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British Cathedral Numbers Grow

Liverpool Cathedral • calflier001/Wikimedia Commons

English cathedrals are experiencing growth in people attending worship, according to a report by the Church of England’s Research and Statistics unit.

The report, “Church Statistics 2015” [PDF], reinforces conclusions drawn in a 2014 Church of England report, “From Anecdote to Evidence” [PDF].

“It would be wrong to think that the growth of cathedrals is happening at the expense of the rest of the Church; instead consider cathedrals as the vanguard of renewal,” said Becky Clark, senior cathedrals officer and deputy secretary of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England. “They have the locations, the leadership, the staff, and the confidence to be at the forefront of what an outward-looking, societally focused, just and fair church can be.”

“These figures are extremely encouraging,” said the Very Reverend Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool. “They show that, up and down the country, cathedrals are sustaining the growth that has been reported for a number of years. Clearly, something about cathedral worship is meeting a need and contributing significantly to the spiritual life of the nation.”

Ten facts about English cathedral worship:

  • On average, 36,700 people (adults and children) attended services each week at the 42 cathedrals in England during 2015.
  • In Easter 2015, 54,000 attended worship services (2% more than in 2014).
  • There were 9.4 million visitors to cathedrals in 2015. A further 1 million people visited Westminster Abbey.
  • 320,000 children attended educational visits to cathedrals in 2015; a further 13,100 children visited Westminster Abbey.
  • Cathedral choirs included 1,490 child choristers and 550 lay clerks and choral scholars in 2015.
  • English cathedrals employ 1,140 regular musicians, and 620 occasional musicians were involved in services in 2015.
  • Average Sunday attendance at cathedral worship in 2005 is up 18 percent, from 31,200.
  • More than 1.1 million people attended 5,310 public and civic events in cathedrals.
  • Attendance during Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Good Friday, was 92,500.
  • Numbers on cathedral community rolls increased by 5 percent from 15,100 in 2014 to 15,900 in 2015.



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