Lincoln bucking national trend with rise in church-goers

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The number of people attending their local parish church in Lincolnshire has grown by almost 8% according to latest statistics published by the Church of England – in contrast to a drastic drop nationally.

Since 2013, around 7.5% more people are attending a parish church service in the Diocese of Lincoln throughout the week, with around 6% more people attending church on a Sunday.

The increases at the major festivals have been even higher, with 12% more people attending church at Christmas since 2013, and 7% more at Easter.

The growth in worshippers has also resulted in an increase in giving, with 2.3% more parish share.

Despite this, the number of baptisms, weddings and funerals in churches has continued to show a small decrease each year, but remain well above the average by percentage of population compared with the country as a whole.

The figures are a striking contrast to national attendance rates which have seen Sunday services slump to an all-time low. 

According to the Church of England statistics published on October 28, just 1% of the country’s population attends attends a typical church service on a Sunday. Weekly attendances slipped by more than 100,000 worshippers.

The Diocese of Lincoln is also growing in terms of the number of people looking into ordained ministry.

Between 1998 and 2007, a total of 56 people from the Diocese of Lincoln were recommended for ordained ministry by national selection panels.

Between 2008 and 2016, that number has risen to 88 – an increase of 58%.

As a proportion of churchgoers, the Diocese of Lincoln has the fifth highest number of vocations of all dioceses.

Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln

Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln

The Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, said: “These latest statistics are testament to the hard work of clergy and the people of the parishes in making the church a place of warm hospitality, energetic community and fulfilling worship.

“The Diocese is actively increasing the number of parish clergy, and I believe that our growing congregation is a direct result of our efforts to bring the joy of the Gospel to as many people as possible.

“We certainly mustn’t be complacent. There is still a great deal of work for us to do in the diocesan family, but our clergy are being ever more imaginative in making faith relevant to everyone, by interpreting what the Gospel means today, and how the Gospel builds and nourishes community.

“And we mustn’t look simply at the number of people attending church services, but also the immense amount of good work done outside of the church in communities, both in a structured way by parishes, and also by individual Christians in the way they live their lives and the example they provide.”