Network Norwich and Norfolk > Regional News > Norwich Diocese sees fresh church growth

Norwich Diocese sees fresh church growth

Fresh Expressions of church are growing all over the country, and in particular in the Diocese of Norwich, according to a report published last week (January 16).


Today, nearly 3000 people in the Norwich Diocese attend a Fresh Expressions Church, a four-fold increase in the number of people attending since they first began six years ago.
Some 51 Fresh Expressions of church have begun over those six years, which highlights the popularity of such churches. 
Fresh Expressions encourages and resources new ways of being church, working with Christians from a broad range of denominations and traditions. The movement has resulted in thousands of new congregations being formed alongside more traditional churches.
The report, produced by Church Army’s Research Unit as part of the Church of England’s 18-month Church Growth Research Programme, examined all the Fresh Expressions of church in 10 representative dioceses.
On average within a diocese, Fresh Expressions make up 15% of the churches and 10% of the attendance. Between January 2012 and October 2013, Church Army’s Research Unit spoke to the leaders of 518 fresh expressions in the dioceses of Liverpool, Canterbury, Leicester, Derby, Chelmsford, Norwich, Ripon and Leeds, Blackburn, Bristol and Portsmouth.
The report found that many of the fresh expressions of church (52%) are led by those who are not ordained, but what is new is that 40% are led by people without any church accreditation and often without formal training. They are also equally as likely to be led by women as men.
George Lings, Church Army’s Research Unit Leader, said: “As we conducted the research here at Church Army, it was energising to hear the fresh expressions leaders talk about the growth they are seeing. My view is that the fresh expressions movement is very important for the future life of the Church of England and now for the first time we have harder evidence to back up that conviction, as we move from reliance on stories to having statistics as well.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said "There is every reason to be hopeful about the future of the Church of England, and indeed, all the churches in this country. There are many signs of growth, huge areas of development, and the church is - more than it has been for the last 60 years - demonstrating how essential it is to hold together our society."

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