Thinking Anglicans

People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales

Updated Wednesday morning

Stephen Bullivant of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, has published a report Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales (free pdf download). Despite its title the report is not confined to Catholicism, as the headlines of these press reports make clear.

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales – study

Rose Gamble and Megan Cornwell The Tablet Catholic Church in England and Wales is failing to attract new believers, finds report

John Bingham The Telegraph Exodus: churches lose 11 worshippers for every new member

Mark Woods Christian Today Religious ‘nones’ outnumber Christians in England and Wales

The Guardian article starts

The number of people who say they have no religion is rapidly escalating and significantly outweighs the Christian population in England and Wales, according to new analysis.

The proportion of the population who identify as having no religion – referred to as “nones” – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up 43.8% of the population…

St Mary’s University has its own news item, St Mary’s Study Finds London Most Religious Area in England and Wales, and a page of key findings.


Lucy Denyer The Telegraph Fewer churchgoers? That’s no bad thing if it means they’re there for a reason

Mark Woods Christian Today The rise of the ‘nones’: Why are people leaving the Church?


Church of England publishes 2014 attendance statistics

Updated Tuesday evening

The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2014 today with an accompanying press release, copied below. The statistics mainly cover numbers attending, but there are also figures on, for example, numbers joining and leaving (with reasons), electoral numbers, baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

The statistics can be downloaded from here as a 58 page pdf file.

Church Publishes 2014 Attendance Statistics
12 January 2016

New Church of England statistics for 2014 published today show that just under one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2014, found 980,000 people attending church each week, with 830,000 adults and 150,000 children.

The statistics also show that 2.4 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2014 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.2 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community whilst 2.6 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.

The statistics also highlight the other services carried out by the Church of England on a regular basis. In 2014 the Church carried out just under 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Some 12% of births during 2014 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 31% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral.

As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend which has shown a 12% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.

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

“The 2014 figures are not in any way a surprise. Whilst the recent trend of the past decade continues, it has been anticipated and is being acted on radically.

“As part of a prayerful and considered response to these trends the Church is embarking upon the biggest renewal and reform process in over 150 years focusing our resources on prayer, evangelism, discipleship, vocations, leadership & training.

“We do not expect that trend to change imminently or immediately over the next few years due to demographics. We lose approximately 1% of our churchgoers to death each year. Given the age profile of the CofE, the next few years will continue to have downward pressure as people die or become housebound and unable to attend church.

“As a Church we are unashamedly committed to following the teachings of Jesus Christ in our worship of God, discipleship and service to the poor and the marginalised. Our confidence, resilience and service is rooted in Jesus.

“The story is not one of inevitable decline. During 2013-14 some dioceses continued to increase their attendance. In the past 12 months alone there are examples of growth and new churches across the country. In my own diocese the church of St. Thomas Norwich has grown from 50 to 450 people in the past two years. In Bournemouth, St Swithin’s – a church which started in 2014 – now sees 500 people attending every week whilst in Birmingham St Luke’s Gas Street in is already attracting hundreds of young people since its beginning in 2015. There are many others like these and each is a sign of hope.

“Attendance statistics do not tell the whole story. There are many things that churches do that are not included in these data from running homelessness services and hosting foodbanks, to educating a million children a day in our schools to providing welcome and accompaniment to the least, the last and the lost in our society.”


Mark Hart looks at the figures for the diocese of London: Capital Growth or Northern Powerhouse?.

Press reports

John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England attendance plunges to record low

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England weekly attendance falls below 1m for first time

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church of England weekly attendance falls below one million for first time


Synod election turnout

Updated on Friday to add questions 36 and 37 and their answer below the fold

In the Questions session at this week’s General Synod the Secretary General was asked about turnout in the recent elections to Synod. In reply he gave these figures, together with those from 2010 for comparison.

percentages 2015   2010  
Average overall 51.88   51.32  
Average clergy 56.86   55.91  
Average laity 46.91   46.74  
Highest turnout clergy 67.96 (Birmingham) 75.00 (Ely)
Lowest turnout clergy 45.60 (Hereford) 43.20 (Bristol)
Highest turnout laity 72.10 (Guildford) 64.13 (Chelmsford)
Lowest turnout laity 29.82 (Hereford) 37.83 (Lincoln)
Average overall 48.18   50.35  
Average clergy 52.49   57.23  
Average laity 43.87   43.48  
Highest turnout clergy 69.00 (Sodor & Man) 73.90 (Sodor & Man)
Lowest turnout clergy 39.86 (Liverpool) 46.50 (Liverpool)
Highest turnout laity 56.96 (Chester) 54.70 (Sodor & Man)
Lowest turnout laity 34.74 (Liverpool) 36.30 (Liverpool)



Church of England Financial Overview 2004-13

The Church of England has just published its Financial Overview 2013 which draws together the finances of the Church of England into one place. It aggregates financial information from over 12,000 parishes, 44 dioceses, 41 cathedrals and 3 National Church Institutions as the press release below explains.

