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.