Thursday, February 19, 2009

Church of England Attendance Change 2001-7, by Diocese

Based on the latest 'provisional' figures from the Church of England for 2007, here are 2 tables on the change in attendance since 2001 in each Diocese.

The first is the average number of adults attending worship each week (so it includes midweek services). Dioceses showing an improvement on the equivalent 2001-6 measure are in blue.

London 12.4%
Southwark 6.1%
Carlisle 3.4%
Lincoln 2.8%
Hereford 2.8%
Manchester 2.3%

Chichester 0.8%
Gloucester 0.5%
Exeter 0.4%

Winchester -0.3%
Leicester -1.4%
Coventry -1.4%
Newcastle -1.6%

Wakefield -1.9%
Durham -2.1%
Canterbury -2.1%
St Albans -2.3%
Birmingham -2.4%
Bath & Wells -2.5%
Southwell -2.5%
Chelmsford -2.8%
Total C of E -3.7%
Ely -3.8%
York -4.5%
Rochester -4.9%

Bradford -6.6%
Oxford -7.1%
Guildford -7.5%
Blackburn -7.9%
Sodor & Man -8.3%
Lichfield -8.5%
Peterborough -8.6%
Salisbury** -9.0%
Chester -9.0%
Derby -9.9%

Norwich -10.0%
Sheffield -10.6%
Portsmouth -10.9%
Ripon & Leeds -11.7%
St Edmundsbury & Ipswich -12.1%
Liverpool -12.6%
Truro -13.1%
Worcester -13.7%
Bristol -14.9%

Mt original 2001-6 list, with some analysis and comment, is here. There are more Dioceses registering growth since the turn of the millenium, but this is still a minority figure, and some of the figures seem to have bounced up and down a bit.

The second list is the change in the average number of children attending each week (i.e Sunday plus midweek services), again for the period 2001-7.

Ely 18.2%
Carlisle 17.9%
Southwark 14.9%
London 9.3%
Birmingham 8.3%
Winchester 7.7%
Coventry 7.1%
Gloucester 5.3%

Newcastle 4.5%
St Albans 3.7%
Southwell 3.4%
Norwich 3.3%
Worcester 3.3%

Bradford 0.0%
Guildford 0.0%

Chichester -2.3%
Bristol -2.8%
Lincoln -4.0%
Bath & Wells -4.2%
Oxford -4.2%
Canterbury -4.3%
Total C of E -4.3%

Hereford -5.3%
York -5.3%
Manchester -5.6%
Truro -5.9%
Sheffield -7.1%
Blackburn -7.4%
Exeter -7.9%
Salisbury** -8.8%
Lichfield -9.5%
Chester -9.6%

Chelmsford -11.2%
Rochester -12.8%
Wakefield -13.5%
St Edmundsbury & Ipswich -14.7%
Derby -15.2%
Sodor & Man -16.7%
Leicester -19.4%
Portsmouth -19.4%
Peterborough -19.6%
Ripon & Leeds -22.2%
Liverpool -22.4%
Durham -22.9%

However (there's always a 'however') these figures are off a smaller base, so any significant change can make a bigger difference to the percentages. The Ely increase equates to an extra 600 children. The same goes for the decreases.

For example, if a parish church has the local church school in for a service at the end of the school week (which happens in Yeovil), and decided to count those 300 children as 'worshippers' for the first time in 2007, then that would shunt the Diocesan total up by 300, meaning a 5-10% rise in the total for an average Diocese. The tempatation to report success might mean that some of these figures are overstated. Or it might not!

As I said last year, both of these tables are encouraging compared to the previous decade, which only saw London Diocese registering any significant growth. But they only count Anglican church attendance, which has its own limitations (do cell groups count? Or fresh expressions?). Whether this is turning the corner, or just a slightly shallower nosedive, remains to be seen.

If there's any interest in this post, then I may try to put together a table for Sunday attendance, which will require a bit more work. However, I'm seriously thinking about giving up blogging (or at least, conventional blogging) for Lent, so it may not appear until late April!!

Finally, don't ask me why Salisbury has a ** - this is in the original figures but not explained, so I'm leaving it in for textual authenticity.

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