New report consolidates finances of the Church of England
10 November 2015

The Church of England has published a new overview of its finances for the 10 years from 2004-2013, drawing together information from over 12,000 parishes, 44 dioceses, 41 cathedrals and three National Church Institutions (NCIs) into one place.

The report finds that the church’s overall income in 2013 was just over £1.41 billion, over half of which was from donations from parishioners, fundraising and grants. It also shows that the majority of the income from the NCIs is from the Church Commissioners, an investment fund of around £6 billion which uses its returns to support the mission of the church across the country.

Carol Fletcher, Senior Financial Planner for the Church of England, said “Bringing together statistics from across the Church of England is a great way of showing the extent of what we do and how we function. Through our investments, trading income and of course the generosity of parishioners, we have been able to continue in our mission to be a Christian presence in every community.”

The report also reveals:

Weekly giving per parishioner has increased across the period of the study.

Two thirds (67%) of the Church of England’s income comes from parishes, 9% from dioceses, 9% from cathedrals and 15% from the NCIs (predominantly the Church Commissioners).

Expenditure in 2013 was slightly higher than income, at just under £1.43 billion. Just over half of expenditure was for clergy stipends, clergy housing and parishes, and cathedral operating costs.

Caring for church buildings, including cathedrals, represents 13% of overall expenditure.


The report is available to download here.

The Church of England is made up of a number of distinct but interconnected organisations, all of which are independent bodies. The Financial Overview amalgamates the finances of the Church of England to show its scale as if it were one, consolidated organisation.

The three National Church Institutions covered by the report are the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners, and the Church of England Pensions Board.


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.”



“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


CofE Finance Statistics for 2013

The Church of England has released Finance Statistics 2013, containing information provided by parishes in their annual finance returns. They can be downloaded as a 25 page pdf document.

There is an accompanying press release.

Almost £1billion sets new record for Church of England parish giving
30 July 2015

Parish Churches across the country raised a record £953 million in 2013 to fund the mission and ministry of the Church of England according to statistics published today. Parishes raised these important funds from a combination of regular and one-off donations as well as investments and legacies.

Parishes have seen a combined increase in income of £24m over figures from 2012, and after total expenditure, which also decreased on 2012, saw a £33m surplus.

In addition to supporting the work of the Church at parish, diocesan and national level, Parishes have continued to give more than £46m to other organisations working around the world, from foodbanks and local children’s charities to international aid appeals.

Dr John Preston, the Church of England’s national stewardship adviser, said:

“With the latest financial statistics, we’ve seen average weekly giving rise in 2013 to our highest ever level. We rely on the generosity of our committed church members to support the mission and ministry of the Church. Post-downturn, people have really looked at what is important to them and found a sense of community and belonging within the Church.”

Average weekly giving per tax-efficient subscriber has continued to rise year on year with members giving on average £11.60 in 2013. Average weekly giving per church member rose to £7 in 2013, matching the peak level seen in 2009.The average ‘Church member’ contributed 3.3% of their income to the Church. with 2.9% to general funds, and a further 0.4% to special purpose funds.

The information in the Finance statistics document is collated from the annual parish returns, and is available here.

You can read a blog by John Preston on the latest statistics here.

The press release also includes some case studies.

Some earlier parish finance statistics are available here.


Everyone Counts 2014

Updated Friday

Everyone Counts is a diversity audit. A congregational survey was carried out in autumn 2014 in a sample of Church of England parishes with a particular focus on ethnicity, disability and locality. Background information is available here.

Key findings have now been published. Here are a few that I have picked at random.

If congregations in England were 100 people:

59 would be female
11 would be children aged 11 or younger
19 would be aged 76 or older
7 would be minority ethnic Anglicans
37 would have at least one health issue or disability (including 8 with mobility impairments and 3 with mental health conditions).

