Roger Matthews has asked that we submit 3/4 suggestions for ideas to add to the 101 ideas for the Growing Faith initiative. Here are 3 suggestions for discussion. 

The Big Issue


According to statistics published by Church House this week ….


  • From the period 2008–2018 in our Diocese adult Sunday attendance dropped by 16%. Child attendance dropped by 28%. Over the same period Easter attendance of adults and children has dropped by 16% and Christmas attendance has increased by 2%.


  • In 2013 the usual weekly Sunday attendance was 26,600 adults and 4,800 children. In 2018 the usual weekly Sunday attendance was 23,300 adults and 4,100 children.


  • From 2008-2018 baptisms/thanksgivings have dropped by 30%, marriages in church have dropped by 33% and funerals in church have dropped by 16%.


  • In our Diocese we baptise 4% of all children with recorded births. The national average across all Diocese is 9%. The highest percentage of Diocesan baptisms is Carlisle with 30% of all children being baptised. In 2013 in Chelmsford Diocese we baptised 4740 children and held 220 thanksgivings. In 2018 we baptised 3160 children with 130 thanksgivings.


We also know;


  • There are approximately 700,000 children and young people in our Diocese.


  • There are approximately 1260 registered educational establishments in our Diocese. The vast majority of children and young people in our Diocese attend these establishments.


  • There are 30,000 children and young people in church schools. These 30,000, plus staff, attend worship each day of the school week.


  • The Statement of Entitlement for schools state;


“All maintained schools must provide religious education and daily collective worship for all registered pupils and promote their spiritual, moral and cultural development.”


  • Each week in this Diocese more than 5,000 children attend church through school. This is significantly more than those who attend on Sundays.


  • It is estimated each of the 30,000 children attending our church schools will experience more than 1000 acts of worship whilst at primary school. To get the equivalent worship experience in church a person would have to attend church every Sunday for 26 years.


Ministry to and through church schools includes significantly more people than ministry through church services and activities. And this doesn’t include the huge and growing service of education, pastoral care and spiritual nurture offered each day, every day through the all the staff and our Diocesan Advisory Team in all our church schools and many other schools for which we hold no data. 



If we have a vision that includes reversing the negative trends and building upon the positive trends, we should;


  • Explore the context and the reasons for the decline in usual Sunday attendance and baptisms and work out what specific radical culture change is needed to address all identified concerns.


  • Recognise the growth in festival attendance and build on this.


  • Recognise and celebrate ministry to and from schools is a significant proportion of ministry across the whole of our Diocese. We will recognise, promote, resource, grow and support these ministries.




What’s Going on?


Qualitative & quantitative data collection of Diocesan ministries in churches, schools & wider community. Map existing ministries, discover scope, range, depth and impact of ministries and identify good practice in order to disseminate good practice, make recommendations and offer resources and support.



Please note: much the preparation work for this has already been done


  • Identify aims of data collection exercise, methods etc

  • Identify scope and range of data collection and target audience

  • Develop work plan

  • Carry out research

  • Analyse responses

  • Write responses & key recommendations to findings

  • Send out responses & follow up options (Deanery synod tour? Departmental & synod presentations, comms project etc)

  • Review exercise



Lead - Project Co-ordinator, Comms Director & Data Expert

Advisory – EYA, CFMA & YA, Ed Dept



Personnel, time, IT equipment & resource (Survey Monkey etc).




And God Said ……..



The first commands given in scripture are to grow families and look after the world. There is much good practice on this area in schools and colleges and much we can learn from those younger in our family. We will engage with the strong and growing concerns for our environment and our role in damaging/maintaining/protecting our world and its eco-systems.




  • Work out clear, definable and deliverable aims.

  • Find out what our younger family is concerned about, is already doing, would hope to do and would hope will be done. Gain a picture of a world we want to inhabit and grow.

  • Develop a communications plan to promote change in attitudes and behaviour in line with the best hopes and dreams of our younger family



Lead - Project Co-Ordinator & Comms Director

Advisory – EYA, CFMA & YA, Ed Dept



Personnel, time