On 30 March the Economic and Social Data Service released for secondary analysis the dataset from the 2005 English church census, conducted on 8 May of that year under the auspices of Dr Peter Brierley of Christian Research and sponsored by a consortium of funders, including the Economic and Social Research Council.
The census was undertaken by means of self-completion postal questionnaires, responses being obtained from 18,633 of the 37,051 Christian places of worship which were contacted. A fuller description of the methodology is available online, together with details of how to access the dataset (catalogued as SN 6409), at:
Summary data were published by Christian Research in printed form in 2006, in Pulling out of the Nosedive and in UK Christian Handbook, Religious Trends, No. 6, 2006/2007, both by Peter Brierley. These books contain comparisons with the results of the earlier English church censuses of 1979, 1989 and 1998.