Services of Worship and Holy Communion 2006
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:20)
Participation in congregational worship is the quintessential expression of Christian piety. In the course of a year, nearly one million main worship services and around 300,000 Sunday school services are held in Germany on Sundays and principal festivals. This represents the sizable figure of 21,000 worships per Sunday and principal festival. Added to this are 41,000 Christmas Eve afternoon and evening services, and numerous New Year's services and weekday worships as well as devotions for special occasions (e.g. school, Advent, Lenten worships and devotions) in addition to regular weekly and monthly events.
Worships devoted to specific target groups or incorporating special elements constitute an alternative to "normal" Sunday morning worships. The possibility for the entire family to attend worship together is very popular among parents with children, who otherwise would seldom go to church. In West German member churches, the number of family worships between 1987 and 2005 rose from 39,000 to 57,000. They also have become a common feature in congregational life in member churches in the eastern part of Germany, where nine percent of Sunday worships are attended jointly by children and their parents.
Around one million persons attend a Protestant worship every Sunday in Germany. An additional approximately one million Christians follow the Sunday worship broadcast on television.
|Sunday and principal festival worships, total||1,264,307|
|Number of Sunday schools (children's worships)||285,448|
|First Sunday in Lent|
|As a percentage of church membership||3.7%|
|Number of main worships||16,874|
|Number of Sunday schools (children's worships)||8,677|
On special occasions, for example, Thanksgiving Sunday, church attendance doubles and, on Christmas Eve, churchgoers must reckon with inconveniences and long waiting times in order to be able to take part in worship and this trend is continually increasing. Over nine million persons including many non-church members attend church on Christmas Eve. Especially in eastern German member churches, where statistically over 60 percent of church members attend a Christmas Eve service, there are many non-Christians among those who attend the afternoon service. Over all, an estimated 70 million worship visits take place annually. This figure does not include attendance at baptisms and weddings occurring outside a congregational worship. Persons who gather to celebrate worship for special personal reasons are also not included.
|As a percentage of church membership||4.6%|
|As a percentage of church membership||8.2%|
|First Sunday of Advent|
|As a percentage of church membership||5.2%|
|As a percentage of church membership|| 37.8% |
A special expression of the spiritual life of congregations is the celebration of Holy Communion. Practice in this regard is changing within some regional churches and congregations, both in terms of form and of children's participation. In many congregations, the sacrament is given at every Sunday worship, in others, once a month. The 258,000 Holy Communion celebrations draw more than 10 million believers. Added to this are 33,000 home celebrations and for the sick, which take place in a smaller context and involve an average of five participants.
|Holy Communion celebrations, total||290,937|
|Holy Communion worships||257,610|
|At home or for the sick||33,327|
|Persons receiving Holy Communion||10,677,900|
|Holy Communion during worship services||10,525,362|
|At home or as part of Holy Communion celebrations for the sick||152,548|
"Services of Worship and Holy Communion 2005" in PDF format (353KB)