TEARFund released a new bit of research at the weekend, based on interviews with 7000 adults about churchgoing habits, which found a slight rise in churchgoing in 2008. There's a full summary here, here's a briefer one:
One in four UK adults (26% or 12.8 million) go to church at least once a year.
The Tearfund data reveal that 15% of UK adults (7.3m) attend church at least once a month and 10% at least once a week (4.9m).
Contrary to reports that church attendance is waning, this tracking research (which interviews 7,000 adults every six months) shows that church attendance in Sep 08 was actually slightly higher than a year previously in Sep 07.
Significant increases in church attendance among UK adults (aged 16+) from September 2007 to September 2008:
at least annually +5% 21% to 26%
at least monthly +2% 13% to 15%
at least weekly +1% 9% to 10%
The broader trend over three years since the start of the tracking, shows that churchgoing is holding up well:
at least annually: Sep 08 recovery from low point of 21% in Feb 07 but still below Feb 05 level of 29%
at least monthly: Sep 08 and Feb 05 are equivalent, at 15%
at least weekly: Sep 08 and Feb 05 are equivalent, at 10%
There's also a helpful breakdown by social group, which confirms what everyone already knows - that folk are more likely to be churchgoers if they're female, older, and in social grades A & B, and less likely if they're male, under 35 and with a lower income.
What it doesn't tell you is what's changing, whether it's social attitudes, or the church, or both.
CofE figures are due out soon, however they'll be for 2007, not 2008. Yes, I know.