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Smaller churches recovered better than larger ones after Covid restrictions, study reveals

by Alex Collett
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A new study by the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS) suggests smaller churches have recovered more than larger churches after Covid lockdowns.

Figures based on attendance in church this Easter was three quarters what it had been at Easter 2019.

However when numbers attending online were added, attendance was about the same.

The data was submitted after Easter by four dioceses, Lichfield, Oxford, Canterbury and Rochester. 

This was then analysed by a former head of research and statistics for the National Church Institutions, who is now a data analyst for the diocese of Oxford, and the Ven Bob Jackson, a church-growth consultant and former Archdeacon of Walsall, Dr Bev Botting.

Of the 755 churches that submitted attendance figures, it was smaller churches that showed stronger recovery in attendance in person and at many the congregation had grown.

The study concluded that churches should continue to develop their online services, but also should invest in the old-fashioned pastoral basics of a team making lists and visiting families, who have been slower to re-engage with church after Covid restrictions were lifted. 

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