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Christmas and School attendance at local churches rises in the Diocese of Salisbury

by Michael Ford last modified 14 Nov, 2018 12:19 PM

More people than ever before are coming to Christmas church services, while record numbers of school children are using their local church here in the Diocese of Salisbury.

Attendance at both Christmas and for school services is at its highest level for more than a decade, according to new figures published by the Church of England and numbers have been rising year on year.

80,700 people attended churches in our Diocese over Christmas, 3,000 more than in 2012.

And it wasn’t just at Christmas itself that figures for attendance grew: between 1-23 December across the Diocese nearly 66,000 people attended church and community services.

While a further 69,000 went along to civic and school services during this Advent period.

The Diocese’s 2017 statistics are part of the national trend of churchgoing. Figures from the latest annual Statistics for Mission Report for the Church of England that show nationally the numbers attending Christmas services increased by 3.4 per cent nationally to 2.68 million.

Christmas and school attendance- Colehill

Combined with figures for special services in churches during Advent, including carol services, there nearly eight million people attended Church someone in England over the festive season.

And while traditional Sunday attendance edged lower in 2017, in line with long-term trends, here in Dorset and Wiltshire there was a near doubling of those attending school services to nearly 6,000.

The figures are published just days after record numbers attended Remembrance Services throughout Dorset and Wiltshire.

The Bishop of Salisbury Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam said: 
“These figures are published just after Remembrance Day marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. Thousands of people who do not attend church weekly, came to remember those who died in war and rededicate themselves to peace.

"People still care about things that matter deeply - God and neighbour, the meaning of life, love, truth, justice and the things that last for ever. Church is the most accessible place in our culture for millions of people to do this. It is why it matters there is a church in every community and good people committed to keeping faith alive and serving others for the common good.”

Meanwhile separate figures also published today show that the Church of England more than doubled its monthly reach on social media - from 1.2 million in 2017 to 2.44 million this year. 
The Church of England’s Advent and Christmas campaign in 2017 was four times bigger than the previous year, with reach rising from 1.5 million to 6.8 million.

And the Church’s Royal Wedding prayer and videos for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were seen more than five million times on social media.

This story originally appeared here

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