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Worshippers flock back to church in these turbulent times'

PUBLISHED: 16:11 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 05 October 2010

MORE worshippers are flocking back to church in London—bucking the national trend away from religion. New figures released by the Church of England show regular attendance in the Diocese of London has risen by two per cent, in contrast to a slight fall across the country

Mike Brooke

MORE worshippers are flocking back to church in London—bucking the national trend away from religion.

New figures released this week by the Church of England show regular attendance in the Diocese of London has risen, in contrast to a slight fall across the country.

Attendances increased by two per cent between 2005 and 2006, it was revealed.

“It demonstrates that churchgoing is on the up’ across the capital,” said a diocese spokesman.

The new figures for 2006 show that 80,600 Londoners on average attended services throughout the week at the 479 churches in the diocese, compared to 79,300 the year before.

What has pleased diocesan clergy is the age-range—around one-in-five of the 80,600 churchgoers were under 16.

The Archdeacon of London, The Venerable Peter Delaney, said: “Our churches in these turbulent economic times are offering vital pastoral care to thousands of Londoners as well as playing an active role in supporting communities.

“Parishes across London continue to reach out to people in so many ways—in part through their services, but not exclusively so.

“The Diocese is playing a crucial part in serving the people of this great world city in so many ways, whether through working with charities, youth groups, homeless centres, the arts or other faith communities.”

The Diocese, with almost 1,000 clergy in 17 London boroughs north of the Thames, operates 150 social responsibility’ projects with children and teenagers, asylum seekers and refugees, the disabled, the elderly, the homeless and with families. Some 87 parishes are in deprived areas including London’s East End.

The rise in church attendance in London contrasts with the national trend, which shows average weekly attendance across the UK falling slightly, from 1,174,000 three years ago to 1,163,000 two years ago.

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