Statistics for Mission 2022 – what can we learn?

Statistics for Mission 2022 was published on Friday 10 November

The report provides national figures and those for dioceses, which have supplemented figures we analysed earlier (see Post-Covid-19 Trends, Patterns and Possibilities).

In the Diocese of Oxford, as across the rest of the Church of England, most measures of attendance and participation in 2022 were higher than in 2021 while remaining lower than in 2019.  


Our all-age average weekly attendance in 2022, based on attendance in October 2022, which includes Sunday and midweek attendance, was 20% lower than in 2019 before the pandemic, and 9% higher than in 2021.  

(43,800 people in 2019; 16,600 people in 2020; 32,000 people in 2021; and 35,000 people in 2022. ) 

Adult average weekly attendance in 2022, based on attendance in October, was 19% lower than in 2019 (compared with 23% nationally), and 9% higher than in 2021 (compared with 7% nationally);  

(Adult AWA was 37,800 in 2019, 14,900 in 2020, 28,000 in 2021 and 30,600 in 2022.) 

Child average weekly attendance, however, did not show as strong a recovery, being 26% lower in 2022 compared with 2019 although had a bigger increase than adults compared with 2021 being 15% higher than in 2021.    

(6,100 in 2019, 1,700 in 2020, 3,900 in 2021 and 4,500 in 2022.) 

Weekly attendance at school services was the one measure that was higher than in 2019, being 15% higher in 2022 than in 2019, having more than doubled between 2021 and 2022.  

(2,000 in 2019, not available in 2020, 1,100 in 2021, and 2,300 in 2022.) 

Worshipping community 

Nationally the total Worshipping Community of regular worshippers in 2022 was 12% lower than in 2019, and 2% higher than in 2021. Our diocesan worshipping community total in 2022 did not follow the national trend, being 15% lower than 2019 and seeing a further small fall between 2021 and 2022.  

Worshipping community: 64,500 people in 2019; 59,900 people in 2020; 55,300 people in 2021; and 54,600 people in 2022.

Easter, Advent and Christmas 

Easter, Advent and Christmas attendance, and numbers of baptisms were all higher in 2022 than in 2021, whilst remaining below their 2019 levels. 


Easter attendance rose to 34,400 compared to 17,900 in 2021. 

Easter figures were 46,400 in 2019, not available on 2020, 17,900 in 2021 and 34,400 in 2022. 


Attendances for Advent services in churches in 2022 were 105 thousand, including community, civic and school services 

Advent figures: 146,500 in 2019, 31,500 in 2020, 75,300 in 2021 and 105,100 in 2022. 


Christmas attendance rose to 35,000 in 2022 compared to 25,600 in 2021  

Christmas figures were 48,700 in 2019, 13,700 in 2020, 25,600 in 2021 and 35,000 in 2022. 

Baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and funerals 


Nationally it was seen that the fall in baptisms from 2019 to 2022 was accompanied by a change in the age groups of people baptised, with a greater proportion of baptisms in 2022 being of children aged 1-4 than in 2019. This suggests that, as we would expect, some of those people who would have been baptised as babies in 2020 or 2021 were baptised in 2022 as slightly older children.  

In our diocese the number of baptisms in 2022 recovered to 95% of its 2019 level, although some of this recovery  is likely to have been due to people being baptised in 2022 who had had to delay their baptism from 2020 and 2021. 

Baptisms: 3,850 in 2019, 630 in 2020, 2,280 in 2021 and 3,650 in 2022. 


The number of confirmations in our diocese in 2022 was slightly higher than in 2019 , but as with baptisms, some of this recovery will have been due to people being confirmed who had had to delay their confirmation from 2020 and 2021.  

Confirmations: 847 in 2019, 163 in 2020, 357 in 2021 868 in 2022


The total number of marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriage was at a similar level in 2022 to 2019, and higher than it would have been if pre-pandemic trends had continued. That suggests that some of the weddings that would have taken place during 2020 and 2021 were rearranged for 2022.  

Marriages: 1,710 in 2019, 570 in 2020, 1,590 in 2021, 1,730 in 2022


In contrast to many other aspects of church life, churches were able to continue to offer funeral ministry during the pandemic. However, in part because churches were closed for part of 2020, there was a pandemic-associated shift of Church of England led funerals away from churches to taking place in crematoria/cemeteries in 2020; this shift seems to have been temporary, with the percentage of Church of England led funerals that took place in church having returned to pre-pandemic levels (64% of CoE led funerals were in church in 2019, 44% in 2020, 60% in 2021, and 65% in 2022). 

(Funerals in church: 3,040 in 2019, 1,940 in 2020, 2650 in 2021, 2,830 in 2022)

(Funerals in crematoria: 1,740 in 2019, 2,520 in 2020, 1,800 in 2021 1,550 in 2022)

Total funerals: 4,780 in 2019, 4,450 in 2020, 4,450 in 2021 and 4,380 in 2022. 

Church at home 

As well as offering in-person worship, a large minority of churches continued to offer “Church at Home” services in 2022 – those services offered online, by phone, post, email, and other means. These services provided ways for people who could not attend in person to continue to worship with their church.  

In 2020, 71% of churches nationally reported offering at least one type of Church at Home service during October. Directly comparable figures are not available for 2022, because of a reduction the number of questions asked of churches; however, a direct comparison can be made between the number of churches reporting offering Church at Home services during October 2022 and October 2021.  

From our earlier work using Statistics for Mission October 2022 figures, we estimated that the percentage of churches offering ‘Church at Home’ (CAH) has fallen from 59% in October 2021 to 26% in October 2022, halving in the year to October 2022. Almost all the CAH offerings in October 2022 were online and most of those were YouTube. 

Larger churches were more likely to be offering CAH (44%). The larger the church the more likely it was to offer CAH, so the proportion of congregation members in the diocese with access to their own church’s CAH offering (36%) is higher than the proportion of churches offering CAH. 

Social Action and community outreach activities 

Churches in our diocese, as across the whole church of England are heavily involved in social action and community outreach. Statistics for Mission 2022 asked churches about their involvement in a range of different types of social action, including food banks, community cafes and night shelters. Churches were asked whether they ran projects, hosted them, carried them out in partnership with other groups, or supported them in other ways (e.g. with donations or volunteers).  A deeper analysis of social action in 2019 and 2022 undertaken by churches in our diocese is available at Focus Area 5: Addressing Poverty and Inequality.

Statistics for Mission 2022 showed that, nationally, 77% of our churches were involved in one or more forms of social action. Our churches were particularly active in running or supporting food banks, hospitality for older people, and parent and toddler groups.  

Nearly 60% of our churches are involved in running or supporting food banks while more than one in five, or 22%, runs or supports a community café, typically offering low cost or free meals. Apart from food banks and community cafes, in our diocese the number of churches supporting the various forms of social action fell a little compared with 2019. This is maybe not surprising given in 2022 churches were still recovering from COVID. Many activities may have been forced to stop during 2020, and reviving them, whilst reopening churches will have understandably been a challenge.  

Download the full Statistics for Mission 2022 report

Access the Statistics for Mission data tables per diocese

Page last updated: Wednesday 15th November 2023 11:50 AM
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