Church Times – Cathedral attendances continue upward trendPosted: May 7, 2011
CATHEDRAL attendance rose again in 2010, maintaining the upward trend of the past decade, figures released by the Archbishops’ Council this week suggest. Attendance at Sunday and mid-week services increased by seven per cent in 2010. An average of 35,000 people attended services at Church of England cathedrals each week, up from 32,700 in 2009. The figures suggest that in the past decade numbers have steadily increased by a total of 37 per cent for both Sunday and mid-week services, up from an average of 25,500 in 2000. Mid-week services are particularly buoyant, attracting an average of 11,600 adults, up from 10,500 in 2009.
This is more than double the figure in 2000, when just 4900 adults attended. Christmas attendances were down from 118,500 in 2009 to 110,100 in 2010. It is believed that the severe weather affected these figures. The Precentor of Exeter Cathedral, Canon Carl Turner, said that he had noticed an increase in attendances: “I would imagine it’s because people can be fed and nourished in lots of different ways at cathedrals. There is also a tradition of professionalism and excellence in the way things are done.” He said that he had particularly noticed an increase in the number of young families in Exeter Cathedral.
The head of research and statistics at the Church of England, the Revd Lynda Barley, said she believed that the variety of worship put on by cathedrals was part of the reason for the increasing attendances: Cathedrals “offer very diverse experiences for people; some are very musical, others are more experimental liturgically”.