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Cathedral congregations continue to grow

Attendance levels at regular weekly services in Church of England cathedrals have increased significantly again this year, by 7%, say the latest statistics from the Archbishops' Council's Research and Statistics Unit.

Since the turn of the millennium, they have steadily grown by a total of 37%, which is about 4% on average each year. At Sunday services alone, 15,800 adults and 3,100 children and young people are usually present while over the whole week the figures rise (by 73%) to 27,400 and 7,600 respectively. Westminster Abbey adds, on average, 1,800 people each week to these numbers. 

The Revd Lynda Barley, Head of Research and Statistics, said: "The ministry of cathedrals is valued by many people. They have a treasured place in the heart of the nation and are actively used at key moments in individual lives and on public occasions."

Midweek attendance has more than doubled since the turn of the millennium and is approaching the same level as Sunday attendance. In 2010, for example, it added 85% to Sunday congregations (slightly higher than previous years). Cathedrals are key places of daily Christian worship outside Sundays adding an additional 73% to the number of adult attenders and more than doubling the number of children over the whole week.

The Revd Lynda Barley added: "Cathedrals are proof of the benefit of being open and available throughout the week. Attendance at services outside Sundays has grown more significantly by 10% over the past year and will soon double Sunday congregations. Steady growth since the beginning of the millennium is encouraging cathedrals to explore the unique position they hold in the life of the nation and is restoring confidence in mission." 

Other newly published statistics include:

More than 3,150 specially arranged services were conducted by cathedrals in 2010 which attracted almost one million people. 

Regular services attracted nearly two million people while 1.63 million people attended about 5,150 public/civic events arranged in cathedrals.

Over the last ten years both the numbers of public/civic events and specially arranged services have considerably increased. In particular, the number of public/civic events has almost doubled.

In 2010 approximately 760 baptisms (and thanksgivings for the birth of a child), 330 marriages (and blessings of marriage), 410 funerals and 130 memorial services were conducted by cathedral clergy. Baptisms of young people and adults (over 13 years of age) and number of child baptisms (aged one to 12 years) have almost doubled since the turn of the millennium. Overall, these figures reflect a fairly static picture over recent years but in common with the national trend the number of baptisms of older children, young people and adults is growing.

Daily Digest