Following this week’s enthronement of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, I came across this interesting set of facts about the Church of England:
Facts about the C of E
21 March 2013
Top Ten facts
• Conducts more than a thousand marriages a week
• Conducts more than 2,500 christenings and thanksgivings a week
• 85% of the British population visit a church each year
• 25% of all primary schools and 1 in 16 secondary schools are Church of England, many in deprived areas
• Church of England schools educate almost a million students
• At Christmas 35% of the population attend a church service
• More than 1.6 million people a month attend a Church of England service
• Churchgoers contribute 23.2 million hours each month outside their local church to voluntary work in their local community
• Congregations give £49 million a year to other charities
• Provides activities outside church worship in the local community for 470,000 children and young people (aged under 16 years)
The Church of England offers more than a thousand couples a week, the unforgettable experience of a Church Wedding (nearly 55,000 couples per year). Marriages in the Church of England increased by four per cent in 2010 to 54,700 compared to 52,730 in 2009; services of prayer and dedication following a civil wedding also rose by two per cent to 4,020, up from 3,940.
The Church of England conducted 144,200 Christenings and Thanksgivings for a safe birth in 2010.
85% of people in Britain visit a church in any one year for many reasons apart from services of worship. Weddings, funerals, school services, concerts and special events attract people to these centres of community life. The Church of England regularly provides the centrepiece of important moments in the nation’s life, from celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, Royal weddings, coronations and funerals to helping the nation pay its respects to those who have given their lives in the armed forces. The Church of England is also at the heart of communities as a sacred space during, for example, the Soham murder inquiries and funerals, such as those of the Manchester policewomen or Jade Goody, as well as remembrance services.
In 2009, 43 per cent of adults attended a church or place of worship for a memorial service for someone who had died and 17 per cent entered just seeking a quiet space.
At Christmas, 35% of people in Britain attend a church service while 20% attend a normal Sunday or midweek church service over the course of the year. For Church of England churches, this brings some 1.1 million people during a typical week to their regular services, more then 1.6 million a month and as many as 3 million at Christmas.
200 years ago, the Church of England led the way in providing schools to educate all. Today, 4,700 Church of England schools educate almost 1 million children; 25% of all primary schools and 1 in 16 secondary schools are Church of England, many in deprived areas.
More people do unpaid work for churches than for any other organisation. Churchgoers contribute 23.2 million hours each month outside their local church to the local community.
The Church of England provides activities outside church worship in the local community for 470,000 children and young people (aged under 16 years) and 32,900 young people (aged 16 to 25 years). More than 116,000 volunteers and an additional 4900 employed adults run children/young people activity groups sponsored by the Church of England outside church worship.
Church of England congregations give £49 million a year to other charities – that’s more than the BBC’s annual Children in Need appeal.
The Church of England plays a vital role in the life of the nation, proclaiming the Christian Gospel in words and actions and providing services of Christian worship and praise.
The Church of England maintains more than 16,000 church buildings across England, 9,000 of which are rural and 7,000 in urban areas; including 42 cathedrals. Two-thirds of them are listed buildings, including 45% of all Grade 1 listed buildings in England. It costs more than £110million a year, most of which is raised by the hard work of clergy, churchwardens and parishioners, to maintain this jewel of England’s architectural heritage. Three church and cathedral locations are World Heritage Sites: Durham Castle and Cathedral; Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey & St Martin’s Church; and Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.
Its network of parishes covers the country, bringing a vital Christian dimension to the nation as well as strengthening community life in numerous urban, suburban and rural settings. Its cathedrals are centres of spirituality and service, and its network of chaplaincies across continental Europe meet important local needs.
The Church of England plays an active role in national life with its members involved in a wide range of public bodies. Twenty-six bishops are members of the House of Lords and are engaged in debates about legislation and national and international affairs.
The Church of England is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Thank you to Clive Mansell, Archdeacon of Tonbridge, for pointing this out, and sharing the following quotation with me: