6. What recent assessment the Church Commissioners have made of Church of England attendance figures. (155330)
I am glad to be able to report to the House that in 2011, the last year for which figures are available, 2,618,000 people attended church on Christmas day—an increase of nearly 15% on the previous year. Also, baptisms are up by 3%. This is encouraging news showing that there is still strong participation in Church of England services across the country.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply, which gives the lie to the general myth that is sometimes propagated that church attendance is falling. In fact, many churches are full to overflowing, they are often using the Alpha course or Christianity Explored, and there is much to be encouraged about.
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Many congregations of different backgrounds are growing throughout the country. We need to understand why that growth is happening and how we can ensure that other parts of the Church in other parts of the country can mirror it.