With Easter just around the corner, latest figures show that there is no shortage of churches in the UK to celebrate one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendars.
In fact, the UK now has more churches than pubs, new data published by the National Churches Trust shows.
There are around 39,000 pubs in the UK, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, with more than 11,000 pubs having closed in the UK in the last decade – a fall of almost a quarter (23%).
However, there are around 40,300 church buildings in the UK open to the public and being used for worship, according to research carried out for the National Churches Trust by the Brierley Consultancy.
The number of church buildings is also substantially higher than other key public buildings in the UK. There are currently around 14,300 supermarkets operated by grocery retailers, 11,500 post office branches, 7,500 bank branches and 3,600 public libraries.
In addition to being used for worship, an increasing number of churches in the UK are becoming local ‘community hubs’, hosting children’s nurseries, senior citizen lunch clubs, concerts and exhibition venues. Some even house post-offices, GP surgeries and farmer’s markets.
Nearly 1 in 5 of the places where people cast their vote are church buildings, with around 6,000 of the UK’s approximately 32,000 polling places – the physical locations of polling stations – located in church buildings, representing some 19% of the total.
The number of Christian congregations in the UK is around 50,000. This figure is higher than the number of church buildings as some are used by more than one congregation or worship takes place in a school or community hall.