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Cathedrals attract 20% more worshippers over last decade

Date: 19 October 2016

Easter Service 2011 portrait (2)Cathedrals are attracting more visitors and worshippers year on year, the Church of England has recently announced.

New statistics reveal that over 36,000 people attended services each week in the Church of England’s 42 cathedrals, an increase of close to 20% since 2005. The new figures also highlight that during the past year, Sunday services were popular, with nearly 18,000 people attending. Midweek services meanwhile showed a huge jump in popularity, with attendance soaring over 30% on 2014.

Guildford Cathedral followed the national trend with increased visitor numbers, rising a further 6% on 2014. These figures follow a similar increase the previous year, reflecting the goal 'Increasing believers' in the new Transforming Church; Transforming Lives vision.

Matt O’Grady, director of operations at the cathedral said: “The last year has been an exciting one, with our innovative Thursday coffee concert series and Magna Carta exhibition all contributing to the success.”

The national statistics also show an increase in cathedral attendance during major festivals, with people continuing to flock to both Christmas and Easter services. Christmas attendance has been recorded as 125,200,the highest figure since 2011. Advent also led to strong cathedral attendance, with services attracting 824,300 in 2015, the highest figure for the past decade.

Different reasons have been given for the popularity of cathedrals, Simon Jenkins suggests, “A cathedral is a true museum, it embraces architecture, sculpture, painting, stained glass, wood-carving, calligraphy, embroidery and, above all, music. Its contents are displayed not in cases but beneath walls and roofs of unsurpassed beauty, intended by their builders as composite works of all the arts and crafts. This gives a dimension to the enjoyment of a cathedral that is beyond the mundane.”

More information and all the cathedral statistics for 2015 can be found online:

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