Launch of Research Report ‘New Churches in the North East’

All are welcome to a presentation on and launch of a new research report, ‘New Churches in the North East’ on Thursday 29th October, 4 pm, Tristram Room, St Johns College, Durham. The report was funded by a Leech Fellowship and offers a survey of new churches founded in the North East since 1980. Using a strict definition of what counts as a ‘new church’, it concludes that 125 new churches have started in the North East since 1980, with a combined usual Sunday attendance of c. 12 000. The report finds that ethnic minority churchgoing is a key factor in the growth of such congregations. The findings are of interest to those involved in various academic fields, all those involved in church leadership in the North East and those concerned to chart how society in the North East is changing. Copies of the report will be available at a special discount at the launch and will also be available online from 29th October. To confirm your attendance, please RSVP to Val Strickland at:

The report was produced by a team of researchers based at the Centre for Church Growth Research, based at Cranmer Hall.

Major CCGR conference coming on 18th November 2016

To launch the new volume published by Ashgate, Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion, 1980 to the Present”, the CCGR is organising a conference on 18th November 2016, hosted by Whitelands College, part of the University of Roehamption in west London. The conference will explore patterns of growth and decline within the member churches of the Anglican Communion. It will include sessions on England, the USA, Nigeria, Congo, Latin America and other parts of the communion. In addition, the Rt Revd Graham Kings, recently appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion, will set the findings in a wider theological setting. It will be of interest to academics, church leaders and all interested in patterns of church growth and secularization in the modern world. Conference booking will open in the coming months and will include special rates for postgraduate students. The conference also forms part of celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Whitelands College.

MA module on church growth to be taught in Autumn of 2015

A MA module entitled ‘Church Growth and Decline in British Christianity, from 1945 to the Present Day’ will be taught in the autumn of 2015. It can be taken as part of Durham University’s MA in Theology and Ministry or as a freestanding course. It offers an opportunity to combine contemporary history, empirical study of what helps churches grow and decline and exploration of the various theories that offer explanations of why churches grow or shrink as well as study of the theological issues raised by church growth and decline. The module can be combined with dissertation work, in which masters students have the opportunity to do detailed study of particular localities and questions with which they may be concerned. Recent masters students have researched subjects such as: the value of Church of England attendance measures; gender balance amongst students in a new congregation and church growth and decline in inner city Manchester. For more information about this module and the MA in theology and ministry, contact Dr Joss Bryan on

Durham MA research sheds light into nature of Church of England figures

A new Durham MA thesis by Mark Wigglesworth sheds significant light into Church of England figures. The thesis, “A Critical Evaluation and Theological Reflection on ‘Worshipping Community’, As Used By the Church of England Statistics”, shows that a new measure being trialled contains significant distortions. The measure itself has considerable merits, but can only provide meaningful data if used with significantly greater care.

The thesis is now available for download here:

Download File

Book launch for ‘Towards a Theology of Church Growth’

A new volume produced by CCGR staff is shortly to be launched. Towards a Theology of Church Growth is the product of a conference organised by CCGR (for more info, see here). It consists of chapters by senior scholars from a wide theological spectrum – including Prof. Alister McGrath, Sr. Benedicta Ward, Prof. C. Kavin Rowe and Rev Dr Graham Tomlin. Together, they offer a nuanced theological justification for the importance of numerical church growth within Christian theology. There will be book launch events on 26th May (6.15pm, St Johns College, Durham) and on 8 June (5pm, St Mellitus College, London). All are welcome to these events. For more info about the book launch events, please contact Revd Dr David Goodhew at

For more information about the book, go to:

An update on the ‘New Churches in the North East’ project

The ‘New Churches in the North East’ project is close to completion. At a conference at St Johns College, Durham on 17th April 2015 (for more info, see here) draft findings were presented. The research team estimate that at least 120 new churches have been founded in the North East of England since 1980. Of these, around 40 are based in minority ethnic communities. The new churches represent a major new feature on the religious landscape of the North East. Their existence calls into questions pictures of secularisation that assume that the regions of England are seeing blanket secularisation. The prominence of black and minority ethnic communities within the new churches shows that the North East is significantly more diverse than is often assumed. The final report for the project will be issued in September 2015.

Forthcoming seminar

Dept of Theology and Religion, Durham University:

Seminar entitled ‘New Churches in the North East Research Project: Methodology, Theology and Latest Findings’ led by David Goodhew (Director of Ministerial Practice, Cranmer Hall) – Wednesday 11 March 11.30 am, Seminar Room B

Publication Date Set for Towards a Theology of Church Growth

The publishers Ashgate have announced that the volume Towards a Theology of Church Growth, based on a conference run by CCGR in 2013, will be published on 2nd June 2015. It includes contributions from leading scholars such as Prof. Alister McGrath, Sr. Benedicta Ward and Prof. Kavin Rowe and has a foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. More details can be found at: