was dubbed “the most Godless city in the UK”
following the 2011 Census
but the Church of England’s Annual Statistics for 2011
, published today (May 7), show that the Diocese of Norwich
is the second fastest growing diocese in the Church of England with a 9% increase in weekly church attendance. Each week, 21,500 people attended Church of England churches across Norfolk and Waveney.
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James
, said: “It never did feel as if Norwich was a Godless city and the latest attendance figures show that churchgoing across the Diocese is on the increase.
“There are even more striking increases among the number of children and young people in church, up by 26% and Christmas attendances were up by 14%.
“62,300 people attended services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – the equivalent of filling Carrow Road
twice over with another ten thousand people left outside. All churches face big challenges in an increasingly secular age in which Sunday has become a day of shopping, sport and leisure activities,” said Bishop Graham.
“But the appeal of Jesus Christ has not diminished, and I pay tribute to the clergy and lay people of this diocese for the consistent and imaginative witness they make week in and week out. These statistics will be an encouragement to them in all the efforts they make to draw others to faith in Jesus Christ.”
The statistics for the Church of England as a whole reveal a strong growing trend for Christmas attendance, an increase in baptisms and stability in weekly service attendance.
Almost half the dioceses (20 out of 44) saw an increase in churchgoing in 2011, and Church of England clergy and lay ministers married 1,000 couples, baptised 2,600 children and adults and conducted over 3,000 funerals every week of the year.
Pictured above is a full congregation at Norwich Cathedral.