Typical church now has just 27 people turning up to worship

A typical Anglican congregation numbered just 27 worshippers last year, figures revealed yesterday.

They showed that over a decade congregations fell by 15 per cent, church marriages by a third, and that fewer than one in ten babies were baptised.

According to estimates highlighted by the Church of England, a typical church staged just one white wedding in 2018.

But Church leaders said that Anglicanism is booming online and that CofE prayer apps were used more than five million times during last year, while its prayers and sermons are now receiving 3.6million clicks every month.

According to estimates highlighted by the Church of England, a typical church staged just one white wedding in 2018 (file image)

According to estimates highlighted by the Church of England, a typical church staged just one white wedding in 2018 (file image) 

The Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, said: ‘Christians have been praying the morning and evening offices for centuries and it is inspiring that this is available through new platforms and devices to meet the way people live now.’

The figures, which contrast the fast-dwindling likelihood that people will turn up to church services with the CofE’s growing use of online prayer, were based on parish records and surveys.

The longstanding measure of numbers who go to church, Usual Sunday Attendance, which counts numbers in services on Sundays, found the total was 703,000 in 2018. This is down by more than 80,000 in five years and well below half the level of the late 1960s.

At a middle-sized church there there were just 27 worshippers as estimated by Usual Sunday Attendance. A similar sized church could expect to have just one wedding, three baptisms and five funerals a year (file image)

At a middle-sized church there there were just 27 worshippers as estimated by Usual Sunday Attendance. A similar sized church could expect to have just one wedding, three baptisms and five funerals a year (file image) 

In some dioceses less that one in 100 people went to church on Sunday, and across England 1.2 per cent of the population were Sunday churchgoers. The Church has another measure of its followers, Average Weekly Attendance, developed to reflect that modern Christians are as likely to go to church on weekdays as Sundays.

When first published in 2001, it showed 1.3million churchgoers a week. But yesterday’s figures put Average Weekly Attendance at 870,900.

At a middle-sized ‘median’ church, said by officials to be ‘useful to consider when thinking about a typical church’, there were just 27 worshippers as estimated by Usual Sunday Attendance. A similar sized church could expect to have just one wedding, three baptisms and five funerals a year.

Between 2008 and 2018, the figures showed, there was a fall of 33 per cent in overall numbers of church weddings.

Just 34,000 were solemnised in CofE churches, down almost 30 per cent in five years.

Written by: Steve Doughty

First published 18.10.19: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7586379/Typical-church-just-27-people-turning-worship-congregation-numbers-fall.html

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