Church attendance on the rise

SUFFOLK: Churches have seen congregations boom as people seek security in times of trouble and uncertainty, it has been claimed.

SUFFOLK: Churches have seen congregations boom as people seek security in times of trouble and uncertainty, it has been claimed.

The Church of England this week revealed average weekly attendances in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich had grown by 3.5 per cent from 19,600 in 2007 to 20,300 in 2008.

Paul Daltry, minister for church and community engagement in the deanery of Ipswich, said the rise in worshippers could be due to a need for greater stability in a time of financial woe.

“People are looking for a sense in life today,” he said. “The reality of the financial situation, the environment, most of us sense within ourselves that something isn't right.


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“We are discovering things we thought were absolutely solid are actually anything but,” he said. “The reality is hitting home and people are recognising there's more to life than just pounds, shillings and pence.

“The warning signs have been around long enough but all of us have just put our heads in the sand.”

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The number of adults visiting church every week in the diocese grew from 16,700 in 2007 to 17,100 in 2008.

But the number of children and young people worshipping also increased from 2,900 in 2007 to 3,300 in 2008.

Nick Clarke, communications director for the diocese, welcomed the figures, but said the rise could be down to the dedication of clergy in Suffolk.

“This stability is a great testament to the enthusiasm and energy of the clergy, week in and week out, in the communities they serve across Suffolk,” he said.

Have you started going to church recently? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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