There are 6 adults in church to every 1 child or young person.

35% of churches are in rural hamlets and isolated areas, but only 1% of the population lives there.

There is a difference of about 18 years between the median age of minority ethnic and white British Anglicans (44 and 62 years).


The Church of England issued the following statement this evening (Friday 24 July):

Statement on ‘Everyone Counts’ survey
24 July 2015

In response to questions in correspondence and on social media over the choice of questions included in the “Everybody Counts” survey, Dr. Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics at the Archbishops Council said:

“The ‘Everybody Counts’ statistical exercise was carried out to build upon the Diversity Audit carried out in 2007. By carrying out further work in this area it was hoped to establish trends over time rather than one off snapshots of particular data.

The Diversity Audit originated from formal requests from members of CMEAC (The Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns) for a statistical picture of dioceses on ethnic diversity. In designing the latest survey our starting point was to replicate the 2007 data which did not include a question on sexual orientation. The national disability adviser for the Church had recognised that we did not have any information on people with disabilities which was why that added question appeared.

I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment raised by members of our congregations who feel that the lack of a question on sexual orientation meant that they are not a valued part of our church. I promise this was never the intention. I am entirely open to including additional questions in any further work.”

More information about Everyone Counts can be found at:


Cathedral Statistics 2013

The Church of England has issued its Cathedral Statistics 2013 today, along with this press release.

Cathedrals offer place of peace and prayer in busy lives, reveal new stats
24 November 2014

The number of people attending midweek services at cathedrals has doubled in the past 10 years, show new figures published today from the Church of England’s Research and Statistics department. One of the factors attributed is the need for a place of peace in increasingly busy lives.

Midweek attendance at cathedrals was 7,500 in 2003 rising to 15,000 in 2013 (compared to 12,400 in 2012). In a Church of England podcast published today the Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber, said he has seen the need for people wanting a short snatch of peace midweek in what are now very pressurised lifestyles. “At the weekend you’ve got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance – life’s run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and committed. Taking out half an hour or an hour every week is much more negotiable.”

Anecdote to Evidence research published earlier this year showed that that the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere.

The Dean of York Minster, Vivienne Faull, commented: “We do have the opportunity of allowing people to come in from the edges. If I take a eucharist at 12.30 in the middle of the week in the nave of York Minster there’ll be a lot of people who just slide in from the side. It’s not so much about anonymity, there’s the feeling there’s a journey you can travel which doesn’t require huge steps – it just requires one little step.”

Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester Cathedral, said: “Patterns of church attendance are different now. Cathedrals are uniquely placed to be providing greater opportunities for worship and that includes during the week.”

The Stats also show that attendance at Christmas cathedral services had increased rising from 117,200 in 2012 to 124,300 in 2013 with many cathedrals putting on new services.


More information on Lichfield Cathedral can be found here.
More information on York Minster can be found here.
More information on Gloucester Cathedral can be found here.


Statistics For Mission 2013

The Church of England has published its Statistics For Mission 2013 today, along with the following press release.

New statistics for 2013 show average of one million people attend services each week
10 November 2014

New Church of England statistics for 2013 published today show that an average of one million people attend services each week, down about 1% on the previous year.

The one million figure relates to regular weekly parish and cathedral services and does not include other core services carried out by the Church of England on a regular basis. With some 2,000 baptisms, 1,000 weddings and 3,000 funerals conducted every week it is estimated that a further half a million people attend a service conducted by a Church of England minister every week. In addition the count (which takes place in October) does not include the many carol and nativity services during Advent and many other regular services responding to community need. The services carried out by the Church of England’s chaplains in hospitals, prisons, schools, universities and military bases are also excluded from the attendance totals. Figures for Christmas attendance show a stable trend, with 2.4 million people attending services on Christmas Eve and Day – where figures have hovered around the 2.5 million mark over the past decade.

Speaking on the publication of the statistics, the Bishop of Sheffield, The Rt. Revd. Steven Croft, said:

“These figures show the Church of England continues to serve the nation with a core of 1 million activist members who worship faithfully each week.

“At a time when membership of political parties is at an historic low and in a society which feels increasingly time squeezed, it is conspicuous that the Church of England’s committed weekly base of parish worshippers remains a million strong with the last Census showing many millions more identifying with the Church.

