Statistics for Mission returns

The annual collection of Statistics for Mission seeks information from each of the c.16,000 Church of England churches. The collection involves thousands of incumbents and volunteers, as well as the hard work of staff from all dioceses.

The Statistics for Mission returns are about membership and attendance in our churches. The information collected provides the latest figures on attendance at Church of England services and the numbers of baptisms, marriages and funerals that have taken place.

Each October, the CofE publishes the returns received from the previous year (i.e. in October 2017 the Statistics from 2016 are published).

The national research unit works hard to turn the data it receives into accessible and understandable information that local churches can use. e.g. Parish Spotlights which show census data by parish and the new Parish Dashboard forms which show the Statistics for Mission results for parishes in a more presentable form.

A message from the Archdeacons

Each year, parishes are asked to make an annual return known as the Statistics for Mission. This return asks every parish in the country for their attendance figures over the previous year.

The national Church then reproduces this information in an easy to use format, called Parish Dashboards. We suggest that once a year the PCC reviews the statistics for its parish and discusses the general trends. Some trends will be encouraging and PCCs may want to ask what can be done to do even better in the following year.

Other statistics may be less encouraging. In these instances PCCs are asked to consider what lessons might be learnt, what may need to change and what can be done to reverse any decline (whether it be anything from falling baptism numbers to a decline in Sunday attendance).

These conversations can then feed into the Annual Review of the Development Action Plan that every parish is asked to produce in accordance with the Diocesan Strategy - Ely2025: A people Fully alive.

Hugh McCurdy, Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech and Alex Hughes, Archdeacon of Cambridge