A RISE in the number of church-goers has buoyed the Church of England, according to research by Durham University,
Academics at the North East university took part in a study that measured the number of people attending services across the UK.
Significant growth was found in new congregations and churches, with about 21,000 people attending in the surveyed areas.
Attendances at cathedrals also grew 35 per cent between 2002 and 2012.
Justin Welby, former Bishop of Durham, 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 and huge areas of development.”
The report was published after a decline of nine per cent in church attendance over the last decade, and identifies factors for both growth and decline in church attendance.
Mr Welby, also a Durham University graduate, is concerned about the number of young people joining the church.
He added: “Over time there has been a decline in the percentage of the population that attends church.
“We need to listen to the message that comes through this research in order to develop our own strategies, and stop doing things that help accelerate decline and focus on things that develop growth.”
Report Church Growth in the Church of England was published this week at the Faith in Research Conference in London, after 18 months of work.