Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Diocesan Attendance 2001-10 for adults and children.
First the adult attendance. Some headlines:
1. Only 6 out of 43 Dioceses saw an increase in adult numbers. But that's an improvement on the 1990s when London was the only one, and it's good to see that London is still growing (though more slowly)
2. The overall picture is still of shrinkage, but more slowly than in the 1990s, when the average Diocese was losing 12-15% of adult members, and the worst lost 28%
3. Each of these figures masks as much as it reveals. For example, Bristol Diocese saw its adult numbers drop from 15,400 to 12,600 in 2001-8. Since then they've grown again, to 14,200. So an 18% drop, followed by a 13% rise in 2 years shows as a 7.8% fall overall. Nearly all the growth in London happened in the early part of the decade, since when attendance has actually fallen off slightly.
If you're wondering where the 90s stats are from, the source is Bob Jacksons 'Hope for the Church' (synopsis by Alison Morgan here), which I sense has still not been fully read and digested by the powers that be.
My fear is that bishops/synod/etc. will look at these stats and say 'oh hurrah, things are getting better'. Well, they are, in the sense of a man who has one leg amputated one week and only has to have half a leg amputated the following week.
Some more commentary tomorrow, if I can restrain myself that long!