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Centre for Church Growth Research

Centre for Church Growth Research


In December 2012 the College Council of St John's College Durham approved the creation of a 'Centre for Church Growth Research' (CCGR), based in Cranmer Hall and St John's College, Durham. Early in 2013, Archbishop Sentamu became Patron of the Centre.

The CCGR conducts, publishes and supports research on church growth in Britain and internationally, across the denominations. This entails postgraduate study, academic conferences and publications. It is run by a team based in Cranmer Hall, under the direction of the Reverend Dr David Goodhew, assisted by other researchers. Its work is overseen by a management group, chaired by the Reverend Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College, Durham. The management group includes members of College staff and members of Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion. The CCGR's aim is to produce research that is both academically rigorous and theologically informed. Such research will be of use to the academic community, to the church communities and to wider society.


Past Research Projects

Church Growth Research Programme 

The Archbishops' Council and the Church Commissioners selected a team at the Centre to lead a major research project on church growth. The project involves research into three areas:

  • Cathedrals, 'greater churches' and larger churches - led by Canon John Holmes

  • Fresh Expressions and church plants - led by Canon Dr George Lings

  • Team ministries and amalgamations of parishes - led by the Reverend Dr David Goodhew

This project recently reported. To read its findings please click here.        


Current Projects



Church Growth in Britain: 1980 to the Present  - published by Ashgate in 2012

Towards a Theology of Church Growth -  published by Ashgate in 2015. A major conference on the theology of church growth in Britain was held in Durham in September 2013. Speakers included the Reverend Professor Alister McGrath, Sister Benedicta Ward, the Reverend Dr Graham Tomlin, the Reverend Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes and the Right Reverend Martin Warner. The conference findings will be published by Ashgate, with a foreword by the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Archbishop Justin Welby.  

Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion since 1980 – to be published by Ashgate in 2016. An academic survey of twelve provinces in the Anglican communion, looking at numerical church growth and decline since 1980, with the focus mainly on non-western Anglicanism.    


For more information, please visit the Centre for Church Growth Research website.