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Hope amid the gloom of C of E attendance figures

Hope amid the gloom of C of E attendance figures

Church of England Newspaper

Since the start of the Millennium the Church of England has maintained
an average loss of 54,000 once-a-week-churchgoers per year.

Average weekly attendance figures for 2000 fell by more than 100,000 to
an average of 1,166,000 in 2002, according to the latest provisional
attendance figures, announced on Monday.

The Church tried to counter the news of decline by focusing on a rise in
monthly attendance figures among young people, but it is getting harder
to encourage clergy in the face of pew drains such as those in Dioceses
such as Lichfield and Liverpool where average weekly attendance went
down by 4,700 and 3,000 respectively.

Signs of growth were highlighted in a statement accompanying the latest
figures, pointing out that although regular weekly attendance among
children remained static on the whole, the Dioceses of Manchester,
Peterborough, Ripon and Leeds, Southwark, Southwell and Winchester all
reported increases in each of their Sunday, weekly and monthly
attendance levels for children and young people.

Whether this trend could grow to fill the reported loss of 108,000
churchgoers over two years is yet to seen.

The new figures also show the result of new measures to gauge more
accurately the role of the country's churches. Parishes were asked to
start recording the number of young people attending activities other
than worship over a typical month. These non-worship statistics could
widen the goalposts in the future as churches eager to push up these
figures find new ways of getting involved in their communities.

During 2002 a total of 162,000 under-25s attended non-worship activities
and 41,000 adults are working with young people aged 11 and over.


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