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A quarter of Church of England congregations didn't have any children attending services, report finds

(Wikimedia Commons/Kai Hendry)The Canterbury Cathedral is featured here in this image.

There were no children attending worship services at about a quarter of Church of England's congregations, according to the latest figures.

Data collected by parishes in 2016 has shown that, on average, no children attended services in the smallest 25 percent of the Churches' congregations.

The Church of England's latest report, titled "Statistics for Mission 2016," noted that the median or middle church averaged three children for each service, while the largest five percent of churches averaged 35.

The figures, released last week, also revealed that only nine children on average attended each service across all Church of England in 2016.

William Nye, secretary general of the Archbishops' Council, said that the latest report is a "sobering reminder of the long-term challenge we face."

"This challenge is likely to persist for some years ahead. That is why we have established a programme of Renewal and Reform to transform the Church of England to become a growing Church in every region, and for every generation," he continued.

The report further noted that an average of 930,000 people, 14 percent of whom were children, attended weekly services in October 2016. About 1.2 million people attended Easter services, and 2.6 million came to church on Christmas.

The Church's "worshipping community," defined as those who attend church at least once a month, is estimated to stand at 1.1 million people in 2016. Of those, 20 percent are below 18 years of age, 49 percent are aged between 18 and 69 and 31 percent are aged 70 or over.

Church of England spokesperson Anna McCrum told The Christian Post that the denomination has a way to reach children, as approximately one million youths attend its 4,700 schools.

"These pupils are from all faiths and none and the provision of education is for the common good. Our pupils take part in collective worship and are educated in a Christian environment," she explained.

The Church of England, which is the official state religion in England and the lead member of the global Anglican Communion, has seen an extensive decline in their numbers in recent decades. In 2016, the usual attendance at church each Sunday was 739,000, which was 14 percent lower than in 2006.

Despite the decline in attendance, the Church has managed to triple its number of followers on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram in the last year.

Statistics from the Church has revealed that its digital campaign, which is part of the Renewal and Reform program, is reaching 1.2 million people a month through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

As many as 2.5 million people were reached before Easter, through the #LiveLent social media campaign while 1.5 million were reached during Christmas through the Church's #JoyToTheWorld campaign.

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