of disciplinary cases.
The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, a member of the National Safeguarding Steering Group, said:
“In any report about data of this nature, it is important to recognise that behind each statistic are real human lives and that this is a snapshot of the vital safeguarding work going on in all our 16,000 churches across the country. As the report states it is most likely that where there is an increase compared to previous years this reflects the impact of safeguarding training across the whole Church, and the increased likelihood that people will report concerns to their diocesan safeguarding adviser, where there may have been greater reticence in the past. The NST will continue to study trends over a longer period to inform its ongoing safeguarding work and has committed to publishing data on an annual basis.”
The Ozanne Foundation has released the results of a new YouGov poll.
Here is a link to the research results summary with graphics.
This has been reported in the Telegraph: ‘Most’ Anglicans believe gay couples have right to marry, YouGov poll suggests.
Click here for chart of Anglican Men Under 65 vs Over 65 and Anglican Women Over 65 vs Over 65.
The full text of the press release (without diagrams) is copied below.50 Comments
The Church of England has published the latest report from its Living Ministry project: Ministerial Effectiveness and Wellbeing: Exploring the flourishing of clergy and ordinands.
There is an accompanying press release, copied below.
New research findings published on clergy flourishing
A new set of findings from a 10-year study into the well-being and flourishing of ordained ministers in the Church of England has been published today.
The Living Ministry programme tracks the progress of groups of clergy ordained in 2006, 2011 and 2015 and women and men who entered training for ordination in 2016, seeking to understand what helps clergy to flourish in ministry.
The latest research from the project includes responses from 579 ordained clergy and 113 people training for ordained ministry in the Church of England.
The quantitative study includes research into physical and mental, relational, financial and material and spiritual and vocational well-being as well as responses to questions about ministerial effectiveness.
The Rt Revd Dr Chris Goldsmith, Director of the Ministry Division of the Church of England said: “This 10-year programme is providing valuable long-term insights into the experiences of our ordained clergy from initial training and curacy and throughout ministry.
“The findings will help inform the dioceses and theological education colleges and courses in their vital work in the selection, formation and long-term support of ordained clergy.”
Dr Liz Graveling, who is overseeing the research programme for the Ministry Division, said: “I’m pleased to release this next stage of the Living Ministry research, which has allowed us to look in more depth at specific areas of clergy flourishing and start to build up a picture over time. As we follow our participants into the next chapter of their ministry, we are continuing to explore some of these themes in the ongoing qualitative work, which is due to report next year.”
Living Ministry was set up in 2016 by the Church of England with the aim of helping support the dioceses, theological education institutions and national church in the selection, training and long-term support of clergy.
Living Ministry is a mixed-methods, longitudinal study. This report presents the findings of Wave 2 of the panel survey, which took place in early 2019. The survey built on the exploration of clergy wellbeing in Wave 1 (2017) by both monitoring this and including questions on ministerial effectiveness.10 Comments
Record numbers of visitors and worshippers flock to England’s cathedrals
England’s cathedrals have witnessed their highest Easter congregation numbers in recent years, while visitor numbers increased by a million on the previous year, statistics published today show.
In the report, published today, Cathedrals reported nearly ten million visitors in 2018, an increase of over 10 per cent on the previous year. There were additionally over a million visitors to Westminster Abbey.
The major Christian festivals remain at the heart of congregational growth, with 58,000 people attending a cathedral at Easter and 95,000 during Holy Week – the highest numbers recorded for a decade, with Easter attendance up nearly 10,000 since 2008.17 Comments