English church attendance stabilizing

The Church of England, like most of the Church in the Western world has seen Sunday worship attendance numbers drop over the past few decades. But there’s some news this week that the CoE attendance rates have stabilized and may even be increasing.

The Telegraph has the details:

Benita Hewitt, the director of Christian Research, which compiled the figures, wrote on the Church Mouse blog site: “At long last it looks as if we may be reaching the end of decline for church attendance in the UK.

“This news should help to reposition church within the minds of Christians, churches and the rest of society – it’s no longer a dying institution but a living movement. If enough Christians believed that, we might even hope to see growth in future.”

The figures show that in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, a long-term decline in weekly Mass attendance ended in 2005 and the figures have been broadly stable since. In 2008 there were 918,844 attending church each week, up from 915,556 the year before.

Within the Church of England the researchers found “fairly steady attendance” over the past decade, with 1.145million attending services each week in 2008, compared with 1.2m in 2001.

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