Church attendances up in Ely Diocese

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The Church of England has just released its provisional stats for attendance and affiliation in 2010. Overall the picture is one of a church on the turn, growing again in some areas of the country and some aspects of its life, but not in others, with a headline figure of a very slight decline in Sunday attendance.

But in Ely Diocese the picture is one of growth not decline. Average weekly attendances rose from 19200 in 2009 to 19800 in 2010 with similar increases when other measures are used. Electoral roll aggregate numbers were up from 18900 to 19100, but the really striking growth is among children and young people, where average weekly church attendance is up nearly 10% from 3700 to 4000.

Parishes across the Diocese are also talking about significantly increased congregations at both Remembrance Sunday and Christmas, but the hard figures for these will only appear in a year’s time.

All this is by no means a matter for triumphalism. We obviously hope to see growing numbers coming to church because we do believe that the Christian Gospel is good news for people’s lives, and that what we call “church” can be a real strength in building local community. But we also fully respect people’s right to choose, and good news stops being good news if that is taken away.

Nor is this a moment to sit back and rest on our laurels. There is still a lot of work to do. But it will, I hope, be an encouragement to the hard-working women, men and youngsters who make up the life of our churches and chaplaincies, and another small sign that the tide is beginning to turn.

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3 thoughts on “Church attendances up in Ely Diocese

  1. We obviously hope to see growing numbers coming to church because we do believe that the Christian Gospel is good news for people’s lives, and that what we call “church” can be a real strength in building local community. But we also fully respect people’s right to choose, and good news stops being good news if that is taken away.

    It seems a very nice way of looking at it. A shame Jesus, the great moral teacher apparently, did not see it this way. He clearly thinks that everyone will go to hell (eternal torment, no matter how ethical they are) that does not believe in him.

    Just from Matthew:

    3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

    7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

    10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

    13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

    13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    In the words of Bill Hicks ‘Some choice’.

  2. Attendance might be up further if churches in the diocese made it easier to find out when their services are.

    Especially up in the corner of the diocese where I live (in Yaxley deanery, though the problem isn’t exclusively found there) a vast number of churches don’t advertise when their services are online. There should at least be encouragement given to fill in service details onachurchnearyou.com

    • I agree. The relevant website is http://www.achurchnearyou.com/. To add/edit your church’s details you will need to register as a user. You will then be sent an email which explains how to also register as the editor for your church, and transfer its entry to your control box. This is an official C of E project.

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