Statistics for Mission
Data collection – 2020
The online system will be open from the end of November
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many of our church buildings were closed for a large part of 2020. We recognise the huge upheaval that churches have been through, and the amazing creativity and resilience that churches have displayed in continuing to offer worship and pastoral support to their congregations and parishioners during this difficult time. We would like to celebrate and capture this through the Statistics for Mission 2020 form. The form is a bit different this year, and we realise that there may be sections that are harder than usual to answer in this context. We’re keen to find out anything you can tell us, and your best approximation is fine if you don’t have precise numbers. Please don’t worry about anything you don’t feel able to answer. We also recognise that attendance at services held in church buildings will be impacted by social distancing and complex cleaning arrangements, so please be reassured that the data for 2020 will be used carefully by the NCIs and Dioceses. Thank you for taking the time to help us understand the national picture of the church in this extraordinary year.”
Below are some answers to FAQs that may arise.
When will the online form be available?
We’ve taken a little longer than usual to finalise the Statistics for Mission form this year. A pdf copy of the form is now available, however we are still working to complete work on the online system. We anticipate this will be ready by the end of November for you to enter your figures. Thank you for your patience.
What should we include in “Church at Home”?
As with the previous October Count, the Church at Home question is focussed on worship services, therefore online house groups, youth clubs, Alpha courses, and social events etc should not be included there. There is a comment box should you wish to share with us anything else, aside from services, you have been offering remotely to your congregation.
How do I count Church at Home attendance?
You may be using a number of different ways to engage with people at home, for example YouTube or Facebook. Both platforms offer some viewing numbers and these will give you some indication as to how large your audience is. We’ve not asked for viewing figures directly as these figures are very variable dependent on how the platform is used and for how long and will require some adjustment. For more information on interpreting view figures please see “Everybody Welcome Online” (in particular pages 9 and 10) by Ven Bob Jackson and Revd George Fisher for some helpful advice https://cofecarlisle.contentfiles.net/media/documents/document/2020/04/Everybody_Welcome_Online_PDF.pdf
We can’t fit as many people as usual into our church building so our October Count figures will be lower than usual.
Attendance ‘in person’ during 2020 will be impacted by a variety of complex factors, and therefore will be reported and used carefully and sensitively. It is very helpful to know how many of our national worshipping community are currently attending church buildings in person so that dioceses and the NCIs can best know how to support churches and the CofE worshipping community. The 2020 figures will not be used as part of any measure of growth or decline of local churches.
How do I report numbers of people participating in a service live streamed from church in October?
Live streamed from church in October will be recorded on the form in two places. Those attending in the church building will be counted in the “in person” October count section. Those watching from home via the live stream will be recorded in the “Church at Home” section.
What if church buildings are closed over Advent and Christmas?
The guidance around church building use is changing constantly. Currently we have included Advent and Christmas questions to capture “in person” attendance in church buildings. We will review this closer to the time when it is clearer what might be allowed.