Anglicans Count 330,000 More Worshippers

LONDON, FEB. 5, 2002 ( The Anglican Church of England has discovered an extra 330,000 worshippers by using a new method of counting its ranks, the Times newspaper reports.

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The new total of 1.3 million people attending church each week, counted in 2000, is thought to be more accurate than 1999´s figure of 970,000.

The new method was introduced after the number of worshippers fell below a million for the first time in 1999. Clergy were asked to keep a headcount of people of all ages attending church services over a four-week period in October. Under the old approach, clergy were asked to estimate their average Sunday congregations.

«The old method was very woolly,» said the Reverend Lynda Barley, the Church of England´s head of research and statistics. «We asked parishes to state their usual Sunday attendance over a year. Weekday services got ignored.»

The new statistics also record total attendance figures for Christmas (2.85 million) and Easter (1.63 million) for the first time. These show significant increases because previous figures recorded only those taking communion.

Although about 1.2 million people took communion at Easter 2000, the actual attendance was 40% higher. On Christmas Day and Christmas Eve 2000, almost 2.9 million people attended services, more than double the 1.4 million who took communion.

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