Church of England loses more than 100,000 worshipers in a decade

But attendance is still strong during the festive season

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Church of England has lost more than 100,000 worshippers in the last decade, new figures have shown.

Attendance has now reached a nadir, having fallen an average of one per cent every year and 11 per cent since 2005.

However, Christmas and Easter see a spike in the numbers of people going to church.

It continues a trend which has seen CofE attendance, and people who identify as Anglican, drop consistently since the 1960s.

Attendance at Sunday services in 2015 was 752,460, compared to 875,000 in 2005, a fall of 12 per cent in ten years.

The numbers of people attending church weekly also decreased over the last decade, but the difference was less pronounced. In 2015, 961,400 people went to services each week, about 820,000 of them adults and the rest children. In 2014, 977,800 attended Church services weekly, but the number was around 1.1 million in 2005. 

However, the number of people going to Church at Christmas has not fallen consistently and more people, 2.5 million, attended in 2015 than the three previous years. 

But at Easter, fewer people attended. In 2015, 1.3 million people went to a service, down from 1.4 million in 2005. 

Eighty per cent of the Anglican community is over 18-years-old, according to the Church’s own figures.

William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops' Council, said: "The Church of England is setting out on a journey of Renewal and Reform, aiming to reverse our numerical decline in attendance so that we become a growing church in every region and for every generation.

"The Church of England is open to and for everyone in England, building up the Body of Christ and working for the common good. For some of those who support our work, weekly attendance at services is part of their discipleship. There will be many others, as we know from the Census, who identify with us but who worship on a less regular basis.

"These figures represent a realistic assessment of where we start from in terms of weekly attendance. We are confident in a hopeful future where our love of God and service of neighbour will form the basis for future growth.”

"Statistics for Mission provides an invaluable foundation for this and demonstrates that the Church, fully aware of where we are yet confident of the future, still has a strong base to work from."