Statistics for mission

Each year the national church asks churches to return a range of information about the number of people coming to church through the year and to Easter and Christmas services, also about the numbers of baptisms, weddings and funerals, about the worshipping community of the church. and often there is a particular question about the life of the church.  This information is used to inform national church statistics.  It is also converted into dashboards which provide local snapshots of the church community.

We encourage people to use the Online Parish Returns System for submitting their Statistics for Mission and Finance Returns.   2017 Statistics for Mission returns can now be entered.


Please note the online 2016 Statistics for Mission and Finance Returns are now closed.  Data can stil be sent to Karen.Colley@Sheffield.Anglican.Org


Why Collect Statistics ?

Good quality statistics can present a facts-based window on the world, as well as helping to predict where things might be heading for the future. They can help with forming strategy, show whether current strategies are working well and highlight where more support might be needed.

Statistics can help us see more clearly what the church and the community we serve is like and inform planning for the mission and ministry of the church.

Statistics can also help the wider church put her resources in the right place. They can help us to share good news widely, inside and outside the church.

Good statistics are a powerful weapon in the mission and ministry armoury of local parishes, dioceses and the national church. Not for nothing do we call them Statistics for Mission!

If you are new to Statistics for Mission, you can download a helpful introduction that has been adapted from one produced by the Diocese of Derby here.

How we collect the statistics

In the Diocese of Sheffield we use the Church of England online Parish Returns system to submit both Statistics for Mission and Financial Summary Returns.  We encourage parishes to enter the information directly onto the system as this reduces the administration load and also gives you more control over the data.  For those who are not able to do this forms can be sent to Diocesan Church House where they will be submitted for you. PDF and Micorsoft Word versions of the forms can be accessed from links below

The website address for online entry of data is 

A full user guide to the system can be downloaded below.  If you have not used the web-based system before and would like to know your password please contact Karen Colley at Church House (

If there are any problems with the system, email

If you prefer to complete the forms in paper form, they can be downloaded using the links below.

The National Church requests that all data is submitted by the end of January in the following year.

Statistics for Mission Form 2017 pdf Statistics for Mission Form 2017 .doc (MS Word document) 

The National Statistics Return Website has been updated for 2017 entries.  The User guide is still being updated an early version is available from the link below.

Web user guide

Statistics Collection Tools

Experience has shown that if parishes collect data week by week through the year, it makes completing the Statistics for Mission return at the end of the year much easier and produces much more accurate results. To help you to do that, we are providing some statistics collection tools that have been developed by churches that you can download from the links below.

These are not extra forms that you have to fill in. If you find them helpful, then please use them, and feel free to adapt them. We don’t need you to submit them – they’re for your convenience and use only.

Attendance Calculator (Excel) - assists in collection of the October Counts and calculating Usual Sunday Attendance as well as recording figures fo Advent, Christmas and Easter.  Click the link below for the year you require:

               2017 Excel Attendance Calculator               2018 Excel Attendance Calculator

Worshipping Community List (Excel) This spreadsheet is to assist in collecting Worshipping Community information including joiners and leavers and can also be used for Electoral Roll count.

Worshipping Community (PDF) - A document explaining the Worhipping Community staistics; their importance for the church (both locally and more widely), alongside some tips to help collect them.

Fresh Expressions Choice Tree (PDF) - A simple tool to help you decide whether you chould include a group as a Fresh Expression in your Statistics return.

To help us provide the resources that help you we would be grateful for feedback about which tools you find useful and which ones you don't along with any suggestions for improvements.  Please contact Mark Wigglesworth in the Parish Support Team