Chester Cathedral, U.K., by Mike Kniec/Flickr • http://is.gd/K4J9zy
Plans by the Church of England to invest part of its £6.7billion ($9.96 billion) endowment in growth have been overshadowed by publication of new figures showing that attendance at Church of England have declined.
New figures showed attendance on a given Sunday dropped to 750,000 in 2014. Archbishop Justin Welby said it reflected an annual decline of about 1 percent since World War II. Church statisticians, however, are increasingly questioning the value of measuring attendance only on Sundays. The figures witness to a decline in nominalism in the U.K.
They are developing a new measure that counts all who attend church regularly in a month. That number comes to 1.1 million.
More people in Britain have to work on Sundays, and headcounts of Sunday attendance do not take account for often sizeable attendance at midweek services and other church activities.
“If we are not growing, if we are not reaching people with good news, then something has gone wrong somewhere,” the Rev. Ian Paul has written in Christianity magazine. “And taking notice of numbers offers important feedback. Christians appear to be as good as anyone at deluding ourselves and avoiding facing up to reality — and taking a good long look at the numbers gives us reality in spadefuls!”