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Church decline has halted, say Anglican statisticians

Posted on: April 1, 2014 8:49 AM
The Head of Research and Statistics for the Archbishops' Council, said that decline had mostly stopped over the past decade.
Photo Credit: Church of England
Related Categories: church growth, England, evangelism

By Tim Wyatt, Church Times

Official statistics issued recently suggest that attendance at C of E churches may have levelled out after decades of decline.

A report by the Archbishops' Council, Statistics for Mission 2012, released on Friday 21 March suggests that, on an average Sunday in 2012 (the latest year with available data) about 859,000 people attended a C of E church. This compares with 901,000 in 2003.

The average weekly attendance for the Church was higher, at 1.05 million people. About one in five of those who attend a C of E service weekly are reckoned not to attend on a Sunday.

Three months ago, a C of E report on church growth, From Anecdote to Evidence (News, 31 January), suggested that there had been nine per cent decline in average weekly attendance over the decade to 2010.

But Dr Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics for the Archbishops' Council, said that decline had mostly stopped over the past decade.

The earlier figures have now been revised. "These statistics for 2012 show that weekly attendance over the past decade has not changed significantly," Dr Botting said. "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.

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