DUDLEY’S church leaders say less formal styles of worship are behind an increase in church attendances.

New figures show 400 more people went to a Church of England service in 2012 than in 2011 across the Diocese of Worcester, which includes the parish of Dudley.

The statistics show in an average week 14,800 people attended a service, compared to 14,400 in 2011, half were children.

The number of people attending on an average Sunday also increased from 11,500 to 11,900.

The Bishop Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge, said: “Churches throughout Worcestershire and Dudley have been working hard to reach out to their local communities.

“Alongside the traditional Sunday services, many now provide a variety of other less formal kinds of worship.

“I believe that this increase in attendance reflects this work and demonstrates that the Church and Jesus are as relevant to people’s lives now as they have ever been.”

Statistics from 2012 show in the Diocese of Worcester there were more than 1,000 weddings, 2,500 baptisms and 3,000 funeral services.

More than 18,000 people attended services at Easter and 36,800 attended a Christmas service.