Hard facts or fake news? The importance of the Statistics for Mission form

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted their church’s Statistics for Mission return for 2019.

Although quite a lot of work can be involved in providing the figures, the resulting data proves invaluable in identifying what’s happening within the Church of England, locally as well as nationally – enabling hard facts to take the place of any ‘fake news’ that might otherwise be assumed.

As ever, the figures provide a mixture of good news and bad. Some of the findings from the 2018 returns were:

  • The Worshipping Community of regular worshippers at Church of England churches in 2018 was 1.12 million people. This has dropped slightly, by 2%, since 2014.
  • More challengingly, most key measures of attendance fell by between 10% and 20% from 2008 to 2018.
  • The overall pattern of gradual decline in attendance masks the differences of experience in individual parishes over the past 10 years. In 10% of parishes, usual Sunday attendance has increased. In 40% of parishes, attendance has decreased. In the remaining 50% of parishes, there is insufficient evidence to form a clear conclusion about the trend.

  • Additional questions for 2019 are being asked to find out more about the Church of England’s involvement in community projects, such as community cafes, food banks, night shelters and toddler groups.
  • Extra questions asked only in 2018 revealed that:
    • 25% of churches offered regular youth-focused provision with young people aged 11-17
    • 34% of churches offered enquiry or Christian basics courses during the year.

Within this Diocese, ‘spotlights’ of data for individual parishes and deaneries are available here. Nationally, statistics are published here.

Currently, the response rate for the Diocese of Peterborough for 2019 is quite low, and the Church House statistics team would like all returns to be made by Sunday 15th March – either online or by paper – so that there’s not a long wait before the resulting figures become available.

If your church hasn’t yet submitted its 2019 return, please submit them online (your churchwardens will already have been sent the link). If you (or anyone else in your church) need help in submitting your return, please contact our Stewardship Officer Paul Adams or the Assistant Diocesan Secretary Sue Ratcliffe. They will be happy to assist you.

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