Facts & Stats

The Church of England plays a vital role in the life of the nation, proclaiming the Christian gospel in words and actions and providing services of Christian worship and praise.

Its network of parishes cover the country, bringing a vital Christian dimension to the nation as well as strengthening community life in numerous urban, suburban and rural settings. Its cathedrals are centres of spirituality and service, and its network of chaplaincies across continental Europe meet important local needs.

The Church of England plays an active role in national life with its members involved in a wide range of public bodies. Twenty-six bishops are members of the House of Lords and are engaged in debates about legislation and national and international affairs.

The Church of England is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Key facts about the Church of England:

Church attendance and visits

  • 1.7 million people take part in a Church of England service each month, a level that has been maintained since the turn of the millennium. Approximately one million participate each Sunday.
  • Approaching 3 million people participate in a Church of England service on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Thirty-five per cent of the population attend a Christmas service of some sort, rising to 42 per cent in London, nationally, and 22 per cent among those of non-Christian faiths.
  • The Church of England has the largest following of any denomination or faith in Britain today. More than 4 in 10 in England regard themselves as belonging to the Church of England, while 6 in 10 consider themselves Christian.
  • People support their local churches in many different ways at different points in their lives. Each year 3 in 10 attend regular Sunday worship and more than 4 in 10 attend a wedding in their local church, while still more attend a funeral there
  • In 2009, 43 per cent of adults attended a church or place of worship for a memorial service for someone who has died and 17 per cent were seeking a quiet space.  Both these proportions are increases on 22 per cent and 12 per cent respectively in 2001.
  • 85 per cent of the population visit a church or place of worship in the course of a year, for reasons ranging from participating in worship to attending social events or simply wanting a quiet space.
  • Every year, around 12 million people visit Church of England cathedrals, including 300,000 pupils on school visits. Three of England's top five historic 'visitor attractions' are York Minster, Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

Education

  • Seven in ten (72%) of the population agree that Church of England schools help young people to grow into responsible members of society and 8 in 10 (80%) agree that they promote good behaviour and positive attitudes.
  • Latest available statistics indicate one in four primary schools and one in 16 secondary schools in England are Church of England schools. Approaching one million pupils are educated in more than 4,700 Church of England schools.

Ministers

  • At the end of 2009, there were 19,504 ministers licensed by Church of England dioceses, including clergy, readers and Church Army officers: one minister for every 2,500 people in England. The total does not include more than 1,600 chaplains to prisons, hospitals, the armed forces and in education, nor around 7,190 retired ministers with permission to officiate.
  • The Church recommended 491 future clergy for ordination training in 2009, maintaining the level at the turn of the millennium.
  • It ordained 564 new clergy in 2009 Overall, 266 women and 298 men were ordained in 2009, with more than half ordained to full-time, stipendiary ministry: 193 men and 116 women.

Community involvement

  • More people do unpaid work for church organisations than any other organisation.  Eight per cent of adults undertake voluntary work for church organisations while sixteen per cent of adults belong to religious or church organisations.
  • A quarter of regular churchgoers (among both Anglicans and other Christians separately) are involved in voluntary community service outside the church. Churchgoers overall contribute 23.2 million hours voluntary service each month in their local communities outside the church.
  • The Church of England provides activities outside church worship in the local community for 407,000 children and young people (aged under 16 years) and 32,900 young people (aged 16 to 25 years). More than 116,000 volunteers and an additional 4900 employed adults run children/young people activity groups sponsored by the Church of England outside church worship.
  • Church of England congregations give more than £51.7 million each year to other charities - that's even more than the BBC's annual Children in Need appeal.
  • More than half a million worshippers subscribe to tax-efficient giving schemes such as Gift Aid, accounting for half the voluntary income of parish churches.

Church buildings

  • Nearly half the population (46%) think that central taxation, local taxation, the National Lottery or English Heritage should be 'primarily' responsible for providing money to maintain churches and chapels. These churches and cathedrals are largely supported by the efforts and financial support of local communities. Often, they are the focus of community life and service.
  • There are 14,500 places of worship in England listed for their special architectural or historic interest, 85% of which belong to and are maintained by the Church of England.
  • The Church of England has more than 16,000 churches, serving every inch of the country and open to every local inhabitant. There are 42 mainland cathedrals, plus one in Peel on the Isle of Man and the Diocese in Europe's cathedral in Gibraltar.
  • People value their local church and 68% consider it an important part of their local community. Those who consider churches important include 45% of people with no religion and 62% of adherents of other faiths. 70% believe it provides valuable social and community facilities and 57% believe it should be more actively involved in the local community.
  • Three church and cathedral locations are World Heritage Sites: Durham Castle and Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey & St Martin's Church, and Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's Church.
  • In 2006, necessary repairs to all listed places of worship in England were valued at £925m over the next five years, or £185m a year. Around £110 million is currently spent on repairs to Church of England churches per annum, 70% of it raised by the congregations and local community.

 

Sources:

Church Statistics 2003/4, 2004/5, 2006/7, 2007/8, 2008/9 and 2009/10

Opinion Research Business national polls 2000-2009

English Heritage and Church of England Cathedral and Church Buildings Division Joint Research 2006

Church Life Survey 2001

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