Church bucks national trend over numbers

A CHURCH in Aylesbury has added two more services to its Sunday schedule after the number of people attending regularly has doubled.

Contrary to reports of declining church attendance, in the past three years, the congregation at Holy Trinity Church, Walton Street, has doubled – nearly 250 adults and more than 100 children and young people go to the weekly services on Sundays.

They added an evening service last month and from May there will be a third morning service.

Vicar, the Rev Andrew Blyth, said the church building was operating at full capacity at the current 10.30am main morning service and this has forced them to review their schedule. New people of all age groups have joined them, he said.

He explained why he thinks their congregation has grown so much. He said: "We simply try to follow Jesus's teaching to love God, each other and other people as much as possible. We have found that God brings growth where stimulating worship and prayer, Bible-based teaching that's relevant to real life and structures that encourage a true community spirit create the right conditions. We also have fun."

A national survey released before Easter by the Christian charity Tearfund showed one in seven people in the UK go to church at least once a month and in London that figure is one in five.

The Rev Blyth said what their church is experiencing was not unusual. "What's happening at Holy Trinity is not unique. There are many churches in Aylesbury and the surrounding area that are growing.

"As was also highlighted by the Tearfund survey, we are connecting with two types of people – some who are coming back to church because they realise they need God in their lives and others who have little previous experience of church but who want to know what the fuss about Jesus is all about," he said.

The survey found that potentially three million people in the UK, who do not currently go to church regularly, would go if invited. More than half of the people questioned said they were Christian, making it the most dominant religion in the country.

The Rev Blyth said previous surveys by Christian Research have painted a complex picture. He said: "While overall numbers have declined - it seems that in many cases the sheer busyness of people's lives means they are going to church less frequently rather than not at all." Midweek groups are now a regular part of going to church.