Christ the King and counting

Every year, on the Feast of Christ the King, we count. We count how many people we have in church and that is recorded for all to see as a snapshot of our little flocks. It is a day when clergy pray that all will turn up, even those once-a-monthers. For these numbers are recorded for all to see in years to come in the Annual Report of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Some clergy (including myself in the past) resort to ‘dirty tricks’ such as holding a baptism on that day. That’s always good to boost the numbers. I’ve heard that some even hold three baptisms on that day, but I fear this is only a myth. Who would do such a thing?

In many churches the Feast of Christ the King coincides with the AGM.  Now, in our little flocks, people are not known to make a point of putting such a date in their diaries as one ‘not to be missed.’  Unless you have a beef with your local priest and want to complain about her/his choice of hymns then you are more likely to put the alarm on snooze, turn over and decide to give church a miss this week. This appears to be the tradition here in Christ Church. Of course, it may be that when I announced there was to be a shortened service with no sermon, that may be why they stayed away. And to make matters worse, in terms of the statistics, here we combine both services and move the time.

Ah, but I have a cunning plan. Numbers may be down this year, my first, but next year I think we should move the AGM date and plan a Baptism, Confirmation and a party on the Feast of Christ the King. That should get them in.

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5 thoughts on “Christ the King and counting

  1. of all the dodgy statistics dodgily recorded, I suspect the one for Christ the King is the least accurate — revealing more of rector’s guile (or lack there of) than anything resembling truth.

    But of course, I flinch when it’s low, and rejoice when its high on that most awkward of feast days.

    Meanwhile in other news on faulty statistics, I have heard of clergy who list all lay led services under the column for ‘services led by a deacon’. The justification was ‘but we don’t have a deacon’. True, but I suspect that misses the point.

  2. Thank goodness that they don’t do the count on Ash Wednesday or Ascension Day when the fingers of a single hand will generally do to count the congregation!

    One of my jobs during my ten year spell as churchwarden was to fill in the numbers for the month of October – generally quite good since that month includes Harvest Festival, but also bad since the calculation of our parish share/quota payment to the diocese was partly based on these numbers. Before that we had to do ‘average Sunday attendance’ – you would not believe how many ways there are of working out that sum!

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