05 December 2001
Church of England cathedrals can expect more than 600,000 worshippers over the Advent period, almost 100,000 of them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. These are among the first results of a new data collection system designed to give a more accurate picture of the Church of England. Latest figures also show a 20% increase in the number of people receiving communion at the 43 cathedrals on Christmas Day 2000, compared with 1999.
Comparative figures from 1995 to 2000 show both Sunday attendance and the number of communicants at major festivals gradually increasing in the cathedrals. Over that period, Sunday attendance has steadily risen from 16,470 to 18,600, including an increase in the number of those under 16 from 2,080 to 2,310. Easter Day communicants increased from 26,640 to 28,280 and Christmas Day communicants from 32,590 to 36,450 (30,040 in 1999). Both measures showed low points in 1997.
The new data collection system has thrown up baseline figures for the future not previously available. These include year 2000 figures for average weekly attendance, Easter and Christmas attendance, visitor numbers, special services and educational events.
- Average weekly attendance at the cathedrals (those worshipping at regular services) is approximately 25,500, including more than 4,000 under 16s, compared with a Sunday-only figure of about 16,500.
- Cathedrals attracted more than 58,000 worshippers for Easter Day 2000, nearly 95,000 for Christmas services and a total of 660,000 worshippers during Advent 2000.
- More than 3.5million people attended cathedral services and public events: 1.5million for regular services; 900,000 at 4,500 special services; and 1.1million for almost 2,500 non-worship events such as concerts and conferences.
- There are nearly 10,000 children in cathedral schools and more than 250,000 children took part in educational events in the cathedrals.
- 16,000 volunteers work in cathedrals as welcomers, stewards, servers and similar roles.
- During 2000, the cathedrals also attracted approximately 14million visitors: Canterbury, York and London accounted for 5million of those.
The new statistics begin to build a picture of the impact of the cathedrals on people's lives. New parish statistics, which are currently being prepared for publication, will provide the Church of England with a more accurate picture of its impact on the whole community than has been available for many years.