Church congregations have plunged by 100,000 in two years, figures reveal today.
The Church of England statistics make depressing reading for the clergy and show a continued fall in weekly visits to church.
In 2002 the average number of people attending a church at least once a week was 1.16million, down 108,000 from 2000.
The number going to a service on Sunday but not during the rest of the week was 1,002,000 – a fall of 56,000 in two years.
One diocese lost 5,600 weekly worshippers and another 4,700 over the two years. However, London showed an increase in congregations, although smaller churches fared better.
Peter Brierley, executive director of the independent Christian Research group, called for action to combat the “worrying” figures.