“In addition to the regular worshipping core the Church continues to serve all those who look to us to mark the most important events of their life journey through weddings, baptisms and funerals. Through these services alone we estimate that a further half a million people attend Church every week of the year, many of whom will be only fringe or occasional visitors.”

A new part of the 2013 research reveal that nearly half of the 67,000 new joiners to churches are coming for the first time rather than from another church. This was the first time a split was introduced in the joiners and leavers section to measure those moving to or from other local churches.

There was also new research on attendance at advent services including nativity and carol services – outside of usual Sunday services. Although not every church gave figures, attendance at special services during advent is estimated to be around 5 million.

A change in baptism trends shows that adult baptisms are on the increase over the past decade – from 8,000 per year to 11,000 per year, an increase of 32% over the last 10 years.

The statistics are available at:

Earlier statistics are available here.


Everyone Counts 2014

Our friends at Anglicans Online have drawn our attention to this survey that the Church of England is about to carry out in a representative sample of parishes.

Everyone Counts 2014: Growing the church for all

Everyone Counts is a congregational survey with a focus on diversity. In October around one in six churches will take part in the survey, answering a few simple but important questions about how they identify and their connection to the church.

Currently, volunteers across the dioceses are getting ready for the survey. This page provides additional information for the churches and coordinators involved. Later we will post updates on the project, additional materials and interim findings.

These papers are available.

Everyone Counts 2014 Information for Churches

Everyone Counts Coordinator FAQs

Celebrating Diversity in the Church of England [a background paper presented to the Archbishops’ Council]


Church of England Finance Statistics 2012

The Church of England has published its Finance Statistics 2012 today together with this press release.

Record amount from parishes to fund ministry and mission, show 2012 stats
14 August 2014

Parishes across the country raised a record amount of £929 million in 2012 to fund the ministry and mission of the Church of England across the country according to statistics published today. Parishes raised these funds from a combination of investments, legacies and donations despite the reduced gift aid rates*. The figure represents a modest increase on £916m in 2011.

In addition to funding the work of the Church at a parish, diocesan and national level, Parish Churches also continued to give generously to other organisations donating more than £46m to other charitable organisations, exceeding the £43.3m raised by Children in Need.

The statistics also show that after three years of deficits, parishes have successfully reduced their expenditure and encouraged more giving, to reach a break-even point in 2012. After adjusting for inflation, the data show that expenditure increased between 2002 and 2009 but has been steadily declining since.

Dr John Preston, the Church of England’s national stewardship adviser said: “The 2012 figures show the Church’s continued commitment to give generously despite the economic environment. It is a real testimony to the generosity of people in the pews that despite the reduced gift aid rates they have raised the largest ever amount of money to support the ministry and mission of the church. The Christian principle of stewardship is clearly alive and well.”



The information in the Finance Stats document is collated from the annual parish returns (excluding the Diocese in Europe).

For further Church of England statistics see


Church annual statistics for 2012

The Church of England has today released its annual statistics for 2013: Statistics for Mission 2012. There is an accompanying press release:

Church annual statistics for 2012: Almost 1,000 Occasional Services each day of the week and no significant change in attendance over past decade

The Church of England today released its annual statistics for 2012.

Overall in 2012, on average 1.05m people attended Church of England churches each week showing no significant change over the past decade. Figures for all age average weekly attendance show around 1 in 5 churches growing, and just over this number declining with 57% remaining stable.

In 2012 the Church of England conducted over 356,000 services of baptism, wedding and funerals at an average of about 6,700 each week – almost 1,000 per day – marking the rites of passage in people’s lives in communities across the country. Last year the Church of England baptised almost 140,000 people (2,700 per week), performing around 56,000 marriages in (1000 per week) and conducted 160,000 funerals (3,000 per week).

Christmas and Easter services continue to attract higher numbers with services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day attracting around 2.5m people and services at Easter attracting 1.4m people.

The 2012 statistics also suggest that around 38,000 people who had not previously attended church were welcomed in to a worshipping community in 2013, compared to just over 19,000 who died or who left due or illness. Nearly 23,000 joined a church due to moving into an area compared to 18,500 leaving because they moved away.

The 2012 figures also show that more than 100,000 young people aged 11 to 25 attended activities connected to the Church in 2012. Around 28,000 adults work voluntarily with young people aged 11-17 and around 2,000 are employed to do.

Dr Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics for the Archbishops’ Council said: “These statistics for 2012 show that weekly attendance over the past decade has not changed significantly. The introduction of cleaner data and more rigorous methodological approaches and analysis means these figures provide a clearer picture of Anglican churchgoing in the decade to 2012.”

Ministry Statistics 2012 have already been published. There are links to earlier statistics here.


What Church of England members think

Two articles in the Church Times by Linda Woodhead are now available to non-subscribers.

The first item was referenced in this earlier TA article: Profile of Anglicans. The full text is now available to all here: ‘Nominals’ are the Church’s hidden strength.

THE Church of England’s mission strategies and investment of energy assume that churches and churchgoers are its main resources. But a significant new survey offers a broader answer. It suggests that non-churchgoing Anglicans may be much more important to the Church and its future than the dismissive word “nominals” implies…

…The results suggest that people who identify themselves as Anglican (“Church of England” was not given as an option) make up one third of the adult population of Great Britain. Adherents of all the other religions and Christian denominations added together constitute the next third, and those who say that they have “no religion” are the final slice of the pie.

THE most obvious division within the Anglicans as a whole is between those who say that they participate in a church or Christian group, and those who say that they do not. This gives us robust categories of churchgoers and non-churchgoers, placing those who attend occasional events, such as a wedding or a carol service, on the non-churchgoing side of the line. This non-churchgoing constituency represents 83 per cent of Anglicans, which dwarfs the 17 per cent who go to church.

This might, however, not be bad news for the Church. It is easy to assume that the churchgoers are the “real Anglicans”, and the non-churchgoers are backsliders whose diluted faith is one step away from atheism. The survey reveals something more interesting. Many of the “nominals” are more than purely nominal. Many believe and practise in similar ways to churchgoers – who are themselves not a homogenous group…

More recently, last month, the second article appeared, titled: A gap is growing within the Church. The second article concludes as follows:

…OVERALL, then, if we put together the results of both surveys, a general portrait of Anglicans emerges. They tend to be tough-minded rather than tender-hearted, and they place high value on individual responsibility. They think that people should stand on their own two feet, and be free to make their own mistakes. They believe that less should be spent on welfare, and that the current system needs reform. They value tradition and a common national culture, which they feel to be under threat.

When asked what they value about the Church of England, their favoured response is: “It is integral to English culture,” although churchgoers are slightly more likely to say “it brings people closer to God.”

They look back to a past that they imagine to have been less selfish, better disciplined, and bound by common values – but they have nevertheless embraced changes that have made society fairer to women and gay people.

In short, Anglicans have a good deal in common with the Government. They are in line with The Guardian on personal issues, but the Telegraph or even the Mail on wider social and economic matters.

The gap between this set of values, and those supported by the Church, especially as it is represented by bishops and archbishops, the General Synod, church policy, and official statements – hence what is reported in the media – is wide. In a striking inversion, official church teaching is welfarist-paternalist on social and economic issues, and authoritarian-paternalist on personal ethics. It is the mirror image of majority Anglican opinion.

There is also a values gap between the Church and wider society – a gap that widens as you go down the age range. Young people tend to be centrist in their socio-political views, and highly liberal and egalitarian in their views on personal morality. We already knew that disaffiliation from the Church of England has increased with every generation, but our polling points to an important reason for this.

When asked whether they think the Church of England is a negative or positive force in society today, 60 per cent of under-25s say “neither”, or “don’t know”; and 21 per cent say “negative”. When the “negatives” are asked their reasons, the answer they greatly favour is: “The Church of England is too prejudiced – it discriminates against women and gay people.”

It is foolish for any Church to think that in order to survive it has to follow public opinion, or even the opinion of its own members, affiliates, and sympathisers. But when it is significantly out of step with all of these, questions need to be asked.

The questions are more pressing for a body that wants to remain a national Church with wide social influence rather than a counter-cultural sect. My own suspicion is that church leaders are not being wilfully oppositional. They simply do not have the historic mindset, organisational structures, or investment in research that would enable them to maintain responsive contact even with their own grassroots.

The full dataset for the second survey (PDF, 9 Mb) can be found here. BRIN has a discussion of this here: Secularization Restated and Other News.


Bishops' working costs for 2012

Bishops’ Office and Working Costs for 2012 have been published today, along with this press release.

Bishops’ Office and Working Costs Published

The 2012 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England are published today. Figures for individual bishops were first published, for the year 2000, in December 2001.

