A Place in the Sun-Australian Parish Ministry in Context

Places of PromiseA review of ideas from Places of Promise: Finding Strength in Your Congregation’s Location

Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce

Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville: 2008)



Every five years, the National Count of Attendance project is undertaken in Catholic parishes throughout Australia. Naturally, there is a tendency for the health of the Catholic Church to be judged by the number of people attending churches on a typical weekend. We have been reading about the ‘bad’ news since the 1970s – the data collected has shown a distinct pattern of decline.

But does attendance have to be the only measure of church vitality? Are we missing the ‘good’ news about our parishes? Importantly, if we only focus on church attendance, or the lack of it, what consequences does this have for efforts to enliven already struggling parishes, or for those that will find difficult times ahead as their numbers diminish?

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