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This page last updated 15 April 2007  

Church attendance in Australia

Sydney, 3 May 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald reported in an article by Chris McGillion, religious affairs editor, that church attendance in Australia is not in the tailspin that many people assume. A National Church Life Survey shows that overall attendance at Anglican and Protestant churches declined by only 2 percent in from 1991 to 1996.

Attendance at Anglican churches was down 5 percent, while attendance at Pentecostal and Methodist churches increased 20 percent in the same period.

The National Church Life Survey (NCLS) is the most comprehensive survey of church attenders in the world, and is timed to coincide with the Australia Bureau of Statistics national Census. The 1991 survey included 320,000 attenders in 6,000 congregations around Australia. The 1996 survey is even bigger! The NCLS is multi-denominational survey, which in 1996 included the Catholic Church in Australia. The sociology of religion takes a large step forward with a survey of this magnitude.

The Diocese of Brisbane's monthly publication Focus covered the statistics in its April 1999 issue; you can read the numbers and commentary on them in their article entitled "A Time of Opportunity?"

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