Cathedrals attract record numbers at Christmas

09 November 2017

Cathedrals attract record numbers at

Christmas attendance at services in cathedrals last year reached
its highest figure since records began, statistics published today
show. A one year rise of 5%, meant that 131,000 people came to
cathedrals to worship last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Increased attendances were also recorded at services in Advent
with 635,000 coming to worship during the busy pre-Christmas
build-up. Average weekly attendances at services on a Sunday also
increased to 18,700.

Meanwhile, over 10 million people visited cathedrals and
Westminster Abbey with half donating or paying for entry.

The Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, and lead bishop for
cathedrals and church buildings, said: “Behind these figures lie
stories of worship, learning, exploring faith and spirituality and
encountering God at times of joy and despair.

“Through new forms of worship, bringing people of all faiths and
none together, and serving the young and old alike, these amazing
places continue to be at the heart of national life.”

Life events including baptisms, memorial services, marriages and
blessings of marriage all remained steady in numbers with some,
including baptism, seeing modest increases.

Cathedrals continued to be centres of civic life, with 1.2
million people reported at 6,000 civic services and events. In
2016, 295,000 people attended 280 graduation ceremonies.

Becky Clark, Director of Churches and Cathedrals, said: “These
statistics show the enduring appeal of cathedrals as places of
worship, pilgrimage, and tourism.

“This is testament to the hard work clergy, staff and volunteers
put into making them welcoming and inspiring places.

“The last few years have been particularly busy, with
substantial building and repair programmes at many cathedrals,
ensuring these beautiful, complex historic buildings can continue
to be at the heart of their communities.”

Cathedrals are holding increasingly diverse services to reach
out to people.

In 2016 there were 16,500 Fresh Expression services, a 12%
increase since 2013.

Over half a million people came to regular services conducted at
least once a month, half of which were school services. 

Some 310,000 young people also attended cathedrals through
special educational visits, a rise of 10% since 2006.

Cathedral clergy and staff across the country participated in
350 formal inter-faith forums and events.

Notes to Editors

The Cathedral Statistics 2016 report can be found here.

Fresh Expressions are new church communities and congregations
that practice church in new ways to reach new people.