03 April 2012
Attendance levels at regular weekly services in Church of
England cathedrals have steadily increased by 30% since the turn of
millennium, a growth of approximately 3% on average each year,
according to the latest statistics, published today. In 2011,
figures for 'average normal midweek attendance' were at their
highest levels since records began in 2000 for both adults and
children; the figure for Sunday attendance was up slightly, too,
There is more good news in the figures for Christmas and Easter
attendance, both showing stability across the decade, with
Christmas attendance up 17% in 2011 compared with 2010.
The statistics are published online here.
Dr Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics, said: "These
figures demonstrate how cathedrals are very much a vibrant centre
of spiritual life in our cathedral cities."
The Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of Leicester and chair of the
Association of English Cathedrals, said: "Cathedrals are wonderful
places in which to worship and fascinating places to visit - and
all are invited to join us as we mark Holy Week and Easter with
Sunday and total weekly attendance
Sunday services in Cathedrals are usually attended by 15,900
adults and 2,200 children and young people. Including those who
only attend midweek services, the total attendance figures rise to
28,000 and 6,800 respectively. Westminster Abbey adds, on average,
2,000 people each week to these numbers.
Cathedrals are key places of daily Christian worship outside
Sundays, and Midweek attendance continues to be very significant,
the statistics reveal. In 2011, those attending just midweek
services increased total attendance levels by 92%, adding an
additional 76% to the number of adult attenders and more than
doubling the number of children over the whole week.
Easter and Christmas 2011
In 2011, approximately 129,100 people attended services in
cathedrals on either or both Christmas Day and Christmas Eve while
services over Advent, the period leading up to Christmas, attracted
attendances of 776,400. This is an increase of over 17% compared to
2010 and is probably due, at least in part, to good weather and
Christmas day falling on a Sunday. Attendance at Easter 2011 was
47,900, slightly higher than the previous year. Many cathedrals
have been offering additional services to respond to the space
restrictions that continue to limit attendance levels. Westminster
Abbey adds over 8,000 adults, children and young people to
Christmas Day/Eve attendance and more than 29,000 over the Advent
Comparable figures from parish churches are currently being
collected and collated.
In 2011, approximately 740 baptisms (and thanksgivings for the
birth of a child), 330 marriages (and blessings of marriage), 340
funerals and 90 memorial services were conducted by cathedral
clergy. The number of baptisms of young people and adults (over 13
years of age) and of child baptisms (aged 1 to 12 years) have
increased by about one third over the decade, whilst the number of
baptisms of babies under one year of age remained broadly
stable. As a result, overall, the number of baptisms in
cathedrals has increased by 9% over the decade.
In 2011, 286,450 children attended educational events at
cathedral, a reduction of 1% compared to 2010, with Westminster
Abbey adding a further 11,770. In addition, a further 9,720
children are being educated at schools associated with cathedrals.
Over 2,000 of these children and adults are involved week by week
in providing cathedral music. In addition, 850 children (under 16
years of age) are involved in singing in other Cathedral choirs and
1,360 are voluntary choir members.
Volunteers and visitors
Over the last 10 years the number of volunteers involved in the
mission and ministry of cathedrals on a regular basis has increased
by 24% to 14,500, an average of 345 volunteers for every cathedral
(down slightly on the high point in 2009 when there were 15,040
volunteers). In contrast, over the last 10 years, the number of
visitors reported has gradually reduced by approximately 1.9
million to 9,520,980, that is, around 44,900 for every cathedral.
With the addition of Westminster Abbey and other Royal Peculiars
and, given the imprecise nature of visitor counting, the estimated
total number of visitors to cathedrals remains at the 2010 level of
The statistics and associated graphs are available in