STRONG community links have contributed to a
35-per-cent increase in attendance at cathedrals since 2002, Church
House suggests, as it releases figures this week.
Cathedral Statistics 2012, published on
Monday, says that last year, 28,800 over-16s and 7000 under-16s
attended Sunday and midweek services at cathedrals, up from 20,700
and 5800 in 2002.
There was also increased attendance at Easter and
Christmas. Attendance at Easter was 54,700, the highest since 2002.
Attendance on Christmas Day fell by ten per cent from 129,100 in
2011, when Christmas Day fell on Sunday, to 117,200 in 2012, when
it was on Tuesday (the figure was 106,500 in 2002). ommunicants at
Easter and Christmas numbered 32,200 and 27,500 respectively,
representing 27 per cent and 50 per cent of total attendance at all
Cathedral Statistics 2012 also reports a
rise in the number of volunteers serving in cathedrals. In 2012,
there were 15,570 volunteers, representing an increase of 30 per
cent since 2002, when there were 11,930.
In 2012, cathedral clergy conducted 760 baptisms; 360
marriages and blessings of marriages; 400 funerals; and 100
Last year, 306,800 children attended educational
events at cathedrals, up from 286,400 in 2011.
The head of research and statistics at the
Archbishops' Council, Dr Bev Botting, said: "The statistics show
people of all ages are increasingly drawn to cathedrals for
worship, to attend educational and civic events, and to volunteer
to ensure our cathedrals are open to all those who are drawn to
visit and worship."
One of the reasons for the rising attendances over
the past decade has been the stronger links forged by cathedrals
with their local communities, Church House says. Liverpool
Cathedral, where nearly 100,000 people attended at least one
service last year, has pioneered new ways to reach the community,
including a "Zone2 café-style service", which takes place on Sunday
mornings and afternoons.
Ely Cathedral has in recent years functioned as a
"community resource": it has operated a "drop-in" during school
holidays, and last year displayed the opening ceremony of the
Olympics on a big screen, attracting more than 700 people.
The Dean of Truro, the Very Revd Roger Bush, said:
"It is very gratifying to see how well we are maintaining our
congregations, especially in the context of overall falling
church-attendance figures. We are particularly pleased to see a
younger profile of visitor attend a number of family events. .
"We want to take a positive step out into the
community we serve. We want to engage with people across the
spectrum, and by that engagement, bring them into a closer
relationship with God. We need to be more outward-facing and less
A report published last year by the Grubb Institute,
a consultancy, and Theos, a theology think tank,Spiritual Capital:
The present and future of English cathedrals, suggested that
cathedrals gave non-religious people a "powerful sense of the
sacred", which they did not experience elsewhere (
News, 19 October).
Cathedral Statistics 2012 can be downloaded
Question of the Week: Are cathedrals good models for parish