Some correspondence below about resisting the liberal tide leads me to post re church attendance from a different perspective, partly because commenters have raised questions about what is going on in ACANZP re attendance, given that we do not publish our own church attendance figures (except in diocesan yearbooks which are not readily available outside dioceses).
One way to look at NZ statistics for Anglican church attendance is to ask, which are our large churches and why are they doing well?
It is a widely agreed fact that (a) our cathedrals do well re attendance, though generally more progressive in theology than conservative, but special factors come into play as all kinds of "civic, military, etc" services are held at cathedrals which local parishes do not hold; nevertheless most of our cathedrals are also 'parish' churches and have good congregations in their own right, (b) with one, maybe two exceptions, a dozen or so parishes with annual attendance around the 20000 mark (i.e. 400 per week) are all identifiable as working to the beat of a conservative theological beat (mostly evangelical (and most of those 'charismatic evangelical'), a few more catholic (or, if one wishes for great precision, 'catholic evangelical'),* and (c) in all seven NZ dioceses (i.e. 'Tikanga Pakeha'), the predominance among the largest parishes (c. 200-400+ p.w.) is strongly weighted, if not exclusively weighted to the conservative end of the theological spectrum.
Incidentally, my anecdotal understanding of the situation in the Diocese of Polynesia is that church attendance is going well. But, relative to the challenges in NZ, that is not surprising as the general cultural climate in Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa for church attendance is highly favourable. In Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, church attendance figures, whether recorded faithfully or not, would need very careful discernment: low Sunday figures, for example, would tell nothing of a particular Maori emphasis in ministry on 'marae-based' ministry, especially for tangi (gatherings to mourn the dead over several days culminating with a funeral service). Nevertheless relevant facts are that (a) there are very few congregations sustaining stipendiary priests - aside from the five bishops, and several educators, most Maori clergy receiving a stipend are principally employed in a military or hospital or prison chaplaincy role, (b) Sunday congregational attendance (anecdotally) is very low.
It would take a lot to provide a definitive argument (say) that conservative theology produces, on average, the best church attendance. So I will not attempt that here. But I will offer this observation from my years of attendance at policy and planning meetings in our church: it is very rare to ever hear our leaders say that we ought to spend more time and effort researching what makes conservative parishes successful and even rarer to hear talk of either applying any such learning to the general life of our church, or embarking on a more active recruitment policy for conservative ministers and missioners for our church.
This observation can be turned to a question for ACANZP: do we wish to grow our Sunday attendance figures or not? If we do, then some things (maybe many things) can be done differently, with lessons learned from our larger churches waiting to be applied.** If we do not, will we ever have a conversation among ourselves when we admit to ourselves that we have no urgent commitment to pro-actively grow our attendance figures?
*Most of the vicars of the c. 400 parishes gather annually for a meeting of 'The Four Hundred Club'.
**That we might have lessons to learn from our larger parishes does not mean they have stumbled on some perfect formula for church growth. I am confident that the vicars of these parishes would readily admit to (a) having learned some difficult lessons through experience because no parish perfectly develops according to some theory of church growth, and (b) yet having much to learn. (One big challenge, incidentally, for these parishes and their bishops, is finding great successors)!