07 May 2013
The Church of England today released its
annual statistics for 2011 revealing a strong growing trend for
Christmas attendance, an increase in child and adult baptisms and a
growing stability in weekly service attendance.
Christmas 2011 drew 14.5% more worshippers to
Church of England services than attended in 2010, reaching a total
of 2,618,030. Whilst one of the factors for such a high annual
increase include the poor weather on Christmas Day in the previous
year 2010, initial returns from 2012 suggest a further increase in
Christmas attendance on these high 2011 figures revealing a growing
trend for church going at Christmas.
The number of christenings increased by 4.3% and
was accompanied by a rise of just over 5% in adult baptisms with a
combined total of 139,751 baptisms - meaning that the Church of
England conducted an average of over 2,600 baptisms each week
during 2011. Thanksgivings for the birth of a child also rose; an
11.9% increase taking numbers to 6,582.
Average Weekly Attendance nationally fell by less
than half of one per cent (0.3%) to 1,091,484 a stabilising of
average weekly attendance figures. Almost half of the Church of
England's regional areas saw growth in Church attendance, with 20
out of 44 dioceses showing increases. Nationally there was a 1.2%
increase in children and young people attending to 216,928.
Weddings saw a slight decrease of 3.6% in 2011, to
51,880, whilst the number of wedding blessings (Services of Prayer
and Thanksgiving following a civil ceremony) was up by 4.5%. The
wedding figures confirm the trend of the past decade where the
Church of England married an average of 1,000 couples every
Church of England Clergy and lay ministers
conducted 162,526 funerals in 2011, a fall of 2.8% on the previous
year, reflecting figures from the Office for National Statistics
which showed a fall of 1.8% in deaths in England and Wales in 2011.
On these figures the Church of England conducted an average of over
3,000 funerals every week in 2011 - over 400 every day.
Welcoming the publication of the statistics, the
Rt. Revd. Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said:
"These figures are a welcome reminder of the work
and service undertaken by the Church of England annually. 1,000
couples married, 2,600 baptisms celebrated and over 3,000 funerals
conducted every week of the year.
"The attendance figures are heartening, especially
the very strong growth in Christmas day attendance. The encouraging
news of further growth to come even on these high figures is very
welcome and points to a growing trends. Also welcome is the
stabilising of the numbers of those who attend church services on a
weekly basis. With almost half of our dioceses showing growth,
there is a quiet confidence underlying these figures.
"The growth of the numbers of children and young
people attending is an encouragement and reflects the investment
made by churches across in the country on youth and children's
workers to serve not only the church but the whole parish."
"The increase in the number of adults being
baptised and those families bringing their children to be
Christened is also good news showing growth in the numbers of those
both coming to faith and reflects the wide nature of the ministry
offered by the Church - for all of life from the cradle to the