Saturday, March 02, 2013


The Annual Report is out. And for the first time it includes the total number of members of Unitarian churches in Britain.

The number is 3468.

This number is both small and declining. It's down from 3560 last year. That's a down 92 people, 2.5% in one year. And a drop of 7.5% in the last five years.

The membership numbers are not a completely accurate count of Unitarians. One congregation, for example, seems to have failed to report membership numbers this year. The number of Unitarians is probably a bit more than this. But the overall direction is what's most important.

Here are the numbers over the last few years:

2005: 3952
2006: 3754
2007: 3711
2008: 3642
2009: 3658
2010: 3672
2011: 3560
2012: 3468

Of course this only tells some of the story. Not every congregation is declining. In fact looking at the numbers 38 congregations are in fact growing, 78 are static and 50 have declined in the last year.

It would be more meaningful to look at those numbers over five years, rather than one year. And then ask the questions of what growing congregations have in common and what declining congregations have in common.

This is the sort of empirical work that needs doing.