The costs of their offices and the work of the bishops for 2012 was £20.0 million compared to a cost of £19.5 million in 2011, an annual increase of 2.5%.

This figure includes the work of the two Archbishops and the 113 bishops in the Church of England – 44 diocesan (leading) bishops and 69 suffragan (deputy) and fulltime assistant bishops, including area bishops and provincial episcopal visitors.

Included within the 2012 figure is approximately £2.8 million for legal costs during the year. House running costs for all bishops as a total was just over 750,000.

An annual block grant is made by the Church Commissioners to diocesan bishops to cover the bishops’ stipends, staff and working costs. The bishops determine how their funding is used. The Commissioners’ Board of Governors agreed to increase funding for the Archbishops by 2 per cent and for the bishops by 4 per cent, year on year for the 2011-2013 triennium.

Bishops’ office and working costs for the year ended 31 December 2012 are published on the Church of England website at:

The media have been sent this additional Note to Editors.

  • The report includes a description of the important role played by bishops locally, regionally and nationally.
  • The 113 diocesan and suffragan bishops of the Church of England institute and support the ministry of all clergy and lay ministers in their dioceses, as well as providing pastoral support to them. Each diocesan bishop has ultimate oversight of several hundred clergy, Readers and lay workers and of a diocesan budget and portfolio of assets.
  • In addition to diocesan responsibilities, such as ordinations and diocesan festivals, and engaging with the communities which they serve, bishops often chair or serve on national and international Church boards and councils, as well as large charities, special commissions or public inquiries. They are involved in the growing work towards visible unity with other denominations both nationally and internationally and in work with other faiths.
  • Twenty-six diocesan bishops sit in the House of Lords: at least one is present every day and others will attend according to the subjects under debate that day. The Bishop of Sodor & Man sits in the Tynwald.

Costs for earlier years are available here.


Scottish religious census results

Release 2A from the 2011 Census results for Scotland includes data on Religion. The Census press release on this contains the following:


  • Over half (54 per cent) of the population of Scotland stated their religion as Christian – a decrease of 11 percentage points since 2001- whilst 37 per cent of people stated that they had no religion – an increase of nine percentage points since 2001.
  • In terms of the Christian denominations, 32 per cent of the population (1.7 million) stated they belonged to the Church of Scotland – a decrease of 10 percentage points since 2001 – whilst the proportion of people who stated they were Roman Catholic remained the same as in 2001 at 16 per cent (0.8 million).
  • Over one per cent (1.4 per cent or 77,000 people) reported that they were Muslim – an increase of 0.6 percentage points since 2001.
  • The numbers of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs together accounted for 0.7 per cent of the population in 2011 and all saw increases between 2001 and 2011.
  • The number of Jewish people has declined slightly to just under 6,000.

BRIN has a very much more detailed discussion at Scottish Religious Census, 2011.

One of the surprising things is that many people in Scotland identify themselves as Church of England or Anglican, rather than as Episcopalian, or belonging to the Scottish Episcopal Church. The figures contained in this table are (updated Monday morning):

Church of England 66,717
Episcopalian 21,289
Anglican 4.490
Scottish Episcopal Church 8,048
Church of Ireland 2,020
Church in Wales 453

BRIN includes links to responses made by many denominational leaders. The Primus of the SEC made this statement.


What people really think about faith schools

Updated Sunday

Completed in June by 4,018 people, the YouGov survey for the Westminster Faith Debates offers little comfort for either those who defend or those who oppose faith schools. It shows that:

  • Of those who express an opinion, a majority of people in GB are against state funding for faith schools, but for young people the reverse is the case
  • Parents don’t choose faith schools because of religion but because of academic standards
  • Christian faith schools have more support than non-Christian faith schools, especially amongst older people and those who are more insular/less cosmopolitan in their general outlook
  • Social class, gender, and political preference make little difference to opinion

There is a great deal more information in the press release about specific questions that were asked.

The full survey results from YouGov are available here.

There was also an appendix to the press release as received by email, which is not included elsewhere but which is reproduced below the fold.

