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Christmas 2011 church-attendance figures

by
18 January 2012

iStock

From the Revd Richard Williams

Sir, — I was most interested to read Canon Alan Billings’s article elucid­ating the reasons behind increased attendance over Christmas (Comment, 13 January).

This indeed has been our ex­perience in the Weald of Kent, where numbers have doubled in the past couple of years. Without de­tailed research, one has to rely on anecdotal evidence and insight, and there are always local factors. I would, however, like to add two further possibilities.

First, with the rise in the cost of living and the current gloomy econo­­mic mood, many people are seeking solace. As we know from experience and scripture, it is in the hard times that people turn to God.

Second, and perhaps expanding a little on Canon Billings’s third point about the traditional part played by the parish church in the community, I think that there may, interestingly, be something of a desire in this country for a retrenchment and “defending of the faith” in the light of the increasing influx and attention of Islam and the so-called multifaith society that we are supposed to be living in, and alongside this the creeping pressure toward a secular European state.

RICHARD WILLIAMS
The Vicarage, Waterloo Road
Cranbrook
Kent TN17 3JQ

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