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Society – Church statistics

March 2018

Church attendance is continuing to fall, according to the latest UK church statistics from the Brierley Consultancy.

UK Church Statistics No 3 2018 Edition presents a thorough survey of church membership, churches and congregations from all four UK countries, outlining the years between 2012 and 2017, and giving a forecast for 2022.

According to the study, there were 50,500 churches in 2017, although only around 42,000 met in buildings erected for the purpose of church worship. The study found there were 257 denominations in the UK, less than the 290 listed in 2013; the report suggested the main decline in the number of denominations is among the Pentecostal mega-group. Some denominations have seen significant growth, such as traditional Evangelical churches, Catholic churches and Charismatic-leaning denominations.

The Brierley consultancy says one consequence of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches’ (FIEC’s) church revitalisation programme is a 10 per cent rise in church membership.

Immigration of groups such as Black African Pentecostals, Polish Catholics and Romanian Orthodox have boosted their respective congregations. Other churches have seen strong growth among young people and other groups. The report cited the rise in churches concerned with evangelising the young, such as the Hillsong movement and Messy Church; the latter has doubled its members since 2012.

The biggest decline cited by the report was from the Scottish Episcopal Church at 30 per cent. In joint second, were the Methodist Church of Great Britain and Church of Scotland, at 26 per cent decline. The Church of England saw membership fall 19 per cent between 2012 and 2017 (The report costs £28 online. Details from http://www.brierleyconsultancy.com).