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World News

Increase in CofE attendance figures but churches still haven't bounced back after COVID

by Marcus Jones

The Church of England has seen a marked increase in people attending weekly services but that number remains significantly down on pre-pandemic levels.

The stats for 2022 have just been published showing 654,000 people attended a Sunday or midweek service. Up from 605,000 in 2021.

The number remains a way off from the figure of 854,000 who regularly attended in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking about the figures, Dr Ken Eames, author of the Statistics for Mission 2022 report, said: "Churches did everything they could to return to normal life in 2022 following the huge disruption of 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic.

"But 2022 was not free of its impact, indeed official figures suggest that Covid rates were higher in October 2022 than in 2021.

"Although for many people things were getting back to normal, churches were still experiencing Covid-related disruption."

The number of churches offering online and other 'at home' services fell from 51% in October 2021 to 36% in October 2022.

The Church of England outward focus remains strong with over 30,000 social action projects taking place across the country.

Nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) of churches are involved in running or supporting food banks while 23 per cent run or support a community café, typically offering low cost or free meals.

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