More and more people heading to cathedrals to celebrate Christmas

Thu 09 Nov 2017
By Tola Mbakwe

A record number of people went to a Christmas service at a Church of England cathedral last year.

New figures reveal 131,000 came to cathedrals to worship last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, marking a five per cent rise on the previous year.

Increased attendances were also recorded at services in Advent, with 635,000 coming to worship during the busy pre-Christmas period.

Average weekly attendances at services on a Sunday also increased to 18,700.

Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark told Premier's News Hour why he thinks Cathedrals are so popular.

He said: "There is something around the accessibility of cathedrals.

"It's the fact that we're open all the time so that people come in on their own time.

"There's something about the standards of music you get in a cathedral and the standard of services."

Canterbury Cathedral


Nunn also told Premier that it may be surprising, but attracting younger people is the secret to the success at Southwark Cathedral.

He said: "There's an idea that, if you're younger, you're looking for something modern and different and the traditional style of cathedrals might not fit what you're looking for, but our experience is not that at all.

"There's something around that traditional way of doing it that appeals to a large group of people."

The Rt Rev John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, who lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings, added: "Behind these figures lie stories of worship, learning, exploring faith and spirituality and encountering God at times of joy and despair."

Life events including baptisms, memorial services, marriages and blessings of marriage all remained steady in numbers with some, including baptism, seeing modest increases.

Becky Clark, Director of Churches and Cathedrals, said: "These statistics show the enduring appeal of cathedrals as places of worship, pilgrimage, and tourism.

"The last few years have been particularly busy, with substantial building and repair programmes at many cathedrals, ensuring these beautiful."

Listen to Andrew Nunn speaking with Premier's Alex Williams here: 

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