BRIN has now posted on this survey and their summary of key points is:

  • Only 32% believe the Government should fund faith schools generally, 18-24s being most supportive (43%), with 45% opposed, peaking at 57% in Scotland (where the existence of Catholic schools has often been a matter of controversy), and 23% undecided
  • Government funding of any type of faith school fails to find majority support, but opposition is notably lowest for Anglican schools (38%) and greatest for Islamic schools (60%) – hostility to Hindu and Jewish schools (59% and 55% respectively) is also high, but falls to 43% for Christian schools other than Anglican
  • Only 24% would choose a faith school for their own child, the proportion not exceeding 30% in any demographic sub-group, with 59% being unlikely to do so (peaking at 77% in Scotland)
  • Academic standards (77%), location (58%), and discipline record (41%) are the major factors in choice of school – just 5% attach importance to grounding of a pupil in a faith tradition and 3% to transmission of belief about God, and no more than 23% cite ethical values
  • A plurality (49%) finds it acceptable that faith schools should have admission policies which give preference to children and families who profess or practice the religion with which the school is associated (with 38% deeming it unacceptable, ranging from 31% of women to 51% of Scots)
  • Just 23% (never exceeding 28% in any demographic sub-group) agree that all faith schools should have to admit a proportion of pupils from a different religion or none at all, while 11% think it better for faith schools to admit pupils only of the same faith and 30% that schools should determine their own admissions policies


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BRIN comments on the British Social Attitudes Survey

We reported previously on this major survey here.

British Religion in Numbers has now published its analysis at British Social Attitudes Survey, 2012.

In addition to discussion of the specifically religious questions asked, BRIN notes that

responses to all questions in the survey can be quickly analysed by religion, through the BSA Information System website at (prior registration is required)

And BRIN reports the following example analysis, taken from the chapter on personal relationships in the survey report:

  • All religious groups apart from non-Christians have become more accepting of premarital sex over the past three decades, the number of Anglicans and Catholics describing it as always or mostly wrong now being reduced to one in ten (much the same as in the population as a whole), compared with almost one in three in 1983. Most tolerant of all are people of no religion, only 2% of whom in 2012 considered premarital sex to be wrong (11% in 1983). Frequency of attending religious services also has an impact; whereas 71% of non-attenders said in 2012 that premarital sex is not at all wrong, this was true of only 23% of weekly attenders at worship.
  • Despite a similar process of liberalization of attitudes over time, people of faith are still appreciably more disapproving of homosexuality than society at large. Indeed, the gap between the religious and non-religious on this issue is now far wider than in the past. Overall, 28% of Britons in 2012 deemed sexual relations between two adults of the same sex to be always or mostly wrong, but the proportion fell to 16% among the irreligious and climbed to 61% of non-Christians (with 35% for Catholics and 40% for Anglicans).
  • Religion continues to be closely associated with attitudes to abortion. Catholics are the least accepting, with only 39% supporting a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy if she wishes to, against 56% of Anglicans. Those professing no religion are most supportive of all (73%, compared with 62% of all Britons). However, acceptance of abortion has increased among all faith communities since 1983; in the case of Anglicans, for example, just 34% endorsed abortion in these circumstances thirty years ago.

Changes in British Social Attitudes

Updated Friday

The annual British Social Attitudes Report has been published. You can find the key findings, the whole report, and related materials at this website.

Media reports on this:

John Bingham at the Telegraph has Marriage ‘no longer the foundation stone of family life’ and Revolution in attitudes to homosexuality is biggest change in generation

The Guardian has
Britons more liberal, cynical and individual than 30 years ago, says survey
Changing British attitudes: rise in support for benefits since last year
Changing British attitudes: can you guess them?
Changing British attitudes: press and politicians out, royal family in

The Conversation has this: British social attitudes report finds trust is in freefall and specifically mentions the Church of England:

…Over the past 30 years, the hold of that the country’s religious institutions have on the British public has similarly weakened. In 1983, 69% classified themselves as “belonging to a religion”, whereas in 2012 this figure was 52%.

This fall was not spread over all religions, however. The drop is driven by the declining popularity of the Church of England. Those who affiliate themselves with the Anglican Church has dropped from 40% to 20% in the same period.

Linda Woodhead, Director of Religion and Society at the University of Lancaster, said, “11% of 20 year olds identify themselves as Anglican, compared to 50% of over 60s”. The Church of England, like political parties, is failing to retain or attract young people.

However, the drops in these figures do not signal a correlative increase in levels of atheism. “In fact, levels of atheism have not grown a great deal in the past 30 years, and stand at under 20%” Woodhead explained. “People are just less likely to associate with, or relate to, a particular religion.”


