While congregation numbers may be in decline in many areas, the vital social role which churches play in communities is actually growing in importance.
New findings from the Church of England show that more than 33,000 social action projects - from debt counselling to parent and toddler groups and community cafes - are either run by or supported by churches. As Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby points out, churches “are doing more to love and help people in need than at any time since 1945”.
But while those who volunteer their time and skills deserve the highest praise, the figures are also something of a mixed blessing.
Almost 8,000 churches - around 60 per cent of those questioned for the study - listed running or supporting food banks as their biggest area of work.
That such widespread support is required to help people feed their families is a sad indictment of poverty levels in our society.