Too few children in too many pews, latest C of E mission statistics warn

Oct 19, 2017 by

by Madeleine Davies, Church Times:

THE average C of E church has just three children attending, and the smallest 25 per cent have, on average, none at all, according to the latest Statistics for Mission.

The data, collected by parishes a year ago, shows the overall decline in attendance to be twice as pronounced among children. The average attendance by children, defined as being under 16, fell by 22 per cent between 2006 and 2016, compared with a 13-per-cent fall among adults.

In the smallest 25 per cent of churches, the average weekly attendance by children — at church services or Fresh Expressions on Sundays or weekdays — was zero. In the largest 25 per cent it rose to 11; and in the largest five per cent it was 35. The median is just three.

Most measures of attendance fell by between ten and 15 per cent between 2006 and 2016. On average, 927,300 people (86 per cent of them adults, 14 per cent of them children under 16) attended C of E services and acts of worship in October 2016, which was down from 961,100 the previous year.

The usual Sunday attendances were 738,700, which was down from 755,000. A further 179,000 people attended services for schools in C of E churches. This is an increase on 2013, but the release warns that this may be due to better reporting of attendance figures, and because many school Harvest Festivals take place in October.

The “worshipping community” of the Church — defined as “those people who attend church regularly”, which includes all those who go on a Sunday or during the week, whether they attend every day or just once a month — is estimated to stand at 1.1 million people, of whom 20 per cent are aged under 18, 49 per cent are aged between 18 and 69, and 31 per cent are 70 or over. This equates to two per cent of the population. The median church had a worshipping community of 44 people.

Read here

See also: Church of England attendance change by Diocese 2011-2016, from The Opinionated Vicar blog


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