The Church Times has Christians more liberal, survey finds.

…The survey suggests that Christians have also become more accepting of pre-marital sex over the past 30 years. In 1983, for instance, 31 per cent of Anglicans who were surveyed said that pre-marital sex was “always” or “mostly” wrong; in 2012, only ten per cent thought this.

When first asked, in 1989, whether “people who want children ought to get married”, 71 per cent of all those surveyed agreed, and 17 per cent disagreed. By 2012, the proportion agreeing had dropped to 42 per cent, and the proportion of those disagreeing had risen to 34 per cent.

In 1989, more than three-quarters of Anglicans surveyed (78 per cent) thought that people should marry before having children. In 2012, just over half of Anglicans (54 per cent) thought this. Roman Catholics have become even more accepting of having children outside of wedlock: in 1989, 73 per cent thought people should marry before having children; in 2012, just 43 per cent thought this…


Cathedral statistics 2012

The Church of England has released Cathedral Statistics 2012 today and this press release.

Growing decade for cathedral congregations, show latest stats

The number of worshippers at Church of England cathedrals increased in 2012, continuing the growing trend seen since the Millennium. Total weekly attendance at the 43* cathedrals grew to 35,800, according to Cathedral Statistics 2012, an increase of 35% since 2002.

Along with occasional and special services, the regular worshipping life of cathedrals has proved more popular than ever over the past decade with cathedrals pointing to stronger community links attracting more people (see case studies below).

Easter 2012 saw the highest attendance in the last decade, at 54,700. Attendance at midweek services has grown most, from 8,900 in 2002 to 16,800, while Sunday attendance has grown from 17,500 to 19,100.

The numbers of children and young people attending educational events is the highest for 10 years (306,800 in 2012 compared to 265,100 in 2002).

The number of volunteers serving cathedrals continued to rise, reaching 15,570, 30% up on the 11,930 in 2002. Between them, they fulfil a range of 860 voluntary roles across the country.

Other regular services, run at least once a month, attracted a further 1,639,300 worshippers. Around one million attended more than 5000 public/civil events in the cathedrals, down from a peak in 2010 but still nearly twice as many as in 2002. 2,900 specially arranged services, such as annual festivals and school leavers’ services attracted a further 930,000.

Dr Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics for the Archbishops’ Council said: “Cathedrals continue to flourish as worshipping communities while offering a valuable insight into our nation’s heritage. The statistics show people of all ages are increasingly drawn to cathedrals for worship, to attend educational and civic events, and to volunteer to ensure our cathedrals are open to all those who are drawn to visit and worship in these wonderful buildings”

*There are 43 cathedrals in the Church of England, 44 including the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Gibraltar in the Diocese in Europe

There are three case studies below the fold.



CofE Financial Statistics 2011

Press release

Financial Statistics 2011

01 July 2013

Parish incomes continue to increase, passing £900 million for first time at £916 million, up £20 million on 2010, according to the latest parish finance statistics published by the Church of England. Income from giving in 2011 increased by 1.3% to £546 million, with planned giving exceeding £10 per subscriber each week for the first time and tax-efficient giving reaching £10.70 a week. At £46.40 a month, this is more than double the average donation to the charitable sector of £17.00 a month.

Dr John Preston, National Stewardship Officer, said, “2011 saw another year of increased parish incomes and giving, in large part due to the faith and commitment of regular givers. Although overall growth in income was lower than inflation, it is encouraging to note that the average weekly gift from our planned givers has risen by a further 3%.”

Other figures showing improvement include income from parish investments, up 7% as markets improved, and income from trading, such as book stalls, parish magazines and church halls, up 6%.

Investment in church buildings, for maintenance and improvements to facilities for community use, topped £200 million for first time, in 2011. Parishes made significant donations to mission organisations and other charities, totalling £49 million in 2011.

While inflation has reduced the value of giving, parish efforts to control costs reduced a deficit of £21m in 2010, after the recession, to £13 million in 2011. Deficits were met from parish reserves.

Churchgoers in Birmingham Diocese gave the highest proportion of their weekly income to their churches at 3.0% (5.7% among tax-efficient givers) against a national average of 2.0% (3.3% among tax-efficient givers).

Average weekly tax-efficient giving in dioceses ranged from £6.40 to £20.20; while weekly giving per electoral roll member ranged from £4.10 to £9.40.