Sunday, February 22, 2009

Church of England 2001-7: Baptisms, Blessings and other stats

For the sake of completeness, here are the figures and changes for some of the other Church of England data released this week.

Figures are totals for 2007, with the percentage change (in brackets) since 2001.

Infant baptisms 88,400 (-17.3%)
Child baptisms* 40,300 (+5.2%)
Adult baptisms 10,200 (+25/9%)

Infant thanksgivings 4,700 (-9.6%)
Child thanksgivings* 1,700 (+6.3%)

Confimations 27,900 (-16.4%)

Marriages 54,600 (-5%)
Blessing of marriage 4,500 (-26.2%)

Funerals in church 96,500 (-7.3%)
Funeral in crematorium 98,700 (-20.3%)

Easter day/eve attendance 1,469,000 (-7.8%)
Christmas day/eve attendance 2,656,800 (+1.8%)

*i.e. ages 1-11.

1. The process of change away from 'Christian Britian' continues: from 1900-1950, roughtly 65% of children born in this country were baptised, and 1/3 of those went on to be confirmed. That figure is not less than 20%, with 1/6 going on to be confirmed. Of course, the Church of England is not the only show in town, but it's generally smaller churches (Pentecostal, black-led churches) which have grown in this time, whilst larger ones have shrunk.

2. Marriages and funerals are becoming more secular. Though funerals (thankfully) aren't now a marketplace for venues in the way that marriages are, more are being taken by non-religious celebrants.

3. Marriages, Baptisms and Funerals are becoming a smaller part of the clergy workload, though with a reducing number of clergy, there's probably the same number per head as there was 10 or 20 years ago. This is a double-edged sword: on one level it means fewer pastoral contacts outside the church for church leaders, but on another it means there's more time to do proper preparation and follow-up for the people we do have contact with, or time freed up to be more pro-active.

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