Our own 'Living Christ's Story' programme for transformation of the way we share and use our God-given gifts and resources is drawing heavily on statistics like these, so it's vital for our work right here in the Diocese that the information is as accurate and complete as possible.

The benefit of Statistics for Mission doesn't just feed in to planning at Diocesan or national level. Your own parish figures can tell a story that only you on the ground can really understand and interpret, and you can access your parish Statistics for Mission dashboard at any time at parishreturns.churchofengland.org. Remember though that if you have more than one church in your parish, the dashboard won’t give a true picture until all the data is updated online.

When you access the Church of England's national online system at parishreturns.churchofengland.org:

If you need more clarification or help, do contact Diocesan Information Analyst Anna Berry at statisticsformission@yorkdiocese.org or 01904 202567.

While your return is entered online, a downloadable PDF copy of the form is available here to help you compile and keep your own record of your returns.

Thank you for your patience, and for taking the time to help us all understand the national picture of the church in another extraordinary year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • How do I gain access to the CofE
    online Parish Returns System?

If you don't already have a login please go to this page to find out how to get one.

  • When will the online form be available?

The form for Statistics for Mission 2021 is right here, right now!

  • What should we include in 'Church at Home'?

As with the previous October Count, the Church at Home question is focused on worship services, therefore online house groups, youth clubs, Alpha courses, and social events etc should not be included there. There is a comment box should you wish to share with us anything else, aside from services, you have been offering remotely to your congregation.

  • How do I count Church at Home attendance?

You may be using a number of different ways to engage with people at home, for example YouTube or Facebook. Both platforms offer some viewing numbers and these will give you some indication as to how large your audience is. We’ve not asked for viewing figures directly as these figures are very variable dependent on how the platform is used and for how long and will require some adjustment. For more information on counting ‘Church at Home’ please see this Church of England web page on counting attendance.

  • The pandemic is still having an impact on our attendance, so our October Count figures will be lower than usual.

Attendance ‘in person’ in 2021 may still have been impacted by a variety of complex factors, and therefore will be reported and used carefully and sensitively. It is very helpful to know how many of our national worshipping community are currently attending church buildings in person so that dioceses and the National Church Institutions (NCIs) can best know how to support churches and the Church of England's worshipping communities.

  • How do I report numbers of people participating in a service live streamed from church in October?

A service live streamed from church in October will be recorded on the form in two places. Those attending in the church building will be counted in the “in person” October count section. Those watching from home via the live stream will be recorded in the “Church at Home” section.

  • What do I record for Advent and Christmas?

The question on the form is based on the 2019 question so captures “in person” attendance (indoors or outdoors). We will not ask for additional data on those joining in online or through other “Church at Home” means.

  • What if we joined with other churches
    to do 'Church at Home'?

In this case please all fill in questions 7a, 7b and 8 on the form but only one church should provide a count for question 7c. The other church(es) should leave question 7c blank.

  • How do I estimate my 'Worshipping Community'?

This measure is for your regular worshipping community at the end of year, including both those who attend regularly in person and/or through 'Church at Home'. For more information on the 'dos' and 'don’ts' for worshipping community estimation, please refer to the very useful instructions around question 9 on the Statistics for Mission form. For even more information about worshipping communities, please download this Church of England information sheet on Worshipping Communities.