A new survey has revealed that one in three churchgoers will not attend an in-person Christmas church service this year.
While almost 61 per cent of those surveyed said it was important for them to celebrate Christmas events at church, only 31 per cent said they were likely to attend this year's service.
The survey published by Ecclesiastical Insurance found that concerns about contracting coronavirus on the church's premises was the main reason for not attending, followed by restrictions in the local area and churches not hosting in-person events.
Michael Angel, church operations manager of Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: "It is clear from the findings of these surveys that the shadow of COVID-19 is still with us this festive period, and it can't be ignored as a hurdle for churches to consider.
"Christmas is still hugely important to people and as long as churches are following the guidance provided by the government and Church of England, there is no reason we can't have an enjoyable time at church events - whether they are held in the traditional manner or not."
However, people seem keener to take part in other Christmas events. Of those surveyed, 43 per cent said they were likely to attend a carol service and 27 per cent they were considering attending a nativity service.
In a separate survey, Ecclesiastical Insurance found that only 59 per cent of churches surveyed have said they will host a Christmas service, compared to a staggering 96 per cent in previous years.