Church Times: Church of England Attendance slides, but several dioceses buck the trend

A patchwork pattern of church attendance emerged this week, as newly released figures for 2006 suggested that half the dioceses experienced growth of one type or another.

Overall, attendance in 2006 was one per cent lower than in 2005. The Church of England counts church attendance over four weeks in October each year. During that time, it measures attendance on Sundays (down from 993,000 to 983,000), at some time during a week (1,174,000 to 1,163,000), and monthly (1,706,000 to 1,694,000). The number of children fell by two per cent (on Sundays: 158,000 in 2005 to 155,000 in 2006; weekly: 232,000 to 228,000). The monthly attendance figure for children remained the same.

The pattern was mixed across the country, however. Of the 44 dioceses, 33 saw some growth in one or more measures of attendance: 24 saw increases in total attendance, 22 in some element of adult attendance, and 24 in child attendance.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

7 comments on “Church Times: Church of England Attendance slides, but several dioceses buck the trend

  1. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    If you took a look at the majority of the people I trained for holy orders with the decline in numbers would surprise…because there shouldn’t be anyone left at all!

    Most of the college comprised of dull middle aged frumpy looking people who were big on being ‘nice’ and wooly on almost everything esle. A great bugle of middle classed numpties looking to save themselves from mental breakdown…which in many cases had in fact already started. Tragically uninspiring folk with fashion sense akin to that of a blind man dressing in a clown’s emporium.

    Recruitment and training and orthodoxy are key. Where you have strong leadership and great vision the numbers grow. But the C of E long ago decided to turn a sacred vocation into ‘mummies hobby when the kids leave home’.

  2. azusa says:

    #2: Is it not the case that more women than men are now being ordained in England & that many of them are in their 40s and 50s? How is that going to reverse decline?

  3. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #1 That’s really very funny… problem is we don’t have the money to keep anyone with fashion sense so we have to rely on those who have made enough money in their first career and bought their house…then we let them fulfil their vocation in an unremitting stream of burials.

    You get out what you put in.

  4. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    #3 Well it would be funny…were it not true. Honestly the number of inspirational ordinands with leadership skills is alarmingly small.

    Instead the system plucks its own and everyone sits around in ‘self help’ type talk shops – sympathising on the ineveitable decline. All seem terrified of conflict (alarming when there is so much of it to deal with in a church setting) They then ‘feel good’ by pointing out that 6 nerdy teens bothered to show up one sunday. yada yada yada

    Time for action is today. The parish system needs replacing and a huge cull in numbers of wet clergy. We then need to get into universities and schools and recruit.
    How on earth is a touchy feely granny who loves ‘puppet ministry’ going to inspire a talented Oxbridge student in their twenties to enter the church and offer their life to the sacred priesthood??

  5. azusa says:

    #5: I suspect the problem lies more in the Anglo-Catholic wing (or what’s left of it). From what I’ve heard of Oxford and Cambridge, the evangelical churches are doing fairly well – even some rugby players among them! It’s the liberal churches that can’t – and won’t – shake off the gay tag.

  6. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Who mentioned homosexuality?

  7. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    It really is quite interesting to look at the maps thoughtfully provided – I can deal with that better than 2 pages of statistics. It is as if someone has taken 2 paintbrush strokes across the map. The southern one pretty much follows the M5 motorway from the west country up to the Midlands then off to Yorkshire; the Eastern one from Surrey, Hamshire, to London and Essex. These growth areas seem to match the economic growth areas of the country. The more deprived or rural counties and a large swath of the middle seem to be flatlining – so it seems to say as much about the economic status of the areas as the colour of their ministries, although those seem to correlate as well with the possible exception of St Albans.