An avalanche of new attendance stats published today by the CofE, along with a press release with some of the headlines. At some stage I'll do my usual Diocesan level number crunching, but with changes to the way the stats are calculated, that could be a challenge! (update: now published.)
The overall picture is still a gradual fall in attendance (1% year on year), declining churches outnumbering growing churches, but some encouraging bits too. There's an analysis of the background of 'joiners' and 'leavers': 67,000 people joined a CofE church in 2013. 27,000 of these were moving from another local church, or had moved house, but 40,000 weren't transfers of any sort, either returning to church after not being members for a while, or, for 30,000 of them, joining for the first time.
For perspective, this 40,000 who joined up during the year (rather than transferred) is not far off the total membership of UKIP, and slightly lower than that of the Libdems. Total CofE membership is 3x the combined membership of the Conservative and Labour parties.
Also worth pointing out that the CofE is finally catching up with itself: to get the 2013 data before the end of 2014 is quite unusual, especially as we only had the 2012 data 7 months ago. So well done to the people in the stats department. Now, any chance of getting it on a spreadsheet?
It's also good to see that we now have bishops aware of the Boiling Frog Scenario and sounding the alarm. We've had 1-2% year on year decline for too long to keep saying it's 'holding steady', rearranging pews on the Titanic is not an occupation with a future.
update: some good analysis by Norman Ivison here.
CofE comms blog, Bev Botting head of stats explains some of the data.