Rochester Diocese is one of four dioceses (the others being Canterbury, Lichfield and Oxford) that has contributed to a new report exploring Easter day church-going attendance in 2022 with 2019 figures.
The national research was undertaken by the Christian organisation, CPAS, to see what could be learned about how church attendance has changed over this period and what difference, if any, Church at Home offerings have made.
The research aimed to use the data to help build a picture of people’s confidence levels and the changing ways in which people need and engage with church at this stage of the pandemic, at both local and diocesan levels.
The report showed that on Easter Day 2022 churchgoing in Rochester Diocese, when including both onsite and online, had returned to 94% of pre-pandemic levels. Online added an estimated 30% to the attendance of churches offering it, with onsite only attendance across the Diocese recovering to three-quarters (78%) of 2019 levels.
Diocesan Secretary, Matthew Girt said:
"We are hugely grateful for the part churches in this Diocese have played in enabling these insights to be gathered for the benefit of the Church locally and nationally, and the data is encouraging.
"Church is, however, so much more than numbers. We know that Easter Sunday attendance figures provide a simple snapshot of just one point in time and can in no way take account of the breadth and variety of church activity that was undertaken by churches in the Diocese throughout the Easter period.
"The many diverse and creative ways that churches across the Diocese have and continue, to connect, engage and minister to the people of their communities is hugely valued, recognised and appreciated."
The results indicate that in the main, Church at Home is not acting as a substitute for onsite attendance; it is in addition to it. It also looks like online is here to stay, both as part of the ministry of local parish churches and as part of the ministry of large churches with an area, national or international reach.
The full four-diocesan report is now available on the CPAS website at:www.cpas.org.uk/easterattendance