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Churches are still going strong, figures show

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 03, 2014

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ATTENDANCES at Burton churches have risen despite dwindling interest nationally, figures have revealed.

Weekly visits across the Lichfield diocese topped 36,000 during 2012, up by 100 on a year earlier.

The number of adults going to church rose by nearly a thousand during the same period.

Top clergymen in Burton said the figures showed there was still room for churches in the 21st century, but that they had been forced to adapt to stay relevant.

Reverend Mike Redshaw, superintendent minister at St Thomas’ Methodist Church, in Belvedere Road, Horninglow, said: “Certainly, in the short time that I have been here, we have been holding our own. I haven’t seen a discernible drop in numbers.

“Churches are doing things differently now. We run something called a ‘messy church’ where we get more families coming to services, and I know St Mary’s in Stretton are more creative. Instead of having people just sitting on pews praying, they are more active and encourage people to do things together, such as craft activities.

Reverend Michael Freeman, vicar at St John the Divine, in Rolleston Road, said churches can no longer rely on Sunday services alone.

“There is an increasing tendency among churchgoers not to come on a Sunday as regularly as in the past,” he said.

“Other things are happening on Sundays these days, families are more spread out and that is often when they will visit them.”

Rev Redshaw added: “Society is dominated by the media now, particularly TV, and we can’t expect people to listen to preaches for 45 minutes. We are increasingly using Powerpoint and multi-media. We are saying to the community: ‘what do you want and how can we provide it?’”

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