Four funerals and a wedding… that’s the yearly total of services for average parish church as worshippers fall to record low
- Parish churches only held four funerals and one wedding on average last year
- Figures show that fewer than 700,000 people turned up for Sunday services
- The Church of England data is based from information from before lockdown
For centuries they were focal points for towns and villages, bringing together entire communities under one roof.
But last year parish churches held only four funerals and one wedding each on average, shocking figures show.
A typical Anglican church also conducted just three christenings.
The survey lays bare the decline in the church-going habit – with medium-sized institutions attracting no more than 26 worshippers on an average Sunday.
Parish churches only held four funerals and one wedding each on average last year, shocking figures released by the Church of England show (stock photo)
Across England, fewer than 700,000 people turned up for Sunday services – a historic low that has seen congregations fall 14 per cent in a decade and more than halve since 1970.
The Church of England figures are based on information supplied by nearly 16,000 congregations before all places of worship were closed with lockdown in March.
They show Sunday services were supported by an average ‘worshipping community’ of 42 people, including those who turn up as rarely as once a month and the disabled and sick.
The overall number was 1.1million – just under one in 50 of the population of England – compared with the 690,000 who went to Sunday services.
Even at Christmas, a typical church attracted just 75 worshippers.
Only 29,000 weddings took place – compared with the 61,000 in both the Church of England and the Church in Wales in 2005.
Church leaders, including Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell (above), said three million people have joined the 17,000 online services which have been held since lockdown
The figures also reveal the desperate state of churches in big cities, with less than 5 per cent of children born in Birmingham and London being baptised.
And while in rural Hereford, funerals were held for 45 per cent of those who died, in the capital it was less than 15 per cent.
While acknowledging the fall, church leaders said three million people across the country have joined the 17,000 online services which have been held since lockdown began.
The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said: ‘At a time when many have felt isolated and fearful, parishes and clergy have broadcast thousands of online church services and events, seeking to bring comfort and hope to their communities.’