1 in 4 Church of England Congregations Did Not Have Any Children Attend Worship: Report

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, southern England, March 21, 2013.
Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, southern England, March 21, 2013. | (Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville)

About a quarter of congregations belonging to the Church of England did not have any children for their worship services, according to recently released figures.

In an analysis of church attendance among their congregations during the month of October 2016, the Church of England found that the smallest 25 percent of churches reported 0 children attended on average.

Released last week, the figures also noted that the median or middle church averaged three children per worship service, while the largest 5 percent of churches averaged 35.

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The Church of England directed The Christian Post to an online copy of the report, titled "Statistics for Mission 2016."

The report showed that an average of 930,000 people, 14 percent of whom were children, attended weekly worship services at Church of England congregations during October 2016.

Church of England spokesperson Anna McCrum told CP that the denomination does have a way to reach children, as it educates approximately 1 million youths in about 4,700 schools.

"These pupils are from all faiths and none and the provision of education is for the common good. Our pupils take part in collective worship and are educated in a Christian environment," explained McCrum.

The official state religion of England and lead member of the global Anglican Communion, the Church of England has seen extensive decline in their numbers in recent decades.

Last year, the Guardian reported that membership had dipped below one million, with church attendance half of what it averaged in the 1960s.

"Numbers shot up at Christmas, with 2.4 million attending a festive service in 2014. The church conducted 130,000 baptisms in the year, down 12% since 2004; 50,000 marriages, down 19%; and 146,000 funerals, down 29%," reported the Guardian in 2016.

News of the decreasing overall membership and lack of children at many worship services comes as the Church looks for ways to counter the trend of decline.

Earlier this month, the Church announced that their social media campaign was reaching an average of 1.2 million people online every month.

"During Christmas 1.5 million were reached through the Church's award-winning #JoyToTheWorld campaign featuring short films," noted the Church in an announcement.

"A further 2.5 million were reached during Lent, the season before Easter, through the #LiveLent project."

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