Thursday, September 29, 2011

latest Church of England stats

Just gone up on the main CofE website. Summary is here, full 62 pages of charts etc. are here. The main new stuff (it has the attendance figures which were published earlier this year) is about giving and vocations. Parish giving has risen, bucking the general trend across the charity sector, and over 500 people were ordained in 2010. However due to lots of retirements, overall numbers of full time clergy continue to fall. This is projected to drop a further 10% in the next 5 years.

At some stage the CofE will seriously need to reckon with this: the number of churches, expectation of a weekly Sunday communion, heavy clerical dependency etc. But since the change is all incremental, it feels like a slowly boiling frog scenario, and there's a danger we don't respond until it's too late. Maybe it is too late already.

The main stats document also has lots of info on confirmations, baptisms, weddings, funerals, chaplans and cathedrals.

If I get a moment, there'll be more analysis in the next few days.


  1. Hi David
    Thanks for the heads up on the latest stats. I agree with the boiling frog metaphor but not sure 'it is too late already'. responses must include:

    - ownership across the churches of our responsibility to foster vocations for lay and ordained ministry and mission. Too few of our churches are expected to raise up our future ministers.

    -deployment of resources targeted at what is working and growing rather than attempting to revive or sustain what is clearly dying.

    -acceptance that we can no longer be the chief steward of the nation's historic buildings which in many situations inhibit rather than enable the people of God to do the work of the kingdom.

    -radical reappraisal of how we train people for ministry away from our bondage to secular academic institutions that see the church as a cash cow to be milked.

    And there's more, but that's for another time.

  2. I long to bring folks closer to God. I long to be freed to do that. If I could spend the majority of my time doing that rather than fretting about the upkeep of 4 historical buildings I would be more inclined to encourage and foster vocations. I wasn't trained to be that sort of curator. I still think I have the best job in the world but I'm not sure I want to burden younger enthusiastic folk with disappontment

  3. Hey don't despair - its quality not quantity that matters - takem from my own experience as a Jesuit priest. When I entered the novitiate we were 18 when I took vows 5 - but when we were only 5 we were much happier - much more outward looking (no infighting) - and also apostolically more active!

    Tim SJ