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Teens boost for Fresh Expressions

New research on fresh expressions of church show 50% are being led by women, and they're attracting double the number of under-16s compared to parish churches ...

More than 50,600 people are attending fresh expressions of Church (fxC) in 21 dioceses across the country – and half of these young churches are being led by women and attract twice the number of under-16s attending compared to parish churches.

There are just some of the key findings that have been released in four new reports today by Church Army’s Research Unit, during a conference held at the Wilson Carlile Centre in Sheffield.

The findings are a culmination of four years' work (2012-2016), which has seen Church Army’s Research Unit examine 1,100 fxC countrywide. The dioceses researched were chosen to reflect a wide range of contexts, geographical locations and viewpoints of the fxC phenomenon.

Covering half of the Church of England, including London, ensures that the findings give a realistic and up-to-date snapshot into the movement.

Other interesting facts that have emerged from the research are:

  • there are four times as many fxC starting up now compared to a decade ago
  • only 10 percent of attenders transferred from another local church, so it’s a myth that fxC mainly “steal” members of traditional church congregations
  • FxC attenders are much younger than the control group of parishes surveyed, with an average age of 25-34 against the average age of 65 for parish church attenders
  • FxC have a strong presence on England’s poorer housing estates

At the conference, Director of Research George Lings and his team also shared with some 100 delegates – including some movers and shakers of the fxC world – what experts believe is crucial to the sustainability of these young churches.

Church Army’s Research Unit was supported by the Church Commissioners in compiling the reports so as to assess fxC’s contribution to the wider Church.

“Our hope is that these reports may prove to be the best guide for dioceses, and the Church of England as a whole, about both the characteristics and performance of its younger churches for the next decade,” said George.

To read the full reports, a summary of the main findings and to watch a video on this topic, visit www.churcharmy.org/fxCresearch

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